Journal article Open Access

Double Bind at the UN: Western Actors, Russia, and the Traditionalist Agenda

Stoeckl, Kristina; Medvedeva, Kseniya

This article is dedicated to analysis of the traditionalist agenda, promoted

by Russia, in recent debates in the United Nations Human Rights Council

(‘Traditional values’ from 2009 to 2013, ‘Protection of the family’ from 2014 to

2017). The traditionalist agenda could be interpreted as yet another chapter of

contextualist opposition to the universalist application human of rights and as a

successor to the cultural relativism in human rights promoted in the past by the

Organization of Islamic States or countries from the Global South. This article

seeks to challenge such an interpretation and instead makes the argument that the

traditionalist agenda employs novel aspects of illiberal norm protagonism in the

human rights sphere. The article undertakes an in-depth analysis of the discourse

coalitions of both supporters and opponents of the traditionalist agenda, using the

tools of discourse analysis in international relations and drawing on a constructivist

approach to norm diffusion in international organisations.

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