Problematizing Scientization in International Organizations


  • Teklu Abate Bekele The American University in Cairo



epistemic governance, international organizations, multilateral organizations, scientific multilaterlism, scientization


Comparative education studies examined the roles multilateral organizations and non-governmental organizations play in global governance and international development. Emphasis has been given to their engagements both at policy and practice levels as well as their impacts. Generally, the mechanisms international organizations use to govern education and development seem qualitatively to change over time. The most recent emerging research trajectory explains how international organizations primarily use the power of scientific knowledge for organizational legitimacy, credibility, and impact. This is referred to in the literature as soft governance, epistemic governance, scientization, or scientific multilateralism, as it significantly relies on the authority of scientific knowledge as opposed to hard, financial preconditions, for global governance and development. Our understanding of scientization is still in its ‘infancy’, partly due to its relatively recent emergence and partly due to the use of varied indicators to assess it across organizational types. To contribute toward further theorization, this study problematizes scientization in international organizations, with a focus on multilateral, intergovernmental organizations. The study is organized around answering this overarching question: What are the conceptual and methodological attributes or features of scientization in international organizations? Using sociological theories and conceptions of policymaking and transfer, it discusses core substantive, methodological, and theoretical issues of scientization having relevance for further research.


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Author Biography

Teklu Abate Bekele, The American University in Cairo

Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education, the Graduate School of Education, the American University in Cairo


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How to Cite

Bekele, T. A. (2021). Problematizing Scientization in International Organizations . Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 5(3), 6–22.