The Language of World Trade Politics: Unpacking the Terms of Trade, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Language of World Trade Politics

Unpacking the Terms of Trade, 1st Edition

Edited by Klaus Dingwerth, Clara Weinhardt


204 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-09-10
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Outcomes in major multilateral trade negotiations are conventionally explained as resulting from interests weighted by (trading) power. Offering a different overview of the concepts we use to talk about the international trade regime, this edited collection puts the ideational foundation of world trade politics centre stage, and critically examines the terms in which we make sense of world trade politics.

The concepts used to make sense of world trade politics are often employed strategically, making some aspects of reality visible and others invisible. Reflecting upon ten key concepts from ‘trade’ itself to ‘protectionism’ and ‘justice’, this book poses two broad questions: first, how and by whom have the meanings of different terms used to describe, challenge and defend world trade politics been constructed? Second, how have the individual terms changed over time, and with what consequences? The editors and contributors draw on a broad range of theoretical approaches, from post-structuralism or cognitivism to normative theory, shedding new light on why certain trade issues and agendas win out over others, who benefits from the current system of trade governance, and what contemporary challenges the World Trade Organization faces. In doing so, the book speaks to a growing and diverse constructivist literature in International Political Economy.

This book will be of interest to scholars, students and policy professionals working within International Relations, International Political Economy and economics.


"A key message of this excellent contribution is that our understanding of world trade (politics) is not as straightforward as we would like it to be. By exploring the changing meaning of ten 'terms of trade' in seperate chapters, the authors show how we, as practicioners and scholars, employ language and mental concepts that, while helping us make sense of trade politics, similtanerously shape and limit our appreciation of social reality."

Fabian Bohneberger,World Trade Review, 2019

Table of Contents

1. Terms of Trade: Introduction

Klaus Dingwerth and Clara Weinhardt

2. Trade

Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

3. Protectionism

Gary Winslett

4. Foreign Direct Investment

Lukas Linsi

5. Multilateralism

Matthew Luois Bishop and Valbona Muzaka

6. Democracy

Klaus Dingwerth

7. Civil Society

Michael Strange

8. Coherence

Felix Anderl

9. Development

Clara Weinhardt and Angela Geck

10. Environment

Emily Lydgate

11. Justice

Clara Brandi

About the Editors

Klaus Dingwerth is Professor in Political Science with a Focus on the Political Theory of the Globalized and Digital Society at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi).

Clara Weinhardt is a Lecturer in International Relations at the Hertie School of Governance and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi).

About the Series

RIPE Series in Global Political Economy

For almost two decades now, the RIPE Series published by Routledge has been an essential forum for cutting-edge scholarship in International Political Economy. The series brings together new and established scholars working in critical, cultural and constructivist political economy. Books in the RIPE Series typically combine an innovative contribution to theoretical debates with rigorous empirical analysis.

The RIPE Series seeks to cultivate:

  • Field-defining theoretical advances in International Political Economy
  • Novel treatments of key issue areas, both historical and contemporary, such as global finance, trade, and production
  • Analyses that explore the political economic dimensions of relatively neglected topics, such as the environment, gender relations, and migration
  • Accessible work that will inspire advanced undergraduates and graduate students in International Political Economy.

James Brassett – Warwick

Eleni Tsingou – Copenhagen Business School

Susanne Soederberg – Queen’s

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs