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Exploring Conditions for Politicization: A Comparative Analysis of European Union Trade Agreement Negotiations.

In times of Brexit and Trump, trade policy has become the subject of public attention. Moreover, trade negotiations of the world's largest trading entity, the European Union, have become subject to unprecedented polarisation and contestation by civil society actors, as was the case with negotiations with Canada (CETA) and the United States (TTIP). Surpisingly though, such politicization did not occur across the board. Negotiations with Japan or Vietnam for instance did not cause any public stir and sailed through largely uncontested. This research project proposal outlines (1) how the politicization of EU trade agreement negotiations varies considerably across different negotiations (and across EU member states); (2) why some seemingly obvious explanations for this observed variation are logically and/or empirically problematic; and (3) outlines a new research strategy to parse out necessary and sufficient conditions for politicization in a mixed method research design, combining so-called Crisp Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis with in-depth, controlled case comparisons. By shedding light on structural conditions under which civil society actors are able to engage in politicization, this project aims to bring together the literature on EU trade politics with the literature on interest groups, civil society, and public opinion formation, and sets out a course for training-through-PhD-research.
Date:1 Jan 2020 →  Today
Disciplines:European union politics, International politics, Political economy, Interest group politics
Project type:Collaboration project