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Vol 25 No 2 Feb/March 2020

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Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators

Edited by: Thomas Robinson, Peter Walton
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Poverty Narratives and Power Paradoxes in International Trade Negotiations and Beyond

ISBN13: 9781108401609
Published: May 2020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £24.99

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In this work, Amrita Narlikar argues that, contrary to common assumption, modern-day politics displays a surprising paradox: poverty - and the powerlessness with which it is associated - has emerged as a political tool and a formidable weapon in international negotiation. The success of poverty narratives, however, means that their use has not been limited to the neediest. Focusing on behaviours and outcomes in a particularly polarising area of bargaining - international trade - and illustrating wider applications of the argument, Narlikar shows how these narratives have been effectively used. Yet, she also sheds light on how indiscriminate overuse and misuse increasingly run the risk of adverse consequences for the system at large and devastating repercussions for the weakest members of society. Narlikar advances a theory of agency and empowerment by focusing on the life-cycles of narratives and concludes by offering policy-relevant insights on how to construct winning and sustainable narratives.

  • Offers detailed case studies on multilateral negotiations that feature organizations such as the ITO, GATT, and WTO
  • Sheds light on how governments and other actors can build winning and sustainable narratives
  • Empirically explores ways in which the powerless and poor can bargain under conditions under conditions of asymmetrical power

International Trade
1. Introduction: poverty narratives and power paradoxes
2. The disempowered many: when the weak suffered what they must
3. Winning against the odds: a growing empowerment
4. When fair is foul and foul is fair: overuse and misuse of the poverty narrative
5. Conclusion: how to sustain the power of the powerless and build winning narratives