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Bower, Adam

Lecturer in International Relations

University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom



Max Weber alumnus

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Cohort(s): 2012/2013

Ph.D. Institution

University of British Columbia, Canada


I am a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow in Politics at the European University Institute. For 2013-2015 I am also a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, a position funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
My research explores how international legal institutions shape the behaviour of actors in the international system. My doctoral dissertation (University of British Columbia, 2012) asked whether multilateral treaties can generate widely adopted norms when the agreements are rejected by the great powers like China, Russia and (especially) the United States. To answer this question, I drew on constructivist and customary international law scholarship to develop a social theory of treaty influence, and applied this framework to two archetypal non-great power institutions, the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

I am currently completing a series of projects that build on this initial work. The first article is part of a collaborative research program on “The New Power Politics” that examines the evolution and impact network governance within the international campaign to ban landmines. The second provides a theoretical and empirical assessment of state discourse concerning the ICC’s criminal accountability regime. I am also developing a book manuscript that offers the first systematic, comparative assessment of the prospects for developing international norms without the great powers. My general research interests include theories of international cooperation, international humanitarian and criminal law and conventional weapons disarmament. In future research I hope to expand my focus to other regulatory spaces and actors, in part by exploring the impact of international law-making processes on non-state armed groups.

I have previously taught undergraduate courses at the University of British Columbia on international organizations and governance. I am also well qualified and keen to teach courses on transnational civil society, the politics of international law, international relations theory and the laws and ethics of war.

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