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A quantitative approach to studying hierarchies of primary institutions in international society: The case of United Nations General Assembly disarmament resolutions, 1989-1998

Schouenborg, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-2660-3403 and Taeuber, S. F. (2020). A quantitative approach to studying hierarchies of primary institutions in international society: The case of United Nations General Assembly disarmament resolutions, 1989-1998. Cooperation and Conflict, doi: 10.1177/0010836720965998

Abstract

In this article, we aim to contribute to two contemporary debates within the English School. The debate about how to observe primary institutions and the debate concerning hierarchy between primary institutions. Specifically, we analyse references to primary institutions in United Nations General Assembly disarmament resolutions in the decade 1989–1998 and their distribution using descriptive statistics. In this way, the article offers a novel approach to identifying primary institutions empirically, and provides some insight into the hierarchy-question in the sense of documenting the relative numerical presence of references to different primary institutions in a specific issue area and temporal context. With respect to the latter, the key finding is that great power management, diplomacy and international law are by far the most prominent primary institutions in the analysed material. This is an intriguing finding, not least given the importance attached to them by Hedley Bull in his classic work The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics. The main contribution of the article is thus to spell out a new approach to how the aforementioned debates might proceed empirically.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Publisher Keywords: Disarmament, English School, hierarchy, international society, primary institutions, United Nations
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > International Politics
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 09:12
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/25370
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