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Globalization and Institutions

Redefining the Rules of the Economic Game

Edited by Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack

This volume investigates the relationship between economic globalization and institutions, or global governance, challenging the common assumption that globalization and institutionalization are essentially processes which exclude each other. Instead, the contributors to this book show that globalization is better perceived as a dual process of institutional change at the national level, and institution building at the transnational level. Rich, supporting empirical evidence is provided along with a theoretical conceptualization of the main actors, mechanisms and conditions involved in trickle-up and trickle-down trajectories through which national institutional systems are being transformed and transnational rules emerge.
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Chapter 9: Multilateral Rulemaking: Transatlantic Struggles Around Genetically Modified Food

Jason McNichol and Jabril Bensedrine


Jason McNichol and Jabril Bensedrine INTRODUCTION Until recently, decision making over environmental, health and safety regulations remained the purview of national governments and was largely excluded from multilateral trade negotiations. But in recent years such issues have become increasingly common sources of conflict in international trade. Debates over issues ranging from hormone-treated beef to genetically-modified crops have become the locus of major multilateral disputes, especially between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US). The nature and outcomes of these disputes are not just of significance to policy makers – they also offer valuable insights into the mechanisms through which emerging ‘global’ norms, rules and structures are both forged and contested over time by actors grounded in particular national institutional spaces. The manner in which these conflicts unfold demands that scholars of international politics develop new tools to understand how domestic and transnational regulatory areas are co-constituted and influence one another over time. The present chapter seeks to shed light on current conflicts over multilateral governance by bringing a sociological perspective to bear on recent disputes over the regulation of a particular type of environmental, health and safety standard. We look at labelling of genetically modified (GM) food, and more specifically, GM soy. The case of soy is interesting for several reasons. Soy derivatives are common in a variety of foodstuffs (from chocolate to cereals to prepared meals) and are a widely traded global commodity. As the US (the world’s largest soy exporter) began actively exporting GM varieties in 1996,...

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