This article enquires about the place of the social during the presidencies of Eugene R. Black (1949–1963) and Robert McNamara (1968–1981) at the World Bank. Black made technical assistance an integral part of the Bank’s mission. McNamara announced social policy as part of the Bank’s economic agenda in 1970. The article asks why it took so long for social policies to arrive and why the initial concern was not the well-being of the population but reducing its number. Using a political ontology approach, I argue that in the process of establishing a global authority over ‘one-world’, the Bank did not recognize differences. I pay attention to the mechanisms translating a pluriverse into one-world and the effects on the presence and absence of social programs. I conclude that the process within the Bank was far from consistent. The expectation is that knowing how one-world is re-enacted would open spaces for a pluriversal world.

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Keywords Colonial practices, political ontology, race, social policies, World Bank
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Journal Global Social Policy
Rojas, C. (2015). The place of the social at the World Bank (1949–1981): Mingling race, nation, and knowledge. Global Social Policy, 15(1), 23–39. doi:10.1177/1468018114527471