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Prescribing for the reform of international organization: the logic of arguments for change

Taylor, Paul (1987) Prescribing for the reform of international organization: the logic of arguments for change. Review of International Studies, 13 (01). p. 19. ISSN 0260-2105

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0260210500113750


In this essay I examine the main characteristics of the proposals which have been put forward over the past few years for the reform of international institutions, particularly the United Nations. The latter's social and economic arrangements in particular have been subject to a series of incisive, hard hitting reports—the most recent being Maurice Bertrand's Report of December 19851—which have themselves become almost a matter of routine: nothing changes, even the intelligence and perception of the criticism. This essay is intended to provide a part of the answer to the question of why nothing is ever done. In addition to difficulties arising from the interests of states and organizations which are involved, there are also a range of problems arising from different conceptions of what international organizations are and can do. This essay deals with the latter. The conceptions dealt with are those found in the writings of students of international organization, largely British and American, rather than in the words or deeds of practitioners. The nature of the link between scholarly writing and the practice of international relations is itself complex and contentious and is not explored in this essay. The minimalist assumptions are made, however, that disagreements among scholars make it less likely that practitioners will agree to co-operate, and that scholarly reconciliation is at least a first step towards practical improvement.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1987 British International Studies Association
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 12:44
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:30

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