Prohibiting Plunder: How Norms Change

Prohibiting Plunder: How Norms Change

by Wayne Sandholtz
     
 

For much of history, the rules of war decreed that "to the victor go the spoils." The winners in warfare routinely seized for themselves the artistic and cultural treasures of the defeated; plunder constituted a marker of triumph. By the twentieth century, international norms declared the opposite, that cultural monuments should be shielded from

…  See more details below

Overview

For much of history, the rules of war decreed that "to the victor go the spoils." The winners in warfare routinely seized for themselves the artistic and cultural treasures of the defeated; plunder constituted a marker of triumph. By the twentieth century, international norms declared the opposite, that cultural monuments should be shielded from destruction or seizure. Prohibiting Plunder traces and explains the emergence of international rules against wartime looting of cultural treasures, and explores how anti-plunder norms have developed over the past 200 years. The book covers highly topical events including the looting of thousands of antiquities from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, and the return of "Holocaust Art" by prominent museums, including the highly publicized return of five Klimt paintings from the Austrian Gallery to a Holocaust survivor.

The historical narrative includes first-hand reports, official documents, and archival records. Equally important, the book uncovers the debates and negotiations that produced increasingly clear and well-defined anti-plunder norms. The historical accounts in Prohibiting Plunder serve as confirming examples of an important dynamic of international norm change. Rules evolve in cycles; in each cycle, specific actions trigger arguments about the meaning and application of rules, and those arguments in turn modify the rules. International norms evolve through a succession of such cycles, each one drawing on previous developments and each one reshaping the normative context for subsequent actions and disputes. Prohibiting Plunder shows how historical episodes interlinked to produce modern, treaty-based rules against wartime plunder of cultural treasures.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Important and timely. It serves to bridge a debate between international relations and international law as well as between constructivism and rational choice. The overall result is quite enlightening and enjoyable. It delivers more than it promises and the reader not only finds an elegant retelling of the story of war plunder, but also a fine discussion of the development of rules of war and war crimes tribunals."
Professor Kendall Stiles, Brigham Young University

"The topic is interesting, even fascinating, and it is altogether surprising that no one has done this before. Sandholtz puts forward a simple model of normative change and uses it very effectively to show that norms on wartime plunder have changed over the centuries. He writes clearly; his prose never calls attention to itself or the author. Readers will know what Sandholtz values, but he doesn't let his values cloud his judgment or dictate the story. What more could we ask?"
Nicholas Onuf, Professor Emeritus of Florida International University

"This book offers a significant theoretical contribution, as well as a fascinating historical analysis of changing norms of wartime plunder. Among its many strengths is clarity, thoughtfulness, and high quality scholarship. It offers a portable analytic framework that is sure to inspire further empirical analysis."
Professor Susan Sell of the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195337235
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/31/2007
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >