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Follow-ups in pre-structured communication

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Abstract

This contribution outlines two theoretical frameworks – behaviorist and reflexive– for considering the discursive interaction between states and internationalorganizations within treaty monitoring (a process of assessing states’ compliancewith international treaties). Monitoring is seen as a communicative process,aimed at building and sustaining the interlocutors’ public images and constitutedby a series of multi-directed follow-ups. This definition emphasizes the importanceof anticipation and silence in pre-structured diplomatic communication.The two suggested frameworks lie across the ontological divide. The behavioristframework relies on an actor/speaker-oriented view of social interaction, conceivesof actors as rational, strategizing beings performing cost-benefit calculationsto define their discursive choices, and conceptualizes the participants’concern with their public image in terms of ‘face wants’. The reflexive frameworklooks at how states and international organizations (IOs) use the monitoringexchange to (re)construct their relationship while projecting a specific imageinto the public sphere. Continuity of the interaction, intensity and regularity ofthe exchange within treaty monitoring provide IOs with sources of power andthus allow rebalancing the initially asymmetrical set-up. The frameworks areillustrated using the example of the monitoring mechanism of the Council ofEurope’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

References

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