The World Bank and Social Transformation in International Politics: Liberalism, Governance and Sovereignty, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The World Bank and Social Transformation in International Politics

Liberalism, Governance and Sovereignty, 1st Edition

By David Williams


156 pages

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Paperback: 9780415664141
pub: 2011-02-14
Hardback: 9780415453004
pub: 2008-04-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203928790
pub: 2012-08-21
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In the 1990s the World Bank changed its policy to take the position that the problems of poverty and governance are inextricably linked, and improving the governance of its borrower countries became increasingly accepted as a legitimate and important part of the World Bank’s development activities. This book examines why the World Bank came to see good governance as important and evaluate what the World Bank is doing to improve the governance of its borrower countries.

David Williams examines changing World Bank policy since the late 1970s to show how a concern with good governance grew out of the problems the World Bank was experiencing with structural adjustment lending, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The book provides an account of the early years of the World Bank and traces the increasing acceptance of the idea of good governance within the Bank through the 1990s, while systematically relating the policies of good governance to liberalism. The author provides a detailed case study of World Bank lending to Ghana to demonstrate what the attempt to improve ‘governance’ looks like in practice. Williams assesses whether the World Bank has been successful in its attempts to improve governance, and draws out some of the implications of the argument for how we should think about sovereignty, for how we should understand the connections between liberalism and international politics.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, politics, economics, development and African studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Liberalism and Social Transformation 2. The World Bank, Sovereignty and Development 3. From Structural Adjustment to Good Governance 4. Governance, Liberalism and Social Transformation 5. Transformation in Practice 6. Sovereignty, Development and the Liberal Project

About the Author

David Williams is Lecturer at the Centre for International Politics, City University, UK. His research interests are in the area of international relations of development. He has previously published in Political Studies, Review of International Studies and Millennium.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Globalisation

The Routledge Studies in Globalisation series is edited by André Broome (University of Warwick, UK) and Leonard Seabrooke (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark).

Based in the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation at the University of Warwick (, the Routledge Studies in Globalisation series examines key questions related to the theory and practice of globalisation and regionalisation. The Series has an interdisciplinary focus and publishes research that is methodologically and theoretically rigorous and which advances knowledge about the changing dynamics of globalisation and regionalisation, global governance and global order, and global civil society.

Associate Editors:

Shaun Breslin, University of Warwick, UK

Sophie Harman, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Richard Higgott, University of Warwick, UK

Manuela Moschella, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy

Helen Nesadurai, Monash University, Malaysia

Andreas Nölke, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs