The Politics of Expertise in International Organizations : How International Bureaucracies Produce and Mobilize Knowledge book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Expertise in International Organizations
How International Bureaucracies Produce and Mobilize Knowledge

ISBN 9780367030872
Published November 29, 2018 by Routledge
246 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This edited volume advances existing research on the production and use of expert knowledge by international bureaucracies. Given the complexity, technicality and apparent apolitical character of the issues dealt with in global governance arenas, ‘evidence-based’ policy-making has imposed itself as the best way to evaluate the risks and consequences of political action in global arenas. In the absence of alternative, democratic modes of legitimation, international organizations have adopted this approach to policy-making.

By treating international bureaucracies as strategic actors, this volume address novel questions: why and how do international bureaucrats deploy knowledge in policy-making? Where does the knowledge they use come from, and how can we retrace pathways between the origins of certain ideas and their adoption by international administrations? What kind of evidence do international bureaucrats resort to, and with what implications? Which types of knowledge are seen as authoritative, and why?

This volume makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the way global policy agendas are shaped and propagated. It will be of great interest to scholars, policy-makers and practitioners in the fields of public policy, international relations, global governance and international organizations.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Production and uses of knowledge by international bureaucracies

Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

2. The role of expert knowledge in international organizations

Christina Boswell

3. International bureaucracies’ competence creep into bioethics: The use of ethics experts as a bureaucratic device

Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

4. Coupling science to governance: Straddling the science-policy interface

Peter M. Haas

5. Experts and the production of international policy knowledge: Do epistemic communities do the job

David Demortain

6. Partners to diplomacy: Transnational experts and knowledge transfer among global policy programs

Diane Stone

7. Connecting scholarly expertise to international policy practice at the UN

Thomas Biersteker

8. Modes of knowledge mobilization throughout the international policy process

Cecilia Cannon

9. Evaluation and simulation: Producing evidence in the global politics of social cash transfers

John Berten

10. The managerialism of neoliberal global governance: The case of the OECD

Manal Elshihry and Chandana G. Alawattage Chandana

11. Doing comparison: Producing authority in an international organization

Richard Freeman and Steve Sturdy


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Annabelle Littoz-Monnet is an Associate Professor in international relations/political science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.


'To conclude, chapters vary in how they investigate expert knowledge: whether its relation to informing policy making, the processes of knowledge exchange and dissemination, or as a source of power...Finally, as mentioned, the volume offers a rich collection of case studies across a number of different IOs, on quite diverse policy areas.'
Cleo Davies, University of Edinburgh, Governance (Wiley)