Legitimacy Policy through Dialogue Forums? Global Economic Institutions and their Critics

International insti­tutions are in crisis. In addition to states, criticism comes in particular from civil society actors. The world economic organ­izations in particular, which have repeatedly come into the focus of civil society protests since the 1990s, have consistently reacted by developing dialogue forums.

These forums are supposed to enable civil society repre­sentatives to enter into a direct exchange with repre­sentatives of the criticized institutions. Dialogue forums thus aim to take up civil society criticism and restore the questioned legit­imacy of inter­national organisations. Initially celebrated as the dawn of a new era in dealing with civil society criticism, these forums are now strongly criticised and accused of failure.

However, research has so far barely dealt with the dialogue forums of inter­national institutions explicitly. The project "Legitimacy Policy through Dialogue Forums" therefore focuses on dialogue forums and examines whether criticism of the opening of inter­national organisations and the creation of dialogue forums is justified. To this end, the design and practice of dialogue forums of different institutions will be examined over time and in comparison. In addition, research will be conducted into the reasons why dialogue forums do not fulfil the expectations placed in them.

Empirical work focuses on the Civil Society Policy Forum, the joint dialogue forum of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum,  as well as the civil society Engagement Groups of the G20 and the G7.

The project has a duration of four years and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)