Doing Away with Plastic Shopping Bags: International Patterns of Norm Emergence and Policy Implementation


The rapid and widespread emergence of an anti-plastic shopping bag norm and associated regulatory policies around the world in recent years forces a rethinking of current understandings of norm dynamics and policy implementation. The patterns of this movement are explored and characterised as a South to North, non-networked and multi-scalar series of events that together represent a globally significant emergence of a new environmental norm. It also shows that differences in policy outcomes as a response to this norm in different countries and at different jurisdictional levels are in many ways linked to the influence of material interests in the interpretation of the norm into policy. These variations in domestic norm interpretation in turn influence international norm dynamics.


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