The Dual World Polity: Fragmentation and Integration in the Network of Intergovernmental Organizations

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The Dual World Polity: Fragmentation and Integration in the Network of Intergovernmental Organizations

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Title: The Dual World Polity: Fragmentation and Integration in the Network of Intergovernmental Organizations
Author: Beckfield, Jason
Citation: Beckfield, Jason. 2008. “The Dual World Polity: Fragmentation and Integration in the Network of Intergovernmental Organizations.” Social Problems 55 (3) (August): 419–442.
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Abstract: A growing body of research demonstrates powerful effects of international organizations on national policy, and the literature on international conflict is increasingly adopting a network perspective on international organizations, but we still know little about the network structure of the world polity itself. This is surprising in light of the theoretical implications of world polity theory, world systems theory, and the world civilizations approach to the structure of the world polity. Using data on a set of prominent intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), along with a comparison to the complete population of IGOs, this study examines the world polity as a network structured by symbolic and material conflict. Network analysis reveals a contradictory duality in the structure of the world polity: while states are densely interconnected through international organizations, these international organizations are only sparsely interconnected. Contrary to world polity theory, world system position and world civilization predict position in the world polity. These results show that, in neglecting the network structure of the world polity, previous research has underestimated the extent of structural inequality in the world polity. Because embeddedness in the world polity has such powerful effects on state policies, international trade, and international conflict, the centralization and fragmentation of the world polity may have disintegrative implications for world politics.
Published Version: doi:10.1525/sp.2008.55.3.419
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12211468
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