A Spatial Approach to Regionalisms in the Global Economy

London/New York: Palgrave, 2000.

cover1-1How can we make sense of the fact that more and more countries choose some form of regional alignment? Most experts in global affairs rely on the brick and mortar image – countries are the bricks and their regional alignments are the mortar. Remove the mortar and a new structure can be built with the bricks. I suggest in this book that we must think differently about regionalism because we must think differently about social and political space. It’s not that the bricks-and-mortar model has no place for space but that the conception of social space that dominates is simply a generic version of the Newtonian view of space – unchangeable and pre-existing.

I develop an alternative approach in which I consider social space as a social construct that consists of multiple layers of which countries only one relevant layer. Regionalization, then, becomes an attempt to construct a new layer of social space driven by the search for a new institutional fix to the challenges of globalization.

The book traces the emergence of modern states using this perspective and then analyzes the European Union, Southern Africa, Central America and South America.

I conclude that while regionalization efforts are elite driven projects, they do offer the possibility of mobilization at many levels as the grip of the state weakens and regions grow in importance.

Table of Contents

1. Globalization or Regionalization

2. Missing Spaces: IR Theory and Cooperation

3. The Global System as Mille-Feuille

4. Southern Africa as Social Space

5. Regionalization: The Search for a Spatial Fix

6. Regional Practices and Counterpractices


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