Devianz als Vermitt-lung zwischen Fakt und Norm

Epistemische Praktiken und fact-finding internationaler Organisationen


  • Max Lesch Leibnitz-Institut Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung


When normative aspirations and reality drift apart, they do not open a precarious gap but unveil a potentially productive difference. In this article, I suggest using the concept of deviance to study how international practices convey meaning between facts and norms. Taking fact-finding as an example, I show how epistemic practices in international organisations assemble, translate, and represent knowledge about human rights violations. I illustrate this heuristic with a case study of one of the first United Nations fact-finding mission in human rights. Dispatched to Chile in 1975, it was mandated to ascertain allegations of torture and other human rights violations against Pinochet’s junta on-site. The reports of the fact-finding mission established knowledge about Chile’s practices and labelled them as deviance, thereby conveying meaning between factual findings on the ground and international human rights norms.