The Challenges of Multilateralism


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Kathryn C. Lavelle

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An accessible history of multilateralism from its origins in the 1800s to the present

Multilateralism has long been a study of contrasts. Nationalist impulses, diverging and shifting goals, and a lack of enforcement methods have plagued the international organizations that facilitate multilateralism. Yet the desire to seek peace, reduce poverty, and promote the global health of people and the planet pushes states to work together. These challenges, across time and the globe, have brought about striking, yet diverging, results. Here, Kathryn Lavelle offers a history of multilateralism from its origins in the nineteenth century to the present. Lavelle focuses on the creation and evolution of major problem-solving organizations, examines the governmental challenges they have confronted and continue to face from both domestic and transnational constituencies, and considers how nongovernmental organizations facilitate their work. Comprehensive and narrative-driven, this book should appeal to students with interests in global development, public health, the environment, trade, international finance, humanitarian law, and security studies.

Kathryn C. Lavelle is Ellen and Dixon Long Professor of World Affairs at Case Western Reserve University, where she has taught for the past eighteen years.

“Lavelle is particularly effective at telling a story that weaves together key themes and concepts that are not usually treated in an integrated way.”—Courtney B. Smith, Seton Hall University

“Multilateralism is in crisis. Now, more than ever, we need the kind of long-term and wide perspective on its origins and historical evolution that Kathryn Lavelle provides in this accessibly written book.”—Eric Helleiner, University of Waterloo
ISBN: 9780300230451
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
17 b/w illus.