International Law and Public Attitudes toward Wartime Violence

Geoffrey P.R. Wallace

University of Kentucky

What effect does international law have on public attitudes toward violence during wartime? In this talk, Professor Wallace considers the effects of international law on mass attitudes toward wartime violence. In particular, Wallace focuses on public support for torture, an issue area where national security concerns are often considered paramount. Contrary to the common contention of the inefficacy of international law, he finds that legal commitments exert a discernible restraint on public support for the use of torture. The effect of international law is also strongest in those contexts where pressures to resort to torture are frequently at their highest. Professor Wallace also finds that the relative precision of the rules, along with the degree to which enforcement is delegated to third parties, plays a much greater role in shaping public preferences than the actual level of obligation under international law.

Geoffrey P.R. Wallace is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky and author of the forthcoming book, Surrendering the Higher Ground: Explaining the Abuse of Prisoners During War, which examines variation in the treatment of prisoners across armed conflicts. His research interests include international security, international law, and public opinion toward foreign policy. Wallace holds a PhD in Political Science from Cornell University. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), among others.

Thursday, 9 February 2012
12:30 - 2:00 pm
Alumni Boardroom, 617 Robertson Hall
Carleton University
Metered public parking is available
in Parking Garage P9, adjacent to Robertson Hall
Light sandwich lunch will be provided.
Registration is requested by Monday, 6 February 2012
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