Our Faculty Research Seminars at the Department of Public Policy showcase the ongoing work of our current faculty and PhD Candidates.
Abstract | ‘Third World’ struggles for another global economic order permeated the broader milieu of decolonization in the sixties and seventies. In this context, the European Union (EU) has entrenched its Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) as a development policy in favor of the ‘tiers monde’. For over five decades now, the GSP regime has unilaterally opened the European single market to exports from the global south without asking for market access concessions in return. Yet the EU is today asserting an increasingly muscular GSP regime through the technologies of political conditionalities, monitoring missions, and sanctions. At the same time, it exploits these technologies to distinguish its ‘normative’ standing as a global actor that claims to defend ‘European’ values, such as democracy, good governance, human rights, labor standards, and sustainability, particularly in its relations with ‘unruly’ trade partners from the so-called ‘developing’ world. In this seminar, I propose to interrogate the worldviews of, and the hierarchical power relations (re)produced by, those engaged in articulating a more assertive/normative EU trade policy vis-à-vis the global souths. Drawing on 65+ semi-structured elite interviews with trade policymakers in Brussels, I attempt to interpret the policy world of EU GSP as a transnational field of intervention that governs the EU’s market and geopolitical entanglements with ‘developing’ and ‘least developed’ countries. I propose to push the critique of policy further by making it more legible how the coloniality of power operates in and through the unilateral strand of EU trade policy. Crucially, I claim that colonial logic seeps into policy discourses on GSP, despite the EU’s feted technospeak of ‘dialoguing’, ‘enhanced engagement’, and ‘international partnerships’. As such, I gesture towards ongoing un-disciplinary conversations on smashing Eurocentrism in terms of why and how we generate knowledge about the EU as a global (trade) power.
BIO | Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III is a final-year Ph.D. candidate in politics at Central European University and a visiting research fellow at Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals. The speaker’s work attempts to critique the European Union as a trade power in world politics through critical-interpretive, non-Eurocentric, and decolonial perspectives. Speaker’s most recent writings have been published in Politics and Governance and European Foreign Affairs Review. Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III is also contributing to a DIMES/UACES special issue on ‘Disrupting European Studies’ in the Journal of Contemporary European Research and to an edited volume on ‘The EU in a globalized world’ with Routledge.