Comparative European Politics

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 279–300 | Cite as

Awkward states and regional organisations: The United Kingdom and Australia compared

Original Article


Both the United Kingdom and Australia have been studied by specialists in each region rather than by comparativists. This article seeks to fill this gap by examining the regional ‘awkwardness’ of the United Kingdom and Australia comparatively. Australia and Britain are ‘awkward’ states in their respective regions – Asia and Europe. This is clear in their approaches to institutions, economic policy, security and identity. We examine comparatively the role of power, institutions, economy, domestic politics and culture to see which mix best accounts for the awkward status of these two states. Through this comparison, this article demonstrates that the so-called ‘uniqueness’ of the United Kingdom in regionalism literature is in fact a nearly ‘universal’ phenomenon, insofar as many global regions include awkward states.


regionalism regional integration awkward partners European Union Asia Pacific 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philomena Murray
    • 1
  • Alex Warleigh-Lack
    • 2
  • Baogang He
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Politics, University of SurreyGB – GuildfordUK
  3. 3.School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore

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