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Structures " ideationnelles " et figures de la norme onusienne

Abstract : Constructing the united Nation's Norm in recent years, important political events have brought researchers in political sciences and com munication to work more explicitly with each other. the last Un General assembly, in September 2011, has confirmed the relevance of such a convergent perspective. Until now, academic research has not questioned the communicational dimension of inter national organizations taken as a highly complex phe nomenon. and yet, the Un is a perfect foundation for examining bordering topics such as authority and new mechanisms of political deliberation, decision and legitimization. Guillaume Devin defines interna tional organizations as meeting points between coo perative behaviour systems and constraining rules. this institutionalization process depends on three kinds of resources - legal, functional and also symbolic. their interdependence is the subject of this contribution, and more precisely the extent to which communi cational processes have become crucial in building and perpetuating what we would call the Un norm. our intellectual purpose is modest and questions the conditions of communication analysis in the field of international organizations. Taking inspiration from liberal institutionalism and constructivism schools in in ternational relations, this research examines the voca tion of these schools of thought to reveal their analytic potential by maintaining a dialogue with information and communication sciences, especially the theory of communicative action, rhetoric and discursive analysis. a multilateral construction of universalism that rests on procedural resources and values the consecration of multilateralism just after the Second World War was based on two presuppositions. First, it would be a specific discourse about values presumed as universal and indivisible, all of them concerning humanity as a whole. thus, this crucial contribution to the international relations civilization process has always been based on a highly normative judge ment. Second, multilateralism is based on a reiterated game, in other words on repeated and more or less codified procedures and rituals. Embodied in judi cially consecrated organs, multilateralism conceived as a method, tends to introduce so much reciprocity and foreseeable choices among the actors that they encourage the implementation of a certain kind of di plomacy. Most certainly, procedural formalism often prevails over the rationality or efficiency of the deci sions taken at the Un. But taken as a place for learning by experience and a source for diffusion of norms, the organization and Its bureaucracy generate spaces of common sense and conceptions in which member states' advantage lies in enrolling. this "communica tive action", spontaneously settled in language and discourse, coordinates their interactions so as to eva luate the situation in the same way and tends to har monize their strategies of action. Once seized by the information and communication sciences, the buil ding of this collective intentionality challenges one fa mous realist paradigm in international relations. inter national organizations can be conceived as agents of influence, reducing political violence, and not only as strategic agents of interests. the Word of the Un: the legitimacy for acting and ruling the Un legitima ting process depends on concrete modes of settle ment, among its external public, of a shared belief in what is fair and, thus, to be wished. in other words, the Un depends on its ability to produce a meanin gful and expressive discourse towards them. This first Un's Word, the San Francisco Charter of april 1945, fur nishes a specific rhetoric style in the sense that it mixes pragmatic and rhetorical criteria with a precise institu tional function - establishing the Un itself. Furthermore, considering that this charter intended to found a new world order, it gained another function for its "spea kers" - not only a rhetorical one, but also becoming a matrix capable of establishing norms of reference upon which a highly specific kind of debates could take place in the international arena. Study of the Un's communication strategy also furnishes evidence concerning the building of its identity. Since this com munication function has to reinforce the organization as a representative team, the organization frequently uses a meta-discursive posture. even if the Un's pro mise fluctuates between knowledge production and operational involvement on the ground, these textual forms can be given as rhetorical, interactional and communicational gestures. that is why the Un's poli tical action cannot be disconnected from its rheto rical and communicational matrix. thus, the ethic of consensus that determines the organization's dyna mic appears as a paradoxical motive for its legitimacy in acting and ruling. the Un as subject and instigator of a specific norm and order Last, but not least, the Un can be conceived as the subject and instigator of a specific norm and order in the sense that the pu blic sphere appropriates its normative and cognitive productions. in fact, it nourishes the circulation and promotion of key words ("human security", "common public goods", "peacekeeping operations", etc.) that engage specific convictions and mental representa tions of humanity. these norms of reference not only turn diplomatic debates towards specific bias, but also impregnate their media coverage. the refe rence to Human rights is a good example of this inter national relations' civilization process. Since the text of the San Francisco Charter and the Universal Declara tion of Human rights voted in December 1948, these rights are consecrated in both their moral and legal dimensions. This UN's contribution to "legalize" inter national relations is well known and studied by politi cal scientists. However, its ability to communicate this activity can only be questioned by the information and communication sciences. this focus on indivi duals establishes the fact that states' sovereignty now has strong limitations. Human rights are raised as fun damental "coordinates" of peace and inspire mental representations that are increasingly legitimate. thus, they nourish a normative activity which places the Un in keeping with the long time scope. the Un's values inspire the rhetorical expression of a vision of humanity and stabilize in some specific "texts" that also work as guarantees for their moral authority. Finally, each of these discursive practices also poses the problematic of its uses. in the beginning of the 21st Century, this questions more fundamentally the function of univer sality itself for the institutions that promotes it and for contemporary society as a whole.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:30:15 PM
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Isabelle Le Breton-Falezan. Structures " ideationnelles " et figures de la norme onusienne. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. pp.134. ⟨hal-00839226v2⟩



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