International Organization and Global Governance

  • Citation: “Realism.” Jennifer Sterling-Folker and Jason Charrette. (2013) International Organization and Global Governance, Thomas G. Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson, eds. London: Routledge.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • international organization (IO)
    • global governance
    • realism
    • inter-national

In reviewing the literature on inter national organ iza tion (IO) and global govern ance, one gets the impression that realism contributes very little to the topic. Many of its critics treat realism as a nemesis to be defeated before analysis can even proceed, rather than as an approach with something important to say in its own right about these subjects. Yet realists have always contributed to discussions of IO and global govern ance. How realism defines these terms may be part of the reason it is often given short shrift. From a realist perspective, the term IO is a reference to the Westphalian system comprised of sovereign states.1 As the phrase inter-national (meaning “between” or “among” national units) suggests, states do not exist in a vacuum but interact in predictable ways that generate patterns of order and disorder in world politics.

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