International organisations (IOs) have become prominent actors in our political life. The European Union, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, decisively shapes the budgetary terms in half-a-dozen of its member states. NATO is in charge of the currently largest overseas military deployment. The World Trade Organisation decisively shapes the external trading patterns of most countries and increasingly impacts upon domestic policies as well. And the World Health Organisation plays a vital role in coordinating responses to the outbreak of diseases. The vast majority of current policy issues have a cross-border dimension, and IOs play an increasingly important part in addressing them. In doing this, they are not just passive executors of a mandate given to them by the member states, but possess own agency.
While the study of the institutional rules of IOs is rather advanced, we know much less about the day-to-day processes of agenda-setting, decision-making and policy implementation within IOs. In particular, we still know too little about (a) who has authority in IOs and on what grounds, and (b) how authority in IOs is controlled. Authority – conceptualised as legitimate power – can be held by specific branches of an IO or specific actors or bodies within it. Its emergence results not only from acts of delegation and formal institutional rules, but also from actor's bureaucratic expertise, information, networks, and other sources of informal influence. Such authority is subsequently not only controlled through formal voting rights, but also through other forms of control and accountability. Therefore, both the emergence of authority in IOs and its control through formal and informal means form a necessary ingredient of the analysis of international organisations.
Papers in this workshop address questions of authority and/or control in IOs. They can have a theoretical / conceptual or empirical orientation. Empirical papers are ideally comparative, across or within individual IOs. Mixed-methods approaches are, in this regard, specifically encouraged. Papers with individual case studies remain welcome, as long as they have a clear theory-related purpose. The workshop will include papers addressing different policy fields (including, among others, trade, development, environment, and security issues).