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Developing countries in complex regimes: Forum stretching in the governance of cross-border investment

Wednesday 11 October 2017, 12.00PM to 1.30pm

Speaker(s): Peg Murray-Evans (York)

This paper offers a critical engagement with recent literatures on contemporary global power shifts and the phenomenon of growing ‘regime complexity’. It does so by focusing on South Africa’s role in the governance of cross-border investment, and seeks to explain how – in spite of South Africa’s limited material capabilities – it has pursued preferred regulatory outcomes across a range of institutional settings within the context of the complex and fragmented investment regime. In order to do this, I situate an understanding of regime complexity within a constructivist literature that highlights the role of international institutions in setting the parameters for legitimate action in international politics. I argue that ambiguous and complex regimes create space for agency and strategic action by weak actors and I highlight one specific strategy – forum stretching – that such actors may use to pursue their preferences in complex regimes. Furthermore, I suggest that forum stretching is a particularly useful strategy for emerging markets and developing countries seeking global governance reforms that allow them additional developmental policy space.

Location: Derwent College, room D/N/104

Admission: All welcome