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date: 26 March 2017

International Organizations and Foreign Policy

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Please check back later for the full article.

The interplay between States and International Organizations (IO) has received a lot of scholarly attention, largely due to the fact that the number of IOs has increased considerably within the last century. Today, states cooperate with one another in IOs, across a broad array of policy fields, and they do so to collectively tackle problems and formulate international soft and hard law. This contribution sheds light on state-of-the-art scholarship and key controversies with respect to the interplay between the foreign policy of states and IOs. It does so by systematically distinguishing between rationalist and constructivist accounts of how states’ foreign policy impacts IOs (a bottom-up perspective) as well as how IOs impact member state foreign policy (FP) in turn (a top-down perspective). Thereby, this article examines the polity, politics, and policy dimension on the side of states as well as in the IOs, to explain which changes state’s foreign policies can induce under what scope conditions in IO structure (polity), IO procedures (politics), and policy outcomes. Also investigated are which changes IOs induce, under what scope conditions in the foreign policy apparatus of states (polity), the foreign policy decision-making procedures (politics), and the foreign policies of states. The article offers short examples to illustrate theoretical concepts and foreign policy activities and concludes with an outlook into fruitful future avenues for research.