Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics

by Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 240 pages
AU$43.99 NZ$46.08
Product Status: Title is Print on Demand - May take 4 weeks
add to your cart

Other Available Formats:

Rules for the World provides an innovative perspective on the behavior of international organizations and their effects on global politics. Arguing against the conventional wisdom that these bodies are little more than instruments of states, Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore begin with the fundamental insight that international organizations are bureaucracies that have authority to make rules and so exercise power. At the same time, Barnett and Finnemore maintain, such bureaucracies can become obsessed with their own rules, producing unresponsive, inefficient, and self-defeating outcomes. Authority thus gives international organizations autonomy and allows them to evolve and expand in ways unintended by their creators.

Barnett and Finnemore reinterpret three areas of activity that have prompted extensive policy debate: the use of expertise by the IMF to expand its intrusion into national economies; the redefinition of the category “refugees” and decision to repatriate by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and the UN Secretariat’s failure to recommend an intervention during the first weeks of the Rwandan genocide. By providing theoretical foundations for treating these organizations as autonomous actors in their own right, Rules for the World contributes greatly to our understanding of global politics and global governance.

1. Bureaucratizing World Politics

2. International Organizations as Bureaucracies

3. Expertise and Power at the International Monetary Fund

4. Defining Refugees and Voluntary Repatriation at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

5. Genocide and the Peacekeeping Culture at the United Nations

6. The Legitimacy of an Expanding Global Bureaucracy

List of Abbreviations

"The authors take a novel approach to studying international organizations and establish a framework wherein these actors have the potential to develop preferences and cultures that are counter to the wishes of their member states. The authors breathe new life into the study of IGOs by removing the rose-colored glasses of the extant literature, which cannot account for negative and independent behaviors of these organizations."

Michael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at The George Washington University.

Martha Finnemore is University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University.