IMPORTED LABOUR: THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL NORM TRANSFER IN IDEA-DRIVEN AID? How the Solidarity Norm was Transferred in the Swedish-Vietnamese Aid Project Bai Bang
Norms present at the international arena is a topic of interest for researchers belonging to the school of constructivism. One being Stålgren (2006), who claims that the core norms in idea-driven projects risks being unsuccessfully transferred to domestic implementation, as there often is a conflict between the international decision-makers and the domestic actors’ constructions of reality. To develop Stålgrens theory, I use the case Bai Bang, a bilateral aid project between Sweden and Vietnam. This project was implemented by both domestic Vietnamese actors as well as imported labour from Sweden, which theoretically favoured the premises of norm transfer. This case, therefore, allow me to examine what effect imported labour has on norm transfer, as well as discuss mechanisms that can explain unsuccessful norm transfer. I find that importing labour did have positive effects on norm transfer, but did not eliminate the risk of contextual factors. I do, however, argue that Stålgrens understanding of contextual factors should be broader understood, by including the political and economical context. I also find that importing labour can be a threat to successful norm transfer, in cases where the imported labour has a lack of knowledge of the domestic context. Additionally, I find one new mechanism that explains unsuccessful norm transfer, which is an ill-defined project objective. These results contribute to a deeper understanding of how norms are transferred and practised in bilateral aid projects in general, and the effect of imported labour in particular, to the field of political science and international relations.
The Bai Bang project