RUN 2018 - Researching the United Nations and Other International Organizations - Rethinking Methods of Investigation

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Objectives of the Workshop

This workshop aims to foster discussion revolving around methods and approaches relevant to study the United Nations and other IOs. Participants will discuss both the empirical and analytical benefits of different methods and the practicality of their application. The purpose of the workshop is two-fold. First, it intends to identify and question the specificities of the United Nations and other IOs: do IOs require a radical change in the application of a classical method in social sciences? How should researchers adapt their methods to the case of IOs? Secondly, it serves as a venue for researchers from various disciplines to be reflexive on their methodology and their use of different methods to conduct research on IOs.

While addressing these two dimensions, each presentation should consider the following questions: why is this method relevant to study IOs? How do you concretely apply this method to the case of IOs? What are the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach?

The workshop will welcome different types of interventions to answer these questions. Interested scholars can present a paper in which they discuss the relevance and the concrete implementation of a specific method or approach. Others can provide case studies to illustrate the productive use of different methods. Finally, we will welcome methodological appendixes, which provide very practical examples of methods applied to IOs (questionnaire, field notes, visual methods, etc.). We will discuss possible outcomes in terms of publication during the workshop.

By tackling the issues of methodology, the workshop aims to lay the groundwork for innovative, multi-disciplinary future research on the United Nations and other IOs. It intends to be interactive and horizontal to facilitate discussions among participants from different academic communities. It will allow for an interdisciplinary dialogue based on the commitment and the active contribution of all participants. 


Two public conferences will take place on 2 consecutive evenings (18th and 19th of June 2018) during the time of the event. Confirmed speakers and moderators include Laëtitia Atlani-Duault (IRD, Columbia University), Michael Barnett (Elliott School of International Affairs), Irène Bellier (CNRS - EHESS), Mathilde Bourrier (UNIGE), Sandra Lavenex (UNIGE), Birgit Müller (EHESS-CNRS), Bob Reinalda (Radboud University) and Thomas Weiss (CUNY). These conferences will be the opportunity to open the debate to a larger audience.


We invite abstract proposals from interested scholars from all disciplines. Proposals should not exceed 500 words in length. Preferred format for all submissions is PDF. Please send your proposal as an attachment to and insert “Submission: RUN 2018 Workshop” as the subject line of the message.

The deadline for abstracts is 15 October 2017. All proposals will undergo peer review. Notification of acceptance will be sent out by December 2017. Full papers are expected to be delivered by May 2018 for circulation among participants. We expect to be able to provide support as regards to participants’ travel expenses when necessary.