Both paradigms and discourses are a type of inter-subjective understanding that condition individual action, and social outcomes, in the international system no less than elsewhere. They have no formal existence resembling that of organizations, constitutions, laws, and treaties. Yet they can be none the less effective in coordinating the behaviour of large numbers of actors, and this is especially true in a political system as de-centralized as the international one, where formal sources of order are weak. Even in the presence of laws and formal organizations,...
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