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European Union Studies and the New Regionalism

  • Alex Warleigh-Lack
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)

Abstract

In this chapter I investigate how some of the debates in new regionalism studies can inform research in EU studies. This may seem counter-intuitive; certainly, neofunctionalists argued exactly the opposite in the early 1960s (Haas, 1961), and the rich literatures on the various currently existing regions often highlight how the EU — or Europe more broadly understood — is both similar and dissimilar from their focus of study (for an overview, see Söderbaum, 2009). However, I draw on previous work (especially Warleigh-Lack et al., 2011; Warleigh-Lack and Van Langenhove, 2010; Warleigh-Lack and Rosamond, 2010) to argue that an invocation of new regionalist work can open up new research projects for EU studies scholars while shedding new, or at least different, light on long-standing problems in the field, such as the development of theory and the selection of case studies. This is primarily because such a move opens up two under-used assets for EU studies scholars. The first such asset is a different range of theoretical approaches, many of them of a critical kind, which do not tend to be found in the EU studies mainstream (Manners, 2007). The second asset is a fresh range of comparators — other regional organisations and processes — to add to those more commonly found in EU studies (federal states). Such new forms of comparison are just as suitable for the part-intergovernmental, part-supranational entity that we call the EU as those to which EU studies has become more accustomed, albeit in different ways; indeed, they may help EU studies scholars reconceive their work as, at least in part, a contribution to a larger and generalisable research agenda — the understanding of regionalism and regional integration. This, then, is what comparative regionalism studies can offer EU scholars that no other comparison can: an understanding of the ways in which the EU is ontologically part of a global phenomenon, namely regionalism/regional integration, and therefore part of the structure of the global political economy.

Keywords

Regional Integration Global Region North American Free Trade Agreement Political Integration Global Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Alex Warleigh-Lack 2015

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  • Alex Warleigh-Lack

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