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Part III Regimes and Doctrines, Ch.31 Theorizing International Organizations

Jan Klabbers

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 June 2024

Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Representation of states in international organizations — Responsibility of international organizations — Sources of international law

This chapter outlines a broad history of the development of thinking about the law of international organizations, with a focus on the legal theory of functionalism, as well as a discussion on the latter’s considerable strengths and weaknesses. Functionalism holds that states create international organizations to do things they are unable or reluctant to do on their own, yet consider inherently useful: organize postal relations, control the uses of atomic energy, regulate global health, etc. The chapter also includes a brief discussion of scholarship regarding international organizations in the broader academic landscape, with the concluding section hinting at a few challenges for both theory and practice.

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