Citizenship and trade governance in the Americas


This chapter explores how ideas of citizenship are affected by the project of trade liberalization in the Americas: how trade policy impacts upon citizens’ relationship with the state, and the state’s ability to realize particular rights. It shows how struggles over citizenship are being played out not only in a one-way, ‘top-down’, relationship. New solidarities and expressions of citizenship are also being articulated ‘from below’ by an increasing array of actors mobilizing simultaneously in multiple governance arenas linking local and global spheres and processes.

The chapter is structured in the following way. The first section briefly explores the shifting landscape of trade governance in the Americas and reflects on the constraints that recent trade integration processes place on the possibility of a full realization of citizenship rights and entitlements. In the second section, we reflect on the politics of mobilization around trade, asking how this contributes to new expressions of citizenship in the Americas. In particular, we concentrate on the cases of the women’s, environmental and labour movements as key social forces in relation to the trade agenda contained in the NAFTA, Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur, Common Market of the South) initiatives. Finally, the third section interrogates to what extent new expressions and practices of citizenship emerge from, and at the same reconfigure, the landscape of trade politics in the Americas.

Owing to copyright restrictions, only the first 3 pages are attached, together with a link to the book at Zed Books.


Icaza, R.; Newell, P.; Saguier, M. Citizenship and trade governance in the Americas. In: Globalizing Citizens: New Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion. J. Gaventa and R. Tandon (Editors). Zed Books, London, UK (2010) ISBN 9781848134713 (Hardback)

Published 1 January 2010