Limitations of Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations

Authored by: Dennis Dijkzeul , William E. DeMars

The Ashgate Research Companion to Non-State Actors

Print publication date:  February  2011
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754679066
eBook ISBN: 9781315613369
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042259


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International organizations (IOs), both intergovernmental (IGOs) and nongovernmental (NGOs), often fall short in practice from achieving the goals of their sweeping mandates, such as eliminating hunger or child labour, or preventing nuclear proliferation or human rights violations. How can the limitations of IOs be characterized without either dismissing them as mere epiphenomena of power politics, or venerating them as utopian liberators? We approach this question through the literatures of international relations (IR) theory and management theory. This chapter consists of four sections. First it examines the general history of the study of IOs since the end of the First World War. Then it focuses on recent realist, liberal and constructivist accounts of the limitations of IOs.

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