1st Edition

Expert Knowledge in Global Trade

Edited By Erin Hannah, James Scott, Silke Trommer Copyright 2016
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores tensions in global trade by examining the role of experts in generating, disseminating and legitimating knowledge about the possibilities of trade to work for global development. To this end, contributors assess authoritative claims on knowledge. They also consider structural features that uphold trade experts' monopoly over knowledge, such as expert language and legal and economic expertise. The chapters collectively explore the tensions between actors who seek to effect change and those who work to uphold the status quo, exacerbate asymmetries, and reinforce the dominant narrative of the global trade regime.

    The book addresses the following key overarching research questions:

    • Who is considered to be a trade expert and how does one become a knowledge producer in global trade?
    • How do experts acquire, disseminate and legitimate knowledge?
    • What agendas are advanced by expert knowledge?
    • How does the discourse generated within trade expertise serve to close off alternative institutional pathways and modes of thinking?
    • What potential exists for the emergence of more emancipatory global trade policies from contemporary developments in the field of trade expertise?

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of IPE, Trade Politics, International Relations, and International Organizations.


    Erin Hannah, James Scott, and Silke Trommer

    Part I

    The language of expert knowledge: the power of discourse, metaphors, and myth-making

    1 Talking trade: common sense knowledge in the multilateral trade regime


    2 The spectre of Smoot-Hawley and the global trading system: sustaining free trade through the crisis


    3 Trade policy communities, expert language, and the dehumanization of world trade


    Part II

    The substance of expert knowledge: the power of law and econometrics

    4 Expertise through experience: inequality and legitimacy in the juridification of international trade disputing


    5 Numbers: the role of computable general equilibrium modeling in
    legitimizing trade policy


    6 The double movement of law and expertise


    Part III

    The agency of expert knowledge: the power of NGOs and organic intellectuals

    7 Symbolic power and social critique in the making of Oxfam’s trade policy research


    8 Ratcheting up accountability? Embedded NGOs in the multilateral trade system


    9 Southern intellectual leadership in the construction of global trade knowledge



    Erin Norma Hannah is Associate Professor at King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

    Silke Trommer is University Lecturer in Global Sustainable Development and World Politics at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

    James Scott is Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London, UK.

    'Expert Knowledge in Global Trade brings together a first-rate group of scholars whose analysis provides valuable insights into the ways in which the ideas of ‘experts’ serve powerful interests and shape outcomes in the global trade regime.' - Jennifer Clapp, University of Waterloo, Canada

    'These thought-provoking and diverse essays expose the explicit and subtle ways in which experts have shaped international trade policies to legitimize prevailing orthodoxies and, lately, to challenge them. This excellent volume is a significant contribution to scholarship on the role of ideas, from the commonsensical to the highly technical, in global political economy.' - JP Singh, George Mason University, USA

    ‘Fresh, original, engaging – this new contribution to the literature on trade governance is genuinely welcome and exciting. The chapters are of the highest quality, written by impressively experienced and knowledgeable authors who really know their stuff. This book will fully deserve the wide attention it will inevitably command.’Nicola Phillips, Professor of Political Economy, University of Sheffield, UK