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Comparative Regional Integration and Regionalism

Chapter in book
Authors Fredrik Söderbaum
Published in T. Landman and N. Robinson (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Politics
Pages 477-496
Publisher SAGE
Place of publication London
Publication year 2009
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
School of Global Studies
Pages 477-496
Language en
Subject categories Peace and development research


Despite a growing number of specific comparisons of selected aspects of regionalism (especially regarding regional institutions and the role of power) in selected regions (particularly Europe, East Asia and North America), there is virtually no systematic debate regarding the fundamentals of comparison, such as “what to compare”, “how to compare” or “why compare”. Consequently, the purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the general discussion about “the problem of comparison” in the study of regionalism and regional integration. It does not attempt a detailed empirical comparison of a set of pre-defined regions according to a fixed set of variables. The chapter will provide an overview of the state of comparative regional integration and regionalism, an outline of the main debates and controversies, and a discussion of the state of the research field and directions in which it ought to be moving.

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