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Jacob Katz Cogan

International institutions are increasingly recognizing that cities serve an important role in solving transnational problems, and that cities and international organizations need to work more together. Cities are asserting themselves more and more internationally, pushing their policy preferences and demanding a seat at the table. The moves toward implementing urban-IO collaboration are growing, but the state-centered structure of the international system has impeded such efforts. This chapter will explore the trends that have led international organizations to focus on cities and those that have led cities to look to international organizations. It will then examine the type of city-centric work that international organizations engage in and the types of contingent connections and alliances that exist between organizations and cities. Finally, it will suggest that a shadow system has emerged that allows cities and international organizations to interact and cooperate within an international framework that was not designed for such relations.

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Jacob Katz Cogan

Our understanding of international organizations depends on the perspective from which we view them: outside-in or inside-out. The choice of perspective is critical, as each approach relies on different assumptions, provokes different questions and research agendas, and suggests different roles for the organization. This chapter reviews international organizations from these two perspectives. Each approach provides insights that the other lacks. And though the externalist and internalist perspectives are not necessarily exclusive, distinguishing the two, and their variants, provides a guide to a complex literature. Doing so also allows us to track these arguments over time. The resonance of external and internal approaches has changed as the roles, powers and influences of organizations have expanded. At the same time, the disciplinary rigidity and dichotomies that marked earlier eras appear to have subsided in favour of eclecticism, eliding the disjunctive and categorical thinking that has marked the study of international organizations.