Research Project at the Centre
New Regionalism? Models of Regional Integration within the Changing Geopolitical Patterns of the 21st Century
The field of regional studies or ‘regionalism’ in political science and cultural studies has never been occupied by just one clear-cut, unequivocal discipline or approach. It was the last century (the end of the colonial empires, the end of the Cold War) that has brought major geopolitical shifts and normative demands on the agenda of any debate about ‘regional’ integration, governance and/or stabilization.
- Optimistic previsions about a liberal New World Order after the end of the Cold War had been strikingly falsified;
- Hopes that had been invested in the EU as regional ‘role model’ for a postnational World Order have been severely frustrated since by the return of traditional fault-lines of conflict in some of Europe’s neighboring regions (Ucraine, Syria, Libya);
- Major institutional and political difficulties of the EU as a multi-layered supranational Union to cope with these conflicts and to react to shifting balances of power ´have become manifest.
- Forms of regional cooperation based on Religion or Culture (Christian-Orthodox, Islamic, Confucian) ar not to be excluded from the debate, but they did not yet present workable results – or they look too familiar: too much alike to older Hegemonial politics in new clothes.
A new multipolar structure of stability and development has not arrived in International politics; so any model of political Regional Integration will have to face an open and shifting field of identities and Interests. It is against this state of the debate that I propose to undertake a critical relecture of Regionalism, distinguishing different patterns of transnational conflict-solution, cooperation, integration according to their regional and (post)imperial (pre)history.
I am looking for a theoretically ordered range of possible regional scales and modes of transnational cooperation, from the Empire to various transnational ‘Gestalten’ of regional integration.