This Article argues that the conventional (rationalist) approach to world politics characterized by political bargain cannot fully capture the new social reality under the contemporary global ambience where ideational factors such as ideas, values, culture, and norms have become more salient and influential not only in explaining but also in prescribing state behaviors. After bringing rationalism’s paradigmatic limitations into relief, the Article offers a sociological framework that highlights a reflective, intersubjective communication among states and consequent norm-building process. Under this new paradigm, one can understand an international organization as a “community” (Gemeinschaft), not as a mere contractual instrument of its contracting parties (Gesellschaft). The Article applies the new paradigm to the World Trade Organization (WTO) as it describes the WTO’s institutional evolution from a power-oriented, tariff-reducing contract to a norm-oriented world trade community.
Reconstructing World Politics: Norms, Discourse, and Community,
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