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

See all articles by Fredrik Söderbaum

Fredrik Söderbaum

University of Gothenburg, School of Global Studies; United Nations University, Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Söderbaum, Fredrik, What's Wrong with Regional Integration? The Problem of Eurocentrism (2013). European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Working Paper No. 64, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2399858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2399858

Fredrik Söderbaum (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg, School of Global Studies ( email )

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Gothenburg, SE 40530
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HOME PAGE: http://www.globalstudies.gu.se/english/about-us/staff?languageId=100001&userId=xsodfr

United Nations University, Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) ( email )

Bruges
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.cris.unu.edu/Dr-Fredrik-Soederbaum.54.0.html

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