Intrinsic change or international status? Exploring the motivations for the policy change in India after December 2012

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This research is aimed at explaining what are the motivations for the policy change that occurred in India after the Delhi gang-rape case of December 2012. In a country where gender discrimination has still a large cultural acceptance, it is remarkable how this particular episode has marked the beginning of a law reformulation in the matter of rape and other crimes of a sexual nature. By using a specific gang-rape case as a foundational example, this research attempts to enhance the understanding of the dynamics leading to policy change in the field of human rights in emerging countries. Two theoretical frameworks are employed in this thesis, namely, the English School of International Relations (IR) theory and the Transnational Advocacy Networks (TANs) approach. The empirical evidence shows that the English School of IR theory has overall more explanatory power regarding the case study under investigation. Guided by this theory, the policy change occurred in India after December 2012 can be explained as an attempt of the Government of India to avoid reputational losses at the international level. Even if the premises of the TANs approach are not supported by the analysis, the findings of the research bring to light dynamics that could have relevant consequences for the adjustment and development of both the English School theory and the TANs approach.
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