Introduction: Perspectives and Problems

  • Robert W. Cox


The study of international organisation is moving from an utopian towards a scientific perspective. Scholars who pioneered in the field had generally a high degree of moral commitment to the idea of international organisation as a basis for world order; and their work sought not merely to study but actively to strengthen international organisation. Some appeared as incorrigibly optimistic constitution-mongers, persuaded that juridical reforms could change the character of political relations. Others sought through the stealth of the functionalist approach to turn the flank of the national-interest-minded politicians whom they saw as the enemies of their desired world order.


Political System National Organisation Political Development World Politics Political Skill 
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  1. 1.
    J. A. Salter, Allied Shipping Control (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1921).Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    The classic statement of functionalism, leaning especially on the expert variant, is by David Mitrany, A Working Peace System (London and New York, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946).Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Critiques of the utopian view are to be found in Iris L. Claude, Jr., Swords into Plowshares. The Problems and Progress of International Organization, 3rd ed. (New York, Random House, 1964) p. 349;Google Scholar
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    in Ernst B. Haas, Beyong the Nation-State (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1964);Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    and James Patrick Sewell, Functionalism and World Politics (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1966).Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    The interest group variant of functionalist utopianism has been made most explicit in the case of the International Labour Organisation. See, for example, C. W. Jenks, The International Protection of Trade Union Freedom (London, Stevens and Sons, 1957) chapter 26.Google Scholar
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    For example, on decision-making generally, John Hadwen and Jehan Kaufmann, How United Nations Decisions are Made (Leyden, Sijthoff, 1960);Google Scholar
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    on secretariats, Sydney D. Bailey, The Secretariat of the United Nations (New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1962);Google Scholar
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    on blocs and caucuses, Thomas Hovet, Bloc Politics in the United Nations (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1960);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    on pressure groups, Jean Meynaud, Les groupes de pression internationaux (Lausanne, 1961). It will be noted that most of these studies date from the early 1960s.Google Scholar
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    I. L. Claude, International Organization, vol. xx, 3 (Summer 1966).Google Scholar
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    Gabriel Almond and James Coleman, The Politics of the Developing Areas (Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1960) p. 17.Google Scholar
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    M. Crozier, Le phénomène bureaucratique (Paris, Seuil, 1963). Application of the method to the study of international organisations was suggested in a paper presented by Crozier to a round table convened by the International Political Science Association at Grenoble, 17–18 Sep 1965, ‘Les possibilités d’une approche sociologique dans l’étude des systèmes de relations interinstitutionnelles complexes’ (mimeographed).Google Scholar
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    For example, W. G. Runciman, Social Sciences and Political Theory (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1963) 110–23.Google Scholar
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    Fred W. Riggs, Administration in Developing Countries: The Theory of Prismatic Society (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1964); this author has also applied his theory to international relations in ‘International Relations as a Prismatic System’ in The International System (ed. Klaus Knorr and Sidney Varba) (Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1961).Google Scholar
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    For example, Lucian Pye, Aspects of Political Development (Boston and Toronto, Little, Brown and Company, 1966)Google Scholar
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    C. E. Black, The Dynamics of Modernization (New York, Harper and Row, 1966); and Dankwart Rustow, op. cit.Google Scholar
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    See Edward C. Banfield, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society (New York, The Free Press, 1958).Google Scholar
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    Richard N. Gardner, Sterling-dollar diplomacy; Anglo-American collaboration in the reconstruction of multilateral trade (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1956).Google Scholar
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    William Diebold, Jr., Trade and Payments in Western Europe, 1947–51 (New York, Harper & Bros. for the Council on Foreign Relations, 1952), and The Schuman Plan, 1950–1959 (New York, Praeger, for the Council on Foreign Relations, 1959).Google Scholar
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    Henry G. Aubrey, ‘The Political Economy of International Monetary Reform’, in Social Research (Summer 1966) pp. 218–54.Google Scholar
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    Susan Strange, The Sterling Problem and the Six (London, Chatham House, Political and Economic Planning, European Series No. 4, June 1967).Google Scholar
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    See Henry G. Aubrey, Atlantic Economic Co-operation: The Case of the OECD (New York, Praeger, 1967), especially pp. 51–2, 60–1, 88–9.Google Scholar
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    Robert A. Dahl, Who Governs? (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert W. Cox 1969

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  • Robert W. Cox

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