Expressed commitment to affirmative action so often fails to translate into meaningful reform largely due to the reinforcement of dominant representations. Debates around affirmative action have played themselves out through 'category politics' -- the political use of conceptual and identity categories (such as 'equal opportunity' or 'women') in ways that delegitimize affirmative action and keep reform within limits. In addition, proponents of affirmative action too often make the mistake of refashioning the reform in response to attacks upon it, in the process reducing its potential impact. An example is the insistence by some that their form of affirmative action does not undermine 'merit' because they wish only qualified women to be appointed. This effectively removes the opportunity to challenge existing concepts of what constitutes merit. The result is that affirmative action (where it exists) is understood as a species of philanthropy, a reform which acknowledges the need to 'assist' the 'disadvantaged'. This view constitutes affirmative action targets as the problem and leaves the privilege of those in positions of influence and authority unchallenged. In fact, it enhances that authority by putting into their hands the power to decide who needs 'assistance', when and in what form.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.