OECD organisational discourse, peer reviews and sustainable development: An ecological-institutionalist perspective
As part of the recent 'ideational turn' in research on international organisations, the study of organisational discourse has gained popularity. Yet ecological economics has thus far paid little attention to the role of organisations as sites for the discursive battles over the meaning of sustainable development. For an international organisation without regulatory powers, such as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), discourse is the main vehicle for policy influence, but it also plays a key role in (re)defining the organisation's identity and authority. The OECD's organisational discourse has been strongly dominated by 'modern mainstream economics', and has given little room for marginalised discourses. This paper compares, from the perspective of institutionally oriented ecological economics (IOEE), and borrowing from critical discourse analysis, the experience from attempts to integrate the concept of sustainable development within two OECD peer review mechanisms - the Economic Surveys and the Environmental Performance Reviews. The extent to which the respective conceptions of sustainable development in the two reviews are in line with the principles of IOEE and the reasons for the apparent failure of sustainable development discourse to gain foothold within the organisation are analysed.
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