Research Seminar: "International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy"
CAST Research Seminar with Associate Professor Vincent Pouliot (McGill University), Director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS)
The principle of sovereign equality notwithstanding, in any multilateral setting, some state representatives weigh much more heavily than others. The practice of diplomacy is structured by a largely unspoken, though very real hierarchy of standing that practitioners often call the “pecking order.” What are the social forces fuelling such stratification dynamics on the world stage? This research inquires into the practice and politics of multilateral diplomacy in order to better understand international hierarchy as it takes shape inside the chambers of two prominent international organizations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations. In the multilateral diplomatic process, the struggle for practical mastery generates hierarchical patterns in and through practice. This interactional process is structured by the peculiar relational form of the institution of permanent representation, as well as by the positional strategies that inhere in the diplomatic field. Overall, the research shows why multilateralism, an increasingly prevalent practice in 21st century global governance, may not be the great equalizer that we like to think it is.
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