This is a collection of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) documents and publications. "The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous UN agency engaging in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. Through its research, UNRISD stimulates dialogue and contributes to policy debates on key issues of social development within and outside the United Nations system.

Recent Submissions

  • UNRISD. Occasional paper

    Mayoux, Linda; United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD, 1995)
    Incl. bibl.
  • From vicious to virtuous circles? Gender and micro-enterprise development

    Mayoux, Linda; United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD, 1995)
    Incl. bibl.
  • Mercados, Empresas y Regulación [Markets, companies and Regulation]

    UNRISD (UNRISD, 2003)
    Esta perspectiva, en la cual se hace hincapié en la construcción social y política de los mercados, permite desafiar algunos de los supuestos y elementos básicos de la teoría y la práctica neoliberales, especialmente las nociones de que los recursos se asignan de manera óptima a través de la interacción impersonal de la oferta y la demanda; que la causa profunda del fracaso del mercado yace en las distorsiones de señales de mercado que son resultado de la intervención y la regulación gubernamentales; que «establecer correctamente los precios» es la clave para mejorar las condiciones de vida de los pequeños agricultores ; y que el desarrollo social de base amplia fluye necesariamente como resultado de los cambios en los precios relativos.
  • Regulating Business via Multistakeholder Initiatives

    Utting, Peter (NGLS and UNRISD, 2002-05)
    "Since the 1980s, there has been a considerable shift in thinking regardinghow to improve the social and environmental performance of transnational corporations. An earlier emphasis on governmental regulation ceded ground to "corporate self-regulation" and voluntary initiatives. This voluntary approach has evolved in recent years and assumed new institutional forms which attempt to overcome some of the limitations of company codes of conduct and other self-regulatory initiatives. The latest shift in approach involves the emergence of so-called "multistakeholder initiatives" where NGOs,multilateral and other organizations encourage companies to participate in schemes that set social and environmental standards, monitor compliance, promote social and environmental reporting and auditing, certify good practice, and encourage stakeholder dialogue and "social learning""
  • The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics

    Razavi, Shahra; Jenichen, Anne (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-11-01)
    A Special Issue of the journal Third World Quarterly, guest-edited by UNRISD researchers Shahra Razavi and Anne Jenichen. The special issue explores how religion as a political force shapes and deflects the struggle for gender equality in contexts marked by different histories of nation-building and challenges of ethnic diversity, different state-society relations (from the more authoritarian to the more democratic), and different relations between state power and religion (especially in the domain of marriage, family and personal laws). It shows how "private" issues, related to the family, sexuality and reproduction, have become sites of intense public contestation between conservative religious actors wishing to regulate them based on some transcendent moral principle, and feminist and other human rights advocates basing their claims on pluralist and time-and-context specific solutions. Not only are claims of "divine truth" justifying discriminatory practices against women hard to challenge, but the struggle for gender equality is further complicated by the manner in which it is closely tied up, and inseparable from, struggles for social and economic justice, ethnic/racial recognition, and national self-determination vis-à-vis imperial/global domination.
  • Social Policy and State Revenues in Mineral-Rich Contexts

    Hinojosa, Leonith; Bebbington, Anthony; Barrientos, Armando; Addison, Tony (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-10-25)
    The expansion of extractive industries in developing countries, dominated by large investments, has produced divided opinion and reaction among scholars, policy makers and civil society with regard to its impact on host countries’ economic performance, governance and peace. Facing that division, the expectation is that the inflow of resources produced by the industry might create opportunities for mineral-rich developing countries to use social policy, both to mitigate the potential negative effects of mineral production, as well as to enhance their citizens’ social welfare. This paper looks at the political economy features of mineral expansion and reviews the “resource curse” literature through a social welfare lens. The authors address the linkages between mineral expansion and social policy, examining three aspects that underpin the basis for the above expectation: first, the extent to which state revenue and mineral export dependence are connected; second, the likely effects of mineral wealth on social expenditure levels and composition, and on the promotion of new social policy initiatives; and, finally, the role that the quality of government plays in determining mineral revenue capture and expenditure. The approach followed for the examination combines correlation, regression and cluster analysis applied to 74 countries in which the level of export dependence on minerals (fuel and metals) has been superior to 10 per cent in the period 1995–2005. Results of that analysis suggest that there is no conclusive evidence of a general pattern among mineral-rich countries with regard to the linkages between mineral wealth, state revenue and social welfare. However, the negative association between state revenue and level of mineral export dependence, and the positive association between state revenue and social policy found in that analysis—together with insights from case-based literature—point to the necessity of analysing the relationship between mineral wealth and social policy within an integrative approach. This paper concludes by outlining this approach and bringing together concepts developed around welfare regimes and factors produced in a mineral-led development strategy. It also suggests that the inflow of mineral taxes could produce the basis for transformative social policies and social development, which would overcome the underinvestment in social services and social protection so far seen in most mineral-rich countries. In order to achieve this in a sustainable way, states need also to consider the use of these financial inflows in transforming their economic and institutional structures.
  • UNRISD Recherches et politiques – Synthèse 10 [UNRISD Research and Policy - Summary 10]

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-10-21)
    La réduction de la pauvreté tient une place centrale dans la politique de développement international. Au Sommet du Millénaire, les leaders mondiaux se sont entendus sur un certain nombre d’objectifs clés du développement social dans le but de faire sensiblement reculer la pauvreté d’ici à 2015. Comment est-il alors possible que la pauvreté persiste quand le souci de la réduire tient une telle place dans les préoccupations politiques? Contrairement à ce qu’ont fait les pays qui ont réussi au cours de leur histoire à réduire la pauvreté et les inégalités, aujourd’hui la réduction de la pauvreté repose sur des stratégies qui “ciblent les pauvres”. Or, des dimensions institutionnelles et politiques clés, qui peuvent à la fois être à l’origine de la pauvreté et des inégalités et faire obstacle à leur recul, échappent souvent à de telles démarches. Les recherches de l’UNRISD montrent en effet que les États qui ont enregistré des progrès l’ont principalement dû à des stratégies alliant des objectifs de développement économique à des politiques sociales actives de manière à les rendre complémentaires. Elles concluent aussi que les résultats obtenus dans la lutte contre la pauvreté viennent de l’interaction complexe d’idées, d’institutions, de politiques et de pratiques et de l’interpénétration du social, de l’économique et du politique. Il ressort des recherches qu’un développement durable et solidaire dépend essentiellement des éléments suivants: des modes de croissance et des changements structurels (dans les secteurs primaire, secondaire et tertiaire) qui créent et maintiennent en place des emplois suffisamment rémunérés et accessibles à tous, sans discrimination de revenu ou de classe sociale, de sexe, d’ethnie ou de lieu; une politique sociale globale fondée sur des droits universels et qui favorise les changements structurels, la cohésion sociale et la démocratie en politique; et la protection des droits civils, un militantisme citoyen et des mécanismes politiques conçus pour s’assurer que les États répondent aux besoins des citoyens et que les pauvres ont leur mot à dire sur le mode de définition des politiques. Les Synthèses de l’UNRISD sur les recherches et politiques visent à améliorer la qualité du dialogue sur le développement. Elles replacent les recherches de l’Institut dans le cadre général des débats sur le développement social, font la synthèse des résultats et attirent l’attention sur des questions à prendre en considération dans le processus décisionnel. Elles fournissent ces informations sous une forme condensée qui devrait être utile notamment aux décideurs politiques, aux universitaires, aux militants et aux journalistes. (Reduction of poverty is central in international development policy. At the Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed on a number of key social development goals in order to significantly reduce poverty by 2015. How is it possible that poverty persists when the concern is to reduce such a place on the political agenda?)
  • Faith-Based Organizations and Service Delivery

    Tadros, Mariz (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-10-25)
    This paper deals specifically with faith-based organizations (FBOs) delivering services with the aim of contributing to the debates on religious organizations’ engagement with questions of gender. The paper presents no conclusions or generic findings about this heterogeneous group of actors; instead, by flagging a series of conundrums, it questions the ways in which FBOs have been framed as positive agents for the advancement of gender equality. The first conundrum is the difficulty in sometimes determining the nature of an FBO’s gender agenda, because often a single organization takes different standpoints on various gender issues. The second conundrum is the complex way in which some FBOs provide women with a range of spiritual and social activities while at the same time delineating the ways in which they are expected to exercise their agency. The third conundrum lies in the fact that, while many FBOs may indeed be working successfully at the grassroots level, this does not necessarily mean that they all emerge from within the community or that they are necessarily “indigenous”. The fourth conundrum has to do with the dilemmas women face when the extension of services and assistance is conditional on their conforming to the FBOs’ interpretation of religiously appropriate gender roles and behaviour. Without generalizing for all service-providing FBOs, ethnographic studies nonetheless suggest that, in some instances, services are used overtly or more subtly as a means of seeking to inculcate religious values and ideologies. Often, controlling women’s behaviour becomes a symbol of conformity to religious ideology. While women are the targets of many such processes, they are not simply repositories of doctrines and ideologies and often engage in acts of subversion as well as covert and overt forms of contestations. The methodological approach followed is qualitative. The paper relies on an analysis of secondary sources on FBOs affiliated to both organized religion and faith movements that have contested their orthodoxies. The literature analysed encompasses FBOs operating in different countries and regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States. The paper also draws on the author’s ethnographic fieldwork in one of Cairo’s poorest urban settlements with a high density of religious organizations. The fieldwork was conducted between 2000 and 2007, supplemented with interviews conducted in Yemen in 2006 and in Cairo in 2009. The paper argues that, due to the complexity and variation in FBOs, there is a need for caution in drawing policy recommendations applicable to all faith-based actors engaged in service delivery. How faith expresses itself vis-à-vis gender issues will vary along the personal belief system of the leadership, those of the practitioners, the context in which they work, the extent of vulnerability and dependence of their constituency on their services as well as other contextual factors (such as the state’s political ideology on gender issues). In some cases FBOs’ agendas are closely tied to those of organized religious establishments, while in others they are in direct contestation. In the light of this, in some contexts, it may be possible to engage with faith leaders of organizations delivering services to advance gender agendas, while in others such an assumption is naive in that it does not take into account the power politics behind how agendas are framed.
  • Claiming and Framing in the Making of Care Policies

    Williams, Fiona (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-12-22)
    The question of how to devise policies to meet the care needs of society has become more urgent than ever. In many parts of the developed world, women’s increasing involvement in paid employment has undermined the traditional male breadwinner model which assumed the availability of a dependent wife at home to care for children, disabled family members and older, frail relatives. This paper seeks to understand how care policies are shaped. It looks at the dynamic between how constituencies make care claims and the ways in which care policies are constructed and delivered in different national, regional and historical contexts. The focus is mainly on childcare policies for working parents in Europe, but the purview here also includes policies for disabled people and unpaid carers. Its aim is to provide an understanding, within particular contexts, of the relationship between (i) the articulation of claims based on the needs of those who provide and/or receive care; (ii) the political frames and logics of policies which attend to care needs; and (iii) the outcomes of such policies for different groups of care receivers and providers. The paper is divided into two main sections. The first focuses on the ways different political actors frame care policies in Europe. It starts with a brief review of the theories and concepts that inform the paper. It goes on to apply these to an analysis of how care needs are interpreted in the claims of those representing the providers and receivers of care. Five areas of claims are identified: work/care reconciliation; disabled people’s support; unpaid care; trade union demands for flexibility; and migrant care work. It proposes that, together, claims in these areas expand demands for recognition, rights and the redistribution of responsibilities in relation to care, and that they look to an overarching frame of social justice. The analysis of policy making in Europe shows that some of the discourses attached to notions of social justice find reflection in care policy but that the dominant frame is that of care policy as a form of social investment in human capital. The paper examines political opportunities and constraints in the emergence of social rights for parents and children in Europe. The second part examines policies in different national contexts by asking which issues drive policies and what this means for outcomes in terms of social inequalities. The issues examined are demographic change, social investment, employment creation and the global nature of care policy. In conclusion, the paper finds that care policies in Europe are imbued with tension and contradiction from the perspective of those who provide and receive care support. On the one hand, the last decade has seen important changes: for example, the recognition of the employment potential of those previously marginalized from paid work such as mothers and disabled people; the recognition of men’s caring capacities; the rise of state responsibilities for care provision, especially in child care; and the recognition of family carers. On the other hand, these opportunities have been accompanied by constraints, including a sense of obligation by mothers and disabled people to find work often in the more precarious parts of the labour market; the increased commodification of care services; and the construction of parents/carers, older and disabled people exercising choice as consumers in the care market, rather than exercising their voice as citizens in the public domain of care. Such developments have also had the consequence of creating a poorly paid migrant labour economy of care. In this situation the key challenge is to use those spaces in which care has become politicized and rights have been won to advance the political, social and economic value of care as a crucial component in claims for national and transnational social justice.
  • Conférence Infos: Les dimensions sociales et politiques de la crise mondiale: [Conference News: The social and political dimensions of the Global Crisis]

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-12-09)
    Il est apparu en 2008 que ce qui avait commencé comme une crise financière affectant les marchés internationaux des capitaux s’était transformé en une crise économique mondiale aux graves conséquences sociales. Les discussions au niveau international ont surtout porté sur le cheminement par lequel la crise des marchés financiers s’était transmise à l’économie réelle, les conséquences économiques, imprévues pour la plupart, de la financiarisation, les répercussions économiques de la crise et les lacunes de la régulation qu’il fallait combler. Les dimensions sociales et politiques de la crise ont été absentes de la discussion, ou, dans le meilleur des cas, abordées de manière très superficielle. Sous l’angle du développement social, les questions suivantes revêtent une pertinence particulière: Quels groupes sociaux ont été les plus touchés par la crise dans les pays en développement et quelles sont leurs stratégies de survie? Quel rôle la politique sociale peut-elle et devrait-elle jouer face aux répercussions sociales de la crise au niveau national? Quelles sont les perspectives d’un changement de politique sociale au niveau mondial? Quelles conditions politiques sont propices à une véritable “transformation”, étant donné les contraintes structurelles et les rapports de force? Pour débattre de ces questions, l’UNRISD a organisé une conférence sur Les dimensions sociales et politiques de la crise mondiale: conséquences pour les pays en développement, qui s’est tenue à Genève les 12–13 novembre 2009. Des exposés ont été présentés par 24 chercheurs, essentiellement sélectionnés par un appel à documents. Les discussions avaient pour but d’examiner les moyens de mieux intégrer les considérations sociales dans les propositions de réforme, et de se demander si la crise offrait la possibilité d’adopter des politiques de “transformation” ou si l’on assistait à un retour aux réflexes habituels. (It emerged in 2008 that began as a financial crisis affecting international financial markets had turned into a global economic crisis with serious social consequences. The international discussions have focused on the path through which the financial crisis was transmitted to the real economy, the economic consequences, unexpected for most of financialization, the economic impact of the crisis and gaps regulation that needed to be filled. The social and political dimensions of the crisis have been absent from the discussion, or in the best case, addressed very superficially.)
  • InfoEvento: Las dimensiones social y política de la crisis mundial(UNRISD Conference News: Social and Political Dimensions of the Global Crisis:)

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-12-09)
    En el 2008, se hizo patente que lo que había comenzado como una crisis financiera que afectaba a los mercados internacionales de capital se había convertido en una crisis económica de proporciones mundiales con graves consecuencias sociales. Los debates en el escenario internacional se concentraron principalmente en analizar los canales por los cuales la crisis de los mercados financieros se había transmitido a la economía real, las consecuencias económicas, en buena medida imprevistas, de la “financialización”, las repercusiones económicas de la crisis y las lagunas normativas que debían colmarse. Las dimensiones social y política de la crisis brillaron por su ausencia en estos debates, y en el mejor de los casos, se abordaron de forma muy superficial. Desde la perspectiva del desarrollo social, las preguntas siguientes resultan particularmente pertinentes: ¿Qué grupos sociales de los países en desarrollo se han visto más afectados por la crisis, y qué están haciendo estos grupos para enfrentarla? ¿Qué función puede, y debería, cumplir la política social en respuesta a las repercusiones sociales de la crisis a nivel nacional? ¿Qué oportunidades existen para producir un cambio en la política social a nivel mundial? ¿Qué elemento político puede llevar a un cambio “transformativo”, habida cuenta de las limitaciones estructurales y las relaciones de poder? Para responder a estos interrogantes, UNRISD organizó una conferencia sobre Las dimensiones social y política de la crisis mundial: Implicaciones para los países en desarrollo, que tuvo lugar en Ginebra los días 12 y 13 de noviembre de 2009. Un total de 24 investigadores presentaron documentos durante la conferencia, la mayoría de ellos en respuesta a una solicitud de trabajos. Los debates se dedicaron a analizar las formas en que los aspectos sociales pudieran integrarse de manera más completa a las propuestas de reforma, así como a examinar si la crisis ofrecía una oportunidad para adoptar políticas más “transformativas” o si estábamos más bien en presencia de un regreso a “más de lo mismo”. (In 2008, it became apparent that what had started as a financial crisis affecting international capital markets had become an economic crisis of global proportions with serious social consequences. Discussions on the international stage focused mainly on analyzing the channels through which the financial market crisis had been transmitted to the real economy, the economic consequences, largely unforeseen, the "financialization" of the economic impact crisis and policy gaps to be filled. The social and political dimensions of the crisis were absent in these discussions, and in the best case, addressed in a very superficial.)
  • UNRISD Investigación y política – Síntesis 10 [Synthesis of UNRISD Research and Policy]

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-12-08)
    La reducción de la pobreza es un componente central de la agenda de desarrollo internacional. En la Cumbre del Milenio, los líderes del mundo acordaron una serie de objetivos clave de desarrollo social con la meta de reducir considerablemente la pobreza para el 2015. ¿Qué explica entonces la persistencia de la pobreza cuando el interés en reducirla figura de manera tan prominente en la agenda de políticas? En contraste con las experiencias de los países que a lo largo de su historia han logrado reducir la pobreza y la desigualdad, las estrategias contemporáneas de lucha contra la pobreza se han concentrado, cada vez en mayor medida, en “atender a los pobres”. A menudo, estos enfoques no llegan a tomar en cuenta dimensiones institucionales, políticas y de política que son fundamentales y que pueden ser tanto las causas de la pobreza y la desigualdad como los obstáculos para su reducción. Estos criterios van a contrapelo de lo que se observa en los países que han logrado reducir la pobreza en un tiempo relativamente corto. La investigación de UNRISD revela que, por el contrario, el éxito de estos países reside en la aplicación de estrategias dirigidas por el Estado en las cuales se combinan objetivos de desarrollo económico y políticas sociales activas que se apoyan mutuamente. También muestra cómo los resultados en materia de pobreza son el producto de complejas interconexiones de ideas, instituciones, políticas y prácticas en los ámbitos social, económico y político. La investigación destaca los siguientes elementos cruciales de una estrategia de desarrollo sostenible e incluyente: Patrones de crecimiento y cambio estructural (ya sea en los sectores agrícola, industrial o de servicios) que generen y conserven puestos de trabajo debidamente remunerados y accesibles a todos, independientemente del nivel de ingreso o su clase social, género, etnicidad o ubicación; Políticas sociales integrales que estén fundamentadas en derechos universales y que apoyen el cambio estructural, la cohesión social y el sistema político democrático; y La protección de los derechos cívicos, el activismo y acuerdos políticos que velen por que los estados respondan a las necesidades de los ciudadanos y los pobres puedan incidir sobre la formulación de las políticas. Los Síntesis pretenden mejorar la calidad del diálogo sobre el desarrollo. Sitúan la investigación del Instituto dentro de un marco general de debates sobre el desarrollo social, sintetizan los resultados y ponen de relieve cuestiones que deben considerarse en los procesos de la toma de decisiones. Proporcionan esta información de una forma concisa que debería ser útil para los encargados de formular políticas, académicos, activistas y periodistas entre otros. (Reducing poverty is a central component of the international development agenda. At the Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed on a number of key objectives of social development with the goal of significantly reducing poverty by 2015. What then explains the persistence of poverty when interest in reducing figure so prominently in the policy agenda?)
  • Social Policies in Grenada

    Lewis, Patsy (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-12-07)
    The country case studies and thematic papers in this series, published jointly by UNRISD and the Commonwealth Secretariat, examine social policy issues facing small states and their implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented. Grenada is a small state that has made impressive initial achievements in economic and human development since independence, especially in education and health. However, continuing unemployment and poverty, the recent erosion of trade preferences, and the changing international donor aid environment have exposed structural weaknesses in its economic model. Patsy Lewis assesses developments in social policy approaches and delivery in the post-colonial period, including the economic strategies pursued and their effects on social policy, particularly in respect of children. She looks at the challenges faced by governments and presents a brief case study of Hurricane Ivan, as an instance for exploring community and national responses, resilience and innovation.
  • مكافحة الفقر وعدم امل�ساواة [Combating Poverty and Inequality:]

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-11-30)
    Poverty reduction is a central feature of the international development agenda and contemporary poverty reduction strategies increasingly focus on “targeting the poor”, yet poverty and inequality remain intractable foes. Combating Poverty and Inequality argues that this is because many current approaches to reducing poverty and inequality fail to consider key institutional, policy and political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles to their reduction. Moreover, when a substantial proportion of a country’s population is poor, it makes little sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of development. For countries that have been successful in increasing the well-being of the majority of their populations over relatively short periods of time, the report shows, progress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies that combine economic development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy. The report is structured around three main issues, which, it argues, are the critical elements of a sustainable and inclusive development strategy: patterns of growth and structural change (whether in the agricultural, industrial or service sectors) that generate and sustain jobs that are adequately remunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity or location; comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democratic politics; and protection of civic rights, activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of citizens and the poor have influence in how policies are made. The report seeks to explain why people are poor and why inequalities exist, as well as what can be done to rectify these injustices. It explores the causes, dynamics and persistence of poverty; examines what works and what has gone wrong in international policy thinking and practice; and lays out a range of policies and institutional measures that countries can adopt to alleviate poverty.
  • Defining and Measuring Social Cohesion

    Jenson, Jane (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-11-03)
    The country case studies and thematic papers in this series, published jointly by UNRISD and the Commonwealth Secretariat, examine social policy issues facing small states and their implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented. Social cohesion is a concept with multiple definitions and uses in the development community. Its general aim is to ensure that all citizens, without discrimination and on an equal footing, have access to fundamental social and economic rights. Jane Jenson examines this concept in policy debates and assesses its role in social development. Part I examines the literature on social cohesion, identifying three different ‘families’ of usage and the empirical grounding of each. Part II presents a range of indicators that have previously been used to measure social cohesion. Part III provides some discussion of the lessons to be drawn and the indicators that might be used to measure social cohesion in future.
  • Social Movements and Poverty in Developing Countries

    Bebbington, Anthony (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-11-03)
    Poverty and inequality are both products and producers of the prevailing relationships of power in a society. By many definitions, social movements are understood as questioning the nature and exercise of power in society. As such they also play roles in challenging relation–ships of poverty and inequality. This paper explores some of these roles. The paper first discusses characteristics of social movements—their motivations, emergence and strategies. Languages of justice and rights are far more prominent in social movements than are languages of poverty reduction. Movements rarely take on the mantle of “being poor” as an identity-based grievance, and few movement leaders think of themselves or their bases in this way. Indeed, many movements argue that a policy focus on poverty is depoliticizing and diverts attention from structures of inequality and exclusion. While this does not mean that movements are irrelevant to poverty, it does imply that to bring the two themes together requires a particular framing of poverty (as more than income-based), of the causes of poverty (as rooted, ultimately, in relationships of power), and of policy (as determined, ultimately, by political processes in which movements are one of many actors). It is from this starting point that the paper argues that movements are in fact of great relevance to discussions of poverty reduction. This is so both because they challenge dominant ways in which poverty is understood, and because their own actions suggest alternative pathways toward the reduction of poverty and inequality. The paper discusses these relationships by combining livelihoods frameworks and a simple state/market/civil society framework, which help frame the policies and institutional components of livelihoods frameworks as products of the interactions and power relations among actors operating in these three spheres. The combined framework makes social movements and power relationships endogenous to livelihoods and poverty. It also helps map the different points at which movements might interact with poverty dynamics. Indeed, one advantage of the livelihoods approach is that it combines both production and consumption (or production and reproduction) within a single analytical framework. The paper therefore organizes its discussion of movements and poverty around this distinction between production and consumption. On the production side, the paper discusses how movements might interact with both incremental and abrupt shifts in livelihood security, with questions of employment and with the relationships between the macroeconomy and public investment in poverty reduction. On the consumption side, the paper focuses on the links between movements and collective consumption, with an emphasis on housing, shelter, infrastructure and services. Cases are drawn from Bolivia, India, Peru and South Africa. In the domains of both production and consumption, movements pursue a range of strategies. At the less contentious end of the spectrum, these strategies include direct provisioning as well as co-production with public agencies. More contentious are those strategies that involve negotiation and lobbying, and at the most contentious end are strategies involving outright protest and direct action. Choice of strategy, its relative success and its influence on poverty and inequality vary depending on the context, on the capacities of the movement and on the political regime. As a very general pattern, however, it appears that movement politics are more contentious around questions of production than of consumption, and under political regimes with which movements clearly have an oppositional relationship. More generally, movement-state interactions appear to be most contentious when movements call into question and challenge basic rules that underlie the way that both economy and society are organized. While states are more likely to renegotiate particular projects or areas of expenditure, they are far less inclined to cede ground on basic rules and principles (for instance, principles related to property ownership, stability of contracts to overseas investors, taxation rates and so on). Historical analogy would suggest that sustained poverty reduction has come from system-wide changes, many of which are institutional in character. Such changes include, for instance, the establishment of taxation systems that redistribute from profits and wages to public investment in services; long-term increases in real wages; and a broadening of access to entitlements that come with participation in the formal economy. In societies of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there is reason to argue that many such institutions have emerged at least partly as a result of the mobilization and negotiation conducted by broad-based social organizations existing outside the state and political parties. Indeed, one of the most important effects of movements is to induce the creation of new public institutions that contribute to poverty reduction and that favour a certain evening out of power relationships in society. In this sense, just as social movements are endogenous to livelihood, so they are also to state formation. Understood this way, there is little choice but to recognize their importance for poverty reduction.
  • Religion, Culture and the Politicization of Honour-Related Violence

    C. Korteweg, Anna; Yurdakul, Gökçe (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010-11-12)
    Over the past decade, the issue of honour-related violence (including honour killing and forced marriage) has entered media and policy debates in immigrant-receiving countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Britain and Canada. In some of these countries, media debate has instigated policy debate. This paper analyses how media, parliaments and other state institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) conceptualize honour killing and honour-related violence in order to uncover how such conceptualizations inform policy responses. The analysis reveals three main trends: i. discussions that link honour killing to Islam and/or the backwardness of immigrant communities in ways that lead to the stigmatization of entire immigrant communities; ii. culture-blind portrayals of honour-related violence as domestic violence or violence against women that do not pay attention to cultural specificities; and iii. debates that are contextually specific, framing honour-related violence as a contextually informed form of violence against women that occurs within particular immigrant communities but where this violence does not essentialize the culture and practices of those communities as a whole. The paper shows that these discursive conceptualizations inform different policy approaches to the issue. Korteweg and Yurdakul contend that discussions of honour-related violence that stigmatize are more likely to lead to general anti-immigrant policies or policies that impede settlement. Debates that frame honour-related violence as a variant of the generally widespread problem of domestic violence and violence against women are more likely to lead to policies that directly target these forms of violence. The country-specific findings show that the stigmatization of Muslim communities is present in media and political debates in each country, albeit in varying degrees. In the Netherlands, the authors found contextually specific policy making, which was embedded in the country’s multiculturalist tradition. Although there is a recent debate on the decline of multiculturalism in the Netherlands, institutional structures still permit immigrant-oriented and inclusive political decision-making processes. The policies against gendered violence in the Netherlands are largely contextually specific, integrating different actors (such as NGOs, shelters and police) and aiming for prevention and protection as well as prosecution. By contrast, the German media and political debates are particularly stigmatizing without informing or offering alternative ways of policy making. This has led to policies that generally restrict immigration rather than those that directly target gendered violence in immigrant communities. In Britain, perhaps the most paradoxical case of all four countries, stigmatization and contextually specific approaches were both present. The recent shift from British multiculturalism to social cohesion policies brings a new approach to dealing with immigrant-related issues in the country in general, and policy approaches to gendered violence in immigrant communities has partially reflected this shift in immigrant integration policies. Culture-blind portrayals of honour-related violence are especially prevalent in Canadian media and political debates. In Canada, violence against women in immigrant communities is discussed only within the domestic violence framework, ignoring the immigration context that may affect this kind of violence. Therefore, no policies in Canada specifically acknowledge, define or target honour-related violence. The authors suggest that policy responses will be effective only insofar as gendered violence is understood within its social, cultural and political context and if that context is not seen as foreign but rather as part of the new social relations in the immigrant-receiving society. Hence, they argue that honour-related violence needs to be understood not as a “cultural” or “religious” problem that afflicts particular immigrant communities (in this case, often those perceived and represented as Muslim) but as a specific manifestation of the larger problem of violence against women (which concerns all communities, whether immigrant or not) that in the case of immigrant communities is shaped and informed by the immigration experience. Only a contextually specific approach allows for this understanding.
  • 反对贫困与不平等 -结构变迁、社会政策与政治

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2010)
    Poverty reduction is a central feature of the international development agenda and contemporary poverty reduction strategies increasingly focus on “targeting the poor”, yet poverty and inequality remain intractable foes. Combating Poverty and Inequality argues that this is because many current approaches to reducing poverty and inequality fail to consider key institutional, policy and political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles to their reduction. Moreover, when a substantial proportion of a country’s population is poor, it makes little sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of development. For countries that have been successful in increasing the well-being of the majority of their populations over relatively short periods of time, the report shows, progress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies that combine economic development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy. The report is structured around three main issues, which, it argues, are the critical elements of a sustainable and inclusive development strategy: patterns of growth and structural change (whether in the agricultural, industrial or service sectors) that generate and sustain jobs that are adequately remunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity or location; comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democratic politics; and protection of civic rights, activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of citizens and the poor have influence in how policies are made. The report seeks to explain why people are poor and why inequalities exist, as well as what can be done to rectify these injustices. It explores the causes, dynamics and persistence of poverty; examines what works and what has gone wrong in international policy thinking and practice; and lays out a range of policies and institutional measures that countries can adopt to alleviate poverty.
  • Flyer - Publications on Corporate Social Responsibility

    UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2011-01-17)
    Publications on Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Global Civil Society Movements in the Philippines

    S. Encarnacion Tadem, Teresa (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2011-04-07)
    The Philippines makes an interesting case for examining direct and collective acts of contention against the neoliberal project of economic globalization. Crippled by foreign debt, indiscriminate liberalization of trade, falling stock markets, and perpetual corruption, the Philippines is also a democratic polity and one of the few countries in Asia with a vibrant and dynamic civil society sector. This collection has chapters on the Freedom from Debt Coalition's campaign on debt relief, the Stop-the-New-Round Coalition's advocacy to change international trade rules and barriers, the global taxation initiative as embodied in Tobin tax advocacy in the country, the Transparency and Accountability Network's anti-corruption effort, and the Philippine Fair Trade Forum's enterprise on fair trade. Global Civil Society Movements in the Philippines is the first work of its kind to focus on five global civil society movements in the Philippines and their responses to the inequities of neoliberal globalization. Northern scholars have acknowledged the persistent absence of the South in research on activism around global issues, and this book can help fill this gap. Using political process theory as a framework, the book traces the emergence, development and diffusion of these social movements in the Philippines. Globalization is taken as the environment in which they operate to highlight the role of increased interdependence and internationalization, and the predominance of a particular ideology in the dynamics of contention.

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