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Independence or cooperation? Strategic dimension of negotiations within the monitoring mechanism of international conventions

Liudmila Mikalayeva
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Liudmila Mikalayeva
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Open Panel

Abstract

Today every state in the international system drafts and submits reports on its respect of international agreements, and many international organizations have a special body tasked with considering and writing opinions on these reports. This written exchange may be considered as a negotiation on the extent to which a concrete state fulfills the commitments undertaken in an international agreement. The suggested paper examines the interplay of ‘face wants’ of parties involved in the monitoring process by identifying their strategic and tactical discursive choices. It argues that the choice between the two major strategies – strategy of cooperation and strategy of independence – is underpinned by the relative importance of two kinds of motivation: attendance to the ‘positive face’ of the actor (image of the actor as cooperative and open) and concerns about its ‘negative face’ (image of the actor as independent and ‘tough’). Based on the already established repertoire of strategies and tactics used in the texts of the monitoring process (publication forthcoming), this paper aims to uncover how the politicization of an issue influences discursive choices of the reporting states and the monitoring body. Since the theoretical framework of the study is inspired by Bakhtinian dialogism and stresses the reciprocal influence of the actors’ choices, the techniques of reply and the use of quotes are another aspect further developed in this paper. The case chosen for consideration is the reporting of Finland and Estonia under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.