How is it possible for developing countries that lack international influence to change international trade rules? Most theoretical explanations of international regimes suggest that it is not possible. Regimes such as the World Trade Organization are routinely explained as the instruments of strong states in which developing countries can only have a limited effect on outcomes. In A Social Theory of the WTO, Jane Ford uses the tools of social theory to explain how countries without material power can influence regimes through sustained behaviours and identity politics. Rather than instruments, regimes are considered cultures or structures of social rules. In this way, the book explains how many developing countries have played a key role in strengthening legalistic trade rules while the United States opted for protectionism and regionalism.

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