The Vogue of Collectivism in International Relations

  • Inis L. ClaudeJr


Collectivism, or multilateralism, is very much in vogue among scholars in the international field, and among statesmen as well. There are some crotchety, old-fashioned exceptions among both groups, but multilateralism is very much with us in fact and in ideology; it is generally regarded as a Good Thing. We live in an era of international collectivism. We have international organizations galore, symbolizing and implementing the togetherness of states, and belonging to such organizations is, for one reason or another, one of the most characteristic functions of contemporary states. Collective devices for dealing with problems appear to be a natural secretion of the human insect. This has long been evident in the committee-forming propensities of university deans, and contemporary statesmen exhibit the same instinct in their steady proliferation of international agencies. The actual behavior of states may not be fundamentally affected by their involvement in international organizations, but their commitment to the idea that the international system should be equipped with a considerable array of multilateral mechanisms and that they should participate in a great variety of multilateral processes seems to have become very well established.


International Relation Global System International Peace United Nations Security Council Collective Security 
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Copyright information

© Inis L. Claude, Jr 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inis L. ClaudeJr
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VirginiaUSA

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