Reading the Intellectual History of Regionalism
Philippe De Lombaerde and Fredrik Söderbaum (eds.) Regionalism (four-volume set of the SAGE Library of International Relations). London: SAGE Publications, pp. xvii-xlviii, (2013)
48 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2014 Last revised: 5 Mar 2014
Date Written: October 1, 2013
Regionalism is a collection that has been created to capture and organize 60 years of research and policy discourse on regional integration and regionalism since the 1940s until today.
The ambition of the collection is to contribute to the consolidation of a fragmented field of study, which is characterized by a lack of dialogue among academic disciplines, area specializations, as well as theoretical traditions and approaches. Progress in the field requires a better understanding of the intellectual roots of the field; it also requires that academics engage increasingly with other texts and theorists across time periods, discourses and disciplines, which is rather rare in the current debate.
This set of volumes provides the academic community of scholars with a collection of seminal articles that have contributed to shaping the thinking about regional integration, regionalism and regionalization during the past six decades. The four volumes are structured chronologically, reflecting the evolution of the subject. This organization shows historical dynamisms, the various lines of influence, cross-fertilization and descendence:
Volume One: 1945-1970 Classical Regional Integration Volume Two: 1970-1990 Revisions of Classical Regional Integration Volume Three: 1990-2000 New Regionalism Volume Four: 2000-2010 Comparative Regionalism
The collection includes three Nobel prize winners — Jan Tinbergen, Robert Mundell and Paul Krugman — next to pioneers such as Ernst Haas, Karl Deutsch, Joseph Nye, Raul Prebisch, Bela Balassa and more recent leading theorists such as Amitav Acharya, Jagdish Bhagwati, Björn Hettne, Peter Katzenstein, Andrew Moravcsik, Walter Mattli, and Iver Neumann.
This Introduction gives an overview of the field and situates the four volumes in broader context. It elaborates some of the key issues shaping the development of the field and which have been essential for the selection of articles to the four volumes. We have concentrated on three key issues central to the intellectual history of the field: (i) the ontology of regionalism and regional integration; (ii) the role of European integration theory/practice and comparison; and (iii) the role of theory.
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