The creation of a wide array of international institutions has resulted in a diverse set of theories dedicated to explaining their development. Two theories in particular —neoliberal institutionalism and world culture theory — provide contrasting explanations for the emergence of these institutions. Neoliberal institutionalism is actor-centered, stressing the need for coordination and control to achieve a material interest-based social optimum. World culture theory takes into account a larger world culture that assigns agency to a wider variety of actors and a norm of institutional creation. This essay seeks to navigate the applicability of these two theories by examining the institutional category of international courts. The purpose of this essay is not to prove one theory’s applicability over the other, but rather to argue for the need for inclusion of a culture-centered approach in the analysis of newer and future international courts.
To illustrate this point, this essay identifies two distinct trends in the creation of international courts: trends in functionality and jurisdiction. The original function of courts has changed from strictly resolving disputes between states to include the enforcement of different types of international law. The jurisdiction of international courts has shifted in three areas: personal, subject matter, and membership jurisdiction. International courts now issue binding judgments that apply to actors other than states, interpret a more expansive selection of international law treaties and custom, and include more compulsory aspects for state membership in their founding documents. These trends are then used as a platform for application and analysis of both neoliberal institutionalism and world culture theory. The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 represents the latest forms of expanded functions and jurisdiction and is used as an in-depth case study. Specific aspects of the ICC’s negotiation process, such as the prominent use of moral discourse on the part of all actors and the significant and effective role played by non-state actors, holds unique implications for theoretical analysis. These two factors, in particular, illustrate a need to consider culture-based explanations for the ICC’s establishment in addition to traditional actor-centered theories.
- Magee, Alexa Erin (Author)
- Thomas, George (Thesis director)
- Peskin, Victor (Committee member)
- School of Politics and Global Studies (Contributor)
- School of Social Transformation (Contributor)
- School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (Contributor)
- Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
- 2017-10-30 02:50:58
- 2021-08-11 04:09:57
- 1 year 7 months ago