Norms, Identity, and Divergent Paths toward Regional Order in South and Southeast Asia: ASEAN and SAARC in Comparative Perspective

Authored by: Charan Rainford

The Ashgate Research Companion to Regionalisms

Print publication date:  January  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754677628
eBook ISBN: 9781315613499
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041863


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The study of regionalisation and regionalism has burgeoned in the post-Cold War era, but for decades was relegated to a sub-field of international relations narrowly focused on European regional integration. On the one hand, a number of studies have continued, in the vein of early integrationist work, to trace the links between state-driven regional economic and political institutionalisation and economic prosperity, regional security, and order. On the other hand, a growing literature around ‘new regionalisms’ has eschewed focus on official state-driven process in favour of studying regionalism as a dynamic process, driven by a multiplicity of actors, both state and non-state, and processes, both formal and informal. Furthermore, these studies delved beyond regions as fixed entities, tracing out the contextual and multilayered nature of regionalism while investigating micro-regionalisms at the national-level interstice (Grant and Söderbaum 2003; Hettne 2000; Söderbaum 2005). However, as noted in the introduction to this volume, there remains an epistemological and ontological gulf between the two approaches, with few studies anchored in the traditional approach attempting to incorporate the contributions made by the new regionalism literature.

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