The Move to Institutions
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers a set of ideas about institutionalization illustrated by some narratives told by the discipline of international institutions about its origin and practice. It examines several basic ideas about the League's origin that recur in the international institutional literature. For three generations, students of international relations and diplomatic history have been taught to treat the First World War as a watershed. To sustain the League's simultaneous difference from both the War and the pre-War order, the international institutional literature confirms and repeats its narrative about the League's origin in its representation of the institution's practice. Texts about the League's establishment narrate international society's move to institutionalization by combining a difference with a process of differentiation. The Covenant of the League transformed the opportunity provided by the War's end into an institution.