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Palgrave Macmillan

International Organizations in Global Social Governance

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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

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  • Analyses specific social policy fields and the roles, characteristics or functions of single IOs and IOs within their organizational contexts
  • Compares IO populations across different social policy fields
  • Allows readers to better understand the discourses of IOs and how they influence national policies and the international community by means of soft governance

Part of the book series: Global Dynamics of Social Policy (GDSP)

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About this book

International Organizations (IOs) are important actors within global social governance. They provide forums for exchange, contention and cooperation about social policies. Our knowledge about the involvement of IOs varies significantly by policy fields, and we know comparatively little about the specific roles of IOs in social policies.

This volume enhances and systematizes our understanding of IOs in global social governance. It provides studies on a variety of social policy fields in which different, but also the same, IOs operate.

The chapters shed light on IO involvement in a particular social policy field by describing the population of participating IOs; exploring how a particular global social policy field is constituted as a whole, and which dominant IOs set the trends. The contributors also examine the discourse within, and between, these IOs on the respective social policies. As such, this first-of-its kind book contributes to research on socialpolicy and international relations, both in terms of theoretical substantiation and empirical scope.


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Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Conclusion


“Although international organizations have long played a substantial role in social policy, scholarly research on their nature, discourse, and impact has only taken off in the last few decades. Featuring a strong line-up of contributors, this edited volume maps international organizations and their discourses across an impressive number of social policy areas ranging from health and labour to immigration and family policy. This excellent volume is a must read for those interested in global social policy.” (Daniel Béland, McGill University, Canada)

“Recognizing and appreciating the dynamics of Global Social Governance is all the more important these days in our global ‘community of fate. First, this volume provides an invaluable conceptual understanding of the causes and consequences of cross-border social issues.  Second, the authors recount how international organizations have evolved and expanded not only as public service providers with innovations in policy delivery but alsoas power-holders in social governance through a strong capacity to define the parameters of policy.” (Diane Stone, Professor of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, Italy)

“What role do international organizations (IOs) play in social policy worldwide? Some posit that IOs reflect the will of their constituent states. However, other scholars have found that IOs have substantial autonomy, generate their own ideas, and learn from their environments and experiences, acting as “forums for exchange, contention, and cooperation.” With chapters covering a wide range of policy domains, every student of global social policy will need to check out this excellent book” (Mitchell A. Orenstein, Professor of Russian and East European Studies, University of Pennsylvania, US)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) and Collaborative, Research Centre 1342 “Global Dynamics of Social Policy” University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

    Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann

  • Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany

    Alexandra Kaasch

About the editors

Kerstin Martens is Professor of International Relations at the University of Bremen, Germany

Dennis Niemann is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Centre “Global Dynamics of Social Policy”, University of Bremen, Germany

Alexandra Kaasch is Professor in German and Transnational Social Policy at Bielefeld University, Germany


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: International Organizations in Global Social Governance

  • Editors: Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann, Alexandra Kaasch

  • Series Title: Global Dynamics of Social Policy

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65438-2Published: 07 April 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65441-2Published: 06 March 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-65439-9Published: 06 April 2021

  • Series ISSN: 2661-8672

  • Series E-ISSN: 2661-8680

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXVII, 353

  • Number of Illustrations: 7 b/w illustrations, 3 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Comparative Social Policy, Governance and Government, International Organization

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