Theories of International Organization

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International Organizations are formal institutional structures transcending national boundaries that are created by multilateral agreement among nation-states. Their purpose is to foster international cooperation in areas such as security, law, economic and social matters and diplomacy. The theory of international organization has evolved from developments in such areas as internationalism, transnationalism, complex interdependence, and the study of regimes, functionalism, federalism and integration.

Defining International organization

International organization is a process; international organizations are representative aspects of the phase of that process which has been reached at a given time. Based primarily upon an analysis of the organizational efforts in which governments participate as the official agencies of states. The definition of an international organization as a formal, continuous structure established by agreement between members, whether governmental representatives or not, from at least two sovereign states with the aim of pursuing the common interest of the membership, covers a wide range of institutions even if profit-making associations are excluded.

Theories of international organization

The study of International Relations includes the study of organizations in a great deal. Almost every writer of international relations has their literature on International organizations. In this study of the theories of international organization, four major groups are emphasized. They have remarkable contributions in this area of study.

Traditional Views

The traditional writers have in common a state centric approach to international relations. Though some were concerned that governments should reflect more inevitably good intentions of their citizens in international affairs or that world organization should have more power to deal with warlike or renegade states, their focus of attention is the international governmental organization. Notable contributions of this type have been made by international lawyers, idealist thinkers of the inter war period and by the realist commentators on international relations.

International lawyers

J. Lorimer, professor of law at the University of Edinburgh in 1867, probably used the term International Organization for the first time. The literatures by the lawyers are dated mostly within the establishment of United Nations. They are descriptive, often dealing with several organizations and giving particular emphasis to the League of Nations and United Nations. NATO, the OAU or European Communities also get emphasis. Leading in this area is the works of the international lawyers who give particular consideration to the constitutions of international organizations, their legal personalities and to institutional problems. Zimmern and Brierly's writings were comparison of the newly emerged United Nations with the structure and aims of the then dying League. Wilfred Jenks's writings not only contributed on organizations but also more general works on international organizations. He stressed the need to integrate the craft of the international lawyer with the prudence of the politician to develop an effective system of international organization. Henry Schermers, professor of Law at the University of Amsterdam, was more concerned about the structure and functions of international organizations. He tries to explain the present development and to promote the harmonious growth of international organization. He deals with the participants in international organizations, the general rules for their organs and the activities of these organs from primarily a legal viewpoint. British international legal expert D. W. Bowett's writings deal with general questions such as the international personality of the organizations and their impact on the doctrine of the sovereign equality of states. A blend of sociology, history and international law was found...
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