International Politics

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 221–241 | Cite as

State withdrawal from international institutions: changing social relations within divergent institutions

  • Mingtao Shi
Original Article


State withdrawal from international institutions is an underexplored question in international institutional analysis. Emphasizing the influences of international institutional divergence, this paper argues that social relations among states are the driving forces for institutional change and states’ withdrawal choice accordingly. The explanatory framework provides both agency dynamics and institutional property for the understanding of states’ withdrawal from international institutions. Various forms of withdrawal from international whaling institutions are used as a case study to show what happens when social relations change within international institutional divergence.


Withdrawal Social relations International institutions Institutional divergence International whaling 



I am very grateful to Changhe Su, Gerald Chan, Michael Cox, Hongsong Liu, Anita Lacey and my anonymous reviewers for their help. All errors remain my own.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingtao Shi
    • 1
  1. 1.AucklandNew Zealand

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