The emergence of sub-regional representative institutions in South America in the 21st century: difference, similarity and path dependence
Taeheok Lee (The University of York)
Paper short abstract:
This study explores the nature of new regionalism, and asks to what extent Latin America’s status as a special case has been sufficiently investigated. This particularly applies in the realm of levels of public input in South America, specifically IIRSA under UNASUR.
Paper long abstract:
There exists a large body of research dedicated to exploring the concept of regionalism (including 'old' versus 'new' regionalism) and how this applies to Latin America. However, it does not provide the key to understanding why there still seem to be under-represented groups who are suffering injustice despite recent changes in the political landscape in Latin America, particularly in terms of regional levels of projects and policies. This study focuses on exploring the degree to which local actors' involvement in the procedure of regional projects, which is one of the characteristics of regionalism, is well studied and understood. Specifically, the research will explore in depth the regional projects and policies of the Initiative for Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) under the umbrella of the Union of South America (UNASUR). For explorative purposes, this study recently conducted at a local level, in which structural projects (i.e, the building of roads and bridges) are taking place. This study is centered upon a case study of several local areas in the state of Acre in Brazil, where one of ten region-wide projects, so called 'Axes' is actively progressive. The analytical perspective in this research case is contextualized according to two explanatory elements: (1) 'historically embedded societal structure' - in principle referring to society-based structure that has been shaped by history; and, (2) the impact of China's regional interest, particularly with respect to natural resources. Overall, this research intends to identify the nature of new regionalism in Latin America, and particularly in the South American region.
On the shores of liberal democracy: exploring the reshaping of the community in the context of post-liberal governments in Latin America