International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations

Topics: International relations, United Nations, International relations theory Pages: 54 (17660 words) Published: May 11, 2013
Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods Bonn 2008/7

International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations

Remi Maier-Rigaud

MAX PLANCK SOCIETY

Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Bonn 2008/7

International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations

Remi Maier-Rigaud

February 2008

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10, D-53113 Bonn http://www.coll.mpg.de

International Organizations as Corporate Actors: Agency and Emergence in Theories of International Relations

Remi Maier-Rigaud1

Introduction I. Reductionist theories of international organizations 1. Neorealism 2. Rational choice institutionalism

2 4 4 10 17 17 18 21 21 25 29 30

II. Foundations for a conceptualization of emergent international organizations 1. Symbolic interactionism 2. Social constructivism: inter-state practice matters III. Emergence, autonomy and power of international organizations 1. International organizations as emergent high-order corporate actors 2. Knowledge generation and the productive power of discourses Conclusion References

1

This chapter has benefited from many discussions within the Corporate Actors Group at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods. I want to thank Martin Beckenkamp, Julia Ellinger, Christoph Engel, Stefanie Brilon, Frank Maier-Rigaud, Andreas Nicklisch, Tobias Salz and Anne van Aken, for their helpful comments. I am also indebted to Brian Cooper for his linguistic assistance. Last but not least, I want to thank Alkuin Koelliker, who not just commented on this chapter several times in a very helpful way, but who discussed this project and provided important input from the start to the finalization of this chapter. 1

Introduction
Since the end of World War II, international organizations have increasingly gained in importance for inter-state cooperation and international politics. Whereas some international organizations seem to function solely as fora for the coordination of state actor interests, others seem to have emerged as actors of their own. In order to discuss this observation, two questions will be raised. First, are international organizations unitary actors? Like treaties between states (e.g., free trade agreements) and regional integration arrangements, international organizations are a subcategory of international institutions.2 International institutions are a “set of rules meant to govern international behaviour” (Simmons/Martin 2002: 194). This definition is based on the broader definition of institutions as rules of the game in social life by Douglass North: “Institutions are [...] the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction” (North 1990: 3). International organizations are a physical entity with a bureaucratic structure that embodies a set of rules. The other sub-categories of institutions are often contained in international organizations, implying a more qualified type of institution. Therefore, international organizations are the most differentiated type of international institution. This is reflected in the fact that most international organizations3 are accorded legal personality in international law.4 However, not all international organizations are corporate actors and the state of legal personality does not automatically make an international organization a corporate actor. Rather, a corporate actor5 is composed of parts or members, but its behavior is not decomposable or reducible to its parts. This necessary and sufficient feature of corporate actors is called ‘emergence’ and accounts for the autonomy of corporate actors. The process of emergence has been described by Flam (1990: 5) as driven by the capacity of “member-created organizations […] to transform themselves from a ‘mere’ set of formal...

References: Abbott, Kenneth W./Snidal, Duncan 1998: Why States Act through Formal International Organizations. In: Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (1), 3-32. Abrahamsson, Hans 2003: Understanding World Order and Structural Change. Poverty, Conflict and the Global Arena. Palgrave Macmillan: Houndmills. Adler, Emanuel 2002: Constructivism and International Relations. In: Carlsnaes, Walter/Risse, Thomas/Simmons, Beth A. (eds.): Handbook of International Relations. Sage: London et al., 95-118. Alchian, Armen A./Demsetz, Harold 1972: Production, Information Costs, and Economic Organization. In: American Economic Review 62 (5), 777-795. Axelrod, Robert 1981: The Emergence of Cooperation among Egoists. In: American Political Science Review 75 (2), 306-318. Axelrod, Robert 1984: The Evolution of Co-operation. Penguin: London et al. Barnett, Michael/Duvall, Raymond 2005: Power in International Politics. In: International Organization 59 (1), 39-75. Barnett, Michael/Finnemore, Martha 1999: The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations. In: International Organization 53 (4), 699-732. Barnett, Michael/Finnemore, Martha 2004: Rules for the World. International Organizations in Global Politics. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP. Beckenkamp, Martin 2006: The herd moves? Emergence and self-organization in collective actors. Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for the Research on Collective Goods 14. Berger, Peter L./Luckmann, Thomas 1991: The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Penguin Books. London et al. Bhaskar, Roy 1982: Emergence, Explanation, and Emancipation. In: Secord, Paul F. (ed.): Explaining Human Behaviour. Consciousness, Human Action and Social Structure. Beverly Hills et al.: Sage, 275-310. Bhaskar, Roy 1998/1979: The Possibility of Naturalism. A Philosophical Critique of the Contemporary Human Sciences. Third Edition. London and New York: Routledge. Bolton, Gary E./Ockenfels, Axel 2000: ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition. In: American Economic Review 90 (1), 166-193. Coase, R. H. 1937: The Nature of the Firm. In: Economica 4 (16), 386-405. Dufwenberg, Martin/Kirchsteiger, Georg 2004: A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity. In: Games and Economic Behavior 47, 268-298. Durkheim, Emile 1965: Regeln der soziologischen Methode. 2. Auflage. Neuwied und Berlin: Luchterhand. Engel, Christoph 2006: Wettbewerb als sozial erwünschtes Dilemma. Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 12. Falk, Armin/Fischbacher, Urs 2006: A Theory of Reciprocity. In: Games and Economic Behavior 54, 293-315.
30
Fehr, Ernst/Schmidt, Klaus M. 1999: A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation. In: Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (3), 817-868. Finnemore, Martha 1993: International Organizations as Teachers of Norms: The United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Science Policy. In: International Organization 47 (4), 565-597. Finnemore, Martha/Sikkink, Kathryn 1998: International Norm Dynamics and Political Change. In: International Organization 52 (4), 887-917. Flam, Helena 1990: Corporate Actors: Definition, Genesis, and Interaction. MPIFG Discussion Paper 90/11. Forde, Steven 1995: International Realism and the Science of Politics: Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Neorealism. In: International Studies Quarterly 39 (2), 141-160. Foss, Nicolai J. 2000: The Theory of the Firm. An Introduction to Themes and Contributions. In: Foss, Nicolai J. (ed.): The Theory of the Firm. Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. Vol. 1. Routledge: London and New York, xv-lvi. Frey, Bruno S. 1997: The public choice of international organizations. In: Mueller, Dennis C. (ed): Perspectives on public choice. A handbook. Cambridge, New York and Oakleigh: Cambridge UP, 106-123. Giddens, Anthony 1979: Central Problems in Social Theory. Action, structure and contradiction in social analysis. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan. Goldstein, Judith/Keohane, Robert O. 1993: Ideas and Foreign Policy: An Analytical Framework. In: Goldstein, Judith/Keohane, Robert O. (eds.): Ideas and Foreign Policy. Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change. Cornell University Press. New York, 3-30. Gourevitch, Peter 1978: “The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Politics,” In: International Organization 32 (4), 881-912. Gourevitch, Peter 2002: Domestic Politics and International Relations. In: Carlsnaes, Walter/Risse, Thomas/Simmons, Beth A. (eds.) Handbook of International Relations. Sage: London et al., 309-328. Grieco, Joseph M. 1988: Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism. In: International Organization 42 (3), 485-507. Grieco, Joseph/Powell, Robert/Snidal, Duncan 1993: The relative-gains problem for international cooperation. In: American Political Science Review 87 (3), 729-743. Guzzini, Stefano/Leander, Anna 2001: A Social Theory for International Relations: An Appraisal of Alexander Wendt’s Theoretical and Disciplinary Synthesis. In: Journal of International Relations and Development 4 (4), 316-338. Haas, Ernst B. 1995: Words can hurt you; or, who said what to whom about regimes. In: Krasner, Stephen D. (ed.): International Regimes. Cornell UP: Ithaca and London, 23-59. Haas, Peter M. & Haas, Ernst B. 1995: Learning to Learn: Improving International Governance. In: Global Governance 1, 255-285. Haas, Peter M. & Haas, Ernst B. 2002: Pragmatic Constructivism and the Study of International Institutions. In: Millennium 31 (3), 573-601.
31
Haas, Peter M. 2004: When does power listen to truth? A constructivist approach to the policy process. In: Journal of European Public Policy 11 (4), 569-592. Hansen, Lene 1996: International Institutions in International Relations Theory. In: de Wilde, Jaap/Wiberg, Håkan (eds.): Organized Anarchy in Europe. The role of states and intergovernmental organizations. Tauris: London and New York, 23-38. Hasenclever, Andreas/ Mayer, Peter/ Rittberger, Volker 1997: Theories of International Regimes. Cambridge UP. International Labour Organization 2005: Structure of the ILO. Factsheet 1.2. URL: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/london/download/fp1_2.pdf (accessed on 17th of October 2005). Keohane, Robert O. 2002: International relations and international law: two optics. In: Keohane, Robert O. (ed.): Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World. Routledge: London and New York, 117-131. Keohane, Robert O. 2005: After Hegemony. Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton UP: Princeton and Oxford. Koremenos, Barbara/Lipson, Charles/Snidal, Duncan 2001: The Rational Design of International Institutions. In: International Organization 55 (4), 761-799. Krasner, Stephen D. 1993: Westphalia and All That. In: Goldstein, Judith/Keohane, Robert O. (eds.): Ideas and Foreign Policy. Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change. Cornell University Press. New York, 235-264. Krasner, Stephen D. 1995: Structural causes and regime consequences: regimes as intervening variables. In: Krasner, Stephen D. (ed.): International Regimes. Cornell UP: Ithaca and London, 1-21. Kratochwil, Friedrich/Ruggie, John Gerard 1986: International Organization: A State of the Art on an Art of the State. In: International Organization 40 (4), 753-775. Kreps, David M. et al. 1982: Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners’ Dilemma. In: Journal of Economic Theory 27 (2), 245-252. March, James G./Olsen, Johan P. 1995: Democratic Governance. New York: The Free Press. Martin, Lisa L. 1999: The Political Economy of International Cooperation. In: Kaul, Inge/Grunberg, Isabelle/Stern, Marc A. (eds.): Global Public Goods. International Cooperation in the 21st Century. New York and Oxford, Oxford UP, 51-64. Mead, George Herbert 1964: The Problem of Society – How We Become Selves. In: Strauss, Anselm (ed.): George Herbert Mead On Social Psychology. Selected papers. Revised Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London. Mearsheimer, John J. 1994/1995: The False Promise of International Institutions. In: International Security 19 (3), 5-49. Moravcsik, Andrew 1997: Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics. In: International Organization 51 (4), 513-553.
32
Morgenthau, Hans J. 1953: Political limitations of the United Nations. In: Lipsky, Georg A. (ed): Law and Politics in the World Community. Essays on Hans Kelsen 's Pure Theory and Related Problems in International Law, Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 143-152. Ness, Gayl D./Brechin, Steven R. 1988: Bridging the Gap: International Organizations as Organizations. In: International Organization 42 (2), 245-273. North, Douglass C. 1990: Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge ; New York, Cambridge UP. Olson, Mancur 1968: Die Logik des kollektiven Handelns. Kollektivgüter und die Theorie der Gruppen. Tübingen, Mohr. Onuf, Nicholas Greenwood 1989: World of Our Making: Rules and Rule in Social Theory and International Relations. Columbia, University of South Carolina Press. Peters, Anne 2006: Völkerrecht: Allgemeiner Teil. Zürich et al., Schulthess. Powell, Robert 1994: Anarchy in International Relations Theory: The Neorealist-Neoliberal Debate. In: International Organization 48 (2), 313-44. Putnam, Robert D. 1988: Diplomacy and domestic politics: the logic of two-level games. In: International Organization 42 (3), 427-460. Risse, Thomas 2007: Social Constructivism Meets Globalization. In: Held, David/McGrew, Anthony (eds): Globalization Theory. Approaches and Controversies. Polity Press. Cambridge and Malden, 126-147. Selten, Reinhard 1978: The Chain Store Paradox. In: Theory and Decision 9 (2), 127-159. Selten, Reinhard/Stoecker, Rolf 1986: End Behavior in Finite Prisoner’s Dilemma Supergames. A Learning Theory Approach. In: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 7 (1), 4770. Shanks, Cheryl/Jacobson, Harold K./Kaplan, Jeffrey H. 1996: Inertia and Change in the Constellation of International Governmental Organizations, 1981-1992. In: International Organization 50 (4), 593-627. Simmons, Beth A./Martin, Lisa L. 2002: International Organizations and Institutions. In: Carlsnaes, Walter/Risse, Thomas/Simmons, Beth A. (eds.) Handbook of International Relations. Sage: London et al., 192-211. Stein, Arthur A. 1995: Coordination and collaboration: regimes in an anarchic world. In: Krasner, Stephen D. (ed.): International Regimes. Cornell UP: Ithaca and London, 115-140. Strange, Susan 1997: The Retreat of the State. The Diffusion of Power in the World Economy. Cambridge UP. Cambridge, New York and Melbourne. Ulbert, Cornelia 2005: Konstruktivistische Analysen der internationalen Politik. Theoretische Ansätze und methodische Herangehensweisen. In: Ulbert, Cornelia/Weller, Christoph (eds.): Konstruktivistische Analysen der internationalen Politik. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag, 934. Vaubel, Roland 2006: Principal-agent problems in international organizations. In: Review of International Organizations 1 (2), 125-138.
33
Wade, Robert Hunter 2002: US hegemony and the World Bank: the fight over people and ideas. In: Review of International Political Economy 9 (2), 215-243. Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979: Theory of International Politics. McGraw-Hill: London et al. Waltz, Kenneth N. 2000: Structural Realism after the Cold War. In: International Security 25 (1), 5-41. Weller, Christoph 2005: Perspektiven eines reflexiven Konstruktivismus für die internationalen Beziehungen. In: Ulbert, Cornelia/Weller, Christoph (eds.): Konstruktivistische Analysen der internationalen Politik. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag, 35-64. Wendt, Alexander 1987: The Agent-Structure Problem in International Relations Theory. In: International Organization 41 (3), 335-370. Wendt, Alexander 1992: Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics. In: International Organization 46 (2), 391-425. Wendt, Alexander 1994: Collective Identity Formation and the International State. In: American Political Science Review 88 (2), 384-396. Wendt, Alexander 1997: Identity and Structural Change in International Politics. In: Lapid, Yosef/Kratochwil, Friedrich (eds): The Return of Culture and Identity in IR Theory. Lynne Rienner Publishers. Boulder and London, 47-64. Wendt, Alexander 1999: Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge UP: Cambridge. Wendt, Alexander 2004: The state as person in international theory. In: Review of International Studies 30, 289-316. Woods, Ngaire 1995: Economic Ideas and International Relations: Beyond Rational Neglect. In: International Studies Quarterly 39 (2), 161-180.
34
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Theories of International Relations Essay
  • International Relations Essay
  • Theories of International Organization Essay
  • international relation Essay
  • International Relations: upcoming threat IS Research Paper
  • International Relations Essay
  • international relations Essay
  • International Relations Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free