This introductory chapter clarifies the reasoning behind the research design of the book. There are four main parts. First, the chapter critically reviews some of the major literature on power analysis in reference to the international trading system—focused around law, materialism, and ideas—and argues that different biases restrict the development of more critical appreciations of power. Second, the chapter discusses in more detail the concept of symbolic power advanced by Bourdieu, its attributes, and what contribution it makes to the study of negotiations through the WTO. This section also features a justification for focusing on agricultural trade and explains why the two cases studies have been selected. Third, a selection of relevant methodological considerations and problems are discussed. Fourth, the structure of the book is briefly outlined.
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