State-Centric Rationalist Theory

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Social constructivist approaches to international institutions can account for some features of the OECD that make little sense from the perspective of state-centric rationalist theories of international cooperation. Rationalist approaches see international institutions as created and used by states because such institutions are more efficient mechanisms for those states to pursue their self-interest than could be achieved through direct state-to-state interactions. For decades international relations and a country’s policies were seen as rooted in nationalism – the assumption that all foreign relations were done on the national scale and policy decisions were made with only what’s best for that nation in mind. The idea of nationalism is based…show more content…
International institutions do more than just manage relations among pre-existing states with exogenously determined preferences; they help to define the identity of member states, thereby also helping to define their perceptions of self-interest (Porter and Webb, 2007). The OECD can be seen as an example of an identity-defining international organization. Its primary impact comes through efforts to develop and promote international norms for social and economic policy (Wolfe, 1993). It defines standards of appropriate behavior for states, which seek to identify themselves as modern, liberal, market-friendly, and efficient (March and Olsen, 1998: 961). This involves distinguishing member states from non-members, and defining the former as superior. While current OECD documents do not explicitly make that distinction, earlier OECD documents make no qualms about categorizing superior states from non-superior states. The OECD’s first Secretary- General, Thorkil Kristensen,…show more content…
Nuclear energy is a highly scientific field and therefore information can be difficult for the general public to understand and interpret. The structure of the NEA provides a comprehensive outlook of nuclear power policies worldwide. The NEA tries to make a member state’s policies more visible by providing “a setting for reflection and discussion, based on policy research and analysis, that helps governments shape” (OECD, 2004c: 4). The NEA identifies itself as authoritative, balanced actor in the international nuclear energy arena by drawing on the competence and experience of each member country (2011). Anthony Giddens argued that identity was a reflexive and dependent on how one views their place between time and space (1991). However, Woodward insists an identity is projected onto someone. In this sense, while the NEA believes itself to be an authoritative resource of information in the field of nuclear science, measurable communication data depicts a different

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