Constructivism and Climate Vulnerability

Description
"This thesis explores the evolution of small island developing states’ (SIDS) negotiating tactics at UN forums over time, with a particular focus on the activities of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and how constructivist political theory explains their outsize successes in achieving bargaining goals. The negotiating strategies considered are the vulnerability discourse, scientific expertise, shaming tactics, and moral leverage utilized by SIDS. The first chapter of this thesis is devoted to examining SIDS negotiating tactics from the late 1980s to early 2015, including the formation of AOSIS and the subsequent transformation of SIDS’s international image. The second chapter presents a detailed case study of COP21, the 2015 Paris Conference. It analyzes how SIDS bargained for their goals and where they met success or failure. In the third chapter, this thesis argues that SIDS successes over time have been materially beyond what realist and liberalist theories would predict, thereby demonstrating the importance of ideas and norms in international politics even in a situation which proved a tough test for constructivism. This conclusion is leveraged to explore the situations in which constructivism can overcome realist and liberalist considerations, and what these findings mean for SIDS’ attempts to bargain for survival in a rapidly warming world."

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