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The Emergence of sub-Regional Representative Institutions in South America in the twenty-first century: Difference, Similarity and Path Dependence

Lee, Taeheok (2014) The Emergence of sub-Regional Representative Institutions in South America in the twenty-first century: Difference, Similarity and Path Dependence. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

There is a large body of research dedicated to exploring the concept of regionalism (including ‘old’ versus ‘new’ regionalism) and how this applies to Latin America. Subsequently, this thesis poses the question of whether market-led regionalism can be used to deliver greater inclusivity and socially progressive policies that increase equality in Latin America. In this vein, this thesis argues that regionalism studies do 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. Within this context, this thesis develops a conceptual framework that distinguishes different phases of Latin American new regionalism. Subsequently, 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 was 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 progressing. In order to understand the changing context of South American regional integration, our analysis requires a focus on the following two factors: the historically-embedded societal structure and the increasing presence of China in the region. Specifically, this thesis highlights China as a new superpower entering this scene to replace the U.S., previously the sole actor in this region. It argues that despite this changing context and the rising power of China, it has not had a major impact on regionalism itself as well as increasing public input in regional governance, although it facilitates Latin American regional development and enhances geo-political status by reducing their dependence on the U.S. Finally, this round of research found that there is significant continuity in the lack of public engagement at the level of regional projects in South America, even when leftist governments, in this case in Brazil specifically, are in power.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.647740
Depositing User: Mr Taeheok Lee
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 15:53
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9085

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