Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations

Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore
International Organization
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 699-732
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2601307
Page Count: 34
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($34.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International
              Organizations
Preview not available

Abstract

International Relations scholars have vigorous theories to explain why international organizations (IOs) are created, but they have paid little attention to IO behavior and whether IOs actually do what their creators intend. This blind spot flows logically from the economic theories of organization that have dominated the study of international institutions and regimes. To recover the agency and autonomy of IOs, we offer a constmctivist approach. Building on Max Weber's well-known analysis of bureaucracy, we argue that IOs are much more powerful than even neoliberals have argued, and that the same characteristics of bureaucracy that make IOs powerful can also make them prone to dysfunctional behavior. IOs are powerful because, like all bureaucracies, they make roles, and, in so doing, they create social knowledge. IOs deploy this knowledge in ways that define shared international tasks, create new categories of actors, form new interests for actors, and transfer new models of political organization around the world. However, the same normative valuation on impersonal roles that defines bureaucracies and makes them powerful in modem life can also make them unresponsire to their environments, obsessed with their own roles at the expense of primary missions, and ultimately produce inefficient and self-defeating behavior. Sociological and constmctivist approaches thus allow us to expand the research agenda beyond IO creation and to ask important questions about the consequences of global bureaucratization and the effects of IOs in world politics.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[699]
    [699]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
700
    700
  • Thumbnail: Page 
701
    701
  • Thumbnail: Page 
702
    702
  • Thumbnail: Page 
703
    703
  • Thumbnail: Page 
704
    704
  • Thumbnail: Page 
705
    705
  • Thumbnail: Page 
706
    706
  • Thumbnail: Page 
707
    707
  • Thumbnail: Page 
708
    708
  • Thumbnail: Page 
709
    709
  • Thumbnail: Page 
710
    710
  • Thumbnail: Page 
711
    711
  • Thumbnail: Page 
712
    712
  • Thumbnail: Page 
713
    713
  • Thumbnail: Page 
714
    714
  • Thumbnail: Page 
715
    715
  • Thumbnail: Page 
716
    716
  • Thumbnail: Page 
717
    717
  • Thumbnail: Page 
718
    718
  • Thumbnail: Page 
719
    719
  • Thumbnail: Page 
720
    720
  • Thumbnail: Page 
721
    721
  • Thumbnail: Page 
722
    722
  • Thumbnail: Page 
723
    723
  • Thumbnail: Page 
724
    724
  • Thumbnail: Page 
725
    725
  • Thumbnail: Page 
726
    726
  • Thumbnail: Page 
727
    727
  • Thumbnail: Page 
728
    728
  • Thumbnail: Page 
729
    729
  • Thumbnail: Page 
730
    730
  • Thumbnail: Page 
731
    731
  • Thumbnail: Page 
732
    732