Skip to main content Accessibility help

International human rights: a regime analysis

  • Jack Donnelly (a1)


After laying out a typology of international regimes, eight international and regional human rights regimes are analyzed in order to (1) examine the utility of regime analysis in noneconomic issue-areas, and (2) assess the nature, extent, and evolution of international cooperation on human rights. There has been a remarkable growth of international action since 1945, when human rights were not even widely accepted as a legitimate issue-area. This growth can be explained largely by expanding perceptions of moral interdependence and community, increased national commitment, the growing ideological appeal of human rights, and changes in the distributions of international power. These same factors, however, suggest only limited future growth. On a broader theoretical plane, the case of human rights suggests a significant, if limited and principally heuristic, utility for regime analysis, especially to the extent that international relations is becoming increasingly concerned with specific issues.



Hide All

1. This status was attested to and spurred by the Spring 1982 special issue of International Organization 36.

2. This is not, however, the first published application of the concept of international regimes to the area of human rights. That distinction, I believe, goes to Ruggie, John Gerard, “Human Rights and the Future International Community,” Daedalus 112 (Fall 1983), pp. 93110. See also Onuf, Nicholas G. and Peterson, V. Spike, “Human Rights from an International Regimes Perspective,” Journal of International Affairs 38 (Winter 1984), pp. 329–42, for an interesting, if extremely idiosyncratic, discussion. For perhaps the earliest application of the concept of regimes to human rights, see Forsythe, David P., “A New Human Rights Regime: What Significance?” (Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association, 03 1981). For a recent analysis largely complementary to the one developed in the following two sections, though without the explicit focus on regimes, see Forsythe, , “The United Nations and Human Rights, 1945–1985,” Political Science Quarterly 100 (Summer 1985), pp. 249–70.

3. Krasner, Stephen D., “Structural Causes and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), p. 185. Compare Keohane, Robert O. and Nye, Joseph S., Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977), p. 19, where regimes are defined as “governing arrangements that affect relationships of interdependence,” or, more precisely, “networks of rules, norms, and procedures that regularize behavior and control its effects” in an issue-area.

4. As a matter of historical fact, however, political economy seems to be the principal source of the introduction of sthe concept into (American) political science. We can also note that “regime” has become a standard term in economics in the last fifteen years, especially in reference to foreign-exchange and foreign-trade policies. The first important use in the field of international organization wasRuggie, John Gerard, “International Responses to Technology: Concepts and Trends,” International Organization 29 (Summer 1975), pp. 557–84, while Keohane and Nye, Power and Independence, are most responsible for bringing the term into the mainstream of the literature. On the neglect of the legal bases of the concept in recent discussions, compare Kratochwil, Friedrich, “On the Relevance of International Law,” Journal of International Affairs 37 (Winter 1984), p. 344.

5. Strange, Susan, “Cave! hic dragones: A Critique of Regime Analysis,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), p. 486.

6. Krasner, , “Structural Causes,” pp. 189–94.

7. The position Krasner calls “Grotian” in fact has little apparent connection with the work of Hugo Grotius. As Krasner does not explain, or even cite a source for, the label, one must assume that he has adopted it, with considerable modification, from Martin Wight, “Western Values in International Relations” and Bull, Hedley, “The Grotian Conception of International Society,” in Butterfield, Herbert and Wight, Martin, eds., Diplomatic Investigations (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966). Even Bull, however, recognizes the ambiguous relation of his (much better grounded) label “Grotian” to the views of Grotius. See Bull, , The Anarchical Society (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), chap. 2, n.3, and “Grotian Conception,” p. 51. By the time we reach Krasner's usage, it is hard to see much of Grotius at all. For Grotius' own natural law views of international law and society, see his De Jure Belli ac Pacis, trans. Kelsey, Francis W. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925), especially the “Prolegomena.”

8. Puchala, Donald J. and Hopkins, Raymond F., “International Regimes: Lessons from Inductive Analysis,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), pp. 246, 247. Compare Young, Oran R., “Regime Dynamics: The Rise and Fall of International Regimes,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), pp. 277–97; and Young, Oran R., “International Regimes: Problems of Concept Formation,” World Politics 32 (04 1980), pp. 331–56.

9. See especiallyStein, Arthur A., “Coordination and Collaboration Regimes in an Anarchic World,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), pp. 299324, and Keohane, Robert O., “The Demand for International Regimes,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), pp. 325–55.

10. Keohane, and Nye, , Power and Independence, pp. 1929 and passim. Compare Haas, Ernst B., “Why Collaborate? Issue-Linkage and International Regimes,” World Politics 32 (04 1980), pp. 357405, and Haas, , “Turbulent Fields and the Theory of Regional Integration,” International Organization 30 (Spring 1976), pp. 173212.

11. Cf. Haas, , “Why Collaborate?” p. 358. This definition is consistent with, but somewhat narrower than, Krasner's, which permits a “Grotian” reading. I should also note that my definition excludes, implicitly (or, if necessary, by stipulation), claims that a regime exists in the presence of “norms” such as “outcomes are the result of ad hoc bargains based on relative power.” (Such situations are likely to involve relatively predictable regularities and thus could be classified as regimes by Grotians.) Thus in the case of international human rights, for example, there was no regime in 1914; no internationally accepted norms or procedures limited state sovereignty in this issue-area.

12. Although I use these terms more or less interchangeably, Krasner, , “Structural Causes,” p. 186, distinguishes “principles” from “norms”—“beliefs of fact, causation, and rectitude” from “standards of behavior defined in terms of rights and obligations”—and treats “rules” as “specific prescriptions or proscriptions for action,” which he considers as more akin to procedures than “principles”” or “norms.” Although Krasner puts this distinction to good use in his discussion of regime change, it seems to me rather arbitrary, especially in distinguishing “norms” from “rules” largely by the greater specificity of “rules.” In ordinary usage, “rules” has at least as wide a range as norms; consider not only often loose “rules of the game” but also “moral rules” à la Kant. In the interest of clarity, however, I shall at least in part defer to Krasner's authority and use the relatively neutral term “norms” to refer to the full range of a regime's normative principles (in contrast to its decision-making procedures). For my purposes, however, Krasner's distinction between principles, norms, and rules is of no interest or importance.

13. An international regime with purely national standards is logically conceivable, although rather unlikely; significant international decision making could result in a collective decision to permit fully national standard setting. Such a “procedural regime,” in its strongest form, would occupy the bottom right corner of Figure 1.

14. Clearly, “higher” types of decision making involve information exchange as well. In fact, each “higher” type generally encompasses the powers available in the “lower” types, although the relative strengths of policy coordination, promotion, and information exchange may vary with issue-area. For a similar categorization of forms of international decision making seeHaas, , “Turbulent Fields,” p. 201, and Ruggie, , “Responses to Technology,” pp. 570–74.

15. Compare Haas, Ernst B., “Regime Decay: Conflict Management and International Organizations, 1945–1981,” International Organization 37 (Spring 1983), p. 193.

16. UN resolutions 217A (III), 2200 (XXI). They are widely reprinted, for example, in Sohn, Louis B. and Buergentahl, Thomas, eds., Basic Documents on International Protection of Human Rights (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973); Laquer, Walter and Rubin, Barry N., eds., The Human Rights Reader (New York: New American Library, 1979); Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments (New York: UN, 1978); and Brownlie, Ian, ed., Basic Documents on Human Rights, 2d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).

17. For one rather simple demonstration of the deeper philosophical basis of this coherence, in the form of an argument that international human rights norms arise from the principles of personal autonomy and equality, see Rhoda Howard and Jack Donnelly, “Human Rights, Human Dignity and Political Regimes,” American Political Science Review (forthcoming). The only significant exceptions to the claim that all classes of human rights are interdependent are (1) arguments that are still occasionally made that economic and social rights are not truly human rights (Maurice Cranston has made something of a second career out of rehashing this argument for twenty years now; for his latest version, seeAre There Any Human Rights?Daedalus 112 [Fall 1983], pp. 117); and (2) a tendency among many Third World and Sovietbloc commentators to undercut their professions of the interdependence of all human rights by claims of the priority of economic and social rights. 1 examine and criticize these two (almost mirror-image) deviations in Donnelly, Jack, The Concept of Human Rights (London: Croom Helm, 1985), chap. 6, and Recent Trends in UN Human Rights Activity: Description and Polemic,” International Organization 35 (Autumn 1981), pp. 633–55. On the interdependence of all human rights, considered from a more practical point of view, see Howard, Rhoda, “The ‘Full-Belly’ Thesis: Should Economic Rights Take Priority over Civil and Political Rights?Human Rights Quarterly 5 (11 1983), and, more briefly, Donnelly, Jack, “Human Rights and Development: Complementary or Competing Concerns?World Politics 36 (01 1984), pp. 279–82. One reason that I prefer the sevenfold division of rights presented above—aside from its greater accuracy and specificity—is that the conventional division into civil and political rights and economic and social rights too easily lends itself to misguided or partisan arguments for priority of one set or the other.

18. The Universal Declaration may plausibly be argued to have attained the status of customary international law. Any legal force it has, however, rests on state practice (which is discussed below) and is entirely independent of the fact that it is a UN resolution. Furthermore, as I illustrate in considerable detail below, this normative force has not been translated into strong procedures.

19. On the general practice of the Committee see Jhabvala, Farrokh, “The Practice of the Covenant's Human Rights Committee, 1976–82: Review of State Party Reports,” Human Rights Quarterly 6 (02 1984), pp. 81106; and Fischer, Dana D., “Reporting under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: The First Five Years of the Human Rights Committee,” American Journal of International Law 76 (01 1982), pp. 142–53.

20. For example, the report of Guinea claimed that “citizens of Guinea felt no need to invoke the Covenant because national legislation was at a more advanced stage” (A/39/40, para. 139). Bulgaria reported that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in the Covenant were covered in the appropriate national laws” before ratification (A/34/40, para. 112). And the Mongolian representative, in response to a question by a member of the Committee, proudly claimed that there had never been a complaint about torture or cruel or inhuman treatment made in his country (A/35/40, para. 108).

21. Zuijdwijk, Ton J., Petitioning the United Nations (Aldershot, England: Gower, 1982), p. 361. It should be noted that the Covenant also contains optional provisions (Articles 41–42) for interstate complaints, accepted by eighteen states as of mid-1985, but these have not been and are not likely to be used.

22. See annexes to the annual reports of the Human Rights Committee, 1980–84, UN documents A/35/40, A/36/40, A/37/40, A/38/40, A/39/40. Decisions have also been taken with regard to communications concerning Canada, Colombia, Zaire, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Sweden.

23. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also requires periodic reports, which are reviewed not by a separate body of experts but by the Sessional Working Group on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the Economic and Social Council. A similar questioning procedure is used, but it is somewhat less rigorous, and the fact that the Covenant is explicitly intended to be implemented progressively rather than immediately (Article 2) effectively precludes any serious attempt at international monitoring. Furthermore, there is no complaint procedure parallel to that of the Optional Protocol to the Civil and Political Covenant. Little secondary literature is available on the activities of the Working Group, but see Das, Kamleshwar, “United Nations Institutions and Procedures Founded on Conventions on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” in Vasak, Karel and Alston, Philip, eds., The International Dimensions of Human Rights (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1982), pp. 333–34, and Fischer, Dana D., “International Reporting Procedures,” in Hannum, Hurst, ed., Guide to International Human Rights Practice (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), pp. 173–76.

24. For an excellent, thorough discussion of the procedure, see Tolley, Howard, “The Concealed Crack in the Citadel: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights' Response to Confidential Communications,” Human Rights Quarterly 6 (11 1984), pp. 420–62. Tolley's forthcoming book, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, is certain to become the standard source on that body. See also Dinah L. Shelton, “Individual Complaint Machinery under the United Nations 1503 Procedure and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” in Hannum, Human Rights Practice. It should be noted that the Commission had been authorized since 1948 to “receive” communications. However, as they could not be discussed or acted on, this “power” was of no practical significance until the 1503 procedure was established.

25. See Cassese, Antonio, “The Admissibility of Communications on Human Rights,” Revue des Droits de l'HommelHuman Rights Journal 5 (1972), pp. 375–93; and Zuijdwijk, , Petitioning the United Nations, pp. 3039. The Secretariat initially screens the communications. Before they even reach the Commission, those that are deemed worthy of substantive review are examined by a working group of the Subcommission, then the whole Subcommission, and then a working group of the Commission. See Tolley, , “The Concealed Crack,” pp. 432–47. For a petition to reach the Commission, therefore, it must present a very strong prima facie case, and referral to the Commission “is often interpreted as at least demonstrating that the allegations in a communication have some merit.” Shelton, , “Individual Complaint Machinery,” p. 65.

26. Tolley, “The Concealed Crack,” Table 2.

27. For a brief review of the Equitorial Guinea case seeFegley, Randall, “The UN Human Rights Commission: The Equatorial Guinea Case,” Human Rights Quarterly 3 (02 1981), pp. 3447. An on-site visit did take place, but not under the 1503 procedure and only because the offending Macias Nguema regime had been overthrown. (The rapporteur's report is available as UN document E/CN.4/1371 of 12 February 1980.) On Malawi, Haiti, and Uruguay see Commission decisions 10(XXXVI), 1984/109 and 1985/107 and E/1980/13, E/1984/14 and E/1985/ 22.

28. For a summary of recent UN public information activity and advisory services see UN documents E/CN.4/1984/23; E/CN.4/1985/9, 16, 30, 31, 32, 36; and Commission resolutions 1985/27, 30, 34.

29. Keohane, “Demand for International Regimes.”

30. Krasner, Stephen D., “United States Commercial and Monetary Policy: Unravelling the Paradox of External Strength and Internal Weakness,” in Katzenstein, Peter J., ed., Beyond Power and Plenty (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978), p. 52.

31. See Macartney, C. A., National States and National Minorities (London: Oxford University Press, 1934), pt. 2; Mair, Lucy P., The Protection of Minorities (London: Christophers, 1928); Claude, Inis L. Jr, National Minorities: An International Problem (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955); and Stone, Julius, International Guarantees of Minority Rights (London: Oxford University Press, 1932).

32. Humphrey, John P., in his recent memoir Human Rights and the United Nations: A Great Adventure (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Transnational, 1984), appositely titles his second chapter “The Catalyst of the Second World War.” Compare Henkin, Louis, “Introduction,” The International Bill of Human Rights: The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), p. 3.

33. Keohane, , “Demand for International Regimes,” p. 334.

34. I shall restrict the term European human rights regime to the norms and procedures established in these documents. This definition excludes the human rights activities of the economic communities and the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, both of which are weak, not innovative, and substantively and procedurally peripheral. On the European Communities see, for example,Pescatore, Pierre, “The Context and Significance of Fundamental Rights in the Law of the European Communities,” Human Rights Law Journal 2 (12 1981), pp. 295308. For a good, brief introduction to the European regime, see Higgins, Rosalyn, “The European Convention on Human Rights,” in Meron, Theodor, ed., Human Rights in International Law: Legal and Policy Issues (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), and Karel Vasak, “The Council of Europe,” in Vasak and Alston, International Dimensions.

35. European Commission on Human Rights, Stocktaking on the European Convention on Human Rights, The First Thirty Years: 1954 until 1984 (Strasbourg: European Commission on Human Rights, 1984), p. 312. These figures refer only to petitions registered by the Secretariat; a substantial number are routinely refused registration because they patently do not fall under the convention. Details of cases can be found in European Commission on Human Rights, Decisions and Reports.

36. Computed fromStocktaking on the European Convention on Human Rights (Strasbourg, 1982), Appendix D, Tables 3, 5, and Vasak, “Council of Europe,” Table 16.2. See also Stocktaking 1984, pp. 312, 320–24.

37. This same lesson is very clear in the UN bodies that deal with human rights. Ranged from most politicized to most judicialized, the major bodies are the General Assembly (especially its Third Committee) and ECOSOC; the Commission on Human Rights and the ECOSOC Sessional Working Group; and the Human Rights Committee and the Subcommission. Not surprisingly, these last two, groups of experts serving in their personal capacities, are, respectively, the body with the strongest (monitoring) powers and the body that is most actively and most energetically attempting to stretch the limits of the system. The uneasiness of most states with independent experts is underscored by the ECOSOC decision (resolution 9 [VI]) to transform the Commission on Human Rights from a body of members serving in their personal capacity, as it was initially constituted, to a body of national representatives selected by the Council.

38. Parties to the European Social Charter agree to a comprehensive list of nineteen rights (part I of the charter) and must agree to be legally bound by a set of these rights (specified in more detail in part II) individually selected by each state according to the rule of the “double minimum floating nucleus,” which requires acceptance of five of seven basic rights-the rights to work, to organize, to bargain collectively, to receive social security, to receive social and medical assistance, and the rights of the family to receive social, legal, and economic protection, and of migrant workers and their families to receive protection and assistance-plus others totaling 10 (of 19) full articles or 45 (of 68) numbered paragraphs. Such complexity “bears witness to the desire of the Member States of the Council of Europe to show their political unity in the social field while taking into account their economic disparities” (Vasak, , “Council of Europe,” p. 538).

39. Beddard, Ralph, Human Rights and Europe: A Study of the Machinery of Human Rights Protection of the Council of Europe, 2d ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1980), pp. 174, 175.

40. One particularly interesting indirect effect is the impact of regime norms on new and revised European constitutions. See Starck, Christian, “Europe's Fundamental Rights in Their Newest Garb,” Human Rights Law Journal 3 (1982), pp. 103–40.

41. For a thorough and up-to-date discussion of the procedures of the Inter-American regime, see Buergenthal, Thomas and Norris, Robert E., Human Rights: The Inter-American System, 3 vols. (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana, 19821984 and updates). More briefly, see Thomas Buergenthal, “The Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights,” in Meron, International Law.

42. A recent recommendation to human rights lawyers to choose the Commission when possible among available competent bodies has underscored its strength. See Robert E. Norris, “The Individual Petition Procedure for the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights,” in Hannum, , Human Rights Practice, p. 127.

43. For representative statements and defenses of the theory see Krasner, Stephen D., “State Power and the Structure of International Trade,” World Politics 28 (04 1976), pp. 317–47; and Keohane, Robert O., “The Theory of Hegemonic Stability and Changes in International Regimes,” in Holsti, Ole R., Siverson, Randolph M., and George, Alexander L., eds. Change in the International System (Boulder: Westview, 1981), pp. 131–62. For representative critiques see Stein, Arthur A., “The Hegemon's Dilemma: Great Britain, the United States, and the International Economic Order,” International Organization 38 (Spring 1984), pp. 355–86; Lake, David A., “Beneath the Commerce of Nations: A Theory of International Economic Structures,” International Studies Quarterly 28 (06 1984), pp. 143–70; and McKeown, Timothy J., “Hegemonic Stability and 19-Century Tariff Levels in Europe,” International Organization 37 (Winter 1983), pp. 7391. The most recent, and most subtle, version (or modification) of the theory is in Keohane, Robert O., After Hegemony (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).

44. The best analysis of the charter is Gittleman, Richard, “The Banjul Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights: A Legal Analysis,” in Welch, Claude E. Jr, and Meltzer, Ronald I., eds., Human Rights and Development in Africa (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). See also, Edward Kannyo, “The Banjul Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights: Genesis and Political Background,” in Welch and Meltzer, Human Rights and Development; and Ojo, Olusola and Sesay, Amadu, “The O.A.U. and Human Rights: Prospects for the 1980s and Beyond,” Human Rights Quarterly 8 (02 1986), pp. 89103.

45. The Banjul Charter, however, at least clearly distinguishes between human rights (i.e., inalienable rights of individuals) and the rights of peoples, which helps to clarify the potential conflict between these quite different types of rights. In contrast, in UN circles peoples' rights are usually treated as merely a new generation of human rights. On such misguided tendencies, with special reference to the so-called right to development, seeDonnelly, Jack, “In Search of the Unicorn: The Jurisprudence and Politics of the Right to Development,” California Western International Law Journal 15 (Summer 1985), pp. 473509.

46. Compare Yamane, Hiroko, “Asia and Human Rights,” in Vasak, and Alston, , International Dimensions, p. 664. See also A/37/422, Annex and General Assembly resolution 39/116.

47. Robertson, A. H., Human Rights in the World, 2d ed. (New York: St. Martin's, 1982), p. 164.

48. Boutros-Gail, B., “The League of Arab States,” in Vasak, and Alston, , International Dimensions, pp. 577–81.

49. For general discussions of human rights in the ILO, see Haas, Ernst B., Human Rights and International Action (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1970); Nicolas Valticos; “The International Labour Organization,” in Vasak and Alston, International Dimensions; Lee Swepson, “Human Rights Complaint Procedures of the International Labour Organization,” in Hannum, Human Rights Practice; Haas, Ernst B., Beyond the Nation State (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1964), chaps. 9, 11, and 12; and Francis Wolf, “Human Rights and the International Labour Organization,” in Meron, International Law.

50. There is an established procedure for interstate complaints, but it is very rarely used. Of more importance is the special complaint procedure for freedom of association cases arising under conventions 87 and 98, which works through national and international trade union complaints, reviewed by the Governing Body's Standing Committee on Freedom of Association. See Haas, Beyond the Nation State, chap. 12.

51. The controversy over Article 4's requirement of suppression of speech and organizations that incite racial hatred or discrimination should not obscure the important and otherwise widely accepted substantive provisions of the convention.

52. Even in UN human rights organs, subtle denigrations of women's rights still occur regularly; for example, the Secretariat's referral of family separation communications to the Commission on the Status of Women, as if they involved women's issues only (see E/1984/15, para. 69), and the Human Rights Committee's lumping of questions of family life and sexual discrimination in its review of issues considered under the Optional Protocol (see A/39/40).

53. The following discussion draws heavily on Galey, Margaret E., “International Enforcement of Women's Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly 6 (11 1984), pp. 463–90, which is particularly good on procedures and up-to-date through the spring of 1984. See also Hevener, Natalie Kaufman, “An Analysis of Gender-based Treaty Law: Contemporary Developments in Historical Perspective,” Human Rights Quarterly 8 (02 1986), pp. 7078; and Reanda, Laura, “Human Rights and Women's Rights: The United Nations Approach,” Human Rights Quarterly 3 (05 1981), pp. 1131.

54. On the development of the communications procedure, seeGaley, , “International Enforcement,” pp. 465–75. In 1984, the Working Group on Communications reviewed 121 communications and brought to the attention of the full Commission the disturbing trend in the communications of “widespread physical violence against women while in official custody” (E/ 1984/15, para. 70).

55. Ibid., p. 487.

56. For Gramsci's analysis of hegemony seeHoare, Quintin and Smith, Geoffrey Nowell, eds., Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (New York: International Publishers, 1971), pp. 5265, 76–84, 102–6, 169–85, 210, 228–29, and passim. On hegemonic stability, see note 43 above. Keohane, After Hegemony, does at least mention Gramsci, but this is clearly the exception in the hegemonic stability literature. And even Keohane gives relatively scant attention to the ideological or superstructural side of hegemony, which seems particularly important to explaining the maintenance of established regimes during the decline of a previously dominant state and the creation of regimes in the absence of dominant material power exercised by a single state. It may be that the very immateriality of the interdependence underlying human rights regimes is important to seeing this side of hegemony in an especially clear light.

57. Stein, , “The Hegemon's Dilemma,” pp. 364–66; Ruggie, John Gerard, “International Regimes, Transactions and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic Order,” International Organization 36 (Spring 1982), pp. 379415.

58. Just what makes an idea hegemonic is an interesting and important issue, though one that obviously lies well beyond our scope here. Gramsci suggests that hegemony arises from the conjunction of the development of material forces of production and largely accidental and local factors of history and human action. In the case of human rights, we can perhaps see an analogous process of technologically induced interdependence and changing standards of national political legitimacy being crystalized by the shock of Hitler.

59. Strange, , “Cave! hie dragones,” p. 480.

60. This is true even of most of the best and most recent legal literature, which almost entirely ignores politics. See, for example, Hannum, Human Rights Practice, and Meron, International Law, which are excellent volumes representing the work of the best American lawyers in the field but which almost never consider law in relation to politics. Even the world public order approach of McDougal and his associates, which is explicitly oriented toward policy, pays remarkably little attention to either national or international politics. See, for example,McDougal, Myres, Lasswell, Harold, and Chen, Lung-chu, Human Rights and World Public Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), the magnum ppus of this approach in its application to human rights.

61. See note 10 above.

62. Strange, , “Cave! hie dragones,” p. 480.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed