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The role of the human rights movement in trade policy-making: human rights as a trigger for social learning

Lang, Andrew T. F. (2007) The role of the human rights movement in trade policy-making: human rights as a trigger for social learning. New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, 5 (1). pp. 77-102. ISSN 1176-3930

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This article reflects on a decade of engagement by the human rights movement in debates about the international trading system. The author contends that this engagement has occurred with little explicit consideration of precisely what human rights actor and humnan rights language have to offer trade policy debates. The question is an important one, in part because trade policy debates have traditionally been framed in technical language, and primarily conducted among a group of specialised experts. In addressing this question, the author reconstructs three models of the ‘value-added’ of human rights, which he sees as implicitly structuring much of the current ‘trade and human rights’ literature. He sets out some advantages and limitations of each of these three models, before offering a fourth, which sees the human rights movement as a ‘trigger’ for policy learning. Human rights actors, he argues, have begun to ask new questions about international trading order, and in doing so have facilitated the production of new kinds of trade policy knowledge, and the creation of new kinds of trade expertise. To the extent that the current international trading system is deeply structured by prevailing trade policy knowledge, the author argues that this model captures an important and rarely recognised mechanism by which social movements generate change in the international economic system.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
J Political Science > JX International law
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2009 16:22
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2021 23:10

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