States under scrutiny International organizations, transformation and the construction of progress
Abstract: Opinions, rankings and evaluations of states’ development are proliferating. In the context of the transformation and EU accession of the Baltic States, there were many organizations involved in the scrutiny of their efforts to become accepted as modern and European. This scrutiny directed towards states can be seen as a new practice of transnational regulation. Especially in times of major transformation, as was the case in the Baltic States after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, monitoring and evaluation of achievements can be expected to shape how reforms were prioritized and how problems were perceived. In order to gain a better understanding of these transformations it is necessary to study the practice of organizations that scrutinize the states.The aim of the thesis is to analyze the role of scrutiny as a practice of transnational regulation. By analyzing how international organizations scrutinize states, this thesis adds knowledge to how transforming states are constructed in the everyday practices of scrutiny. A main argument is that by evaluating and reporting on states, international organizations can be seen as ‘auditors’ of transformations in states. The thesis compares three such ‘auditors’ and their respective relations to the states under scrutiny, namely: the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the NGO Transparency International. The thesis contributes to discussions about the role of transnational regulation in the transformation of states. By comparing the three cases of scrutiny it is concluded that scrutiny produces both comfort and critique for and about these transforming states. In addition, through processes of scrutinizing, states are constructed as auditable and comparable. Scrutiny also inscribes states into a story about progress, it thus offers hope about reforms and of a better future.
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