Cambodian Institutions in Change: A Study in Hegemonic Influence

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Jesper Rytter Sørensen
The objective of this project is to study the affect that international organizations have had on Cambodia through the development aid that they provided for Cambodia through the years. The understanding of influence and international institutions is in this project based on the hegemonic theory formulated by Robert Cox.

Given that coxian hegemonic theory is amongst the less used theories in the studies of international relations it has not been used as much for the study of development. This project therefore provides the study a new insight into the study of development and how international institutions affect the countries they are engaged in.

Cambodia is a country that has seen several crisis situations in the past couple of decades since independence from the French empire. Following the independence Cambodia was formed as a UN protectorate. In its current condition the Kingdom of Cambodia is in a situation where it to a large extent depends on aid from more developed nations. This fact has resulted in the current situation where Cambodia sees a vast amount of aid coming in from the developed world. It is this situation that the project seeks to shed light on.

The project works with the assumption that the Hegemonic force that dominates the international system was formed by the USA and is characterized by a neo-liberal ideology. By this assumption the current world system as well as the ideas that form this system are formed by the USA and the ideas of the dominant social group in this country. Thus the organizations that carry out development assistance in this system are guided by this ideology.

The analysis focuses on three organizations operating in Cambodia: the United Nations Development Programme, the World Trade Organization and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Cambodia and the World Trade Organization. These three organizations have been selected because they each symbolize a different element of the neo-liberal hegemonic system.

It is therefore the intent of this project to expand the knowledge of development work by utilizing a lesser used theory. The data that is collected will in the analysis be divided into ideas, material capabilities and institutional influence. This method, outlined by Robert Cox, effectively divides the analysis up in a way that ensures that the researcher can view development aid as a spread of ideas rather than just a method for poverty alleviation.
Publication date1 Sept 2010
Number of pages61
ID: 36570134