Gender Equality and Sustainable Development for Export? A Critical Study of EU Association Agreements in Latin America

Johanna Bergström

University of Warwick Publications Service. Sep 2014 [Link]

Supervisors: Shirin Rai (Univ. of Warwick) & Raffaele Marchetti (LUISS)


In June 2012 the European Union signed bilateral Association Agreements (AAs) based on a neoliberal economic growth philosophy with Central American states as well as! with Colombia and! Peru. In addition to free trade, these also include a ppolitical dialogue as well as an international cooperation pillar. This thesis explores empirical disconnects and contradiction in the EU’s efforts to combine these different aspects in it foreign policy. In particular, it investigates how successful the EU is in linking these AAs to it work towards sustainable development and gender equality at multiple levels. It does this by moving from a wide and international perspective to a local and more specific one. In doing this the thesis examines international trends, while concentrating on EU development policies in relation to trade with Latin America, using Guatemala as a case study. Most critiques against the AAs take place within a modernity framework but this research moves beyond these notions and considers how we may account for ‘the local’ and critically engage with Western mainstream development discourses. This thesis argues that there, in addition to the empirical disconnects in EU policy, is a disconnect within theory between gendered international political economy (GIPE) and theories on sustainability. Therefore the theoretical framework aim at bridging this gap by linking environmental feminist thought with feminist economics. In addition, this thesis includes Mayan cosmovision (worldview) and the concept of buen vivir (good life), which is inspired by indigenous people’s worldviews and is present in the Bolivian as well as the Ecuadorian constitutions. This way local forms of theoretical knowledge is taken into account and combined with complementing forms of feminisms, allowing for a critical analysis of trade, gender and sustainable development in Latin America.

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.