|POLE PAPER SERIES||ISSN 1370-4508||Vol. 1, No. 4, October 1995|
Analyzing Non-State Actors in World Politicsby Gustaaf Geeraerts
One of the most prominent features of the global political system in the second half of the twentieth century is the significant surge in numbers and importance of non-state entities. With the growth of interdependence and communication between societies, a great variety of new organizational structures, operating on a regional and global basis, have been established. The rise of these transnationally organized non-state actors and their growing involvement in world politics challenge the assumptions of traditional approaches to international relations which assume that states are the only important units of the international system. While some authors recognize that these non-sovereign entities and their activities have led to fundamental changes in world politics, others maintain that the structure of the international system can still be treated on the basis of inter-state relations.
A first aim of this paper is to analyze how the main paradigms in the field of international relations approach actors in world politics. Scholars debate whether non-state entities should be treated as distinct and autonomous actors or merely as instruments of states. If we look at the latest theoretical developments in the field, however, there seems to be a definite movement toward a mixed-actor perspective, viz. a view of the international system based on the coexistence of states and non-state actors.
A second aim is to develop a new typology of non-state actors. In doing so we hope to offer a way out of the confusion which reigns supreme in past efforts at classification of the actors under consideration. Scholars argue over how to catalogue and define the variety of new organizational structures that have emerged. The definition of a transnational organization, in particular, is approached in a number of different ways. After reviewing the major typologies of non-state actors that have been proposed in the literature, we develop a scheme for classifying non-state actors which is more in line with recent developments and offers the ability to encompass some of the more complex organizations that are neither purely governmental nor purely private in nature.
1 . Actors in World Politics: Contending Theoretical Approaches
1.1 Actors in the Classical Realist Paradigm
Since the end of World War II, Realism, also known as the power-politics school of thought, has dominated the field of international relations. Although it faces sustained challenge, Realism continues to provide for a large number of scholars and foreign policy makers the basic assumptions for the analysis of world politics (Smith, 1989, p. 5). This is evidenced by its revival in the 1980s under the name of Neorealism. (1)
The ideas of Realism date as far back as Thucydides whose History of the Peloponnesian War is recognized as the first attempt to explain the origins of international conflict in terms of the dynamics of power-politics (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 339). As a distinctive paradigm, however, Realism emerged after World War II as a challenge to the Idealist school of thought that dominated the interwar period and whose overriding aim had been the prevention of another World War (Smith, 1989, pp. 5-6). (2)
World War II brought the realist perspective to the centre of Anglo-American thinking on international affairs (Keohane, 1986, p. 9; Hollis & Smith, 1992). The pursuit of hegemony and world conquest by Nazism had put into question the effectiveness of international institutions and stressed the role of power in world politics. It was generally believed that one of the main causes of World War II was to be found in the našve legalistic and moralistic premises of idealism, as exemplified by ideas such as collective security (Kegley and Wittkopf, 1989, p. 15). Although Idealism continued to have a certain influence in World Politics after World War II, as evidenced by the establishment of the United Nations, the realist approach superseded it, especially after the advent of the Cold War (Maghoori & Ramberg, 1982, p. 11). (3) At that time, most countries believed that peace could and should be attained, not through appeasement, but through military strength as the state's inherent drive is the pursuit of national power.
The development of Realism as a distinctive paradigm in international relations has been most clearly identified with the 'founding' works of E.H. Carr, The Twentieth Year's Crisis (1939), and Hans Morgenthau's Politics among Nations (1948). These works developed what Morgenthau called 'political Realism' in a clear effort to challenge idealist and liberal writers on international affairs. Following Keohane (1989, p. 40) this early or 'classical' Realism may be said to be based on three fundamental assumptions:
Although these assumptions do not establish a genuine scientific basis, they had a definite appeal in the sense that they were promptly applicable to the practical problems of international relations. As Keohane (1986, p. 7) contends, they 'provide a readily comprehensible set of steps to be followed by those seeking to understand and deal with potential threats to the security of their states'. This in all probability also explains partly why Realism has been the most accepted approach to international affairs since the Peace of Westphalia legitimized the state system in 1648.
The key to understanding the assumptions of political Realism lies in the concept of power. Morgenthau (1949, p. 13) contends that, 'international politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power'. Moreover: 'All political policy seeks either to keep power, to increase power, or to demonstrate power' (Morgenthau, 1949, p. 21). As states alone have the necessary resources to exercise power, they are consequently the most important actors. In Morgenthau's view the obvious measure of a nation's power is found in military strength. Such power is the main determinant for the place of state actors in the hierarchically-arranged international system the agenda of which is dominated by security concerns (Morgenthau, 1949, p. 54).
Because the state constitutes the only significant actor in international affairs, realists consider that this field is best analyzed in terms of interstate relations (Grieco, 1988). The state, acting through its government, is seen as a unitary and rational actor which pursues, above all, national interests and competes in this matter with other nation-states in an environment characterized by anarchy (Russett and Starr, 1989, p. 28). Realists maintain that governments act rationally because they have ordered preferences. Governments calculate the costs and benefits of all alternative policies so as to choose those practices that maximize their interests (Keohane, 1986, p. 11; Lieshout, 1992, pp. 40-54).
According to realists, actors in world politics are defined on the basis of three main criteria: sovereignty, recognition of statehood, and the control of territory and population (Hocking and Smith, 1990, p. 80). Other entities on the international scene cannot be seen as distinct and autonomous entities because they do not combine these three essentials for actorness. International organizations, such as the United Nations, are characterized as instruments or extensions of states with little influence on nation-state interactions (Grieves, 1979, p. 4). Other non-state actors, be they multinational corporations or transnationally organized groups such as professional, cultural and terrorist associations, are hardly considered at all (Archer, 1992, p. 85). Realism, according to Young (1972, p. 126), is based on 'essentially homogeneous political systems with regard to type of actor'.
1.2 Actors in the Liberal-Pluralist Paradigm
The assumptions of classical Realism have been challenged throughout the evolution of the field of international relations. According to Steve Smith (1989, p. 12)
the history of the subject until the 1970s is really one of self-conscious rejection of realism, with scholars seeing themselves as engaged in an enterprise that was altogether different from the traditionalism of Morgenthau.
It was not until the mid-1970s, however, that a real challenge to Realism emerged from various scholarly developments (Banks, 1985, p. 16). The growth of non-state actors, particularly multinational corporations (MNCs), international organizations such as the United Nations, and transnationally organized groups, in the post-World War II period, led many scholars to question state-centrism because it assumes that states are the only important actors in world politics (Sullivan, 1982, p. 255).
More generally, scholars like Keohane and Nye argued that Realism no longer offered a comprehensive theory because of fundamental changes in the structure of the international system. With the technological revolution in communication and transportation, global politics was now characterized by growing interdependence, the spread of transnationalism and the appearance of new global issues within the economic, cultural and technical realm (Keohane & Nye, 1971). These so-called 'liberal pluralists' asked for an alternative 'pluralistic' paradigm to assess the complexities and transformations of contemporary world politics (Sullivan, 1989, p. 255; Banks, 1985, p.16; McGrew, 1992). Realism, they argued, provided 'a narrow and incomplete description and explanation of world affairs' (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981, p. 6).
Most of these early pluralist challenges, however, failed to offer an integrated criticism (Banks, 1985, p. 17). The authors did not constitute an intellectually unified group although some of their ideas were shared (Maghoori, 1982, p. 17). Their proposals, however, are of vital importance for gaining an understanding of the development of a 'pluralistic' perspective on world politics. More particularly, they offer an alternative to the realist 'actor assumption' that nation-states are the fundamental actors in world politics and that one should subsequently analyze this field from an interstate perspective (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981, p. 6). While each of the realist assumptions were subsequently challenged, it was the assumption of state predominance that was the first to come under direct attack.
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye were among the first scholars to call for a revision of the state-centric paradigm, because it failed to recognize the importance of non-state actors. In their 1971 essay collection Transnational Relations and World Politics, they identify the phenomena of 'transnational interaction' which they define as 'the movement of tangible or intangible items across state boundaries when at least one actor is not an agent of a government' (Keohane and Nye, 1971, p. 332). The authors highlight the importance of nongovernmental actors in a great number of international interactions. They present a number of case studies examining such varied transnational actors and behaviours as multinational cooperations, foundations, churches, revolutionary movements, labour unions and scientific networks. They conclude that the state is not necessarily the only important actor in world politics nor the 'gatekeeper between intra-societal and extra-societal flows of actions' (Keohane and Nye, 1971, pp. 722-24). Although they do not offer a new general theory of international relations, the authors suggest a plan for future research based on a variety of actors. They advocate 'to transcend the level of analysis .. .by broadening the conception of actors to include transnational actors and by conceptually breaking down the hard shell of the nation-state' (Keohane and Nye, 1971, p. 730).
To test the assumption of the growing importance of non-state actors, a series of empirical studies was carried out during the 1970s. Kjell Skjelsbaek, in his essay 'The Growth of International Nongovernmental Organization in the Twentieth Century' (1971), gathered a vast amount of empirical data showing the rapid growth of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) since 1900 and particularly after World War II. He found that the number of INGOs had grown from 1012 in 1954 to 1899 in 1968. While the number of INGOs increased on an average of 4.7 % per year from 1954 to 1968, the annual growth rate was 6.2 % between 1962 and 1968 (Skjelsbaek, 1971, p. 425). In his examination of the distribution of INGOs by field of activity, he found that the categories of economic/financial organizations and commercial/ industrial organizations constituted the greatest percentage of organizations established in the period 1945-54 (Skjelsbaek, 1971, p. 429).
Another empirical study was carried out by Richard Mansbach et al. in The Web of World Politics: Non-state actors in the Global System (1976). In this study, the authors contend that the state-centric model has become 'obsolete' due to the growing involvement of non-state actors in world politics (Mansbach et al., 1976, p. 273). Relying on the Non-State Actor Project (NOSTAC), they use 'events data' in three regions - Western Europe, the Middle East and Latin America - from 1948 to 1972 to investigate empirically the emergence and behaviour of non-state actors (Mansbach et al., 1976, pp. 14-15). Their findings indicate that half of the interactions in the regions involve nation-states as actors and targets simultaneously and that eleven percent involve non-state actors exclusively. The authors conclude that only half of the dyads can be analyzed from a state-centric point of view because the remaining half of the combinations include non-state actors (Mansbach et al., 1976, pp. 275-76).
Richard Mansbach and John A. Vasquez, in their 1981 explorative work In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics carried out a similar study to argue for an alternative paradigm based on non-state actors. In this study, they use a data-set of event interactions between American-based and West German-based actors during the period 1949-1975 (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981, p. 16). In the first part of their study, they rank order the number of actors that appear in their data according to the frequency of their behaviour. Of the thirty actors that appear in their study, nine are nongovernmental actors (4), two of which (individual US congressmen and West German political parties) rank eleventh and twelfth in frequency of behaviour.
The authors then investigate the rank order of actors by percent of conflict they initiate and receive to indicate that non-state actors are not only present but also significant in world politics. Nine of the ten most conflict prone actors in their study are non-state actors and 18 of the 25 non-state actors are conflict-prone . Only eight of the twenty-six governments in the study are involved in any conflict at all (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981, pp. 17-19). Their findings also suggest the importance of examining the role of bureaucratic agencies as individual actors because their results show that there are 'significant deviations from the conflict score of specific agencies of a government and the aggregate score for the national government as a whole' (Mansbach and Vasquez, 1981, p. 21).
Mansbach and Vasquez conclude that Realism provides a misleading portrayal of world politics. On the basis of their findings, they argue that Realism ignores the diversity of non-state actors engaged in world politics as well as bureaucratic agencies as actors by aggregating the latter into their respective governments. As the authors state, their study strongly suggests
In Power and Interdependence (1977) Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye attempt to draw attention to the inadequacy of Realism. (5) This book is without a doubt one of the most important efforts to develop an alternative, pluralistic perspective to that of power and security. While previous works brought attention to some of the fundamental changes in world politics, particularly the growing diversity of actors involved in world politics, Keohane and Nye tried to place these developments on a more scientific footing (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, p. 4).
Keohane and Nye construct a new model of international relations known as 'complex interdependence' based on a number of well defined assumptions. Complex interdependence is presented as an ideal model to compare and contrast the extreme set of assumptions found in the equally ideal realist image of world politics. As such they define it as a set of 'multiple channels that connect societies including inter-state, trans-governmental and transnational relations' with an agenda 'consisting of multiple issues that are not arranged in a clear and consistent hierarchy' and with economic interests on the same footing as military ones' (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, pp. 24-25).
Their 'complex interdependence' model thus questions the three main assumptions of Realism. More in particular they claim that:
Under conditions of complex interdependence, Keohane and Nye view non-state actors as possible direct participants in world politics. The existence of multiple channels of contacts among societies implies that transnational actors, trans-governmental relations and international organizations play an active role in world politics. The authors argue that transnational actors such as multinational firms, private banks and other organizations have become 'a normal part of foreign as well as domestic relations' (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, p. 26). These actors are important not only because of their activities in pursuit of their own interests, but also because they 'act as transmission belts, making government policies in various countries more sensitive to one another' (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, p. 26). More particularly, the importance of such actors will vary according to issues. The political process under complex interdependence implies that 'transnational actors will introduce different goals into various groups of issues' (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, p. 30).
Conditions of complex interdependence, furthermore, entail that states will not always be able to control outcomes as non-state actors will often 'resist having their interests traded off'(Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, p. 31). The authors predict that states will therefore try to use international organizations and transnational actors as instruments other than military force for obtaining power. The closer a situation comes to complex interdependence, the more the authors expect the outcomes of political bargaining to be affected by transnational relations. The authors argue that these effects are accentuated by the phenomena of transnational communication (Keohane & Nye, 1977,1989, pp. 26-34). Keohane and Nye, however, point out that conditions of complex interdependence will not prevail at all times. They contend that most situations will fall somewhere between the two ideals of Realism and complex interdependence. In some instances, realist assumptions will be superior for explaining phenomena but frequently complex interdependence portrays reality more accurately and even characterizes the entire relationship between certain countries (Keohane and Nye, 1977,1989, pp. 24-25).
Through their complex interdependence model, Keohane and Nye bring forth important ideas for the development of an alternative pluralistic paradigm. The authors, however, fail to develop an alternative general theory. Their complex interdependence type presents a competing model but does not do away with the limitations of Realism.
1.3 Neorealism and Actors in International Politics
By the 1970s, this sequence of sustained attacks on the main assumptions of Realism seemed to predict the demise of the realist paradigm (Smith, 1989, pp. 12-13). However, a number of events and developments during the late 1970s and early 1980s demonstrated in the eyes of many an observer that the basic tenets of Realism were still highly relevant to the analysis of world politics: increases in East-West tensions and the continuation of the Soviet-American arms dynamic; military intervention and counter-intervention by the superpowers in Africa, Central America, and Southwest Asia. Other relevant examples are the Yom Kippur and Iran-Iraq wars. Furthermore, international institutions did not succeed in countering and reshaping state interests. On the contrary, all too often they turned out to be immobilized by East-West and North-South disputes. Finally, the integration process in West Europe appeared to slide back into intergovernmental bargaining, and the advanced democracies had to deal with serious trade and monetary conflicts and sharp controversy over economic relations with the Soviet Union (Grieco, 1988, pp. 490-491). Along with the need to reevaluate the conception of Realism so as to include an explanation of the economic dimension of U.S. hegemony the events and developments just mentioned led to the resurgence of Realism under the new 'guise' of Neorealism (Hollis & Smith, 1992, pp. 36-37).
Kenneth Waltz has been recognized as the major spokesman of this neorealist current (Smith, 1989, p. 8). His leading work, Theory in International Politics (1979), is referred to as 'the most far reaching theoretical attempt so far to reestablish, albeit in a more rigorous form, the central tenets of Realism' (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 341). According to Keohane (1986, p. 15), the
In essence, Waltz's approach to non-state actors does not differ radically from classical Realism. To understand his treatment of actors, one needs to comprehend his 'systematizing' of classical Realism into a systemic theory (Waltz, 1979, p. 68). The propositions of a systemic theory specify relationships between certain aspects of the system and actor behaviour. Systems theories, according to Waltz, are 'theories that explain how the organization of a realm acts as a constraining and disposing force on the interacting units within it' (Waltz, 1979, p. 72).
It is thus the structural constraints of the international system that will explain the behaviour of the units, not the other way around. In contrast to behavioural and reductionist approaches which try to explain international politics in terms of its main actors, structural Realism accounts for the behaviour of the units as well as international outcomes in terms of the character of the system or changes in it (Waltz, 1979, pp. 69-72).
A system, according to Waltz, is composed of a structure and interacting units (Waltz, 1979, p. 79). The structure of the international system is characterized both by anarchy and by the interaction among like units - the states (Waltz, 1979, p. 93). States have to be treated as like units because their goals are similar. Although states may vary in size, wealth, power and form, they are functionally similar (Waltz, 1979, pp. 96-97). As Waltz (1979, p. 88) contends,
The only element of the international structure that varies is the distribution of capabilities across the system's units. The structure of the international system will therefore change only with changes in the distribution of power. As Waltz (1979, p. 99) puts it:
In arguing for his choice of states as the units of the system, Waltz contends that the international structure has to be defined not by all actors within it but only by the major ones (Waltz, 1979, p. 93). According to Waltz, it is the units of greatest capability that will 'set the scene of action for others as well as for themselves' (Waltz, 1979, p. 72). This entails that the most powerful actors will define the structure of the international system. International politics, according to Waltz, is like economics where the structure of a market is defined by the number of firms that compete in it (Waltz, 1979, p. 93.). He maintains that:
As a response to the wave of criticism of the seventies, particularly the challenge of the assumption of state predominance, Waltz argues that the importance of non-state actors and the extent of transnational activities are obvious. However, The conclusion that the state-centric conception of international politics is made obsolete does not follow. According to Waltz (1979, p. 95),
In his critique of transnational and other pluralist efforts, however, Waltz raises an important idea. He defies the challenge to the state-centric paradigm by saying that 'students of transnational phenomena have developed no distinct theory of their subject matter or of international politics in general' (Waltz, 1979, p. 95). Robert Keohane matches this critique by pointing out that for concepts such as 'transnational relations' to be valuable, a general theory of world politics is needed (Keohane, 1989, p. 35).
Neorealism, as expounded by Waltz, reiterates the major realist assumptions on a more genuine scientific basis. It defies pluralist attempts of drawing attention to changes in the international system by offering an elegant and parsimonious theory of state action. According to neorealists the nature of power may have changed, but not the uses to which it has traditionally been put. While early pluralists have indicated certain changes in world politics, particularly the growing involvement of non-state actors, they did not place these transformations within a fully integrated theoretical framework. As Sullivan contends, pluralists should 'be as interested in explaining the changes as in simply pointing them out' (Sullivan, 1982, p. 260).
1.4 The Mixed-Actor Perspective
The concept of the mixed actor only really gained currency during the late 1980s, although it was introduced much earlier by Oran Young in his seminal article 'The Actors in World Politics' (1972) in the beginning of the 70s. (6) Identifying a movement away from Realism, Young proposed a conceptual framework challenging the single-actor model of the state-centric view of politics. According to Young (1972, p. 136),
the basic notion of a system of mixed actors requires a movement away from the assumption of homogeneity with respect to types of actor and, therefore, a retreat from the postulate of the state as the fundamental unit in world politics. Instead, the mixed-actor world view envisions a situation in which several quantitatively different types of actor interact in the absence of any settled pattern of dominance-submission or hierarchical relationships.
Young (1972, pp. 136-137) also points to the growing complexity and dynamism of the international system as important factors in contemporary macro-politics:
Young's model, however, does not entail the demise of states. He argues that there is every reason to suppose that both states and nation-states will continue to occupy positions of importance in the world political system. For him the main question pertains to the the empirical proposition that states are currently in the process of receding from their earlier role as the dominant units in the system to a new role as important, but not dominant, actors in world politics (Young, 1972, p.137). Through this proposition, Young directly challenges the state related principles of actorness i.e. sovereignty, legitimacy, recognition, international representation and the control and use of force.
While Young's mixed actor model advanced a very interesting point of departure for the development of a new paradigm - a model based on a variety of actors - he did not succeed in developing a true general theory of a mixed actor system. A most inspiring effort to present such a theory or re-conceptualization of world politics has been recently undertaken by James Rosenau who is one of the most influential spokesmen for change in the conventional models of the international system and for the breaking away from what he calls the 'conceptual jails' of the state-centric paradigm (Rosenau, 1990, pp. 5-6). In his leading book Turbulence in World Politics (1990), Rosenau takes Young's 'mixed actor model' as well as other earlier pluralist efforts a step further. By bringing many of these earlier pluralist developments together, he presents an integrated paradigm for the analysis of an international system where non-state actors are direct participants.
Rosenau argues that the present era is characterized by some fundamental and profound changes in the functioning of world politics fostered by the impact of modern technologies and the expansion of people's analytical skills. Since World War II, the world has gradually entered into a new period, the post-industrial era, which is characterized by high political turbulence and complexity and where simultaneous patterns of change and continuity are at work. As the traditional realist model can no longer effectively account for the changes in the international system, Rosenau (1990, p. 244) sets forth a basis for stepping outside the state-system paradigm and framing an alternative one through which to assess the early indicators of a new, if structurally incoherent, form of world order.
On a theoretical level, Rosenau contends that the greater interdependence of the international system and the increased interaction capacity that goes along with it has led to the bifurcation of global politics into what the author calls 'the two worlds of world politics': An autonomous multi-centric world composed of sovereignty-free actors now coexists, competes and interacts with the old state-centric world characterized by states and their interactions (Rosenau, 1990, p. 247). According to Rosenau (1990, p. 253), this multi-centric world can be said to exist because the importance of actors is determined by their capability to initiate and sustain actions rather than by their legal status or sovereignty. Although they are located within the jurisdiction of states, the sovereignty-free actors of the multi-centric world are able to evade the constraints of states and pursue their own goals. Their adherence to state-centric rules is mostly formalistic (Rosenau, 1990, p. 249).
While the two worlds can be separated for analytical clarity, they are by no means mutually exclusive. Rosenau contends that the overlap between the two worlds is inherent in the structure of the global system due to the growing interdependence of post-industrial politics and more particularly the surge in transnational activities. The state-centric world may at times be characterized by pure state-to-state interactions such as visits between chiefs of states . The multi-centric world too may see the interaction between sovereignty-free actors independently of the state-centric world, such as when a professional organization provides expertise to its clients (Rosenau, 1990, pp. 271-72). But in most cases, actors in one world will be affected by actors in the other. (7) As Rosenau (1990, p. 252) posits, 'the point is to distinguish between two separate sets of complex actors that overlap and interact even as they also maintain a high degree of independence'. James Rosenau's two-world conception presents an international system in which state and non-state actors coexist. In this sense his model offers an interesting attempt to formulate a general theory of international relations because it takes a first step in merging realist and pluralist elements into a single theoretical framework. (8) A major weakness of his work is that he does not elaborate a clear typology of international actors. While acknowledging the growing diversity and importance of sovereignty free actors in the multi-centric world, he does not clearly distinguish the different categories of non-state actors. This is in fact one of the major deficiencies of the pluralist paradigm in general. Few scholars agree on what units should be included under the rubric of non-state actors.
However, a clear conception of non-state actors is needed more than ever, especially as the study of this category of actors has become a prerequisite for enhancing the understanding of contemporary international relations (Taylor, 1984, p. 17; Frankel, 1988, p. 229; Rosenau, 1990). Although neo-realists, and to some extent also neoliberal institutionalists, keep focussing their attention on states and their interactions when analysing world politics (Grieco, 1988; Keohane, 1989), they are encountering ever more difficulties to discount the implications of the tremendous growth in numbers and variety of non-state actors as well as the fundamental changes the latter brought about in the current international system (Rosenau, 1990; Hocking and Smith, 1990, p. 231; Zacher 1992; Badie and Smouts, 1992; Haufler, 1993). Recent attempts by certain 'structural realists' to reconstruct a richer, more complex theory of Neorealism seem to confirm that the realist school of thought is becoming aware of the necessity of opening up the functional differentiation tier of structure within its conception of the international system. Waltz treated this element of structure clearly as closed (Waltz, 1979, pp 93, 96-97 )
Toward a typology of non-state actorsAfter reviewing the more general treatment of actors in the different theoretical perspectives, and assuming that non-state actors are a factor be reckoned with in the study world politics, we now turn to a more in depth conceptual examination of this type of actors. Such analysis is all the more imperative as the the first step in constructing a framework for the analysis of non-state actors is to define clearly the units of analysis. To this end, it is more useful to construct a typology of the units rather than to attempt an exhaustive list of all non-state actors (Taylor, 1984, p. 19).
Scholars of international relations, however, disagree over how to classify non-state actors in world politics (Bennet, 1988, p. 412; Kegley & Wittkopf, 1989, p. 132). Because the study of transnational relations and non-state actors is a relatively new phenomena, much of the terminology used for classifying actors is unclear and contradictory. Especially, the definition of transnational organizations appears to pose a lot of conceptual difficulties. Another problem concerns the categorization of more complex non-state actors that are neither purely governmental nor purely private in nature. These kinds of mixed organizations, of which the International Labour Organization and the Berne Union are examples, are not recognized as a separate category of actors in conventional classification schemes.
This section begins by proposing a definition of actors in world politics that is broad enough to encompass non-state actors. It then examines the different classes of non-state actors that have been identified in the literature, showing how the leading scholars within the field disagree over some basic definitions. From this review, a typology of actors based on a broad definition of transnational organizations and differentiating between mixed and pure types of non-state actors is proposed.
2.1 Definition of an Actor in World Politics
At the most general level, an actor in world politics has been defined as 'any entity which plays an identifiable role in international relations' (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 6). This definition is so broad as even to encompass individuals. Although this inclusion is open to debate (Rosenau, 1990; Girard, 1994), most authors reject it because the influence of individuals in international politics is most often incidental and tends to diminish over time (Taylor, 1984, p. 20). In his seminal essay 'The Actors in World Politics', Oran Young (1972, p. 140) offers a way out to refine the above general definition by defining an actor in world politics as
This definition suggests that to be considered an actor in world politics the entity under consideration needs to possess a degree of autonomy and influence rather than the legal and state-related status of sovereignty. (9)
More recently Brian Hocking and Michael Smith (1990, p. 71) follow a similar line of reasoning as they directly challenge the three principles of 'actorness' set forth in the state-centric paradigm: sovereignty, recognition of statehood, and control of territory and people. They contend that these principles may help to explain the character of states as actors but are not very illuminating when evaluating the role of non-state actors, as the latter are unable to conform to them. In order to redress this weakness, they present three alternative criteria for the evaluation of international actors: autonomy, representation and influence. Autonomy refers to the degree of freedom of action that an actor possesses when seeking to achieve its objective(s); representation refers to the type of constituencies that a particular actor represents; and, influence points to the capacity of an actor to make a difference within a certain context and with regard to a specific issue. The authors argue that these less restrictive and more widely adaptable criteria allow to move beyond the rather narrow, state-related criteria of actorness and to reconsider the nature of different kinds of actors and their role in world politics. They conclude that 'from this revised perspective on actorness, it is possible to consider anew the qualities exhibited by the range of actors engaged in international relations' (Hocking and Smith, 1990, p. 71).
2.2 Contending typologies of non-state actors
Now that we have a definition of international actors that is broad enough to encompass non-state actors, let us examine more closely the general classes of non-state actors as they have been identified in the literature.
An initial classification of non-state actors distinguishes between two major types of international organizations: international governmental organizations (IGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). These two categories have been recognized as the main non-state actors alongside the traditional state actor (Jacobson, 1988, p. 4; Archer, 1992, pp. 38-39).
Both IGOs and INGOs are alike in having participants from more than one state. An IGO is defined as an 'institutional structure created by agreement among two or more sovereign states for the conduct of regular political interactions' (Jacobson, 1984, p. 8). IGO's constituent members are states and its representatives are governmental agents (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 168). This type of organization has meetings of the state representatives at relatively frequent intervals, detailed procedures for decision making, and a permanent secretariat. The most well known contemporary IGO is the United Nations. Other examples are the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the International Trade Organization (ITO). IGOs are viewed as permanent networks linking states because they are largely dependent on the voluntary actions of the member states for the implementation of their decisions (Jacobson, 1984, p. 8). INGOs also have states as their constituent members, but the state representatives are non-governmental agents (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 190). (10) Furthermore, these organizations are non-profit making entities whose members range from private associations to individuals. Like IGOs, they have a permanent secretariat, regular scheduled meetings of representatives of the membership, and specified procedures for decision making (Jacobson, 1984, p. 9). The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the International Chamber of Commerce are two examples of INGOs (Evans and Newnham, 1990, pp. 190-191).
The distinction between IGOs and INGOs, however, is not always clear because a number of international organizations allow for both governmental and non-governmental representation (Archer, 1992, p. 43). Jacobson (1984, p. 4) notes that a great number of organizations within the communication and transport services are difficult to categorize because they have a mixed membership and 'are subject to varying amounts of governmental controls'. Organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union and certain other international organizations, although composed primarily of governments, also allow the participation of such private associations as, for example, labour unions, employers groups and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment.
To overcome this classification problem, many authors choose to follow the conventional practice of using a UN decision (11) whereby IGOs are defined as organizations established by intergovernmental treaty and INGOs are defined as 'any international organization which has not been established by an inter-governmental agreement' including those which accept governmental agencies or ministries as members (Union of International Associations, 1990, p. 1643). (12)
This legal distinction, however, leaves much to be desired because it disregards the character of the membership of an organization. In this regard Skjelsbaek (1971, p. 422), notes that 'most but not all IGOs include only governmental members, and in practice many INGOs have both governmental and non-governmental members'. While acknowledging that it conceals the existence of a well-developed class of organization with distinct features, the Union of International Associations and a great number of authors nevertheless choose to use the legal distinction just mentioned because of its easy applicability (Union of International Associations, 1990, p. 1648; Jacobson, 1984, p. 5).
2.2.2 Transnational Organizations
The definition of a transnational organization (TNO) has given rise to major contradictions among past efforts at the categorization of non-state actors. Some authors have identified TNOs as a separate category of non-state actors alongside the IGO and INGO categories. Others have adopted broader definitions of TNOs. In addition, the term 'transnational' has been applied both to interactions and actors (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 396; Viotti and Kauppi, 1993, p. 596). Three different approaches to the definition of a transnational organization can be identified.
The first and most common definition of a transnational organization is derived from Keohane and Nye (1971). In their work Transnational relations and World Politics, they define transnational interactions to be 'the movement of tangible or intangible items across state boundaries when at least one actor is not the agent of a government or an intergovernmentalorganization' (Keohane and Nye, 1971, p. 332). (13) Correspondingly, transnational organizations are defined as 'transnational interactions institutionalized' (Skjelsbaek, 1971, p. 420). Applying this broad definition, INGOs, multinational corporations and still other groupings can all be included under the definition of a TNO because they involve at least one entity that is non-governmental in character (Keohane and Nye, 1971, p. 332).
However, this definition is at odds with the definition adopted by Samuel Huntington in his 1973 seminal article 'Transnational Organizations in World Politics'. Huntington (1973, p. 333) defines a transnational organization as 'a relatively large, hierarchically organized, centrally directed bureaucracy' which 'performs a set of relatively limited, specialized, and in some sense, technical functions (14) across one or more national boundaries and, in sofar as possible, in relative disregard of those boundaries'. According to the author, these kinds of organizations have proliferated since World War II, examples being the Ford foundation, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the World Bank, Air France, Chase Manhattan and Strategic Air Command.
Huntington thus uses a more restricted definition of a transnational organization than the one derived from Keohane and Nye (1971, p. 334). In their definition, Keohane and Nye focus on membership characteristics. More in particular they ask whether the participants are private or public in character. Huntington's definition, on the other hand, emphasizes the organizational structure and the scope of the operations of the organization (Huntington, 1973, p. 333). The Keohane and Nye definition embraces transnational organizations as defined by Huntington, but does not focus 'on the dramatic rise of relatively centralized, functionally specific, bureaucratic organizations which carry out their operations across state boundaries'. In Huntington's view, a TNO can involve both governmental and non-governmental organizations. According to the author, 'the growth and multiplication of globally oriented bureaucratic organizations like General Motors (GM) and the USAF (US Air Force), public or private in character, nationally or internationally controlled - adds a critical dimension to world politics' (Huntington, 1973, p. 335).
Harold Jacobson in his work Networks of Interdependence also identifies transnational organizations, pointing out that they are usually not classified as INGOs (1984, p. 10). Jacobson adopts Huntington's definition of transnational organizations but modifies it by excluding governmental departments of states (Jacobson, 1984, pp. 17-18). He defines transnational organizations as 'hierarchically organized, centrally directed non-governmental bureaucracies that perform their relatively specialized functions in more than one state' (Jacobson, 1984, pp. 10-11). The author identifies two categories of international actors whose functions are often like those of INGOs and classifies these under the heading of transnational organizations: religious bodies and business enterprises. They are, according to Jacobson, 'the two most salient categories of what have come to be called transnational organizations' (Jacobson, 1984, p. 10).
While the definition of transnational organizations set forth by these two groups of authors (Keohane/Nye group and Huntington/Jacobson group) are both the most accepted and specific ones, a number of international relations scholars have chosen a different approach. This group of authors equates transnational organizations with all non-state actors, thus adopting a much broader definition. James Rosenau and Philip Taylor are the leading authors within this group.
James Rosenau's characterization of transnational organization in Turbulence In World Politics (1990), however, is confusing because he does not give a clear definition of the term. Rosenau contends that 'proliferation of these various types of actors has occurred among both governmental and nongovernmental organizations' (Rosenau, 1990, p. 136). He gives four examples of transnational organizations: the United Nations (UN), alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), non-governmental associations such as the International Political Science Association and private banks under the heading of transnational organizations (Rosenau, 1990, pp. 136-37). Transnational organizations thus include governmental (IGOs), nongovernmental (INGOs) and profit making organizations. However, he is unclear because he adds a few dimensions to characterize transnational organizations. He contends that TNOs have a non-hierarchical and decentralized structure and that they need the consent of their membership for taking important actions. Rosenau adds that 'as a result of their decentralized structures ... transnational organizations normally encounter some difficulty in implementing their policies' (Rosenau, 1990, p. 137). These criteria are too restrictive to characterize simultaneously IGOs, INGOs and profit-making organizations. Banks, as was illustrated by Huntington, illustrate a hierarchical and relatively centralized structure.
Philip Taylor in his work Non-state Actors in International Politics: From Transregional to Substate Organizations (1974) also equates transnational organizations with non-state actors. He defines non-state actors as units that are transnational - consisting of individuals or groups residing in two or more states - and formally organized. He subdivides these units into IGOs and INGOs and thereafter groups them according to the geographical scope of their memberships: regional and supraregional groups. Taylor contends that these four groups still compress too many dissimilar organizations into categories too broadly defined, and suggests a further division based on the task performed by organizations. In this way he identifies four general categories: economic, security, political and cultural/ideological groups (Taylor,1974, pp. 20-21). While acknowledging that there may be some disagreements over how to place some organizations, his typology yields a matrix consisting of sixteen categories (Taylor,1974, p. 22). By dividing non-state actors solely into IGOs and INGOs, Taylor places multinational corporations under the category of INGOs. However, this decision is at odds with the well accepted definition of an INGO as a non-profit making organization involving representatives from more than one country.
Two main problems have been encountered in the above overview of typologies of non-state actors. First, the widely used UN distinction between IGOs and INGOs hides important membership characteristics and clearly overlooks an important category of mixed non-state actors. Second, there is confusion and disagreement over the definition of a transnational organization. In view of the importance of a clear working definition for the analysis of non-state actors, this article sets forth a typology of actors based on a broad definition of transnational organizations and differentiating between mixed and pure types of non-state actors.
Following Hocking and Smith (1990) and applying the principles of representation, autonomy and influence as criteria for actorness, a major distinction can be made between state and non-state actors (see figure 1).
Figure 1: State and Non-State Actors
This initial division places states in the important position which they still retain (Hollis and Smith, 1992, pp. 41-42), while recognizing non-sovereign or non-state entities as actors in their own right (Hocking and Smith, 1990, pp. 70-71; McGrew, 1989; Rosenau, 1990). Non-state actors are then divided into international governmental organizations (IGOs) on the one hand, and transnational organizations (TNOs) on the other (see figure 2).
Figure 2: The Two Main Categories of Non-State Actors
An international governmental organization we define as an institutional structure created by agreement among two or more sovereign states for the conduct of regular political interactions. IGOs differ from traditional diplomatic facilities in their structure and permanence. They have meetings of representatives of the member states at regular intervals, specified decision making procedures, and a permanent secretariat or headquarters staff. As such they can be regarded as continual networks linking states (Jacobson, 1984, p. 8).
Transnational organizations we define as transnational relations institutionalized. The latter describe those networks, associations or interactions which cut across national societies, creating linkages between individuals, groups, organizations and communities within different nation-states (McGrew, 1992, p. 7). Typical of transnational relations is that in effect they bypass governments because they operate within the societal domain and beyond direct state control. Following Keohane and Nye (1971, p. 332) we further specify that for an interaction or organization to be called 'transnational' at least one of the actors involved must be non-governmental in character. As far as governmental bodies are operating within a TNO they are assumed to do so primarily in the societal domain and in ways that go beyond direct governmental control. As such TNOs are non-governmental bodies operating 'across national boundaries, sometimes on a global scale, which seek as far as possible to disregard these boundaries, and which serve to establish links between different national societies, or sections of those societies' (Bull, 1977, p. 270; compare with Badie & Smouts (1992:70).
By adopting the above definition of transnational organizations we reject the restrictive ones used by the Huntington/Jacobson group. This implies that INGOs can now be placed under the category of a transnational organization (TNO). This decision is in accordance with the Dictionary of World Politics which notes that 'international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) are, by definition, transnational organizations...' (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 397). It also rejects the broader approach of Rosenau and Taylor by excluding IGOs, such as the United Nations, from the category of transnational organizations. While this decision is subjective and open to controversy, it is justified by the fact that IGOs regroup only state representatives and are founded by explicit agreement between national governments.
In addition to INGOs, three other types of transnational organizations can be identified - transgovernmental organizations (TGOs), transnational corporate organizations (TCOs), and transnational non-cooperate organizations (TNCOs). A transgovernmental organization results from the 'interactions between governmental subunits across state boundaries' when the governmental actors are 'not controlled by the central foreign policy organs of their governments' (Keohane and Nye, 1971, p. 733). Because of the latter characteristic transgovernmental organizations have a strong non-governmental flavour, and as such we deem it plausible to place them within the category of transnational organizations. Although contacts between governmental bureaucracies may often remain non-institutionalized, a number of such organizations have been created (Archer, 1992, p. 43). A prime example is the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) which is an association of the local government authorities of the European Union.
The transnational corporate organization is a second type of TNO. The prime example of such an actor is the transnational corporation (15) because it controls assets in at least two states and is non-governmental in nature (Evans and Newnham, 1990, p. 249). It is clearly distinguishable from INGOs in that it is a private corporate organization geared to profit making and non-representative organization. The most recent classification of actors by Clive Archer (1992), however, eliminates transnational corporations (TNCs) from the TNO category. The author's main reason is that TNCs do not match his own definition of a transnational organization as the
Transnational corporations such as IBM or General Motors cannot conform to the representative criteria of Archer's definition. Adopting such a restrictive criterion, has the serious drawback of overlooking multinational corporations as an important TNO in world politics. Since World War II, multinational corporations have been increasingly recognized as one of the most salient and powerful categories of non-state actors, performing activities across national borders and in relative disregard of nation-states (Strange, 1988; Stopford & Strange, 1991; Stopford, 1994; Junne, 1994). The broader definition of transnational organization used in the typology proposed in this article redresses this weakness.
Finally we have the category of the transnational non-corporate organization (TNCO). This is in fact a residual division consisting of private voluntary associations which on the one hand are clearly distinguishable from corporations, and on the other do not fit in the class of INGOs. (16) Examples would include the churches, transnationally organized political parties or political movements, international trade secretariats, transnational terrorist networks, and internationally supported insurgent groups.
One further problem arises with respect to INGOs. As a transnational organization, the membership of an INGO must be composed of at least one non-governmental actor. However, as we have seen, INGOs differ with respect to the proportion of their non-governmental and governmental representation. Archer (1992, p. 42) solves this problem by identifying two different types of INGOs: the 'genuine' INGO and the 'hybrid' INGO. He defines the genuine INGO (GINGO) as 'an organization with only non-governmental members', examples being the International Olympic Committee and the World Council of Churches. The hybrid INGO (HINGO), on the other hand, allows for both governmental and non-governmental representation. He classifies these 'mixed' organization as IGOs if the latter have been created by 'a treaty or convention between governments' (Archer, 1992, p. 43). An example of such an organization is the International Labour Organization (ILO) whose members include trade union, employers and governmental representatives. If, on the other hand, the mixed organization is not the result of a purely intergovernmental agreement, they fall under the hybrid INGO type of actor. An example of such organizations is the Council of Scientific Unions, whose membership includes scientific unions, scientific academies, national research councils and governments. The Berne Union also corresponds to this category.
On the basis of the argument brought forward, Archer's classification can be improved by categorizing those organizations with mixed membership which have been established by governmental treaty as 'hybrid IGOs' (HIGOs). Such classification would indicate that these organizations are governmental by foundation but at the same time constitute a mixture of public and private organizations if types of members are taken into consideration. Hybrid IGOs (i.e. ILO) would then come close to the category of transnational organizations as they involve at least one actor that is not governmental.
By way of conclusion we present our new typology of non-state actors in world politics in figure 3. However, it should be immediately added that the typology developed here only represents a first step. We have mostly been looking at membership criteria and varieties of foundation. Somewhat more implicitly, we have also dealt with organizational characteristics and levels of participation. It is obvious that additional aspects have to be taken into consideration. For example, following Hocking and Smith (1990), a number of additional criteria can be used, e.g. the aims of organizations (general versus specific), level of involvement (continuous or sporadic, wide ranging or concentrated on one issue area, institutionalized or not); structure (representative, bureaucratic, political, industrial...); and resources (financial, informational, technical, membership...). Adopting such further criteria requires extensive conceptual work that goes well beyond the scope of this paper.
The further development of the present typology is suggested as a programme of future research. Still, as it stands, the typology solves some of the problems met by earlier attempts at classification. Furthermore, it opens up possibilities for a more discriminating investigation into the current generation of what Buzan, Jones and Little (1993, pp. 78, 216-232, 238) see as a new kind of type 4 international system, that is an anarchic system, with functionally differentiated units and a high interaction capacity. Especially with regard to the structures of non-state systems in the economic and ideological spheres the proposed classification seems to be highly relevant.
Figure 3: Typology of Non-State Actors in World Politics
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