Pathways of Change and the Current UN Status


The article observes the current state and directions of development of the United Nations from a sociological perspective. Despite its uniqueness, the UN bears some features in common with other international organizations: its members, internal structure, goal attainment, interactions with the external environment. The UN is an international intergovernmental organization, but one can identify three relatively independent levels of interraction: political and legal (member-states), institutional (agencies and independent or autonomous organizations), social (groups of people involved into activities of the organization). The changes in the balance of power in the UN are determined by the particular features of a globalizing world. Integration associations attempt to displace states in the Westphalian model. The development of main agencies is characterized by large and small periods. The large periods reflect the changes in the organization as in a union of members. The small periods reflect the organizational processes. One can clearly identify two tendencies in the interaction of the UN with the external environment: intensification of interactions with non-state actors and improvement of level of pressure on particular states. The study of the UN as an organization provides an argument for developing and even revising certain provisions of the theory of organizational sociology. Inconsistent attempts to provide the UN with the function of central institution to control the international order are realized in an inconsiderable manner. Created as a stabilizing element of the international system, the UN has only partly fulfilled its obligations, but it has become an instrument of change. Being in its original design an institution for intergovernmental cooperation it is involved in the processes connected with globalization. The UN played its role in global social and political processes.

Keywords: United Nations; sociology of international relations; organization; socio-professional group; development goal attainment; sustainable development; organizational changes.

Authors: Alexander Kuteynikov

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