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The Rise of Regions: Introduction to Regional Integration & Organisations

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The Changing Global Order

Part of the book series: United Nations University Series on Regionalism ((UNSR,volume 17))

Abstract

In this chapter it is argued that the rise in regionalism since the end of the Cold War does not constitute a new phenomenon. In fact, regionalist movements can at least be traced back to the nineteenth century, and we are currently experiencing its fifth wave. However, what is certainly distinct about regionalism in the twenty-first century is the extent to which it draws on existing forms and the importance it has in structuring the global politico-economic order. Therefore, as shown in this chapter, today’s world (map) is characterized by a complex landscape of hundreds of regional groupings which are all connected in one way or the other. This chapter also conceptualizes overlapping and cognate terms for conceptual clarity, such as regionalism, regional cooperation, regional integration and regional sub-systems. Finally, the chapter lists various conceptual and empirical challenges related to the study of regionalism and regional integration efforts around the world.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A number of trade agreements were established in Europe such as the customs unions between the Austrian and Nordic states.

  2. 2.

    According to Van Langenhove (2011: 48) the Westphalian world order has three built in deficiencies that make it difficult to come to just and efficient global governance schemes that also contribute towards the creation of new regionalist cooperation schemes: the differences in size of states that challenge the principle that all states are equal; the differences in wealth and power that allow some states to dominate others; and the non-binding aspects of the multilateral system.

  3. 3.

    See for example Riggirozzi and Tussie (2012) in which the authors propose the concept of “post-neoliberal regionalism” or Acharya (2014) who proposed “converging regions” and Baldersheim et al. (2011) introducing the concept of “networking regions”.

  4. 4.

    For a complete overview of all the regional integration agreements signed in the world, have a look at UNI-CRIS (2018) “Regional Integration database” [online] available at http://www.cris.unu.edu/riks/web/arrangement [Accessed 13 January 2018].

  5. 5.

    Full details: R. Glickhouse (2012) “Explainer: An Alphabet Soup of Regional Integration Organizations” [online] available at http://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-alphabet-soup-regional-integration-organizations/ [Accessed 13 January 2018].

  6. 6.

    H. Heinonen (2006). Regional Integration and the State: The Changing Nature of Sovereignty in Southern Africa and Europe. Interkont Books, Helsinki, p. 68. B. Balassa (1961) The Theory of Economic Integration, R.D. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 304p.

  7. 7.

    For a list and brief description of current regional arrangements and membership of regional organizations by country, see the UNU-CRIS Regional Integration Knowledge System at http://www.cris.unu.edu/. The most important counter-argument for not including the EU in the classification of “Economic Union” is that it is no unified fiscal zone (yet).

  8. 8.

    For a complete overview of all the regional integration agreements signed in the world, have a look at UNI-CRIS (2018) “Regional Integration database” [online] available at http://www.cris.unu.edu/riks/web/arrangement [Accessed 13 January 2018].

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  • Söderbaum, F., & Shaw, T. (Eds.). (2003). Theories of new regionalism, a Palgrave reader (225p). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

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Correspondence to Joren Selleslaghs .

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Selleslaghs, J., Van Langenhove, L. (2020). The Rise of Regions: Introduction to Regional Integration & Organisations. In: Hosli, M.O., Selleslaghs, J. (eds) The Changing Global Order. United Nations University Series on Regionalism, vol 17. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21603-0_8

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