Discursivity of global governance: vestiges of ‘democracy’ in the World Trade Organization

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Discursivity of global governance: vestiges of ‘democracy’ in the World Trade Organization

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Discursivity of global governance: vestiges of ‘democracy’ in the World Trade Organization
Author(s) Strange, Michael
Date 2011
English abstract
Global governance is neither democratic nor entirely undemocratic. For example, within the World Trade Organization (WTO) formally all member-states have equal power over decision making. The WTO’s dispute settlement body (DSB) acts to enforce the rule of law over so-called power politics. The WTO’s secretariat organizes regular meetings with civil society groups, and resources are spent on facilitating transparency, including putting a vast amount of official documentation online. However, there is large power asymmetry between WTO member-states. This article sidesteps the classic response to such dilemmas, in which debate hinges on how much or how little the institution is able to ameliorate realpolitik, and considers the role the vestiges of “democracy” play in the WTO. Drawing on the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, among others, the author argues that the discourse of democracy embodied in the WTO expresses the wider process through which the institution is legitimated as the body of global trade politics. This has implications for understanding not only how global governance is discursively formed but also whether civil society groups critiquing the WTO threaten the WTO or, by accepting the premise of its predominance in global trade politics, effectively strengthen it.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0304375411418601 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher SAGE
Host/Issue Alternatives : Global, Local, Political;3
Volume 36
ISSN 0304-3754
Pages 240-256
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Discourse
Democracy
WTO
Global governance
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/12810 (link to this page)

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