The International Spectator, Vol. 47, No. 1, March 2012

Numero speciale su Regionalism in a Changing World: Perspectives from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America

Editorial Note Free
Sovereign Debt Crisis in Euroland: Root Causes and Implications for European Integration Free
Recent Publications Free

Pubblicato anche come volume: Regionalism in a Changing World: Comparative Perspectives in the New Global Order, Routledge, 2012

Data pubblicazione: 
Special Issue
Regionalism in a Changing World: Perspectives from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America
Editorial Note
Lorenzo Fioramonti
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Theoretical Perspectives
Comparative Regionalism: A Field Whose Time has Come?
Amitav Acharya
Is comparative regionalism a field whose time has come? While the contemporary interest in comparing regions and regionalisms may be not completely new, it is different from older approaches. Our understanding of what makes regions has changed with social constructivist and critical theoretical approaches that have led to a less behavioural and more nuanced, complex, contested and fluid understanding of regions. Moreover, the globalisation phenomenon has deeply affected all social sciences and radically redefined the relative autonomy of regions. In keeping with the rapid growth and development of regionalism and institutions in the non-Western world, including in regions which were relatively late starters, such as Asia, there have emerged new ways of looking at regional cooperation, including claims about distinctive approaches and even 'models' that are not only different from those identified with the EU, but also supposedly more appropriate and thus 'workable' for non-Western regions than the EU straightjacket.
Keywords: comparative regionalism, regional integration theory, new regionalism, constructivism, norm subsidiarity
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Why We Need to 'Unpack' Regions to Compare Them More Effectively
Luk van Langenhove
States are finding it increasingly difficult to provide good governance in response to today's problems in a globalised world, as they are often either too small or too big to cope with current crises. One of the strategies of states to remedy this situation is to construct regional levels of governance at the supranational or national level. This has led to the creation of diverse forms of regional governance worldwide, thereby ushering in a neo-Westphalian world of states and regions. In order to advance the research agenda of comparative regionalism, scholars need to 'unpack' regions along several conceptual dimensions. This includes seeing regions as economic areas, public goods spaces as well as actors in the international arena. In addition, a distinction needs to be made in studying the projects, processes and products of region building. Moreover, studying regions needs to take into account the discursive context of 'regionalism speak'. Finally, more attention needs to be dedicated to the internal complexity of regionalisms. In sum, comparing regions is not a straightforward exercise, and in some case regions should not be compared with other regions, but with states.
Keywords: comparative analysis, constructivism, states and regions, discourses
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Europe at the Crossroads: Economic and Judicial Integration
Sovereign Debt Crisis in Euroland: Root Causes and Implications for European Integration
Henk Overbeek
This article considers the likely impact of the global crisis on the prospects for the European project. First, it considers the nature of the current crisis. It argues that it is comparable, in terms of its deep structural character, to the one in the 1930s. The crisis manifested itself first in the financial sector, but was caused by underlying problems of overaccumulation, which explains the succession of speculative booms and busts from the 1980s onward. The article then analyses how the financial crisis transmuted into the current sovereign debt crisis in Europe. It identifies a number of interdependent factors responsible for this: the bailouts of banks following the credit crisis; the stimulus programmes necessitated by the danger of a deep economic recession; the structural problems of the European Monetary Union leading to the accumulation of debt in the peripheral members; and finally the catalytic action of speculation in the financial markets. Finally, the article discusses responses to the debt crisis, outlining the contours of two alternatives (muddling through and Europeanisation), their implications, and some of the conditions for success. The conclusion is rather pessimistic: chances that an effective, timely and sustainable solution will be realised do not seem high.
Keywords: euro crisis, sovereign debt crisis, financialisation, overaccumulation, democratic deficit
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New Legal Instruments in a Changing World: Legal, Political and Cultural Developments in EU Judicial Cooperation
Daniela Piana
At the closing of the 20th century, Europe decided the time was ripe to take bold steps towards the creation of a truly integrated European judicial space. Of its overall goals for the new millennium, judicial integration ranked at the top as this reflected shifting global challenges in an increasingly diversified world. After more than a decade, the reality is still that of a policy area in which multiple practices of cooperation coexist. Indeed, political and cultural factors matter in explaining how judicial decisions and practices are harmonised and integrated by EU member states. The article focuses on a number of socialisation mechanisms adopted by the EU to build mutual trust among national authorities and also looks at the European Arrest Warrant as an important test bed of the strengths and weaknesses of European judicial cooperation.
Keywords: judicial cooperation, European integration, European Arrest Warrant, judicial policies, legal cultures
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Africa's Emancipation: Emerging Dynamics and Developments
Breaking Free from Europe: Why Africa Needs Another Model of Regional Integration
Peter Draper
Support for regional economic integration in Africa runs high amongst the continent's international development partners and African elites. However, its expression in European forms of economic integration is not appropriate to regional capacities and in some cases may do more harm than good. This lacuna is exacerbated by technical and theoretical analyses rooted either in economics or international relations literature. This article sets out to reconceptualise the foundations of African economic integration by reviewing key debates within each literature and comparing the results across disciplinary boundaries. Overall, it is concluded that a much more limited approach is required, one that prioritises trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation in areas related primarily to the conduct of business; underpinned by a security regime emphasizing the good governance agenda at the domestic level. Care should be taken to design the ensuing schemes in such a way as to avoid contributing to major implementation and capacity challenges in establishing viable and legitimate states. In doing so, the presence of regional leaders with relatively deep pockets - South Africa in the Southern African case - points to the imperative of building such limited regional economic arrangements around key states.
Keywords: Regional integration, Africa, governance, regulations, trade facilitation
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Legal Harmonisation in Africa: Taking Stock and Moving Forward
Magnus Killander
Despite the lofty objectives set out in the treaties of African intergovernmental organisations, such as the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC and the East African Community, legal harmonisation in Africa is still underdeveloped. Apart from a push towards harmonisation in the protection of human rights and the environment, mainly driven by a global agenda, some progress has been made with regard to legal harmonisation linked to economic integration at the sub-regional level. However, the process is slow and measures to ensure implementation of agreed norms at the national level and ensure consistent interpretation are still underdeveloped. This is illustrative of the lack of political will and the big gap between political rhetoric and reality on the African continent.
Keywords: African integration, legal harmonisation, cooperation, African Union
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Regionalism around the World: Expectations and Realities
Regionalism in Asia as Disguised Multilateralism: A Critical Analysis of the East Asia Summit and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
David Camroux
Revolving around the concept of 'Community' or 'community', debate on an Asian region has ostensibly pitted those who proposed an entity limited to East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN) against those who proposed a much wider region embracing India, North (and, perhaps, South) America, as well as Australasia. Previously these two conceptualisations possessed their eponymous translation in the East Asian Economic Caucus (reincarnated as ASEANþ3) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. However, with the creation in 2005 of the East Asian Summit to include India, Australia and New Zealand and, above all, its 2011 enlargement to include the United States and Russia, the contrast between the two conceptualisations of an Asian region has become confused. In order to explain this development, this article suggests that the language of 'region' or 'community' is a discursive smokescreen disguising changes in approaches to multilateralism. An examination of the East Asia Summit, contrasting it with another recent regional project, the Trans Pacific Partnership, suggests that the actors involved are seeking to ensure the primacy of individual nation states in intergovernmental multilateral relations.
Keywords: multilateralism, regionalism, regional integration, Asian community, East Asia Summit, Trans Pacific Partnership
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Has Regionalism Peaked? The Latin American Quagmire and its Lessons
Andrés Malamud and Gian Luca Gardini
Since 1960, Latin American attempts at regionalism have undergone distinct phases. More notably, they have tended to diverge across space, gradually giving birth to separate blocs that seem to be tearing South, Central and North America apart. Additionally, within and across these regions several overlapping projects coexist. This article focuses on the dynamics of segmented and overlapping regionalism in order to describe what they look like, analyse how they articulate with one another, and explain why member states have pushed for such a messy outcome. This situation, linked to the evolution of the global context, might be indicating that regionalism in Latin America has reached its peak, beyond which it may be difficult to achieve further progress. Two conclusions are elicited: first, economic integration is becoming a geographically diffused phenomenon rather than a regional one; second, regionalism is still a compelling foreign policy but its causes, goals and outcomes are no longer what they used to be.
Keywords: regionalism, regional integration, subregionalism, Latin America
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A Changing Mediterranean: Regional Organisations and North Africa during the Arab Spring
Marco Pinfari
This article discusses the role played by the European Union, African Union and Arab League in the recent revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. It focuses in particular on the use and impact of political and economic conditionality, the decision-making processes within each organisation and the inter-regional forums created to deal with the crisis. The analysis acknowledges the increasingly active and vocal role played by regional organisations in the so-called 'Arab spring', but it highlights not just that they had few legal powers to intervene in these crises, but also that they seemed very reluctant to use any form of political or economic conditionality. It also reveals that the main purpose of inter-regional forums was arguably not to generate consensus internationally but rather to manage dissent. As such, the article encourages a reflection on the specific challenges and opportunities that North Africa and the Mediterranean region pose to regional conflict management.
Keywords: Arab spring, North Africa, conditionality, regional organisations, intervention
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Conclusion - Building Regions from Below: Has the Time Come for Regionalism 2.0?
Lorenzo Fioramonti
In a changing world ridden with crises and characterized by a general redistribution of power, regional organizations need to reinvent themselves. Equally, the study of regionalism has to reject its traditional Eurocentrism to embrace new conceptual categories in order to describe more effectively the variety of regional processes across the world. Against this background, this article looks the European project and its current crisis before discussing other regional 'experiments' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which rest on different principles but also manifest considerable shortcomings. The analysis points to need to look at regionalism with a critical eye, emphasizing the undeniably important achievements but also the hidden threats that a certain model of regional integration (for instance, the classical top-down elite-driven process adopted by the EU founding fathers) can pose to the sustainability of regional cohesion and the adaptability of this model to other areas of the world.
Keywords: Regionalism 2.0, comparative analysis, new models, Eurocentrism, citizen-driven governance
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Book Reviews
Overcoming the 'sui generis' Argument? A Look Abroad for EU Studies
Miguel Haubrich-Seco
Review of: Rethinking EU studies : the contribution of comparative regionalism. A special issue of the Journal of European Integration, edited by Luk Van Langenhove and Alex Warleigh-Lack, Routledge, 2010
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Back to the Future: Islamism, Nationalism and Democracy in Turkey through the AKP Lens
Sebastiano Sali
Review of: Islamism, democracy and liberalism in Turkey: the case of the AKP, by William Hale and Ergun Özbudun, Routledge, 2010
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Fictionary: An International Statebuilding Toolbox
Laura Salich Di Francesca
Review of: International statebuilding : the rise of post-liberal governance, by David Chandler, Routledge, 2010
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Recent Publications
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