1. Interregionalism and the Americas

Chairs: Gian Luca Gardini and Andreas Falke (University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Date: Friday 26th June 2015
Room: Sala Piccola


The academic debate about inter-regional relations, their nature, types and prospects, started in the early 2000s, mainly with reference to the EU external projection (Hänggi 2000; Hänggi, Rüland and Roloff 2005; Hettne and Söderbaum 2000). Conclusions were tentative, mostly agreeing on that the multidimensionality of the phenomenon requires the combination of different analytical approaches. Most recently, the debate has experienced a new momentum (Söderbaum and Stalgren, 2010; Baert, Scaramagli, and Söderbaum, 2014) going beyond purely descriptive or normative accounts.This panel takes stock of the debate with a critical view and applies recent theoretical developments to the case study of the Americas.

In terms of definitions, we follow the tri-dimensional conceptualization of interregionalism formulated by Söderbaum (2012):

  • Pure interregionalism: relations between two regional organizations within an institutional framework;
  • Transregionalism: region to region relations where neither region negotiates as a bloc;
  • Hybrid interregionalism: region to states relations or interactions between dominant regional powers.

In addition, and here lies the innovative element, we place emphasis on the summitry exercise that each form of interregionalism inescapably has. The file rouge of the panel is to explore how the Americas interpret theoretically and deal practically with the several dimensions of interregionalism and in particular with its summitry element.

Panel structure and contribution to academic debate

Ideally, we would like to have a panel in two sessions. The first is a showcase of the work jointly conducted by the two Chairs of International Studies (North America and Latin America) at Friedrich Alexander University at Erlangen-Nuremberg. The four contributing papers to this session have already been selected. The second session accepts contributions, up to 4, from other scholars who are keen to join a publication project in the form of an edited volume to be proposed to internationally recognized publishers by the end of October 2015. Contributions are accepted from different theoretical stances and focusing on different regions and countries around the world in their dealings with the Americas (North, Central, Latin and South, major regional powers).

The overarching argument we intend to make is that it is possible, and in fact desirable, to go beyond EU perspectives. We suggest that other regions, such as the Americas, do engage in complex and multidimensional interregional relations. In particular, we argue that Pure interregionalism (in its stricter definition) is essentially limited to inter-regional relations when the EU is one of the partners. In most of other instances, Pure interregionalism is losing ground in favor of looser and more flexible forms of both regional aggregation and representation. Therefore the panel aims to define an original and comprehensive species of interregionalism that aptly captures the case of the Americas. Summitry is in any case understood as a central tenet of the Americas interregional relations.



Understanding Interregionalism as an exercise in summitry
Gian Luca Gardini, University Erlangen-Nuremberg

TTIP as a strategic interregional management tool
Andreas Falke, University Erlangen-Nuremberg

From interlocking to interblocking regionalism: NATO, the EU, the OSCE and the problem of interregional security
Simon Koschut, University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Brazil in the BRICS: Towards new forms of hybrid interregionalism?
Christina Stolte, University Erlangen-Nuremberg

China and Latin America
Sarah Beringer, University Erlangen-Nuremberg