Transcending state-centrism : new regionalism and the future of Southern African regional integration
This dissertation argues that in the 1990s and beyond, the character and functions of regions and regionalism have experienced a major transformation. This requires a reconceptualisation of regions and regionalism that transcends state-centrism. The argument here is that the definition of regions and regionalism needs to recognise that other actors also participate in the construction of regions and the practise of regionalism. Up to now, however, theories of integration incompletely deal with outcomes appropriate to developing countries, states and regions.
In the context where people remain vulnerable to top-down forms of regionalism driven by the forces of globalisation, this calls for a new approach in the analytical study of regionalism in a transnational context. The contention is that new regionalism, and its variant, developmental regionalism pay attention to the role those organised civil society actors and those marginalised by both globalisation and regionalisation play in promoting regionalism in a transnational context.
Historically, state-centric regionalism in southern Africa was not aimed at achieving developmental objectives. In the case of SACU, the argument is that South Africa used its economic strength in a hegemonial way. To counter-act apartheid South Africa’s economic hegemony, SADCC was formed. SADCC achieved limited success in the fields of infrastructural development and in attracting donor aid. The end of the Cold War and the downfall of apartheid compelled these organisations to recast their objectives and purpose. For SACU this meant changing from an organisation dominated by South Africa to a fully-fledged inter-state one. Disconcertedly, however, about the reforms undertook by SACU, is that the disposition of member states remain important in determining the content and scope of regionalism. SADC, on the other hand, has also not sufficiently reform itself to achieve the ambitious goals it set-out for itself. Moreover, while SADC has since its inception in 1992 set-out to involve non-state actors in its regional integration efforts, limited institutional reform in 2000 and beyond, and elites at the forefront of institutional restructuring make it difficult for non-state actors to contribute to sustainable regional integration.
In conclusion, this dissertation maintains that sustainable regionalist orders are best built by recognising that beyond the geometry of state-sovereignty, civil society organisations with a regional focus and the ordinary people of the region also contribute to regioness and as such to the re-conceptualisation of regional community in southern Africa.
School Location:South Africa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:political studies and international
Date of Publication:01/01/2007