Critique internationale

Revue comparative de sciences sociales

Couverture Critique Internationale N°66Critique internationale. Revue comparative de sciences sociales is a quarterly French language journal devoted to international issues. It is published by the Presses de Sciences Po with support from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique and the Centre national du livre. A peer reviewed journal, it has since its creation (October 1998) been coordinated by the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS).

As a comparative social sciences journal, Critique internationale seeks to contribute to the political analysis of countries other than France by drawing upon the tools of political science, sociology, international relations, anthropology, political economy, history, law and geography. Each quarter, a thematic dossier consisting of five or six articles examines several case studies from the point of view of a common issue. The geographical field that is covered can be indeterminate or instead focus on a particular region or even country. In fact, one of the specificities of Critique internationale is to address a very diverse array of geographical and cultural entities in every number. Together with the other articles published in each number (three varia), these thematic studies supply particularly rich material for social scientific comparison. The “Lectures” section, for its part, offers book reviews as well as thematic surveys of current research in a given field.

The journal accepts articles in English, Spanish, Russian and German and supplies authors with evaluations of their texts in their original languages. These texts are then translated into French. Moreover, Critique internationale translates articles initially written in French or another language into English. These texts as well as the rest of the collection are available at the periodical portal.

ISSN paper 1290-7839

ISSN electronic 1777-554X

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N°76 - Content



No Abstract


Thema - La (dé)politisation des organisations internationales
Edited by Franck Petiteville


No Abstract


La politisation résiliente des organisations internationales
Franck Petiteville


No Abstract


L’art de la fugue : les droits des femmes à l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU
Simon Tordjman

[The Art of Fugue: Women’s Rights in the United Nations General Assembly]
In 1946, the first resolution on the “political rights of women” was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Since then, the question of women’s rights has almost uninterruptedly remained on its agenda. Up till 2016, nearly 350 resolutions have been regularly and/or consensually adopted. But does the banalization of this issue suffice to show that the General Assembly has been depoliticized? Has a fundamentally procedural function limited to recognizing and endorsing principles already debated in other spaces been substituted for its “power to debate”? The General Assembly’s apparent neutralization nevertheless does not entail a thoroughgoing evacuation of politics. Contrary to the idea that the politicization of the General Assembly is mainly restricted to its publicly visible divisions, this article seeks to show that such politicization also takes place “by decentering”, through specific registers and in relation to other institutional spaces (world conferences, ECOSOC, Security Council).

« On ne fait pas de politique ! » Les pratiques de dépolitisation au PNUD et au PNUE
Lucile Maertens, Raphaëlle Parizet

[“We Don’t Do Politics!” Practices of Depoliticization in UNDP and UNEP]
“We don’t do politics!” Here is a commonly encountered claim among international organizations (IOs). This article examines it through a comparative analysis of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The comparison allows questioning the process of depoliticization, here understood as a political enterprise of technicization performed by IOs. Depoliticization is carried out through an assemblage of practices deliberately presented as outside of politics. These include technical interpretation and problematization, the dissemination of an apolitical vision of the IO’s mission and technical intervention and assistance that position IOs as “neutral” experts within their fields. This comparative analysis also reveals the potential unintended consequences of these assemblages of heterogenous practices, including the bypass of bureaucratic and political debates; the neutralization of political disputes as a means to maintain the status quo; and the monopolization of a field of action, with the support of member states, at least tacitly. The article thus contributes to a better understanding of the permanent negotiation between the political and the technical within IOs.

Une représentation dépolitisée ? L’Organisation internationale du travail de 1919 à nos jours
Marieke Louis

[A De-Politicized Representation? The International Labor Organization from 1919 to the Present]
From a socio-historical perspective, this article seeks to reveal the secular dynamics of de- politicization within the International Labor Organization as they impinge upon what would appear to be a very political question: the tripartite representation of governments, workers and employers. I distinguish between a positive politicization of representation resulting from the institution’s historic adherence to a functionalist paradigm and a negative depoliticization, which seeks to discredit the debate over representation. These two dynamics, which often complement one another, constrain and even smother sequences of the politicization of representation, which mainly take the form of protest, particularly in what regards the composition of the ILO’s board of directors. In both cases, all efforts are made to convert representation into a technical and administrative question rather than an object of political debate, the latter being seen as detrimental to the organization.

De la « gestion » au contrôle des migrations ? Discours et pratiques de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations
Antoine Pécoud

[From “Managing” to Controlling Migration? Discourses and Practices of the International Organization for Migration]
Although its mandate concerns what is today one of the most politicized issues in Western countries, there have been few studies of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). An examination of its history, doctrine and practices shows that it has long been a fragile institution in a context in which there was no solid international regime to govern migration policies. Since the 1990s, however, it has established itself as a key actor in the globalization and externalization of migration policies. Its strategy consists in depoliticizing migratory issues and promoting a technical management of migration that focuses on its economic utility for all parties (origin countries, destination countries, migrants). This allows IOM to present itself as a neutral intermediary that is at once accepted by states, civil society and the private sector. However, this depoliticization is accompanied by an alignment on the interests of western immigration countries and therefore makes highly political interventions possible, particularly in sending countries.

Transferts et continuités de la politisation à l’Organisation mondiale de la santé : le cas des substituts du lait maternel
Auriane Guilbaud

[Transfers and Continuities in the Politicization of the World Health Organization: The Case of Breast-Milk Substitutes]
By examining the debates that took place from the late 1960s onwards within the World Health Organization regarding the practice of feeding breast-milk substitutes to infants, one may revisit the strategies and techniques of (de)politicization used by NGOs, companies, states and IO bureaucracies within and adjacent to the arena of international organizations. The present article uses the notions of politicization and depoliticization in order to clarify the operation of the WHO beyond what is very often taken for its “technical” character and to underscore the investments made in it, particularly on the part of non-state actors. The three strategies identified here – provoking conflict rather than seeking consensus, desiring publication rather than containment and appealing to ideological principles instead of promoting a pragmatic approach – are implemented by various techniques (appealing to political representatives, experts, scientific or technical arguments, the media) and in differentiated manner depending on the type of actor. A formative moment for the WHO, the question of breast-milk substitutes generated knock-on effects of politicization. These subsequently became permanent and underwent sectoral expansion to new themes.

Gouverner la dissidence. Sociologie de la censure sous régime autoritaire : le cas du rock contestataire biélorusse
Yauheni Kryzhanouski

[Governing Dissidence. The Sociology of Censorship under Authoritarian Regimes: The
Case of Belorussian Protest Rock]
Drawing on the results of an empirical study of the politicization of Belorussian protest rock in
the period 1983-2013, the article discusses the transformation of forms of censorship in the post-
Soviet authoritarian space. Censorship is here considered from an inclusive and structural point

of view as part of a more general system for “managing dissidence”, one that cannot be reduced
to immediate repressive methods but also possesses implicit, invisible and non-restrictive
dimensions. It thus appears that the phenomenon assumes a more informal, diffuse and
unpredictable character in contemporary authoritarian regimes, where economic censorship plays
an increasingly important role. At the same time, the cultural activities, producers and products
that are subject to censorship are systematically politicized. Finally, the restrictive aspect of
censorship is accompanied by mechanisms that allow for cultural activities involved in protest to
be managed and coopted.

Les élections éthiopiennes de 2015 : un drame en trois actes pour l’opposition libérale multinationale
Jean-Nicolas Bach

[The 2015 Ethiopian General Election: A Three Act Drama for the Liberal Multinational Opposition]
The 2015 general election in Ethopia was widely seen as a non-event at worst and an event the outcome of which – the victory of the ruling EPRDF party – was preordained at best. And it did indeed win (with the hegemonic party taking 100 % of the seats). For opposition parties, however, the 2015 election was a major turning-point. This was especially so for those belonging to what I refer to as the liberal multinational opposition, which had enjoyed historic success in the 2005 election. For the parties belonging to this opposition, the EPRDF’s total victory in 2015 represented the end of a dream, that of joining forces to reproduce the electoral success of 2005. The present article seeks to explain this failure and draw lessons regarding the nature and operation of the Ethiopian party system particularly in what regards the unremitting fragmentation of this political current since the beginning of the 1990s and the relevance of conceiving the Ethiopian party system along a multinational/ethnonational cleavage outside of which any alliance seems jeopardized.

Enseigner l’histoire à Taïwan : l’impossible concorde ?
Vladimir Stolojan-filipesco

[Teaching History in Taiwan: Impossible Agreement?]
From 1945 until the democratization of the 1990s, the Chinese Nationalist Party imposed an
authoritarian regime on Taiwan and, with it, a set of identitarian policies that represented the
island as an idealized China. This amounted to presenting the government in exile of the
Republic of China as uniquely capable of legitimately representing China on the international
political scene. This grand narrative began to crumble as soon as the Party began to loosen its
grip over the island society. In 1997, the first textbooks giving greater weight to Taiwanese
history than to that of continental China were adopted, provoking confrontations between
conservative defenders of a Sino-centric identity and supporters of a Taiwan-centric
identification. While this reform was not subsequently called into question, similar debates took
place with the publication of each new high school program. The present article revisits the
course of these discussions since 1997, underscoring how they have been linked to changes of
government since 2000.

Davide Gallo Lassere


Hadrien Saiag, Monnaies locales et économie populaire en Argentine, Paris, Karthala 2016, 303 pages.


Xavier Bougarel

Ioannis Armakolas,Politika i društvo u Tuzli od 1992. do 1995. godine. Političko natjecanje i građanska alternativa (Politique et société à Tuzla de 1992 à 1995. Compétition politique et alternative citoyenne), Sarajevo, Udruženje za modernu historiju, 2017, 243 pages.

Jean-Loup Samaan

Evan Braden Montgomery, In the Hegemon’s Shadow : Leading States and the Rise of Regional Powers, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2016, X-205 pages.