In a deeply iniquitous world, where the gains from trade are distributed unevenly and where trade rules often militate against progressive social values, human health, and sustainable development, NGOs are widely touted as our best hope for redressing these conditions. As a critical voice of the poor and marginalized, many are engaged in a global struggle for democratic norms and social justice. Yet the potential for NGOs to bring about meaningful change is limited. In this talk, Hannah will discuss how NGOs have been instrumental in providing education, raising awareness, and giving a voice to broader societal concerns about proposed trade deals, both when they take advantage of formal participatory opportunities and when they protest from the streets and in the media. However, NGO inputs are mediated by the social structure of global trade governance. Epistemes—the background knowledge, ideological and normative beliefs, and shared assumptions about how the world works—determine who has a voice in global trade governance. NGOs succeed only when their advocacy conforms broadly to the dominant episteme.
About the speaker
Erin Hannah is an international political economist specializing in trade politics, global governance, sustainable development, poverty and inequality, global civil society, and European Union politics. She has published articles on these topics in Journal of International Economic Law, Journal of Civil Society, Journal of World Trade, Third World Quarterly, Politics, World Trade Review, and Global Policy. She is co-editor (with Silke Trommer and James Scott) of Expert Knowledge in Global Trade (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015) and author of NGOs and Global Trade: non-state voices in EU trade policymaking (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
A light lunch will be served. Please register via email to [email protected].