Functionalism In International Relations

1262 Words6 Pages
The post-world war era created an atmosphere of caution regarding individual states in an international system dominated by realist rationale. Thus, based on functionalist principles it was believed that a United Europe was a more acceptable and viable alternative. It was believed that the international system would be more functional with organizations directed at collectively addressing functional needs rather than the realist orientation of each State for itself. This, however, did not materialize until the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1958 and arose out of the functionalist school of thought.
The basis of Functionalism as a body of thought in International Relations is credited to David Mitrany (1888-1975) (Griffiths, 2013). The theory purports to explain how the international system organizes itself in terms of functions and needs, whereby functional agents provide and prescribe solutions for common needs through the integration process and with the aid of knowledge and expertise. Functionalist thinkers assume that the process of integration takes place within a framework of freedom, that the knowledge and expertise needed are available and that States will not sabotage the process. The theory rejects the idea of power as influencing the proliferation of international organizations as propagated by popular realist though.
Using functionalism as a base, neo-realism emerged as an applicable theory to support the formation of the hoped for united Europe. This
Open Document