Global social justice at the WTO? The role of NGOs in constructing global social contracts

He, Baogang and Murphy, Hannah 2007, Global social justice at the WTO? The role of NGOs in constructing global social contracts, International affairs, vol. 83, no. 4, pp. 707-727.

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Title Global social justice at the WTO? The role of NGOs in constructing global social contracts
Author(s) He, Baogang
Murphy, Hannah
Journal name International affairs
Volume number 83
Issue number 4
Start page 707
End page 727
Publisher Wiley Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2007
ISSN 0020-5850
1468-2346
Keyword(s) global social contracts
global governance
social justice
NGO
WTO
Summary Over the past decade, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been contesting the neo-liberal economic order in international politics by campaigning for normative conditions to bring about what Richard Falk calls 'humane governance'. However, the degree to which NGOs have contributed to the formation of global social contracts remains controversial. While NGO activists and various scholars advocate the establishment of such contracts, empirical testing of this normative argument is underdeveloped. Drawing upon this lack of empirical support, critics dismiss the global social contract concept and question the roles played by NGOs in international politics. This article addresses the controversy through a review, refinement and application of global social contract theory and an empirical study of two prominent international NGO campaigns directed at the World Trade Organization (WTO), an institution that represents a 'hard test case'. It explores the ways in which NGOs and their networks are challenging the neo-liberal basis of WTO agreements and contributing to the emergence of global social contracts. The article concludes that in some circumstances, NGOs have the capacity to inject social justice into international economic contracts and there is some basis for optimism regarding the formation of global social contracts involving NGOs, nation-states and international organizations.
Language eng
Field of Research 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Baogang He, Hannah Murphy
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30007245

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of International and Political Studies
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