chapter  3
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Global governance: a conceptual framework for analysing bioethics at UNESCO

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The fi eld of international relations, in simple terms, explores why, how and to what degree states and other actors engage with each other at international level. International relations theory falls into several schools, realism and liberalism being the two longest standing. The realist paradigm, which purports that nationstates are the key actors in the international arena, was dominant until the end of the Cold War. It is chiefl y concerned with the quest for power (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff 1996: 58). Realists view the international system as one of anarchy, where moral considerations have no place. (A variant on this theme, the concept of an anarchical international society, was introduced by Hedley Bull in 1966: ‘Whereas men within each state are subject to a common government, sovereign states in their mutual relations are not. This anarchy it is possible to regard as the central fact of international life and the starting point of theorizing about it’ [Bull 2000: 77].) Confl icts between states are seen as inevitable, as each will seek to defend its national interest (defi ned in terms of ‘survival, security, power, and relative capabilities’ [Holsti 1995: 37]), primarily through military power (Kegley 1995: 4-5). States must exercise self-suffi ciency, as dependence on another actor would leave them open to exploitation. Thus international organizations and international law are thought to be of limited use (ibid; Genest 1994: 71). Neorealism (or structural realism), as championed most famously by Kenneth Waltz, differs from classical realism in that it sees the international system as more than the sum of its parts, its very structure driving states towards certain actions and restricting them from others (Waltz 1995: 74).