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The World Bank’s social assistance recommendations for developing and transition countries: Containment of political unrest and mobilisation of political support

Van Gils, Eske, Yörük, Erdem (2015) The World Bank’s social assistance recommendations for developing and transition countries: Containment of political unrest and mobilisation of political support. Current Sociology, 65 (1). pp. 113-132. ISSN 0011-3921. (doi:10.1177/0011392115617310)

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Abstract

This article presents a political-sociological analysis of the World Bank’s social assistance programmes in developing and transition countries. It builds on the argument that political objectives have played a critical role for the Bank in shaping these policies, including the prevention and containment of social unrest as well as mobilization of popular support. The paper presents empirical evidence based on an analysis of 447 World Bank policy recommendation documents published between 1980 and 2013. It was found that, despite the Bank’s denial of having any political agenda, many WB documents explicitly refer to social assistance as a possible instrument for governments to contain social unrest and mobilize political support. Moreover, the World Bank’s political concerns have increased steadily over the last three decades. The findings support the argument that international institutions such as the WB do not solely consider the well-being of people as an end in itself but also as a means of achieving further political goals. This political dimension of social assistance programmes has consequences for the way policy recommendations should be interpreted by political and social actors in developing and transition countries.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0011392115617310
Uncontrolled keywords: Developing countries, political objectives, social assistance, social unrest, World Bank
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations > Global Europe Centre
Depositing User: Eske Van Gils
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 18:36 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:39 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60307 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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