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Theories of Regionalism

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Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of some of the key theoretical debates and controversies in the field that are particularly relevant for the study of Asian regionalism. More specifically, the chapter will relate Asian regionalism to the historical development of the field and to the over-emphasis on European integration theory and practice in the field of regionalism as well as to the crucial relationship between formal and informal regionalism. The study builds upon the understanding that it is not relevant to develop a theory about Asian regionalism per se. Rather, it is of specific interest to situate Asian regionalism within a more general theoretical and comparative discussion. Yet, a related assumption is that Asian regionalism is crucial for the further development of the broader field of regionalism.
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... However, it must be noted that ASEAN's socioeconomic "growth" and "regional peace" operate through a neoliberal framework, where foreign direct investments and multinational corporations target countries in the region for profit (8). Thus, ASEAN saw Communists as a challenge to said development and peace paradigms given its intensification in Southeast Asia following the Communist victories in Indochina (Soon 1976;Sӧderbaum 2012). Collins (2008, 315) stressed that ASEAN's history, "first and foremost an Association for the elite," revealed the centrality of state security as a way of safeguarding their bureaucracy. ...
... The ACSC/APF reinforces the thesis that although regionalism is clearly a political project, having ASEAN states taking the lead in regional institution-building in Asia, the construction of regionalism is not necessarily state-led as states are not the singular political players working within and around a regional project (Bøås et al. 2003cited in Sӧderbaum 2012Beeson and Stubbs 2012). Current scholars have identified several regionalism projects presenting a very different foundation for theorizing regionalism (Sӧderbaum 2012). This alternative regionalism discourse, championed by the LGBTQ+, takes flight from the intergovernmentalist approaches favored mostly by IR scholars who perceive regionalism as an inter-state bargaining process (Hoffman 1995; Moravsik 1998 cited in Beeson and Stubbs 2012). ...
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The neoliberal politics governing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) diplomacy has pushed this intergovernmental body to further close its doors from civil society. This deficit of political will to engage substantially with civil society puts the member-states' credibility into question as they proclaim to work for a "people-oriented, people-centered" regionalism. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and individuals (LGBTQ+) not falling into the categorical matrix of capitalist social reproduction-that of the heterosexual family-continue to face discrimination, harassment, and even death under the ineptness of Southeast Asian governments and ASEAN as an intergovernmental body. Marginalized sectors, such as workers, farmers, indigenous peoples (IPs), and women, share similar and differing plights. The current situation, thus, deserves a rethinking at the onset of this already shrinking democratic space for civil society. This paper champions the possibility of an alternative regional integration that emerges from the collective efforts of diverse Southeast Asian peoples and formations against the hegemonic development paradigm, which has left the LGBTQ+ far behind. In criticizing ASEAN's heteronormative neoliberal framework, the researchers suggest that solidarity Philippine Journal of Public Policy: Interdisciplinary Development Perspectives (2022) 140 with other sectors must be and is becoming central to LGBTQ+ and sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, and sexual characteristics (SOGIESC)-based advocacy in Southeast Asia using the frame that links neoliberalism and homophobia. This paper closes by showcasing cases of alternative practices that contribute to realizing an alternative regionalism that emphasizes civil society, including and celebrating the LGBTQ+.
... Compared to earlier regional theories from 'old regionalism' (so-called first wave of regionalism 1 ) that were more concerned with endogenous elements and intra-regional theorising (Hettne 2002), much of discussions on 'new regionalism' (second wave of regionalism) dwell on the layered and variegated dynamics between globalisation and regionalisation. Given the rise of an interdependent world economy induced by globalisation, the New Regionalism Approach (Hettne and Söderbaum 1998, 2000, 2008Hettne 2002;Söderbaum 2012) situates a region within the global system and, thus, considers not only endogenous (inside-out) but also exogenous (outside-in) factors underlying contemporary regionalism (see visualisation below) (Figure 1). With respect to exogenous elements, NRA regards the crucial role of the external environment of a region and underscores the intertwined interactions between globalisation and regionalisation (Hettne 2002;Hettne and Söderbaum 2008). ...
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... Neo-functionalism, which has been the main source of the theoretical debates of European integration, is the combination of functionalism and ultimate determination of federalism. Ernst Hass suggested spill over, a concept which assumes that deepening of integration in one economic sector would result in pressure of integration in other sectors (Söderbaum, 2012:2). Neo-Functionalism explicitly referred integration as a tool for regionalism unlike federalism and functionalism. ...
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2 : On 23 June 2016, British people decided to leave the European Union by 51.9% at Brexit referendum. With the launch of the 50th article of Lisbon Treaty by Theresa May on 29 March 2017, the negotiations which are called as "Brexit talks" began. It is assumed in this paper that either concluded successfully or not, the economic, social, political, cultural costs of Brexit, would diminish the probability of leaving the EU option for other sceptic members while dealing their problems with the EU. Any potential future sceptic EU member, who witnessed the difficulty and complexity of UK leaving the EU (known as a powerful country and the leading Eurosceptic in the Union), would hardly consider leaving the EU. The theory of neo-functionalism will be both used as the argument and the explanatory tool for proving the assumption made above. Introduction On 23 June 2016, British people decided to leave the European Union by 51.9% at Brexit referendum. With the launch of the 50th article of Lisbon Treaty by Theresa May on 29 March 2017, the negotiations which are called as "Brexit talks" began. Lisbon Treaty presents a two-year time limit to complete negotiations between London and Brussels. Either it will be successful or not, Brexit decision displayed that leaving the EU would be very costly. Not only in the sense of financial or economy related costs, but also there would be costs in social, political, cultural fields. The grounds of those costs could be understood through Neo-functionalism, the neglected theory of integration for a long time. While Britain is attempting to leave the EU, London confronts the neo-functionalism. Assumptions of Neo-functionalism, which used to be the mainstream approach explaining the nature and dynamics of European integration, now strikes back at almost every aspect of Brexit negotiations. According to Neo-functionalism integration in one economic sector creates pressure for integration in other economic, social and political sectors, at the end, integration level would reach a high that reversing or even stopping it would be very costly. Ernst Hass suggested the term spill-over to explain this phenomenon. Especially, some issues have been more difficult for the UK while the Brexit talks.
... Theoretical and policy-oriented discussions of regional processes tend to be dominated by analysts who describe themselves as operating within broadly defined 'liberal-institutionalist' or 'constructivist' frameworks (Söderbaum 2012). This is entirely unsurprising. ...
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