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Critical Studies on Terrorism Vol. X, No.

X, XXX 2013, XX-XX

Regina Heller and Martin Kahl Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (Received in final form on XXX)

The focus of attention within the constructivist literature on norm dynamics has recently shifted from the good side of norm development to the investigation of reverse norm dynamics, through which established norms in liberal democracies, particularly those related to civil and political rights, are challenged and discursively put under pressure. This shift was not least triggered by counter-terrorist security politics since September 11, 2001, leading to a more thorough investigation of such dynamics in critical security studies and the literature on norm contestation. The basic research interest of these strands of literature is to critically assess and better understand the drivers of such processes. This article gives an overview of constructivist approaches to the study of bad norm dynamics and points to further research perspectives that could be used to enhance our understanding of bad norm dynamics in counter-terrorism. Keywords: counter-terrorism; human rights; reverse norm dynamics; securitisation; practice turn; value theory


ISSN 1753-9153 print/ISSN 1753-9161 online 2013 Taylor & Francis

Introduction The study of norm dynamics has occupied IR researchers for a considerable span of time. The constructivist literature in particular took a lot of effort to understand how norms and expectations related to them are discursively constructed, propagated and finally turn into dominant, global scripts that guide behaviour (Finnemore 1996, Powell and DiMaggio 1991, Risse 2000). For a long time, the focus of attention was placed on good norm development, i.e. the effects on the spread and diffusion1 of mainly Western and liberally based ideas and international prescriptions restricting state behaviour, such as international human rights norms (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998, Keck and Sikkink 1998, Risse et al. 1999).2 This approach basically promoted the idea that international human rights norms trickle down in a spiral-like manner to the domestic realm by means of discursive processes between norm-violating state actors and norm-promoting non-governmental entrepreneurs (Risse et al. 1999). Once the initially rule-violating states are discursively socialised into the acceptance of new norms, a reverse process is highly unlikely, if not impossible, and the new norms achieve a taken-for-granted status. Past research has not only focused on Western/liberal norm diffusion, but most of the time also (implicitly) has taken side with these norms. As a shortcut for this double-bias, we use the term good norms when speaking about human rights, and bad norms when referring to those ideas that contest them (in both cases always enclosed in quotes). The focus of academic attention has shifted somewhat during the last ten years from the study of the worldwide progression of Western norms to the notion that norms in general, and human rights in particular, are continuously being contested, not least as a consequence of the broad range of measures to counter international terrorism adopted by governmental actors in the liberal, consolidated democracies. State actors involved in counter-terrorism have publicly justified the adoption of such measures as the use of harsh interrogation techniques, the practice of extraordinary rendition, or the practice of holding prisoners indefinitely, and tried to persuade their constituencies of the necessity, usefulness and ethical defensibility of these measures. Referring to security needs, they presented new

interpretations of the ethicality and legitimacy of the measures they adopted, thereby challenging existing, intersubjectively-accepted meanings concerning the restriction of state behaviour for the benefit of human rights (for a basic elaboration see Crawford 2009). These observations substantially contradict the idea that states, once socialised into the international human rights regime, would necessarily speak out against violations of their internalised normative preferences (Jetschke and Liese 2012). It is equally puzzling that some states which were thought to be leaders in human rights promotion significantly regressed from ruleconsistent behaviour in their approach to countering terrorism, for example the United States or Great Britain (Anstee 2008, p. 38). Such disengaging behaviour and the general vulnerability of international norms has recently attracted more and more interest among IR scholars (for critical accounts of the human rights spiral see e.g. Acharya 2004, Krook and True 2012), particularly also among scholars from critical security and securitisation studies (C.A.S.E. Collective 2006) as well as within the more specialised field of critical terrorism studies (e.g. Gunning 2007, Herring 2008, Jackson et al. 2009).3 Researchers currently try more intensively to understand how states discursively challenge constitutive and identity-building norms and codes of conduct laid down in international treaties, eventually even encouraging inconsistent behaviour among other members of international society (Dunne 2007, p. 281). These actors have been characterised as norm revisionists (Clark 2007) or norm challengers (Rosert and Schirmbeck 2007, Heller et al. 2012).4 Analogous to the logic of the progressive human rights spiral, one is tempted to speak of a reverse norm dynamic, whereby deeply-entrenched norms, particularly those related to civil and political rights, are challenged and discursively put under pressure. Despite the broader academic attention, the respective studies are still rather fragmented, divergent in their results and most of the time do not much relate to each other. In this article, we give a systematised overview of the disparate contemporary literature on erosive norm dynamics operating within counter-terrorism policies. We identify three main lines of analysis, which we outline in the following three chapters: First, scholars have been trying to figure out how even

liberal democratic states challenge or defect from human rights norms. In Chapter 1, we identify three different positions. Second, as will be shown in Chapter 2, scholars have investigated the particularities of norm-challenging speech, i.e. they have asked by what rhetorical means governmental actors actually challenge liberal freedoms and what kind of representational strategies are used. Research has put considerable emphasis on strategic framing, but surprisingly little on securitisation, which we deem another important theoretical cornerstone in this respect. Third, researchers have posed questions related to the wider global consequences of norm-challenging speech, in particular the conditions and mechanisms of broader erosive dynamics on international normative orders. Therefore in Chapter 3 we present research on the question of whether and how argumentative dynamics may lead to decay of human rights or loss of salience of a liberal freedom norm in the international realm. In a final chapter, we outline additional research perspectives and point to a number of discussions in related theoretical strands that appear useful for improving our understanding of norm dynamics in counter-terrorism.

1 Liberal states as human rights challengers If we follow constructivist lines of argumentation, human rights standards should be an indispensible part of the identity of liberal democracies and form the basis of their interests (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998, p. 895, see also Zehfuss 2001 for a critical evaluation). Challenging these norms would put these actors' own internalised identity into question. While it is commonly acknowledged that the 9/11 experience led to or accelerated the appearance and evolution of new social ideas in the Western world (and beyond) and changed rhetorical arrangements in the political sphere (Croft and Moore 2010, p. 822, Nabers 2009), researchers take on various perspectives to explore this behaviour, thereby shedding light on different features of argumentative dynamics: One strand focuses on the speakers intentions that are assumed to lie behind their argumentation, a second one tries to understand how identities and meaning are constituted in discourses, and a third one concentrates on legitimation claims and their resonance.

The first perspective, which is shared by proponents of critical discourse analysis within the constructivist camp, assumes that governmental actors use or have used 9/11 as a window of opportunity to push forward political solutions that correspond with their strategic interests. Language is used by these actors as a tool to create acceptance among the population for these solutions, in particular when they include the violation of established norms. Such a line of reasoning is inter alia put forward by Richard Jackson (2005, 2007b, 2007c, 2011). He most dedicatedly promotes the argument that politicians use language in a deliberate fashion (Jackson 2007b, p. 422) and as a political technology to pursue a hidden agenda, usually the consolidation of state power (ibid, p. 421). According to Jackson, after 9/11 the United States government constructed and used a specific language and interpretation, particularly within the War on Terror narrative, as a key tool of US hegemony both internationally and domestically, as well as a highly profitable industry for a great many powerful groups in the United States (Jackson 2011).5 Kellner (2007, p. 622) joins in, arguing that with the help of the corporate media, the Bush administration manipulated a politics of fear to push through a right-wing agenda that included the Patriot Act, massive changes in the legal system, a dramatic expansion of the U.S. military, U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others have identified similar logics in the counter-terrorism policies not only of the US, but also of Great Britain and the European Union (Hancock 2010, Maggio 2007, Hassan 2010). Jackson argues that by consciously constructing and overplaying threats and demonising adversaries, political actors have shaped a permissive environment for norm violation. In this process language is deliberately employed to stress the unique circumstances of the war against terrorism; in such an unprecedented situation, it can easily be argued that the old rules no longer apply (Jackson 2007c, p. 357). This strategic actor perspective analyses the use of language from a position outside the discourse and infers the actors motives from a given and stable identity. Moreover, it implies a causal relationship between the use of language and political consequences in the real world (Banta 2012), in the sense that the War on Terror narrative made the violation of a range of established norms possible. It is important to note that in Jacksons and

also Kellners interpretation the real motives of governmental actors to stay in power or foster capitalism, for example are not articulated in their speech. A more reflectivist understanding precludes the separation described above, as it assumes that there can be no identity existing prior to and independent from discursive practice (Hansen 2006, p. 26, Stump and Dixit 2011). This perspective suggests that there is nothing outside of discourse (Campbell 1992, p. 4) and that discourse must be understood as a structure of meaningin-use (Weldes/Saco 1996: 373). Identity is (re)produced and modified by discursive practice, in which meaning is constantly contested and (re)negotiated (Weldes 1998, Milliken 1999, Wiener 2004, 2008, Fierke 2007, Hansen 2006, Krook and True 2012). Therefore, reflectivists are not interested in giving causal explanations or inferring pre-existing interests of actors in any way, but try to show how various meanings come about and how identities are formed through different practices embodied in an actual/unfolding discourse. Their basic aim is to uncover the underlying structure of relational distinctions and hierarchies ordering knowledge about the things defined by the discourse (Milliken 1999, p. 231) and thus to demonstrate how this enables and constrains the production of particular understandings (Weldes and Saco 1996: 373). Some interpretations may become hegemonic for a span of time and let certain practices appear to be natural and therefore appropriate. Researchers with a critical impetus deconstruct discursive totalities and demonstrate how discourses have reached a hegemonic status designating the normal. In this sense, Solomon (2009), for instance, has shown in a study on the US intervention in Iraq how the discursive elements that constituted identities were (re)produced through articulatory practices and social logics that made certain counter-terrorist measures seem natural and normal, and the US invasion in Iraq more palatable to the American public (Solomon 2009, p. 282, 294). The third perspective integrates elements of the other two. It builds on the assumption that norm challengers use language strategically, but that their arguments are subject to considerable contextual and discursive constraints.6 As the actors are embedded in social discourse and practice, their representations are also unavoidably embedded in social relationships and norms (Hurd

2007, p. 196). That is why, according to Reus-Smith (2007, p. 159), state actors constantly seek to gain acceptance for their policies. Actors seek to justify their identities, interests, practices, or institutional designs. These justifications constitute legitimacy claims [original emphasis]. In order to be successful in their legitimacy claims, norm challengers must base their arguments on the prevailing architecture of social norms, upon the cultural mores that govern appropriate forms of rhetoric, argument, and justification, and upon available technologies of communication (ReusSmith 2007, p. 163).7 This means that the foundations of the chosen argument, its frames and contents, must be socially sustainable because the audience deems certain rhetorical deployments acceptable and others impermissible (Krebs and Jackson 2007, p. 47). As arguments and justifications embedded in respective rhetorical frames must resonate with the social contexts in which they are articulated and with the collective understanding of the respective audience (Crawford 2009, p. 119, also Nadelmann 1990, p. 482), researchers holding this view try to reconstruct in detail how language is used by governmental actors in order to resonate with a relevant audience. From this point of view, effective norm challenging is only possible when language is used skilfully and tailored to the expectations and convictions of the respective audience. Croft (2006) for example has shown that the War on Terror campaign was only able to permeate American society because it resonated well with a specific set of political attitudes, institutions and a national culture, marked by a particular religious (in this case evangelical) worldview. He argues that the campaign, though initiated by the government, was quickly received and enriched by the popular media, including not only news media, but also fictional books and movies for example.

2 Representational strategies: Elements and patterns of norm challenging rhetoric The three perspectives sketched out above differ in some of their basic assumptions about the actors intentions and the respective research strategies to analytically deal with them, but eventually all suggest considering and decoding the rhetorical arrangements state actors rely on in

their speech when discursively challenging existing norms. Almost all scholars in this field have shown that public speech on terrorism and counter-terrorism is saturated with rhetorical statements referring to (in)security, exceptional threats and the need for urgent and exceptional measures to uphold security. The case of the US-led War on Terror is certainly the most prominent, but not exclusive, field of investigation in this respect (see Silberstein 2002, Croft 2006, Croft and Moore 2010, Hughes 2007, Jackson 2005, 2007c, Esch 2010). The major research objective here is not simply to describe what notions of security and exception are being used, but rather to understand how such representations change and impact on public expectations. Although the focus on the rhetorical use and construction of the exceptional in securityrelated contexts such as counter-terrorism actually corresponds with what members of the Copenhagen School have called securitisation, this approach has so far not been very prominent in the analysis of counter-terror speech. This is surprising, because at its core stands the presentation of someone or something as an existential threat, requiring swift and decisive emergency measures and justifying exceptional actions outside the normal bounds of political procedure (Buzan et al. 1998, p. 23-24, also Wver 1995, Roe 2012). The lack of references to securitisation is even more surprising as there is a lively debate about the contextualisation of securitisation currently taking place in the academic field. While the initial approach to securitisation assumed that the mere speech act, i.e. the performative act of uttering of security, already accounts for securitisation, critics within the securitisation school have underlined that such an understanding is insufficiently complex and meanwhile have offered more elaborated versions of this theory. Balzacq (2005, p. 172) for example has put forward the argument that securitization is better understood as a strategic (pragmatic) practice that occurs within, and as part of, a configuration of circumstances, including the context, the psycho-cultural disposition of the audience, and the power that both speaker and listener bring to the interaction (see also McDonald 2008, Williams 2011, Stritzel 2011). The call to focus on the contexts in which language is used in order to legitimise or justify extraordinary human rights challenging security measures, therefore, has become prominent

also in the securitisation literature. In order to be successful, the speaker must calibrate his/her arguments, i.e. use the appropriate language and heuristic artefacts that facilitate the mobilization of the audience analogies, metaphors, metonymies, emotions, stereotypes (Balzacq 2005, p. 173, also 2011, p. 9). McDonald (2008, p. 573) supports this claim when arguing that one has to keep in mind that those interested in the construction of security must pay attention to the social, political and historical contexts in which particular discourses of security (even those defined narrowly in terms of the designation and articulation of threat) become possible. Nevertheless, researchers who have dealt with the use of language in counter-terrorism have only incidentally referred to the securitisation approach (see as an example Holland 2011). On the other hand, securitisation studies have referred to the use of language in counter-terrorism most of the time only in a rather illustrative way (exceptions are Buzan 2006 and Buzan and Waever 2009). But the benefits of marrying the securitisation approach with studies on norm contestation are obvious: Considerations about context have already led researchers who study norm challengers arguments in the field of counter-terrorism to put stronger emphasis on strategic framing as an active process by which actors try to maximise the resonance of the ideas they advocate by linking their (new) ideas to widely-established values or beliefs (Payne 2001). This is exactly what scholars like Balzacq (2005; 2011) have proposed for the securitisation field. Studies on the use of rhetoric in counter-terrorism have shown that in the process of norm challenging, state actors use resonant frames to legitimise contentious measures or seek to justify past or ongoing behaviour once a counter-discourse has started (see Heller et al. 2012). Researchers, however, have used different concepts (salience and metaphor analysis: Oppermann and Spencer 2011, political myth: Esch 2010) and focused on different ways of framing. Most of them, however, have pointed to the importance of resonance with the (historical or cultural) identity of a society. Krebs and Lobasz (2007) as well as Esch (2010) analyse how in the overarching War on Terror narrative, the US administration continuously referred to the identity of the civilised Western community representing values associated with the notions freedom and dignity, for example.

Holland (2011) highlights how, despite significant cultural, historical and political overlap, the War on Terror was rendered possible in North America, Britain and Australia by drawing on discourses and narratives of foreign policy that made reference to the societies specific understandings of identity. Holland and McDonald (2010), to give another example, analyse how members of the Australian government shaped their arguments so that they resonated with Australian identity. Jackson (2007a) provides an overview of the central identity features in the evolution of the EU counter-terrorism discourse in part by a comparison with the US War on Terror discourse. All these works aim to show how certain counter-terrorism narratives enabled Western governments to adopt measures challenging established political and civil rights norms. The Bush administration, as the most pronounced representative using the War on Terror narrative, was not only able to get enough leeway for the Iraq invasion in violation of the law of nations (Krebs and Lobasz 2007, p. 412), but also to pursue practices such as the detention of suspects to Guantanamo or to use formerly tabooed means without considerable criticism, at least within the United States. Beyond these general notions concerning framing and resonance, researchers have also investigated in more detail which specific arguments governmental actors put forward when confronted with allegations of human rights violations and forced to justify their action. By using justifications, actors principally accept their responsibility for action that is usually assumed to be wrong, but deny the validity of the behavioural norm in the case at stake. They may also deny its applicability to certain individuals (Jetschke and Liese 2012). In all instances, narratives of exception are created (Liese 2009, see also Schmitz and Sikkink 2012, p. 835), which build on identity frames, such as terrorists are inhuman and represent the evil in the world, or references to a greater national good for which personal liberty and other individual rights must be sacrificed (Cardenas 2004, p. 222). Apart from that, they can also draw on more rational notions, relating to the empirical credibility of an argument (this measure is effective in countering terrorism) (see for instance: Reyes 2011, Pisoiu 2012).

The necessity and the exception arguments (or both in combination) are most frequently used as counter-frames in human-rights challenging speech (Browning and McDonald 2011, p. 6). Governmental actors often argue that exceptional measures are necessary in order to ensure security be it through new legal provisions, enhanced or intensified law enforcement, or protective and preventive measures (including military ones). Liese (2009) demonstrates how the tickingbomb scenario was activated in the debate about the use of torture (such as water-boarding) to get information from terror suspects. This way, a state of urgency and exceptionalism was created, through which established representations of norms in this case the torture taboo were contested and put under pressure. This example also demonstrates how a normative dilemma can be constructed by strategic framing, and a situation is generated in which one norm the physical integrity of a large number of possible victims is pitted against another the right of physical integrity of a terrorist suspect (see also McKeown 2009, p. 16). Other argumentation patterns observed are not justifications in a strict sense, but nevertheless can still heavily impact on the validity of a human rights norm. This is the case when the responsibility for norm-violation is denied by governmental actors. Or trivialisations of normviolating practices for instance denoting them as ill-treatment instead of torture move respective practices rhetorically beyond the protection zone provided by the prohibition of torture (Liese 2009). Another rhetorical figure is exemptionalism, by which states acknowledge the rightfulness of a norm, but deny that it applies to them. This moves not the practice, but the actor beyond the constraints of national and international law (Sands 2005). The most prominent example of exemptionalism is the US administrations argumentation with regard to the legal status of detained suspects without charge in Guantanamo (Dunne 2007, p. 173, Ralph 2009).

3 Wider global consequences of norm-challenging speech Most of the justification patterns identified in the literature challenge the validity of established human rights norms. Therefore, a further question taken up in the research is that on the broader

consequences of norm-challenging speech in counter-terrorism. Can, for instance, arguments against liberal freedoms, which are in the first instance generated domestically and directed at a domestic audience, diffuse to the international realm? Can this lead to a reverse cascade of norms (McKeown 2009) or a reverse norm spiral (Heller et al. 2012) working across nations and resulting in a de-legitimisation and de-internalisation of liberal ideas on a global scale and a normalisation of alternative standards of behaviour? And if so, what are the mechanisms that may contribute to such a change? If we combine the various assumptions on norm decay made in the literature, a reverse cascade could gather momentum when the following conditions are met: First, norm-challenging speech taking place in a specific domestic setting must be sufficiently echoed by other members of the international system in order to lead to a legitimacy crisis (McKeown 2009, p. 12). Second, the legitimacy crisis will be particularly severe if leading states or major powers are among these other members. These actors play a crucial role in norm-setting and norm-upholding in international relations. The public behaviour of major powers legitimates the behaviour of others within the international community (Jackson 2007c, p. 369). Moreover, repeated violations of the norms by leading states further contribute to the de-legitimation of the rules (Hurd 2007, p. 197). Norm violations by liberal democracies with a strong human rights reputation and moral authority do more harm to the international normative order than by states that are known for notoriously disregarding human rights (McKeown 2009, p. 11). McKeown assumes that emulation is the mechanism behind such erosive processes. Leaders of other states note that the normative stigma for breaking the norm is now significantly reduced (ibid., p. 11). While he takes the actual behaviour of state actors as indicator for norm decay, Heller et al. (2012) highlight the relevance of bad norm argumentation. They put forward the idea that cross-national convergence in legitimation and justification speech may create an international coalition of norm challengers which carries the potential to lead to a global de-legitimisation of established norms and, thus, to their erosion as behaviour-guiding scripts. If governmental actors

who represent influential states or jurisdictions (such as the EU) use the same arguments for legitimising projected or actual norm-challenging behaviour, in other words, if they speak one language and do so over a longer period of time, then they may put combined and increased leverage to bear on globally-established norms protecting civil and political rights (Heller et al. 2012, p. 301). The claim is underpinned by convergence theory: The likelihood that cross-national convergence effects either by contagion or learning effects occur is high when problems are perceived as being of a transnational nature, produce interdependencies and considerable pressure to act. With some degree of probability, this leads to similar forms of problem-solving across different jurisdictions. Under the influence of such transnational phenomena, national policies practices as well as ideas tend to homogenise and converge, i.e. reinforce each other and become similar over time (Holzinger 2006).8 The convergence hypothesis also implies that despite cultural, political and institutional differences in various settings, i.e. despite various contexts, certain frames may resonate on a global scale. This assumption comes close to what has been termed a framing alliance in recent securitisation literature (Buzan and Weaver 2009, p. 256). Buzan and Weaver (ibid., p. 257) argue that specific frames can account for macrosecuritization, i.e. securitisations that speak to referent objects higher than those at the middle level and which aim to incorporate and coordinate multiple lower level securitizations. Macrosecuritisations are able to appeal to and mobilise different actors and form identity alliances among them (ibid, p. 268). The Cold War is identified as one of the most powerful macrosecuritisations, next to the US Global War on Terrorism which has been relatively successful in mobilizing a number of allies, not only with regard to participation in some of its operations, but particularly in adopting the rhetoric of terrorism as our main security problem (ibid, p. 274, see also Buzan 2006).

4 Expanding the perspective: Practice turn and value theory While the research on human rights-challenging in the field of counter-terrorism has made significant progress in recent years, it is far from constituting a unified field. One indicator is that most of the studies examine cases from different perspectives, have different research interests and do not make noteworthy reference to or engage in a more substantial dialogue with each other. This lack of communication also applies to other, more remote theoretical and conceptual ideas that deal with the vulnerability of norms, but range beyond the conventional discussion on discursive norm production. Apart from these shortcomings, more recently scholars have started to raise questions which are worthy of consideration as they can enhance our understanding of those factors that contribute to a weakening of human rights, particularly in a security context. A first aspect worth to be considered is the relationship between language and practice in counter-terrorism, especially when asking which of these factors actually pose a challenge to human rights. Some researchers have brought up the question of whether human rights-challenging behaviour of states needs to be justified by the state representatives in every instance. McKeown (2009, p. 11), for example, argues that the Bush administration responded with studied casualness to accusations that it had repeatedly been violating the torture ban. For a certain span of time at least, the government was in a position to pursue norm-challenging practices without much recourse to legitimation rhetoric. Obviously, beyond mere rhetoric, there is also a power dimension inherent in norm-challenging dynamics. Securitisation studies have indeed reflected on this link between power and security practice, and could be more intensively consulted. In this respect, a couple of researchers have suggested that legitimation of norm-violations can occur also through other means of communication than spoken language, for instance pictures and movies (McCaffrey and Keys 2000, Williams 2003, Hansen 2011, Heck and Schlag 2012). Others assume that securitisation and infringements on civil and political rights are the result of low-key habitual (bureaucratic) practices, rather than alarming speech acts. This perspective is not least influenced by the so-called practice

turn in International Relations theory whose supporters claim to bridge the gap between practice and its verbal representations (e.g. Adler and Pouliot 2011). The idea that routinised practices by themselves securitise certain issues without being embedded in exceptionalist narratives is strongly advocated by the so-called Paris School. These scholars put forward the idea that exceptionalism creeps into politics as a result of everyday bureaucratic routines, rather than as a result of a specific framing of threats, e.g. by crisis rhetoric (Bigo 2006, p. 65). Legitimation in the form of securitising argumentative speech, therefore, is not necessary in every instance, and does not unfold the structuring capacity assumed by mainstream constructivist researchers. Rather, factors such as control techniques and strategies of governmentality, power relations and institutions contribute to securitisation and eventually to its normalised practices (Huysmanns 2006, p. 124-126, also Roe 2012, Pram Gad and Lund Petersen 2011). Moreover, it is emphasised that a specific language and rhetoric often only follow, and do not precede, institutionalised material practices (McDonald 2008, p. 570). Another discussion within the security practices literature ties in to the critique of traditional understandings of securitisation put forward by the Paris School, albeit in a more moderate manner. It builds on the observation that counter-terrorist discourses and accompanying frames do not always relate to notions of an existential threat, but increasingly to the notion of risk in order to legitimise exceptional measures. Risk framing is used to justify and rationalise preventive and prophylactic policies, such as surveillance (Aradau and van Munster 2007, Dillon 2008), but also more intrusive policies such as targeted killings (Kessler and Werner 2008, p. 300-301). It also enables the institutionalisation of linkages between different policy areas, such as measures to counter terrorism and border-control and asylum policies (McNeil 2009, p. 352-353). According to McDonagh and Heng (2011), it is particularly the discursive recourse to risk rather than to threat that spurs the normalisation and mainstreaming of what has formerly been assumed to be the exception.

Thus, when theorising reverse norm dynamics, researchers also have to consider and conceptualise practice-induced modulations in framing and argumentation. Taking these criticisms seriously, studies on norm regress might in the future better interlink language with routines and practices of normalisation, or at least experience significant theoretical and methodological diversification, where language and practice constitute equally ranking drivers. Another, more recent discussion centres on value theory and also relates to the literature on securitisation and norm contestation. Value theory, from a philosophical point of view, criticises the normative-ontological point of departure underlying the conventional securitisation literature that so far concentrates rather on the problematic political implications that follow from security practices (see Herington 2012, Floyd 2011, see also Browning and McDonald 2011, p. 6). The valuetheoretical perspective turns this view upside down, raising the fundamental question whether governmental actors, when securitising certain issues or even challenging democratic principles and human rights, are always morally wrong. This discussion might at a first glance appear somewhat awkward; however, it raises fundamental questions of morality and its meaning issues that have been neglected so far in the mainstream academic discourse about norm-challenging. Moreover, it consequently follows the idea underlying the norm-contestation literature that norms are constantly contested and (re-)negotiated, but suggests a perspective that implies a different, more valuecontextualised view on the structuring character of identity-building norms and a more thorough reflection about the normative and moral foundations not only of human rights, but also of security rights (Floyd 2011, Herington 2012, Roe 2012). Floyd, for instance, derives three conditions from value theory under which extraordinary or emergency action may be morally justifiable. First, there must be an objective existential threat endangering the survival of a an actor or an order, second, the referent object of security must be morally legitimate and conducive to the satisfaction of human needs, and third, the response must be appropriate to the threat in question and to the capabilities of the perpetrator and the securitising actor must be sincere in his or her intentions (Floyd 2011, p. 428). Admittedly, these categories

are methodologically very difficult to capture. The core question, however, relates to the presumption that securitising speech can be sincere and not only and primarily be a tool for manipulation (Herington 2012, p. 9). The value debate, thus, ties up with the idea that securitising and legitimising speech is a product of a wider (or different) moral identity of the securitising actors. This would imply that securitising speech can also be forceful in producing and stabilising morally defensible human rights-challenging norms.

5 Concluding remarks The emerging strand of literature on bad norm dynamics takes up the observation that after 9/11 governmental actors in liberal democracies began to rhetorically challenge established human rights norms by pointing to the need to counter terrorism. Respective studies try to find answers to why and/or how international norms that were deemed highly legalised and thought to have reached a deeper identity-building character, particularly in democratic states, are challenged by state actors and what wider consequences follow from this for the validity of international human rights. The research on norm challenging and norm decay in counter-terrorism is still in an early phase and rather fragmented, but continuously expands its territory. The norm contestation literature, critical security and terrorism studies overlap in their focus on understanding the reasons why and the ways in which actors argumentatively challenge the existing normative order. A common denominator of these studies is the focus on the socially constructed nature of security issues. However, they diverge in their perspectives on state actors engagement in norm-challenging rhetoric. Some assume that strategic actors try to increase their power and get more leeway for the policies they want to pursue. Others understand norm challenging and contestation as the result of omnipresent social practice and do not inquire into personal motives, but rather the discourses and practices and how they come about within certain settings. A third perspective interprets norm challenging and counter-framing as an intentional act which is embedded in and subjected to contextual constraints. Contextualisation of norm-

challenging argumentation, i.e. strategic framing, is seen as important here. Persuasive speech and framing strategies in counter-terrorism generally include the notion of exception and urgency in order to move the actors or the issues beyond the constraints of national and international norms and laws. If strong and stable framing alliances which include influential states can be discerned, norm challenging is assumed to have the potential to cause wider repercussions on the global normative order, particularly on human rights. The academic debate about the consequences of normchallenging speech in counter-terrorism has definitely gained momentum in recent years, although so far it remains on the level of implicit assumptions. More systematic research on the mechanisms and scope conditions is needed to better understand bad norm dynamics and the conditions under which norm regress can and does take place. Interesting complementary perspectives in this regard come from the practice literature and value theory. They show that it is not only worthwhile to contextualise argumentative speech with regard to the audience, but also to take into account the actors' manifest practices and the norms in question as factors that influence such processes. This way, the academic discussion is moving further in a very promising direction. Acknowledgements We wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Notes

. Diffusion means the socially-mediated incremental permeation of international norms to the domestic level (Risse et. al 1999).

. The core of these rights includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (as a resolution with non-binding character, but recognized as constituting customary international law), Art. 3 of the Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, the ICCPR (1966), the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), and in a regional context also the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (ECHR) and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 as well as the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987).

. For an early problematization see: Shannon 2000.

. Vice versa, Mller and Wunderlich (2013) investigate the role of norm-averse actors such as rogue states who might equally engage in norm entrepreneurship.

. This observation is shared by scholars who are not working within an overtly constructivist framework, e.g. Western 2005.

. Finnemore and Sikkink (1998, p. 906-7) considered the politics of legitimation in discursive disputes already in the 1990s.

. To be successful means to find the appropriate form of rhetoric as an essential prerequisite for persuasion.

. Policy convergence means any increase in the similarity between one or more characteristics of a certain policy across a given set of political jurisdictions over a given period of time (Knill 2005, p. 768) including material and non-material policies, under which Dolowitz and Marsh (2000, p. 12) subsume structures of meaning.