IR theory and domestic adoption of international norms
International Relations (IR) scholars have devoted considerable attention to domestic adoption of international norms, because application of these norms occurs largely through domestic political systems. This article argues that research on norm adoption is hampered by characteristics of current IR theory that result in a lack of appropriate attention to key actors and processes. The role of corporations in norm adoption is largely ignored, reflecting a wider failure to theorise their role in international politics. The agency of domestic groups that stand to benefit from application of international norms is underplayed, reflecting the heavy emphasis on structural factors that characterises the dominant constructivist approach to analysis of international norms. The interplay between material and ideational resources and strategies in norm contests receives inadequate attention, reflecting a continuing tendency to see constructivism and rationalism as alternative explanatory frameworks. The article presents a model of domestic norm adoption that allows these shortcomings to be addressed, with implications for IR theory generally.