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Symbolic Power in the World Trade Organization$
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Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199662647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662647.001.0001

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The competing kings of cotton

The competing kings of cotton

(p.84) 4 The competing kings of cotton
Symbolic Power in the World Trade Organization

Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

Oxford University Press

As the first case study, this chapter investigates the WTO west- and central-African (WCA) cotton initiative and how it can be understood through the lens of symbolic power. There are four sections. First, there is an examination of how the problem of ‘African cotton’ was constructed, featuring an analysis of the political economy of cotton trade and major sources of policy debate that explain why the issue emerged. Second, the original WCA proposal is subjected to a critical analysis around the themes of ‘orthodox competitors’ and ‘heterodox victims’. Third, the Northern response to the initiative is analysed, divided into three subsections: the role of cotton at the Cancún Ministerial in 2003, the origins of a United States-led oppositional counterframe (‘trade and development’), and the institutionalisation of the problem from 2004. The final part addresses the most recent period of negotiations and a major Brazil-led cotton dispute settlement case.

Keywords:   agriculture, competitiveness, cotton, development, framing, heterodoxy, orthodoxy, symbolic power, United States, west and central Africa

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