State Formation, Liberal Reform, and the Growth of International Organizations
26 European Journal of International Law 445-469 (2015)
Posted: 7 Jan 2015 Last revised: 8 Sep 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2014
This article argues that the growth of international organizations over the past century has been imagined and carried out in order to make modern states on a broadly Western model. The proliferation of international organizations and the expansion of their legal powers, through both formal and informal means, raise profound questions regarding the relationship between international law’s reforming promise and its imperialist perils. The article proposes a new analytic framework for understanding these phenomena, focusing on the rationalities of international organizations’ powers and the technologies through which they are made operable. It argues that both the growth of international organizations and the cultural processes of state formation are impelled by a dynamic of liberal reform that is at once internal and external to law. That dynamic and the analytic framework proposed here are both illustrated and exemplified through a critical account of the emergence of international organizations in the 19th century.
Keywords: International law, international organizations, socio-legal theory, legal theory, state formation, liberalism, governmentality
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