Battles in Seattle Redux: Transnational Resistance to a Neoliberal Trade Agreement

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This paper examines the possibilities and complexities of transnationalism through an analysis of political protests organized in Seattle against the Korea–US Free Trade Agreement, arguably the most significant bilateral trade negotiations involving the US state today. By studying the political practices of the Korean farmers' movement through participant research in Seattle from 4 to 9 September 2006, and revisiting the analysis of the 1999 “battles of Seattle” in recent work by Hardt and Negri, we argue that the concept “transnationalism” is potentially applicable to activists and subaltern social groups as much as states and elites, although these groups do not transnationalize through the same practices or in the same spaces. Our analysis of the protests aims to clarify the essentially spatial nature of political articulation (in Laclau's sense) that make the transnationalization of social movements possible.

Keywords: Korea; Seattle; demonstration; trade; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA;, Email: 2: Department of Geography, Konkuk University, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Korea;, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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