Social Justice Globally: The ILO Experience

42nd Käte Hamburger Lecture

Tuesday, 18th May 2021 (17:30, CEST) | Online Lecture via Zoom

In the over 100 years of its existence the International Labour Organization (ILO) has never been able to fully shed the ambivalence enshrined into its mission: to promote internationally accepted standards of social justice and, at the same time, help steer the direction of a world economic system headed for (capitalist) globalization. Owing to its tripartite structure, which brings together representatives of governments, trade unions, and employers, the organization has been able to put social and labour rights on the radar of key stakeholders especially at the national level. On a number of occasions, particularly during the 1920s and then in the Second World War, the social partners working within this tripartite structure played a decisive role in maintaining or developing the organization. However, the ILO hasn’t been able to produce similar outcomes in terms of managing globalization. Looking at the ILO’s track record of engagement with multinational corporations reveals that private actors with a highly international profile are capable of circumventing social justice policies. By spotlighting debates of the 1970s to regulate the activities of multinational corporations–a call raised as part of the New International Economic Order– and President Biden’s calls for taxing them today, Prof. Sandrine Kott traced this tension that has tainted the global attainment of its goals in the past and show how limits to enforce social rights globally still affect the ILO’s work today.



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Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Dr Nina Schneider
Senior Researcher and Research Group Leader at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE)


42nd Käte Hamburger Lecture
Social Justice Globally: The ILO Experience

Dr Sandrine Kott
Professor of Modern European History, Université de Genève

Discussant:  Dr Daniel Maul
Associate Professor for International Contemporary History, University of Oslo

Moderator:  Dr Nina Schneider

Q&A with the Audience

Concluding Remarks and End of the Lecture


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42nd Käte Hamburger Lecture: 'Social Justice Globally: The ILO Experience'

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