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TBGI Working Paper 31

A Coxian Perspective on Transnational Business Governance Interactions: Counter-Hegemonic Certification Movements in Fisheries

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Paul Foley

June 2018

Abstract

How can under-theorized dimensions of production and social development be integrated into the TBGI analytical project? This chapter addresses this question by applying Robert Cox’s ‘production and power’ approach to an analysis of the global capture fisheries sector. It uses Cox’s approach—which emphasizes interactions among social forces of production, state-civil society complexes, and world order—to analyze the creation of alternatives to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-certification. Producer-oriented alternatives generally seek to integrate ideas and institutions connected to social forces of production, state-civil society complexes, and world order. While this integrated approach to fostering legitimacy and credibility in the global political economy of seafood is common across initiatives, including the MSC, alternatives differ by emphasizing either territorial approaches that privilege producers within particular jurisdictions, or ethical approaches that privilege the social relations of structurally weaker producers. While fledgling ethical eco-certification initiatives have potential to support alternative models of governance and development that empower structurally disadvantaged producers, the counter-hegemonic potential of these alternatives is currently weak.

Keywords

Sustainable development, political economy, certification, Marine Stewardship Council, fair trade, neo- Gramscian