What's Wrong with Regional Integration? The Problem of Eurocentrism
European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Working Paper No. 64
23 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2014 Last revised: 25 Feb 2014
Date Written: 2013
This working paper deals with one of the most pressing problems in the study and policy of regional integration: the problem of ‘Eurocentrism’, which in this context implies that assumptions and theories developed for the study of Europe crowd-out both more universally applicable frameworks and contextual understandings. In their frustrated attempts to avoid Eurocentrism, some scholars dealing with non-European regions tend to treat the Europe as an ‘anti-model’ — a practice which often results in a different form of parochialism where context is all that matters. The general ambition of this paper is to contribute to rethinking Eurocentrism and the role of Europe in comparative regional integration. More specifically, the study shows how Eurocentrism (in various guises) is detrimental to theoretical development, empirical analysis and policy debates, claiming instead that European integration should be integrated into a larger and more general discourse of comparative regionalism, built around general concepts and theories, but which is still culturally sensitive.
Keywords: European integration, regional integration, comparative regionalism, Eurocentrism, parochialism
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