The Observer Research Foundation hosted a launch of Professor Amrita Narlikar’s (President of the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, GIGA) latest book, Poverty Narratives and Power Paradoxes in International Trade Negotiations and Beyond, published with Cambridge University Press.
The panel discussion was chaired and moderated by Dr. Samir Saran, President of the Observer Research Foundation. Professor Stacie Goddard, from Wellesley College, and Professor Louis Pauly, from the University of Toronto, were discussants on the panel.
In Poverty Narratives and Power Paradoxes in International Trade Negotiations and Beyond Amrita Narlikar argues that, contrary to common assumption, modern-day politics displays a surprising paradox: poverty — and the powerlessness with which it is associated — has emerged as a political tool and a formidable weapon in international negotiation. The success of poverty narratives, however, means that their use has not been limited to the neediest. Focusing on behaviours and outcomes in a particularly polarising area of bargaining — international trade — and illustrating wider applications of the argument, Narlikar shows how these narratives have been effectively used. Yet, she also sheds light on how indiscriminate overuse and misuse increasingly run the risk of adverse consequences for the system at large, and devastating repercussions for the weakest members of society. Narlikar advances a theory of agency and empowerment by focusing on the life-cycles of narratives and concludes by offering policy-relevant insights on how to construct winning and sustainable narratives.
The panelists covered a range of topics in the discussion, including reforming multilateralism, climate change, India’s trade diplomacy, geoeconomics, pandemics, and vaccine diplomacy. A recording will soon be made available.
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