Julia Grauvogel / Hana Attia

How Do International Sanctions End? Towards a Process-Oriented, Relational, and Signalling Perspective

GIGA Working Paper, No. 320, January 2020

Abstract
Research on sanctions has hitherto focused on their implementation and effectiveness, whereas the termination of such measures has received only little attention. The traditional model, which looks at sanctions and their removal in terms of rational, interstate bargaining, focuses on how cost–benefit calculations affect the duration and termination of such measures. Yet, this research insufficiently captures the back and forth between easing sanctions, stagnation, and renewed intensification. It also fails to account for the multifaceted social relations between senders, targets, and third actors that shape these termination processes, as well as for the signalling dimension of ending sanctions – not least because existing datasets tend to operationalise sanctions as a single event. To help fill these gaps, the paper proposes a process-oriented and relational understanding that also recognises how sanctions termination conveys the message of ending the visible disapproval of the target, which may be heavily contested. Case studies on Zimbabwe and Iran illustrate how such an approach sheds light on the different logics of action that shape processes of sanctions termination, and thereby contributes to a more holistic understanding of sanctions in general.

Related Research at the GIGA

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Julia Grauvogel

Senior Research Fellow
Speaker Research Team

Dr. Julia Grauvogel is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is also spokesperson for the GIGA Research Team “Interventions and Security,” as well as Editor of Africa Spectrum. Her work focuses on international sanctions, authoritarianism, and the legitimation strategies of non-democratic regimes. Currently, she heads the research project “The Termination of International Sanctions: Causes, Processes and Domestic Consequences”, funded by the DFG.

Hana Attia

Research Fellow / Doctoral Student

Hana Attia, MA, is a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Konstanz (GSDS), as well as a member of the GIGA Doctoral Programme. Her research interests include international sanctions, human rights, and authoritarian regimes. At the GIGA, she works within the research project “The Termination of International Sanctions: Causes, Processes and Domestic Consequences,” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

Recent Publications by the Authors

Julia Grauvogel / Navin Bapat / Bryan Early / Katja B. Kleinberg

The Design and Enforcement of Economic Sanctions

International Studies Perspectives, forthcoming

Hana Attia / Julia Grauvogel

Easier In Than Out: The Protracted Process of Ending Sanctions

GIGA Focus Global, 05/2019

Julia Grauvogel / Hana Attia

Wie enden internationale Sanktionen? Zur Bedeutung von Prozessen, Beziehungen und Signalen

Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 26, 2019, 2, 5-33

Julia Grauvogel / Christian von Soest

Identity, procedures and performance: how authoritarian regimes legitimize their rule

in: Alexander Dukalskis / Johannes Gerschewski (eds.), Justifying Dictatorship: Studies in Autocratic Legitimation, Routledge, 2018, 37-55

Julia Grauvogel / Christian von Soest

Sanktionen als Instrument der Konfliktbearbeitung

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018