1st Edition

Non-State Actors at the United Nations Contesting Sovereignty

By Jan Lüdert Copyright 2023
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the role and relevance of non-state actors (NSAs) in the international system by analyzing the ways these actors gain influence in the United Nations (UN). Offering a systematic, theoretical, and empirical account of how NSAs contest and potentially change state sovereignty through the UN the author considers the successes and failures of national liberation movements and indigenous peoples and examines how and under what conditions such a challenge is possible. This book will be of great interest to scholars and graduate students in the fields of international law, politics, history, human rights, and governance. It will be especially useful to those with an interest in the proliferation of non-state actors in the international system and the role and relevance of Intergovernmental Organizations.

    2.Contesting Sovereignty: Conceptualizations and Theories
    3.National Liberation Movements at the UN
    4.Indigenous Peoples at the UN


    Dr Jan Lüdert is the Head of Programs at the German Centre for Research and Innovation New York City. He previously served as Associate Professor at City University of Seattle where he was the inaugural Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Jan held positions as Visiting Research Scholar at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at City University of New York's Graduate Center as well as Research Associate with the DFG 'Dynamics of Security' project at Philipps Marburg University. He is an alumnus of Seattle's World Affairs Council Fellows and UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues Scholar programs. 

    "While non-state actors have proliferated in contemporary global governance, Lüdert demonstrates clearly how essential they have been since the establishment of the United Nations in accelerating decolonization and fostering the rights of indigenous peoples. By probing the normative impact of non-states on challenging state sovereignty, this book extracts essential insights for addressing such current existential threats as climate change and pandemics."
    -Thomas G. Weiss, CUNY Graduate Center

    "International Relations scholars are increasingly attending to non-state and sub-state forms of agency, revealing a richer tapestry of transnational political activity. By focusing on ways that non-state actors contest the foundational institution of sovereignty at the United Nations, Jan Lüdert’s book provides an important addition to this growing body of research. The findings are nuanced and thought-provoking, and presented in clear and engaging prose. Lüdert concludes that 'State sovereignty is not only what states make of it— it is mutable when [non-state actors] can engage [intergovernmental organisations] to alter normative standards and prevailing practices of state sovereignty.' This book thus offers a theoretically and empirically rich examination of sovereignty’s inherent complexity and offers valuable guidance—and motivation—for future research and policy-making. The combination of theoretical sophistication and careful treatment of the case studies will appeal to scholars of international relations, global governance, and international law, as well as practitioners working within governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, and civil society."

    -Adam Bower Director, Centre for Global Law and Governance, University of St Andrews

    "Sovereignty as one of the core concepts in international relations and the north-south-encounter remains contested since answering how state sovereignty is contested requires investigating how authority  works relationally, historically, territorially, and politically. The book "Non-State Actors at the United Nations" offers a reflective contribution to the debate by focusing on the understanding and influence of these actors in various dimensions of challenging state sovereignty. The book thus not only offers a theoretical venue but also empirical insights into the ways national liberation movements and indigenous groups question the existing sovereignty and petition for their rights. The book is not only an important part of international law readings, but also political science and international organizations and helps to understand the long term processes of international(ized) politics." 

    -Maria Ketzmerick, Akademische Rätin, Lehrstuhl für Soziologie Afrikas, Universität Bayreuth

    "Professor Lüdert defines what we may consider as a more sophisticated form of traditional lobbying, and avoids using the term to ensure attention is given to the long-term efforts by NSA to be heard. More importantly, throughout the book, we need to question the regular impact and long-term value of these efforts in ‘contesting sovereignty’. While long-time efforts are extremely well documented, there are some triumphs, albeit limited. The UN is a massive international bureaucracy, with many sovereign players, and only a handful of decision-makers: The Security Council. As such, all of the quixotic efforts by NSA have at best achieved limited success, particularly when measured against their effort. This book is of extreme value to study, understand, and perhaps redefine how NSA could be more successful." 

    -Jessica De Alba-Ulloa, Director, Anahuac Center for Research in International Relations, Universidad Anáhuac México