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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Time plays a central role in international organizations (IOs). Interactions among actors are embedded in a temporal dimension, and actors use formal and informal time rules, time discourses, and time pressure to obtain concessions from their counterparts. By the same token, legacies and innovations within and outside IOs can be examined as a dynamic process evolving over time. Against this background, this chapter has a twofold aim. First, it examines how actors use time in IOs with a particular focus on multilateral negotiations to justify their actions. Drawing on international relations studies and negotiation analysis, this piece explores six different dimensions of time in the multilateral system: time pressure, time discourse, time rules, time costs, time horizons, and time as a resource. Second, this chapter delineates the evolution of IOs over time with the focus on innovations that emerge to adapt their institutional system to new political and economic circumstances. This piece looks particularly at endogenous and exogenous changes in IOs, recurring to central concepts used by historical institutionalism, including path dependence, critical junctures, and sequencing. This allows us to map patterns of incremental change, such as displacement, conversion, drift, and layering.

Keywords: international organizations, time, multilateral negotiations, historical institutionalism, time pressure, sequencing

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