The study of regionalism is often characterised as too fragmented, plagued by disagreements over such fundamental matters as its ontological and epistemological premises, which also hinder efforts at substantive comparison of regionalisation processes. In this article it is argued that to overcome these problems, what is required is a more rigorous incorporation of such studies within relevant work in state theory and political geography. The key insight herein is that regionalism should not be studied separately from the state as these are interrelated phenomena. State-making and regionalisation are both manifestations of contested political projects aimed at shaping the territorial, institutional, and/or functional scope of political rule. Furthermore, the article also distils the lines of a mechanismic methodology for comparative regionalism. Its main advantage is in overcoming the implicit benchmarking of regional development we find in other approaches. The framework's utility is then demonstrated through a comparison of regional governance in Asia and Europe.
(Online publication February 21 2012)
Shahar Hameiri is an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia. He is the author of Regulating Statehood: State Building and the Transformation of the Global Order (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). He has also published several sole or jointly authored articles on issues such as state-building interventions, the politics of risk management and new modes of regional governance in leading journals, including Political Studies, Millennium, The Pacific Review and Third World Quarterly.
* The author would like to thank Shaun Breslin, Kanishka Jayasuriya, Garry Rodan, Jason Sharman, and the participants of the GARNET workshop, ‘Comparative Regional Economic Governance: Learning from Crises?’, Peking University, Beijing, 28–30 June 2010, for their useful comments on earlier drafts. The responsibility for the final outcome remains solely with the author. This project was generously funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (DP110100425), ‘Securitization and the Governance of Non-traditional Security in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific’, for which the author is grateful. The author would also like to acknowledge additional funding from Murdoch University's Asia Research Centre and the Institute for Sustainable Societies, Politics and Education, as well as from the EU-sponsored project GARNET (contract no. 513330).