Trade-agreement analysis wins book award for college sociologist

Francesco Duina

The Social Construction of Free Trade: The European Union, NAFTA, and Mercosur, an analysis written by Bates College sociologist Francesco Duina, has been named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by the editors of Choice magazine, published by the Association of College & Research Libraries.

At 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, Duina is scheduled to present the book in a store appearance at Books Etc., 38 Exchange St., Portland.

Published in 2006 by Princeton University Press, Duina’s book offers an innovative and compelling view of regional trade agreements. Duina challenges the common assumption that RTAs should be seen as fundamentally similar economic initiatives to promote free trade.

Instead, through a comparative analysis of three key areas of economic life — women in the workplace, the dairy industry and labor rights — he makes the case that such agreements are direct expressions of the societies that produce them.

“In this era of globalization, most literature on regional trade agreements assumes RTAs are a general embrace of the principle of free trade,” a reviewer wrote in the June 2006 edition of Choice. “However, this path breaking study shows they are remarkably different creations, stemming from unique historical, social and cultural contexts that have a distinctive impact on their legal regimes.”

Duina is associate professor of sociology at Bates, where he joined the faculty in 2000, and is visiting professor at the International Center for Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School. He is also the author of Harmonizing Europe: Nation States within the Common Market (State University of New York Press, 1999). His research and teaching interests include economic sociology, globalization, the nation state and the cultural underpinnings of trade.

Choice magazine provides reviews of new scholarly publications to guide academic librarians, faculty and other key decision makers in their book purchases. Choice reaches almost every undergraduate college and university library in the United States, serving some 35,000 subscribers through print and online editions.

Choice publishes its list of Outstanding Academic Titles each January. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The honor is based on excellence in presentation and scholarship, importance relative to other literature in the field, distinction as a first treatment of a given subject, originality, value to undergraduates and importance to undergraduate library collections.

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