Duina, Francesco and Crina Viju-Miljusevic. 2023. Standardizing the World: EU Trade Policy and the Road to Convergence. Oxford University Press. The EU has pursued many trade pacts across the world. This is part of its foreign policy: as the third largest economy in the world and lacking hard power, the EU relies on trade agreements to project its interests. These are often complex and far-reaching initiatives that have the potential to shape not only economic but also political and social life in the EU and its trading partners. In Standardizing the World, Francesco Duina and Crina Viju-Miljusevic have gathered a group of leading experts to present an unprecedented assessment of the EU’s efforts to standardize a wide array of economic, political, and social aspects of life through its trade agreements across the globe. Drawing on economic sociology and constructivist strands in international political economy, the volume examines what is being standardized, the extent to which the EU has been able to project its worldviews, and what explains the observable patterns of standardization across policy areas and geographies. Ten leading scholars from across the world offer as many chapters on EU agreements with all major trading partners and cover efforts in social and labor rights, the environment, investments, rule of law and anti-corruption, agriculture and food quality, services, public procurement, sustainable development, and more. Their findings paint a picture of a dynamic EU capable of projecting its worldviews across the globe that is nonetheless not always consistent or successful. Standardizing the World provides a wide-ranging and rigorous understanding of standardization in trade agreement as well as the EU’s abilities to project its power and worldviews across the globe.
Pedraza, Silvia and Carlos A. Romero. 2023. Revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela: One Hope, Two Realities. University of Florida Press. Revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela compares the sociopolitical processes behind two major revolutions-those of Cuba in 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power, and Venezuela in 1999, when Hugo Chávez won the presidential election. With special attention to the Cuba-Venezuela alliance, particularly in regards to foreign policy and the trade of doctors for oil, Silvia Pedraza and Carlos Romero show that the geopolitical theater where these events played out determined the dynamics and reach of the revolutions. Updating and enriching the current understanding of the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutions, this study is unique in its focus on the massive exoduses they generated. Pedraza and Romero argue that this factor is crucial for comprehending a revolution’s capacity to succeed or fail. By externalizing dissent, refugees helped to consolidate the revolutions, but as the diasporas became significant political actors and the lifelines of each economy, they eventually served to undermine the social movements. Using comparative historical analysis and data collected through fieldwork in Cuba and Venezuela, as well as from immigrant communities in the US, Pedraza and Romero discuss issues of politics, economics, migrations, authoritarianism, human rights, and democracy in two nations that hoped to make a better world through their revolutionary journeys.