Socializing Development

Transnational Social Movement Advocacy and the Human Rights Accountability of Multilateral Development Banks

As Multilateral Development Banks increasingly gained influence in shaping global development, transnational social movements pushed to hold them accountable for their human rights impact towards communities. Leon Valentin Schettler presents a novel causal mechanism of movement advocacy towards MDBs, combining disruptive and conventional tactics. Systematically comparing the evolution of human rights standards and complaint mechanisms over the last three decades, he reveals how the combination of 1) declining US hegemony, 2) counter-mobilization by China and 3) movement cooptation by the World Bank bureaucracy led to a dilution of human rights accountability in the 2010s.

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16 March 2020, 274 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5183-6

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Leon Valentin Schettler

Leon Valentin Schettler, Brot für die Welt Berlin, Deutschland

Why did You chose this topic?

I am driven by the following question: how can we realize human rights globally, despite authoritarian regimes, areas of (extremely) limited statehood and the lack of centralized human rights enforcement. Though multilateral development banks (MDBs) are key to this endeavor, they have often violated human rights in the past. My aim was to find out how social movements can get them to accept responsibility for their human rights impact and how those negatively affected get access to justice.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

My book reveals how a certain ›sequence‹ of movement tactics – not a random application of different tactics in parallel – leads to success. At the same time, it also discloses how human rights-based movement activism still needs to adapt to a changing world order in order to be effective. Finally, the book highlights the importance of liberal-democratic counter mobilization to overt, but also subtle and indirect authoritarian tendencies within international organizations.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

I synthesize existing works to build and test a novel causal mechanism of movement effectiveness, link that to the current contestation of the liberal democratic script, offer new insights into the dynamics of movement cooptation by the World Bank and derive consequences for successful advocacy in the future. Interesting for researchers on norm contestation: in my work, international organizations are norm ›addressees‹ (not enabling platforms).

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank at the time of the Safeguards reform. He was Barack Obama's pick, an anthropologist, doctor and a proven track-record of fighting disease and poverty worldwide, the safeguards reform from 2012-2016 let to the World Bank's largest

human rights accountability roll-back since the 1990s. I would like to understand his motivations better.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

In times of authoritarian backlash, social movements increasingly require the support of courageous liberal democratic states to enhance the human rights accountability of multilateral development banks.

Book title
Socializing Development Transnational Social Movement Advocacy and the Human Rights Accountability of Multilateral Development Banks
transcript Verlag
kart., Klebebindung, 9 SW-Abbildungen, 2 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
POL003000 POL016000 POL011000
Release date
16 March 2020
Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft, Recht, Neoliberalismus
Political Science, Sociology, Development Studies
Human Rights, Development, Social Movements, World Bank, Society, Neoliberalism, Economy, Politics, International Relations, Finance, Political Science, Process Tracing

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