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

Laust Schouenborg*, Simon F. Taeuber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-241
Number of pages18
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Volume56
Issue number2
Early online date18 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Disarmament
  • English School
  • Hierarchy
  • International society
  • Primary institutions
  • United Nations

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