How 'new' is the 'New Regionalism' in the Americas? The case of MERCOSUR

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30 Scopus citations


'New Regionalism' (NR) approaches have emphasized the qualitative differences between the more recent wave of regionalism and regional integration attempts in the post-World War II period. This article assesses the extent to which these claims to newness are empirically justified in the specific case of MERCOSUR, the largest regional trade bloc in Latin America. It argues that, consistent with NR perspectives, regionalism in South America since the 1990s has been part of a broader process of national and global economic transformation, which has influenced the character of the process of integration itself. Yet, a careful examination of MERCOSUR suggests that the extent of its newness should not be overstated. MERCOSUR remains a state-led, primarily commercial initiative, and its evolution and sustainability have been fundamentally linked to strategic factors and power configurations at the regional and hemispheric levels. Based on these empirical findings, the article challenges the usefulness of the analytical and theoretical separation between NR and mainstream international relations approaches and illustrates the ways in which their insights can be combined and complemented in the explanation of contemporary regionalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-308
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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