The constitutional structure of international society and the nature of fundamental institutions

Reus-Smit, Christian (1997) The constitutional structure of international society and the nature of fundamental institutions. International Organization, 51 4: 555-589. doi:10.1162/002081897550456

Author Reus-Smit, Christian
Title The constitutional structure of international society and the nature of fundamental institutions
Journal name International Organization   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-8183
Publication date 1997-09-01
Year available 1997
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1162/002081897550456
Volume 51
Issue 4
Start page 555
End page 589
Total pages 35
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 1998
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Different societies of states develop different fundamental institutions to govern relations between their constituent units. Whereas the governance of modern international society rests on the institutions of contractual international law and multilateralism, no such institutions evolved in Ancient Greece. Instead, the city-states developed a sophisticated, and successful, system of arbitration to facilitate ordered interstate relations. Because existing neorealist, neoliberal, and constructivist accounts of international institutions struggle to explain such variation, I develop a new constructivist account of fundamental institutional development. Societies of states are shaped by constitutional structures, which are coherent ensembles of three constitutive values: a shared belief about the moral purpose of the state, an organizing principle of sovereignty, and a norm of pure procedural justice. These deep normative structures constitute and constrain institutional design and action. Because international societies emerge in different cultural and historical contexts, they evolve different constitutional structures, leading states to construct different fundamental institutions. I illustrate this theory through a comparison of ancient Creek and modem constitutional structures and basic institutional practices.
Keyword Constitution
International Relations
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Created: Thu, 14 Nov 2013, 15:18:01 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies