The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority

1st Edition

Edited by Bruce Cronin, Ian Hurd


264 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Observes how the growth of the political authority of the Council challenges the basic idea that states have legal autonomy over their domestic affairs. The individual essays survey the implications that flow from these developments in the crucial policy areas of: terrorism; economic sanctions; the prosecution of war crimes; human rights; humanitarian intervention; and the use of force. In each of these areas, the evidence shows a complex and fluid relation between state sovereignty, the power of the United Nations, and the politics of international legitimation. Demonstrating how world politics has come to accommodate the contradictory institutions of international authority and international anarchy, this book makes an important contribution to how we understand and study international organizations and international law. Written by leading experts in the field, this volume will be of strong interest to students and scholars of international relations, international organizations, international law and global governance.


‘This is a highly welcome volume by a distinguished group of scholars that provides a clear-eyed assessment of the workings of the UN Security Council. By marrying a thoroughgoing assessment of the concept of international authority, diverse theoretical perspectives, and a sharp understanding of the workings of the Security Council, this volume invites us to use the concept of authority to rethink what we think we know about the UN Security Council, and to use the UN Security Council to re-examine the nature of international authority.’

Michael Barnett, Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and adjunct professor of political science, University of Minnesota, USA

‘A volume of thoughtful essays culminating in a stimulating chapter of conclusions by the editors.’

David M. Malone, author of The International Struggle over Iraq: Politics in the UN Security Council and High Commissioner of Canada, India

Table of Contents

Part 1: Concepts 1. Introduction Bruce Cronin and Ian Hurd 2. Theories and Tests of International Authority Ian Hurd Part 2: Sources of Council Authority 3. Delegation and the Nature of Security Council Authority Erik Voeten 4. International Consensus and the Changing Legal Authority of the Security Council Bruce Cronin 5. The Security Council as Legislature Ian Johnstone 6. The Security Council and the Challenges and Perils of Normative Overstretch George Andropolous Part 3: The Exercise of Council Authority 7. Creating Authority by the Council: The International Criminal Tribunals Wayne Sandholtz 8. NGOs and the Security Council: Authority All Around But For Whose Interest? Jonathan Graubart 9. The Uniting for Peace Resolution and Other Ways of Circumventing the Authority of the Security Council Mitushi Das and Jean Krasno Part 4: Conclusion 10. Assessing the Council’s Authority Bruce Cronin and Ian Hurd

About the Editors

Bruce Cronin is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Master’s Program in International Relations at the City College of New York, USA. He is the author of Institutions for the Common Good: International Protection Regimes in International Society and Community Under Anarchy: Transnational Identity and the Evolution of Cooperation.

Ian Hurd is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, USA. He is the author of After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power in the UN Security Council.

About the Series

Security and Governance

International Editorial Board

Mohammed Ayoob, Michigan State University, Richard Caplan, University of Oxford
Neta Crawford, Boston University, Stuart Croft, University of Warwick, Donatella della Porta, European University Institute, Michael Doyle, Columbia University, Lynn Eden, Stanford University, Takashi Inoguchi, Chuo University and University of Tokyo, Elizabeth Kier, University of Washington, Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Bruce Russett, Yale University, Timothy Sisk, University of Denver, Janice Gross Stein, University of Toronto, Stephen Stedman, Stanford University and Mark Zacher, University of British Columbia

This series publishes high quality original research that reflects broadening conceptions of security and the growing nexus between the study of governance issues and security issues. Scholarship published in the series will meet the highest academic standards, and will be both theoretically innovative and policy-relevant. Work appearing in the series will be at the cutting edge of debates taking place at the intersection of security studies and governance studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General