Altay, Serdar (2011) Hegemony, Private Actors, and International Institutions: Transnational Corporations as the agents of transformation of the trade regime from GATT to the WTO. PhD thesis, University of Trento, University of Kassel.
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This dissertation aims to understand (1) the transformation of the trade regime from GATT to the WTO within the context of the world order, and (2) the roles of transnational corporations (TNCs) in this transformation. It provides a neo-Gramscian framework for analysis to fill a void in mainstream approaches in IR/IPE literatures on international regimes, which suffer from inadequacies in capturing the ‚intersubjective‛ nature of regimes and non-state actors’ roles in global politics. For neo-Gramscian scholars, international regimes are intersubjective entities that are amalgamations of ideas and power configurations inherent to historical structures. Hegemony is a concept that ties together the social forces as agents of historical change within international regimes and world orders. Hegemony refers to the translation of political power to legitimate authority through obtaining the consent of subordinate actors, and is expressed in the consensual aspect of the exercise of power in a given world order. This dissertation primarily contends that the transformation of the trade regime can be characterized as hegemonic because it occurred in conjunction with the transformation in the world order from U.S. post-war hegemony to neoliberal hegemony. With the transformation into the WTO, the legal scope of the trade regime was redesigned, and its normative content was redefined to reflect the ethical framework of neoliberalism. These changes were reflected in the newly acquired recognition of the enhanced legitimate authority of markets vis-à-vis states and the acknowledgement of the necessity to create binding disciplines over governments. The dissertation analyses two cases to understand the roles of TNCs in this transformation process with a particular focus on their activities and abilities to set the regime’s agenda. The first case study examines the incorporation of services into the GATT regime before and during the Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-1994), which arguably resulted in a redefinition of the liberalisation and non-discrimination norms. The second case analyses the failed attempt to integrate investment into the WTO before and during the Doha Round that began in 2001. Ultimately, the dissertation argues that U.S. based TNCs proved to be the hegemonic agents of regime transformation and played the leading role in the inclusion of services into the GATT regime. This was achieved by pursuing a high profile agenda-setting campaign from the late 1970s on. Their campaign succeeded in paradigmatically modifying established patterns of thought about trade, the normative content as well as intersubjective meanings of the regime in line with neoliberalism. On the other hand, the investment case suggests the emergence of certain limits to hegemonic ideas, institutions, and forces from the early-1990s on. European TNCs failed in their endeavours to further the regime transformation by integrating investment into the legal and normative framework of the WTO. TNCs’ preferences and strategies to set the WTO agenda were constrained and shaped within the context of contested neoliberal hegemony which was further influenced by the resistance and counter-hegemonic cross-border campaigns emerged in the domain of civil society. The analysis in this dissertation is conducted through an interpretative assessment of data compiled from secondary and primary resources including government proposals, negotiation texts, minutes of meetings, and business statements using the qualitative instruments of discourse analysis.
|Item Type:||Doctoral Thesis (PhD)|
|Doctoral School:||International Studies|
|Subjects:||Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche|
Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali
Area 12 - Scienze giuridiche
|Repository Staff approval on:||28 Jun 2011 11:22|
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