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International organisations: cutting across disciplinary boundaries

Towards a political economy of international organisations law

Add to calendar 2023-03-20 14:00 2023-03-20 15:30 Europe/Rome International organisations: cutting across disciplinary boundaries Emeroteca Badia Fiesolana YYYY-MM-DD


20 March 2023

14:00 - 15:30 CET



Badia Fiesolana

In the context of the MWP workshop series, this session features a paper presentation by Jan Klabbers (University of Helsinki).

It is undisputed that international organizations have become an important component of global ordering in the 20th century and crucially shape the world we live in. Unsurprisingly, they have become a principal object of study in historical, legal, and political science scholarship concerned with various forms of global ordering. The past decade of scholarship on international organizations has brought forward ground-breaking works that question the well-trodden orthodoxies of their respective traditions. However, while historians, international lawyers, and political scientists at the frontiers of their fields regularly depart from the mainstream approaches in their fields, these works are lesser known outside their own disciplinary boundaries. This workshop series seeks to bridge this gap by inviting scholars who are at the frontiers of their respective fields to discuss their work with a transdisciplinary audience. 

We are delighted to kick off our lecture/workshop series with Jan Klabbers, Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki, and leading scholar in international organizations law. Jan Klabbers was educated at the University of Amsterdam and teaches international law at the University of Helsinki. He is currently mostly working on the ERC-sponsored project PRIVIGO, exploring the links between international organizations and the private sector and the consequences thereof for the theory of international organizations law. A first edited volume is in preparation, under the title International Organizations Engaging the World (CUP, forthcoming). His most recent monograph addresses global ethics: Virtue in Global Governance: Judgment and Discretion (CUP 2022).

We will discuss his forthcoming article titled "Towards a Political Economy of International Organizations Law" which challenges the notion that international organisations are the best of both worlds, providing cooperation between states without costing much in terms of finance or sovereignty. As is well known, Jan Klabbers has heavily criticized the explanatory value of functionalism when it comes to the workings of international organisations and international organizations law. Building on this, the present article proposes "a different way [...] to look at international organisation law, in order to do justice to the circumstance that international organizations are, to some extent, autonomous operators in global governanc". More specifically, he puts forward an approach "rooted in a political economy of international organizations law" centering the redistributive role of international organisations. 

The workshop is open to all members of the EUI community and we especially encourage researchers from the history, law, and political science departments to attend. The full paper will be distributed to those who register. 

The workshop will begin with a brief presentation of the paper by Professor Klabbers, after which participants will be invited to engage with questions and comments. 

Scientific Organiser(s):

Max Weber Programme


Prof. Jan Klabbers (University of Helsinki)

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