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Regional Organizations in International Society: ASEAN, the EU and the Politics of Normative Arguing (Palgrave Studies in International Relations)

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This book explores the normative foundations of ASEAN and the EU. It revives the history of the two organizations in an in-depth narrative of the protracted arguments surrounding their establishment, legal integration and enlargement. While political actors used norms to legitimize their ideas for institutional change, the complex and dynamic nature of these norms also provided the breeding ground for contestation and, sometimes, institutional sclerosis and failure. Recasting these processes in an innovative English School framework, the volume makes a crucial contribution to the literature of Comparative Regionalism that goes beyond Eurocentric perspectives.

Two main impulses prompted me to write this book. The first was a scholarly interest in the historical roots of regionalism in different parts of the world that goes back to my times as a graduate student of Political Science at the University of Würzburg, Germany. Over the years, it has become increasingly obvious to me that the Eurocentric myopia of regional integration studies as it was (and often still is) studied at most Western universities makes it harder for researchers to grasp the poli- tics of regionalism, i.e. the way it is shaped by power, contestation and uncertainty. The second impulse was the intuition—which later devel- oped into a firm conviction—that the English School of International Relations has more to offer in terms of understanding the history and the politics of regionalisms than most scholars have realized. I hope that ‘Regional Organizations in International Society’ will help promote a dialogue between the English School and Comparative Regionalism, be it by convincing others of the theoretical insights the former holds for the latter or by spurring critical engagement and even disagreement.
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