The Role of Non-state Actors in International Relations
International relations (IR) is like a stage where actors are needed to put on a show. Actors are any person or entity which plays a role that is attributable in international relations. There are two kind of actors in the world of International Relations which are states and non-state actors. States are territories run by a government and have a permanent population. Although states are the most important actors in IR, they are strongly influence by non-state actors. Non-state actors will be discuss in more detail in the following section.
Definition & Characteristics
Non-state actors are individuals or organizations that have powerful economic, political or social power and are able to influence at a national and sometimes international level but do not belong to or allied themselves to any particular country or state. According to Pearlman and Cunningham, non-state actors are define as “an organized political actor not directly connected to the state but pursing aims that affect vital state interests” . Other than having characteristics such as having power and the ability to influence, non-state actors have a base or headquarter in a certain state but their activities will not only be operating in the state itself but will also be operating beyond the borders of the state.
Types of Non-state Actors and Their Roles
Sub-state actors are groups of people or individuals with similar interests not beyond the states that are able to effect the state’s foreign policy. They are also known as domestic actors. An example of sub-state actors is the automobile industry and the tobacco industry in America. These industries have unmistakable interests in the American foreign economic policy so that these industries are able to sell cars or cigarettes abroad and reduce imports of competing products made abroad. They are politically assembled to influence policies through interest groups, lobbying, donating to political candidates or parties, swaying public opinion on certain issues, and other means. Some examples of sub-state actors are the trade union (British English) / labour union (Canadian English) labor union (American English). Trade union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, achieving higher pay, increasing the number of employees an employer hires, and better working conditions. They are able to influence the decisions made regarding their state’s laws in order to protect the rights of employees.
Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) are one of the International Organizations (IOs). IGOs are organizations whose members consist of three or more nations-states. IGOs are created and joined by states to solve shared problems which give them authority to make collective decisions to manage problems on the global agenda. In these organizations, the states’ representatives gather to discuss issues that are of mutual interests to the member states. There are two main types of IGOs, the global IGOs and the regional IGOs. Global IGOs are organizations having universal or nearly universal membership which means every state is a member like the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and many more. Regional IGOs are a subset of states as members based on a particular interest or region, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Union (EU) and many others. Why do states form IGOs and work through them? According to liberal institutionalism, states form IGOs because it is in their interest to do so. With IGOs, certain problems can be solved easily and cheaper than without them. Liberal institutionalism particularly focuses on collective problems, such as the security dilemma, the appeal to execute competitive tariffs, and the...
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