Persuasion in International Institutions

Neatly combining a theoretical argument with empirical studies, this paper attempts to conceptualise persuasion in the context of opinion formation in international institutions.

ARENA Working Paper 14/2002 (html)

Jeffrey T. Checkel

Why study persuasion in international institutions? Much of the recent work in this field has studied persuasion’s causal role in networks promoted by international institutions writ large (Keck and Sikkink 1998; Risse, Ropp and Sikkink 1999). While excellent, these studies have largely conceived of and documented persuasion as strategic manipulation or what Riker many years ago termed heresthetics (Riker 1996, chapter 1; see also Checkel 2000b). My interest here is to explore a role for thicker forms of persuasion that may occur within institutions and international organizations (see also Johnston 2001). The analysis proceeds in four steps. I begin by saying a bit about the toolkits upon which I draw to theorize persuasion. Second, I put ”persuasion in context” (Gourevitch, Katzenstein and Keohane 2002) by considering institutional/organizational settings, including the key roles played by size and depoliticization. Third, I contextualize persuasion further by examining the influence of audiences and noviceness. The essay closes by highlighting cutting-edge challenges for students of persuasion in international institutions.

Tags: socialization, methodological issues, institutions, sociological institutionalism
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM