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The variety of institutionalised inequalities: Stratificatory interlinkages in interwar international society

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2019

Thomas Müller*
Affiliation:
Bielefeld University, Germany
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author. Email: thomas.mueller@uni-bielefeld.de

Abstract

This article argues that the research on institutionalised inequalities pays too little attention to competing understandings of stratification and the variety of interlinkages between the patterns of stratification and the institutions of international society. Building on the English School and theories of stratification, it develops an analytical framework that conceptualises these ‘stratificatory interlinkages’ as a twofold decision: firstly for a coupling – instead of a decoupling – of institutional characteristics to patterns of stratification and secondly for a specific classification scheme and type of interlinkage. The article draws on empirical examples from the League of Nations and other interwar international institutions to demonstrate that different understandings of stratification and classification schemes were used for different institutional purposes, for example, voting rights and the apportionment of budget expenses. In addition, it proposes four analytical dimensions that allow mapping the variety of classification schemes and types of interlinkages that were chosen for institutionalised inequalities. The dimensions relate to the composition of the reference group, the decision-making about the classification scheme, the institutional purposes, and the institutional form of the interlinkage. The variety of stratificatory interlinkages entails a more variable and diverse relation between stratification and institutions than usually assumed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2019 

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References

1 See Bull, Hedley, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, 3rd edn (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2002)Google Scholar; Clark, Ian, Hegemony in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Keene, Edward, ‘International hierarchy and the origins of the modern practice of intervention’, Review of International Studies, 39:5 (2013), pp. 1077–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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3 For an overview, see Caroline Fehl and Katja Freistein, ‘Institutional Mechanisms of Global Inequality Reproduction: SFB 882 “From Heterogeneities to Inequalities”’, Working Paper Series, No. 37 (Bielefeld, 2014), pp. 5–11, 16–19. See also Fehl, Caroline, ‘Unequal power and the institutional design of global governance: the case of arms control’, Review of International Studies, 40:3 (2014), pp. 505–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pouliot, Vincent, ‘Setting status in stone: the negotiation of interational institutional privileges’, in Paul, T. V., Larson, Deborah Welch, and Wohlforth, William C. (eds), Status in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 192215CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Mattern, Janice Bially and Zarakol, Ayşe, ‘Hierarchies in world politics’, International Organization, 70:3 (2016), pp. 623–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Pouliot, Vincent, International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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5 See notably Bull, The Anarchical Society; Simpson, Gerry, Great Powers and Outlaw States: Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Donnelly, Jack, ‘Sovereign inequalities and hierarchy in anarchy: American power and international society’, European Journal of International Relations, 12:2 (2006), pp. 139–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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9 See Bially Mattern and Zarakol, ‘Hierarchies in world politics’, pp. 627–9, who label this perspective the ‘narrow conception’ of hierarchy. This understanding of hierarchy notably characterises Waltz, Kenneth N., Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979)Google Scholar; Bull, The Anarchical Society; Donnelly, ‘Sovereign inequalities and hierarchy in anarchy’; and Lake, David A., Hierarchy in International Relations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009)Google Scholar.

10 This perspective notably informs Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States and Donnelly, ‘Sovereign inequalities and hierarchy in anarchy’. See also Waltz, Theory of International Politics, p. 88 and Bull, The Anarchical Society, p. 35.

11 See Koremenos, Lipson, and Snidal, ‘The rational design of international institutions’ and Blake and Payton, ‘Balancing design objectives’.

12 See Larson, Deborah Welch and Shevchenko, Alexei, ‘Status seekers: Chinese and Russian responses to U.S. primacy’, International Security, 34:4 (2010), pp. 6395CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Paul, Welch Larson, and Wohlforth (eds), Status in World Politics.

13 This narrow perspective also informs Fehl's (‘Unequal power’) differentiation of three forms of institutionalised inequality – hierarchy, exclusivity, and informality – in arms control negotiations.

14 Bull, The Anarchical Society, p. 36. See also Wight, Martin, Systems of States (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1977), p. 42Google Scholar and Keene, ‘The naming of powers’.

15 See Keene, ‘The naming of powers’.

16 See Keene, ‘The standard of “civilization”’. For the history of the standard of civilisation, see also Anghie, Antony, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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18 Pouliot, ‘Setting status in stone’, p. 195. See also Guzzini, Stefano, ‘The concept of power: a constructivist analysis’, Millennium, 33:3 (2005), pp. 495521CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 This multidimensionality has been emphasised by Edward Keene (using a neo-Weberian approach) and Vincent Pouliot (drawing on Bourdieu). See Keene, ‘The standard of “civilization”’, pp. 663–6 and Pouliot, International Pecking Orders. See also Bukovansky, Mlada et al. , Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 See Pouliot, ‘Setting status in stone’.

21 See besides Fehl and Freistein, ‘Institutional Mechanisms’ also Caroline Fehl and Katja Freistein, Institutionalised Power: How International Organisations Produce Inequality, paper presented at the ISA Conference in Baltimore, 21–25 February 2017, pp. 17–25.

22 For instance, Keene focuses on the level of primary institutions and international order and Pouliot (International Pecking Orders) on the reproduction of ‘pecking orders’ through multilateral practices. Moreover, the literature on governance by numbers / indicators focuses on the effects of quantifying governance practices of secondary institutions on patterns of stratification. See, for instance, Broome, André and Quirk, Joel, ‘Governing the world at a distance: the practice of global benchmarking’, Review of International Studies, 41:5 (2015), pp. 819–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 For an overview over sociological theories of stratification, see Grusky, David B. (ed.), Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, 3rd edn (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2008)Google Scholar. Sociologists sometimes speak synonymously of social inequality. It should be noted that sociologists often treat individuals – and not states – as basis of global inequality studies. See Therborn, Göran (ed.), Inequalities of the World (London: Verso, 2006)Google Scholar.

24 See Bourdieu, Pierre, La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1979)Google Scholar and Weber, Max, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie: Fünfte, revidierte Auflage, besorgt von Johannes Winckelmann (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1972), pp. 531–40Google Scholar. For a discussion on how Bourdieu and Weber can enrich English School research on the stratification of international society and its expansion, see Keene, ‘The standard of “civilization”’, pp. 659–63.

25 Sauder, Michael, Lynn, Freda, and Podolny, Joel M., ‘Status: Insights from organizational sociology’, Annual Review of Sociology, 38 (2012), 267–83 (p. 277)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

26 Fehl and Freistein (Institutionalised Power) similarly focus on practices of categorisation to grasp how international organisations incorporate external inequalities into their institutional structures.

27 Equal distributions of rights have always both inclusive and exclusive effects (for example, equal rights for all citizens exclude foreigners, equal rights for all humans exclude animals). See Rae, Douglas, Equalities (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1981)Google Scholar.

28 Bourdieu, Pierre, ‘The social space and the genesis of groups’, Theory and Society, 14:6 (1985), pp. 723–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

29 The close links between great power status and privileged positions in the League of Nations and United Nations point in this direction.

30 See Clark, Ian, Legitimacy in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 4Google Scholar; Bourdieu, La distinction and Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, pp. 531–40.

31 See, in particular, Clark, Legitimacy in International Society, pp. 1–30.

32 Stratification is but one form of social differentiation. See Albert, Mathias and Buzan, Barry, ‘Differentiation: a sociological approach to International Relations theory’, European Journal of International Relations, 16:3 (2010), pp. 315–37Google Scholar.

33 For histories of the League of Nations, see Walters, F. P., A History of the League of Nations, repr. (London and New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1969)Google Scholar, and Henig, Ruth, The League of Nations: Makers of the Modern World: The Peace Conferences of 1919–23 and Their Aftermath (London: Haus Publishing Ltd, 2010)Google Scholar.

34 The three case studies were selected because they address key characteristics of the institutional design of the League (namely decision-making procedures, membership rules, and budget contributions) and, moreover, feature a variance of stratificatory understandings. These three characteristics, though, mostly relate to the political activities of the League. For its activities in the international economic and financial realm, which grew in importance over time, see Clavin, Patricia, Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

35 For the establishment of the League, and especially the debates on the form of the Council, see Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States, pp. 154–9; Henig, The League of Nations, pp. 25–53 and MacMillan, Margaret, Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (London: John Murray Publishers, 2001)Google Scholar.

36 David Hunter Miller, the legal adviser of the US delegation, edited the records of the establishment of the League of Nations in two volumes, the first of which comprises his notes: Miller, David H., The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume One (New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928)Google Scholar. The second volume contains the various drafts and minutes of the meetings in Paris 1919: (ed.), David H. Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume Two (New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928)Google Scholar. Wilson's fourth draft can be found in the second volume: ibid., pp. 145–54 (p. 146).

37 Ibid., p. 68.

Ibid

38 Ibid., pp. 23–60. Smuts was then also appointed as one of the two representatives of the British Empire in the League Commission at the peace conference (with Lord Cecil as the second representative).

Ibid

39 Ibid., p. 41.

Ibid

40 Quoted in Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume One, p. 162. Hymans, who represented a state that had strongly suffered from German aggression, assumed the role of a key defender of the rights of smaller states during the conference. See Marks, Sally, Paul Hymans, Belgium. Makers of the Modern World: the Peace Conferences of 1919–23 and their Aftermath (London: Haus Publishing, 2010)Google Scholar.

41 See the arguments, especially of the Brazilian delegate Pessoa, in the third and ninth commission meeting (see the minutes in Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume Two, pp. 260, 302, 337–8). In the meeting with the neutral states, Chile likewise proposed a non-great powers-based electorate (see ibid., p. 624).

42 Ibid., pp. 302, 625, 634.

Ibid

43 While ‘great powers’ semantics were omnipresent in the committee's discussions and draft Covenants, the final draft did not use the notion but referred to ‘Principal Allied and Associated Powers’ (Article 4).

44 See Myers, Denys P., ‘Representation in League of Nations Council’, American Journal of International Law, 20:4 (1926), pp. 689713CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

45 On the Council Crisis, see Walters, A History of the League of Nations, pp. 316–27 and Fischer, Thomas, Die Souveränität der Schwachen: Lateinamerika und der Völkerbund, 1920–1936 (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 2012), pp. 223–63Google Scholar.

46 See also Henig, The League of Nations, pp. 51–3. For the broader problematique of the relation between colonial empires and the League of Nations, see also Mazower, Mark, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

47 The fifth dominion, Newfoundland, was considered to be too small and insignificant to be granted the same level of representation as the ‘larger dominions’ and India during the negotiations. It was also excluded from the list of original members of the League and did afterwards never apply for membership in the League. See Gilmore, William C., ‘Newfoundland and the League of Nations’, The Canadian Yearbook of International Law, 18 (1981), pp. 201–17 (pp. 211–12, 214)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The salience of political significance and population size as criteria for membership is further underlined by India's inclusion, as its 300 million inhabitants were a key argument for its eventual member status. See Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume One, p. 492.

48 See Sharp, Alan, The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking after the First World War, 1919–1923, 2nd edn (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2008), p. 62CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 See Nations, League of, ‘The Covenant of the League of Nations’, Official Journal (February 1920), pp. 312 (p. 11)Google Scholar.

50 Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume One, p. 493. For India's peculiar status, see Legg, Stephen, ‘An international anomaly? Sovereignty, the League of Nations, and India's princely geographies’, Journal of Historical Geography, 43 (2014), pp. 96110CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

51 See Miller, The Drafting of the Covenant, Volume One, pp. 479–82.

52 Lloyd, Lorna, ‘“Another national milestone”: Canada's 1927 election to the Council of the League of Nations’, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 21:4 (2010), pp. 650–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

53 See Legg, ‘An international anomaly?’, p. 100.

54 For the mandates system, see Anghie, Imperialism, pp. 115–95 and Pedersen, Susan, ‘The meaning of the mandates system: an argument’, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 32:4 (2006), pp. 560–82Google Scholar.

55 For the negotiations on the mandates systems and the ‘potent brew of liberal internationalism, imperial humanitarianism, and sheer territorial acquisitiveness’ that animated its genesis, see Pedersen, Susan, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 1744CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The quote is from p. 27. Note that Smuts's initial plan for the mandates system related not to colonies but to the eastern European countries that were formerly part of the Austrian-Hungarian, Ottoman, or Russian empires (for which then instead a system of minority treaties was developed). See Anghie, Imperialism, p. 119.

56 Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (LoN OJ, February 1920), p. 9.

57 See Pedersen, The Guardians, pp. 261–86. As Pedersen notes, Iraq effectively remained a British client state despite its newly recognised formal independence.

58 For the UPU scheme, see Hill, Norman L., ‘The allocation of expenses in international organization’, The American Political Science Review, 21:1 (1927), pp. 128–37 (pp. 131–2)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

59 See Singer, J. D., ‘The finances of the League of Nations’, International Organization, 13:2 (1959), pp. 255–73 (p. 264)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

60 For the negotiations on the allocation of budget contributions, see Ames, Herbert, The League of Nations: Financial Administration and Apportionment of Expenses (Geneva: League of Nations Information Section, 1923)Google Scholar; Hill, ‘The allocation of expenses in international organization’, pp. 132–7 and Singer, ‘The finances of the League of Nations’, pp. 264–7. The Secretary-General is quoted by Ames, The League of Nations, p. 27.

61 See also Walters, A History of the League of Nations, pp. 134–5.

62 For an overview of international organisations in the interwar period, see Basdevant, Suzanne, ‘Unions internationales’, in Lapradelle, A. d. and Niboyet, J.-P. (eds), Répertoire de droit international. Tome X: Nationalité des sociétés – Zones franches (Paris: Librairie du Recueil Sirey, 1931), pp. 704–17Google Scholar and Herren, Madeleine, Internationale Organisationen seit 1865: Eine Globalgeschichte der internationalen Ordnung (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2009), pp. 5084Google Scholar.

63 Notably, its founding members included India, then still a colony, as well as two Soviet republics that were formally part of the Soviet Union (Byelorussia, Ukraine). See Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States, pp. 188–9, fn. p. 116.

64 See Symons, Jonathan, ‘The legitimation of international organisations: Examining the identity of the communities that grant legitimacy’, Review of International Studies, 37:5 (2011), pp. 2557–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

65 See Myers, Denys P., ‘Representation in public international organs’, The American Journal of International Law, 8:1 (1914), pp. 81108CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

66 See Riches, Cromwell A., Majority Rule in International Organization: A Study of the Trend from Unanimity to Majority Decision (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1940), p. 248Google Scholar.

67 See ibid., pp. 272–81.

ibid

68 For the negotiations and the resulting compromise, see Tworek, Heidi J. S., ‘A union of nations or administrations? Voting rights, representation, and sovereignty at the international telecommunications union in the 1930s’, in Balbi, Gabrielle and Fickers, Andreas (eds), ITU as Actor, Arena, and Antenna of Techno-Diplomacy (De Gruyter, forthcoming, 2019)Google Scholar.

69 See Riches, Majority Rule in International Organization, pp. 281–7.

70 See ibid., pp. 256–7.

ibid

71 See Basdevant, ‘Unions internationales’, p. 715.

72 For the International Institute of Agriculture, see Riches, Majority Rule in International Organization, pp. 260–7. For the similar example of the International Sanitary Convention, see Hill, ‘The allocation of expenses in international organization’, p. 132.

73 See Riches, Majority Rule in International Organization, p. 234 and Basdevant, ‘Unions internationales’, p. 715.

74 See Ames, The League of Nations, p. 23.

75 See also Tooze, Adam, The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order, 1916–1931 (London: Penguin Books, 2014), pp. 261–2Google Scholar.

76 See Koo, Wellington, Voting Procedures in International Political Organizations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1947), p. 79Google Scholar.

77 See for instance Clark, Hegemony in International Society, Bukovansky et al., Special Responsibilities; Fehl, ‘Unequal power’; and Pouliot, ‘Setting status in stone’. Bially Mattern and Zarakol, ‘Hierarchies in world politics’ likewise seem to equate institutionalised inequalities primarily with authority relations.

78 Fehl and Freistein, ‘Institutional Mechanisms’, p. 30.

79 Bukovansky et al., Special Responsibilities focus on ‘special responsibilities’, but essentially conceptualise them as legitimate power, and thus neglect the differences in the legitimacy of rights- and duty-oriented stratificatory interlinkages. While Fehl and Freistein (‘Institutional Mechanisms’) move beyond the authority-relations focus of the hierarchy literature by treating institutionalised inequalities as distributions of goods, they too miss these differences in legitimacy.

80 See Pouliot, ‘Setting status in stone’.

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