Edited by Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang
Chapter 18: Social constructivism and the social construction of world economic reality
In making sense of the world trading system represented by the World Trade Organization (WTO), conventional rationalism aims attention at individual trading nations and their fixed preferences on material benefits, such as expanded access to foreign markets. In contrast with a rationalist optic, this chapter offers a social (constructivist) optic that centres on an emergent normative structure that constitutes WTO members’ identities and guides their actions. The chapter also discusses norm internalization (compliance) as a process in which the WTO reality qua symbolic universe is recognized and maintained in a domestic legal reality. Finally, the chapter addresses various limits of such internalization.
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