Theme Panel: The Authority Trap: Strategic Choices of International NGOs

The Authority Trap: Strategic Choices of International NGOs

This roundtable will discuss “The Authority Trap,” a new book by Sarah Stroup and Wendy Wong that will be published by Cornell University Press in late summer 2017. The book speaks directly to the conference themes of legitimacy, actors, and audiences. Stroup and Wong offer a theory of INGO authority and a set of causal claims around the implications of variations in INGO authority. The main argument is that INGOs that have the most authority (“leading INGOs”) in global politics often pursue incrementalist strategies. This is because authority comes from a variety of audiences, including states, corporations, the general public, and other INGOs. The more audiences that defer (i.e., the more authority INGOs have), the less latitude those INGOs have to suggest radical change because they are concerned with maintaining audience deference.

Michael N. Barnett, George Washington University (Chair)
Sarah S. Bush, George Washington University (Presenter)
Peter A. Gourevitch, University of California, San Diego (Presenter)
Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University (Presenter)
David Vogel, University of California, Berkeley (Presenter)
Sarah S. Stroup, Middlebury College (Presenter)
Wendy Wong, University of Toronto (Presenter)