International Organizations and Change in World Orders in Coxian Critical Theory: A View from China in the United Nations


  • Patrícia Nogueira Rinaldi
  • Desirée Almeida Pires


Critical Theory, Robert W. Cox, International organizations, United Nations, China


This article addresses the role of International Organizations and multilateralism in Robert W. Cox’s critical theory. Cox’s theoretical framework on historical structures considers that institutions – including international organizations – play an important role in the maintenance of hegemonic world orders, as they manage conflicts in a legitimate way and absorb counter-hegemonic ideas. However, in different writings, Cox considered that multilateral action in international organizations could also promote change in world orders, as they could be the locus for the development of different ideologies and the alternative visions of world orders. Considering this theoretical discussion, the article presents a historical and conjunctural case study on China’s engagement in and with the United Nations, in order to point out the role of such international organization when it comes to the possibilities of changes in the current world order.






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