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The Politicization of International Institutions:
The Case of the G8

Martin Nonhoff, Jennifer Gronau, Frank Nullmeier and Steffen Schneider
Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 16(2), 237-68 (2009)

Whether, why and in what respect we are witnessing an increasing politicization of international regimes is widely discussed at the moment. Recent contributions propose that such politicization is in fact happening and that we should understand that development as an unintended consequence of the growing supra- and transnationalization of international regimes. Looking more closely at which institutions are becoming politicized the most blatant example is surely the G8. It has aroused more political protest than any other international institution during the last decade and it is also, as we show in this article, under severe discursive legitimation pressure. Yet, the G8 is neither a supra- nor a transnational, but rather a transgovernmental institution. Therefore, supra- or transnationalization cannot be understood as a sufficient condition for explaining the politicization of international regimes. Other factors, such as the symbolic character of an institution, its discursive visibility, and its proneness to assume a state-like range of responsibilities have to be taken into account.

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