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Swimming with or Against the Tide: Has the International Labour Organisation Been Co-Opted by Neoliberal Hegemony

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posted on 2021-11-10, 10:29 authored by Habens, Gemma

Work is one, if not the, primary mechanism through which the majority of the world's population experience economic globalisation. Work is intimately connected to matters of human rights, social equality, welfare, and class struggle and it is increasingly determined by activities that occur in the international and transnational levels. Neoliberal globalisation has fundamentally restructured the world of work. It has also undermined the social democratic worldview of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on which the global governance portfolio for labour most squarely falls. The ILO's current Director General Juan Somavia, in referring to this era of neoliberal hegemony, has said that "the ILO has often been swimming against the tide". This thesis undertakes a thorough examination of Somavia's statement in order to determine the extent to which the neoliberal tide has saturated the organisation and its ideas?


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of International Relations

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Shilliam, Robbie