Articles and Posts from ISQ

On February 4, 2011, two high-speed inflatable boats launched by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) converged on theYushin Maru 3—a Japanese harpoon vessel conducting research-based whaling in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd crew members bombarded the whaling ship with paint and stink bombs, hurled smoke flares into the defensive webbing enshrouding the ship, and dropped lines across its bow and hooked them to its sides. By 5 pm, the Yushin Maru ground to a halt, the victim of a successful prop-fouling. In the following days, activists continued to harass the Japanese whaling fleet, and on February 18, the Japanese Government officially called off its 2011 whale hunt, stating that dangerous clashes between its fleet and environmental activists had endangered the lives of the whalers.2 Seemingly, the SSCS's campaign had achieved what decades of sustained political pressure from other governments, international organizations, and mainstream environmental groups had failed to accomplish, namely to force Japan to halt its controversial “scientific” whale hunt.

The SSCS's anti-whaling campaign is an example of what we label environmentally motivated ‘Direct Enforcement’ (DE) on the high seas. DE constitutes a growing, but widely overlooked, form of political activism by transnational advocacy groups (TAGs). Since the 1970s, an extensive literature has theorized the role played by transnational nonstate actors in shaping global politics. In this literature, transnational advocacy is conceived chiefly in terms of “information-politics” and “moral advocacy,” whereby TAGs use the power of information, knowledge, and ideas to raise public awareness, to frame issues in ways that appeal to public conscience, and to alter the perceptions of policymakers through persuasion and socialization (Keck and Sikkink 1998:16). Yet DE activism does not fit neatly into existing taxonomies of transnational advocacy. DE-based activism is not primarily focused on collecting and strategically disseminating information or on lobbying policymakers in an effort to change political mindsets. Nor does it aim to manipulate the normative contexts in which political decision makers operate. Rather, DE activists employ direct—and sometimes destructive—methods to halt actions by states and private actors, which they claim violate international laws. ...

Full Text PDF   Find Replication Data

ISQ On Twitter

The International Studies Association

Representing 100 countries, ISA has over 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. Endeavoring to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies, ISA is divided into 7 geographic subdivisions of ISA (Regions), 29 thematic groups (Sections) and 4 Caucuses which provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues and within specific subject areas.
Help   |   Thanks   |   Privacy Statement   |   Terms Of Use