Political Approaches

Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore

in The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199560103
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Political Approaches

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This article discusses theoretical approaches that have led the study of international organization, including the United Nations (UN), for the last fifty years. It explores how analysts have conceived the ways that the UN not only regulates the existing activities of states, but also helps weave the fabric of international society. It clarifies the different schools of thought that were developed throughout the twentieth century to help understand the behaviour and misbehaviour of international institutions. The article concludes by asking scholars to work harder in understanding influence within intergovernmental organizations, otherwise known as the first, second, and third UN.

Keywords: theoretical approaches; international organization; state activities; international society; schools of thought; behaviour; misbehavior; intergovernmental organizations

Article.  8422 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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