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International Organizations in World Politics

International Organizations in World Politics

First Edition

February 2016 | 304 pages | CQ Press
International organizations (IOs) are essential and controversial actors in world politics today. They work on just about every imaginable issue that states cannot easily address individually. This timely and engaging new title offers a comprehensive overview of major IOs and their role in global governance. International Organizations in World Politics by Tamar Gutner presents a variety of theoretical approaches to analyzing the roles and impact of IOs. It then examines the historical development, governance structure, activities, and performance of major IOs. The book offers comprehensive, historically-grounded overviews of the most influential IOs, including the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. For each IO, there is a detailed case study that illuminates the constraints and challenges the IO faces in areas that include conflict resolution, development, the environment, trade, and financial crisis. The book also examines regional organizations, with an emphasis on the European Union and the euro crisis and the African Union’s peace operations.

Chapter 1: Introduction
What is an IO?

Brief History and Evolution

Range of IO Goals

Why Do States Create IOs?


Chapter 2: Intellectual Context: The Evolution of IO Theory

Flavors of Institutionalism

1990s-Present: Contemporary Issues and Debates


Chapter 3: United Nations
Birth of the UN

The UN Charter and Main Organs

The Larger UN Family

UN Evolution

Post-Cold War and Beyond

UN and Human Rights

Peacekeeping and Peace Operations

Scholarly Evaluation of Peacekeeping


Chapter 4: United Nations Case Study: Rwanda/Genocide
What Happened

The Aftermath

What Went Wrong?


Chapter 5: The World Bank
Birth of the Bank


The Last Decade

Perspectives on the Bank


Chapter 6: World Bank Case Study: Environmental Behavior and Performance
Environment and Development

How Might Bank Activities Impact the Environment?

Evolution of Bank’s Environmental Activities, Politics, Behavior

Some Quasi-Internal Critiques

External Views and Debates


Chapter 7: The International Monetary Fund
The IMF’s Mandate at Birth

IMF Membership and Governance

Major Turning Points in the IMF’s History

Perspectives on the IMF


Chapter 8: International Monetary Fund Case Study: IMF and the Global Financial Crisis
What Sparked the Crisis?

September 2008: The Crisis Erupts

Enter the IMF

Evaluation of Responses and Activities


Chapter 9: The World Trade Organization
Open Markets, Protected Markets


WTO Birth, Governance, Dispute Settlement


Looking Ahead

Perspectives on the WTO


Chapter 10: World Trade Organization Case Study: Intellectual Property, Trade, and Access to Medicine
Trade and Pharmaceuticals

November 2001 Doha Declaration and 2003 Cancun Agreement

Evaluating the Doha Declaration

Important Initiatives outside of WTO

Other Current Issues of WTO, Health, and Trade

Perspectives on WTO, Intellectual Property, and Global Health Governance


Chapter 11: Regional Organizations/European Union
General Overview of Regional Organizations

Debates about Regionals

The European Union

Economic and Monetary Union/Euro Crisis

Perspectives on the EU


Chapter 12: Regional Organizations Case Study: African Union Peace Operations
From the Old OAU to the New AU

The Peace and Security Council

Relationship between PSC and the UN Security Council

PSC’s Major Peace Operations




“Gutner's text is a first-rate introduction to the study of international organizations. The rigorous engagement with existing literature brings intellectual clarity to the field, and the reviews of individual institutions in action help illuminate academic debates.”

Liam Clegg
University of York

“Tamar Gutner’s impressive new textbook skillfully presents the background and central analytical approaches to international organizations. Highly engaging, it is a genuine testament to how students can and should build their critical knowledge of the key international organizations.”

Steven C. Roach
University of South Florida

“Gutner’s text enables students of international relations to develop insights on the role of IOs in the era of globalization. Case studies reveal the diversity and complexity of contemporary global issues that IOs face and the challenging tasks they must undertake to address them. This text is an essential resource that leads students to assess what we need to expect from IOs and how to evaluate their effectiveness.”  

Betül Gökkir
Meliksah University
Key features


  • Provides timely, up-to-date coverage of current challenges that international organizations are facing in areas that include the global environment, trade and access to medicine, the euro crisis, and regional peace operations in Africa.  
  • Offers an accessible introduction to the purpose, evolving activities, and performance of international organizations.
  • Delivers comprehensive coverage of each organization across two chapters: the first chapter covers the fundamentals of the organization’s history, evolution, governance and performance, while the second chapter offers a case study that highlights a challenging issue the institution has faced.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483355054

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