The Gloss of Harmony

The Gloss of Harmony : The Politics of Policy-Making in Multilateral Organisations

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The Gloss of Harmony focuses on agencies of the United Nations, examining the paradox of entrusting relatively powerless and underfunded organisations with the responsibility of tackling some of the essential problems of our time. The book shows how international organisations shape the world in often unexpected and unpredictable ways.

The authors of this collection look not only at the official objectives and unintended consequences of international governance but also at how international organisations involve collective and individual actors in policy making, absorb critique, attempt to neutralise political conflict and create new political fields with local actors and national governments.

The Gloss of Harmony identifies the micro-social processes and complexities within multilateral organisations which have, up to now, been largely invisible. This book will have wide appeal not only to students and academics in anthropology, business studies and sociology but also to all practitioners concerned with international governance.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745333753
  • 9780745333755

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Lifting the Veil of Harmony: Anthropologists approach International Organisations by Birgit Muller

Part 1: Making a World that is Governable

2. The Power of Perseverance. Exploring the Negotiation Dynamics at the World Intellectual Property Organisation by Regina Bendix

3. The Making of Global Consensus. Constructing Norms on Refugee Protection at UNHCR by Marion Fresia

4. The Politics of Technicality. Guidance Culture in Environmental Governance by Peter Bille Larsen

Part 2: Diluting Conflict - Creating Harmony

5. Before Audit Culture: A Genealogy of International Oversight of Rights by Jane K. Cowan

6. Politics of Shame: The Bureaucratisation of International Human Rights Monitoring by Tobias Kelly

7. Entangled in Artifacts. Governing Diverging Claims and Rights to Cultural Objects at UNESCO by Brigitta Hauser-Schaublin

Part 3: Participation and Actor Building across Scales

8. "We Indigenous Peoples..." Global Activism and the Emergence of a New Collective Subject at the United Nations by Irene Bellier

9. The Loss of Harmony. FAO Guidance for Food Security in Nicaragua by Birgit Muller

10. Nature for Money. The Configuration of Transnational Institutional Space for Environmental Governance by Kenneth Iain MacDonald

Notes on Contributors

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Review quote

'This book cannot be missed by any scholar or citizen trying to get a grasp on how today's world is - or should be - governed' -- Global Policy Forum 'These ethnographic studies shed valuable light on how UN agencies work, how global norms are constructed and negotiated, and how the veneer of consensus is manufactured, often in ways that serve to reproduce the authority of these UN agencies themselves' -- Cris Shore, The University of Auckland 'Brings new perspectives in the anthropology of transnational organisations' -- Marc Abeles, Research Director CNRS/EHESS Paris, author of 'The Politics of Survival' 'Highly recommended' -- Tania Murray Li, author 'The Will to Improve' 'This fascinating book is an anthropological foray into international institutions' -- Sally Engle Merry, author of Human Rights and Gender Violence
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About Birgit Müller

Birgit Muller is a senior researcher at the CNRS and teaches at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. She is the author of many books including Disenchantment with Market Economics (Berghahn Books, 2008) and The Gloss of Harmony (Pluto, 2013).
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