Two-Day workshop in Bremen
Two-Day workshop in Bremen
Our CRC’s project area A hosted a two-day workshop with international scholars discussing the influence International Organisations have in shaping social policy. The papers presented are planned to be published in our CRC book series.

International Organisations (IOs) are vibrant actors in global social governance. They provide forums for exchange, contention and cooperation; they prepare, guide and supervise international treaties; they direct, finance, and implement projects and they exercise many more duties. The study of IOs in general has tremendously improved in recent decades. However, our knowledge about the involvement, influence and impact of IOs varies significantly by policy fields. While scholarship on IOs focuses often on issues areas like security, economics or environmental policies, we know comparatively little about IOs in issues areas related to social policies.

To address and to start to fill this gap, at the end of May 2019 Kerstin Martens and Dennis Niemann of the CRC 1342 in cooperation with Alexandra Kaasch (Institute for World Society Studies, University of Bielefeld) hosted a workshop with international scholars who are currently doing research on the IOs’ influence on social policy. International presenters included Nicola Yeates, Rianne Mahon, Ross Fergusson, Martin Heneghan, Jeremy Schmidt, Chris Deeming and Matias Margulis All presentations underscored that IOs are involved in shaping social policy for a long time, marked particularly by ILO’s 100th anniversary. The researchers jointly pointed out that the UN and their conventions are a major factor in the dynamics of social policy, with the ILO being the most prominent agency. The next most important players are the World Bank and the OECD which often have a different, more economy-oriented view of social policies. These three IOs almost dominate the field of "IOs in social policy". Many smaller IOs also deal with social policies, but tend to have a regional scope.

The interaction of IOs in social policy fields ranges from cooperation (e.g. WHO, ILO and OECD in care and migration) to contestation (e.g. ILO and World Bank in pension issues). The influence on the social policy discourse varies, but in general IOs are exercising soft governance as broadcasters of new ideas – which has been the focus of this workshop. In developing and disseminating ideas, discourses of IOs are shaped by their membership rules, institutional design of decision-making and prevailing path dependencies. The discourses the IOs are taking part in one field are often interlinked to other discourses in other fields.

The papers that have been presented at the workshop will be revised during summer and are planned to be published as an edited book in 2020.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Dennis Niemann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67473
E-Mail: dniemann@uni-bremen.de