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Multilateralism: An Agenda for Research

Multilateralism: An Agenda for Research ROBERT O. KEOHANE Multilateralism: an agenda for research Multilateralism can be defined as the practice of co-ordinating national policies in groups of three or more states, through ad hoc arrangements or by means of institutions. Since the end of World War II, multilateralism has become increasingly import- ant in world politics, as manifested in the proliferation of multi- national conferences on a bewildering variety of themes and an increase in the number of multilateral intergovernmental organizations from fewer than 1 oo in 1945 to about 200 by i 960 and over 6oo by 1 980.' Bilateralism has been revived on some issues in the 198os, particularly with regard to trade, yet the number and variety of multilateral arrangements continue to increase. In the international relations literature, multilateralism has served as a label for a variety of activities more than as a concept defining a research programme. When a scholar refers to multi- lateralism, it is not immediately clear what phenomena are to be described and explained. Before we can understand multilater- alism, we need to think about how we should conceive of it and Stanfield Professor of International Peace and Chair of the Department of Gov- ernment, Harvard University, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis SAGE

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References (3)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1990 Canadian International Council/Centre for Contemporary International History
ISSN
0020-7020
eISSN
2052-465X
DOI
10.1177/002070209004500401
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ROBERT O. KEOHANE Multilateralism: an agenda for research Multilateralism can be defined as the practice of co-ordinating national policies in groups of three or more states, through ad hoc arrangements or by means of institutions. Since the end of World War II, multilateralism has become increasingly import- ant in world politics, as manifested in the proliferation of multi- national conferences on a bewildering variety of themes and an increase in the number of multilateral intergovernmental organizations from fewer than 1 oo in 1945 to about 200 by i 960 and over 6oo by 1 980.' Bilateralism has been revived on some issues in the 198os, particularly with regard to trade, yet the number and variety of multilateral arrangements continue to increase. In the international relations literature, multilateralism has served as a label for a variety of activities more than as a concept defining a research programme. When a scholar refers to multi- lateralism, it is not immediately clear what phenomena are to be described and explained. Before we can understand multilater- alism, we need to think about how we should conceive of it and Stanfield Professor of International Peace and Chair of the Department of Gov- ernment, Harvard University,

Journal

International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy AnalysisSAGE

Published: Dec 1, 1990

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