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Regional Identities and Communities (SWP 36)

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In exploring the relationship between regional identities/communities and regional institutions, political scientists (IR theorists in particular) typically focus on how established institutions affect feelings of community and identity. In contrast, area specialists and historians often ‘reverse the causal arrow,’ asking how pre-existing senses of community facilitate the emergence of regional organizations in the first place. I argue that this relationship is both over- and under-studied. For the EU we have a rich, interdisciplinary set of findings about identity and how it is shaped. Outside of Europe, we know less. Partly this is a reflection of weaker institutions with shorter histories, but it also reveals a tendency to let suggestive stories of identity’s role substitute for systematic analysis. Regardless of the region, future work on the institutions/identity nexus needs to take more seriously both domestic context and process.
Jeffrey T. Checkel homepage:
ISSN 1922-5725
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Checkel, Jeffrey T., Regional Identities and Communities, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 36/2014, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, June 2014.
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