Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Roberts

Abstract

Agriculture remains one of the most contentious issues in the ongoing negotiations of the World Trade Organization, with serious implications for food security and the livelihood of farmers in the developing world. This dissertation examines the formation of agricultural trade policy and the politics and arguments surrounding it within the context of India’s position in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The research has two components. A set of archival documents relating to India’s participation in a WTO institution called the Trade Policy Review (TPR) was analyzed. In addition, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a number of Indian experts and officials involved in agricultural trade policy. This project suggests a number of tentative conclusions with implications for political geography and particularly for the literature on policy transfer, neoliberalism, and Neo-Gramscian models of international relations. First, it finds that the WTO Secretariat plays a key role in promoting neoliberal ideas within the TPR institution and that the forms of argumentation used here can help to explain the resiliency of neoliberalism in the face of policy failure. Second, it shows that the Indian government has not accepted neoliberal policy models wholesale, but has exercised autonomy, selectivity, and adaptation in its liberalization programs. Third, it demonstrates that neoliberal ideas do not always favor the positions of developed countries. Finally, it supports the narrative of increasing developing country bargaining in the WTO and shows that the Indian representatives bolster their arguments by articulating them as being in the interest of the developing world in general.

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