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Clash of Globalizations?

The Politics of International Labor Rights in the United States

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Thomas Greven

In his comprehensive study of the politics of international labor rights in the United States, Thomas Greven offers a concise analysis of the genesis of a viable policy alternative to the dominant free trade paradigm in U.S. foreign economic policy. The conceptual and coalition-building efforts of labor rights advocates, and particularly the critical learning processes within the U.S. labor movement, are at the center of analysis. Both theoretically and empirically, Greven breaks new ground by applying neo-Gramscian hegemony theory to an investigation of the career of a policy concept – the linkage of trade and fundamental labor rights – in U.S. trade policy discourse. This allows him to focus on the question of whether labor rights advocates altered the parameters of the debate beyond the traditional dichotomy of free trade and protectionism. Through careful analysis of discursive processes of interest-formation, without neglect of their material and institutional foundations, Greven can show how labor rights advocates successfully placed international labor rights on the U.S. trade policy agenda and how their policy proposals came to be key elements of globalization critique as well as of an evolving alternative.
Contents: The politics of international labor rights in the United States – Neo-Gramscian analysis of U.S. foreign economic policy-making – The genesis of the Global Justice Movement in the United States – United States Organized Labor and Globalization.