Norms, mobilization and conflict: The Merowe Dam as a case study

Nada Ali, Reilly Dempsy Willis, Asim El Moghraby, Mohammaed Jalal Hashim

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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This article investigates dynamics of mobilization over environmental and human rights norms in the context of undemocratic governments. We test the suggestion in norm diffusion theories that success of domestic struggles in this context depends on the level of internalization of norms brought forth by international pressure. We find that the internalization (or lack thereof) of global norms by the Government of Sudan does not explain its recognition of environmental justice claims in this case. Furthermore, the various litigation efforts pursued by affected people outside of Sudan did not influence their campaign. However, a combination of the political climate in the country and a unique political interplay between the government and a distinct group of the affected people may have led to the singular success of their campaign. We use a combination of discourse analysis, legal analysis, norms-mapping and semi-structured interviews to reach conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-245
Number of pages29
JournalTransnational Environmental Law
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Spiral Model
  • Norm-diffusion
  • Mobilization
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Resettlement
  • Internal Displacement

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