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What’s Wrong with Regional Integration? The Problem of Eurocentrism


  • Fredrik Söderbaum


This working paper deals with one of the most pressing problems in the study and policy of regional integration: the problem of ‘Eurocentrism’, which in this context implies that assumptions and theories developed for the study of Europe crowd-out both more universally applicable frameworks and contextual understandings. In their frustrated attempts to avoid Eurocentrism, some scholars dealing with non-European regions tend to treat the Europe as an ‘anti-model’—a practice which often results in a different form of parochialism where context is all that matters. The general ambition of this paper is to contribute to rethinking Eurocentrism and the role of Europe in comparative regional integration. More specifically, the study shows how Eurocentrism (in various guises) is detrimental to theoretical development, empirical analysis and policy debates, claiming instead that European integration should be integrated into a larger and more general discourse of comparative regionalism, built around general concepts and theories, but which is still culturally sensitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Fredrik Söderbaum, 2013. "What’s Wrong with Regional Integration? The Problem of Eurocentrism," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 64, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0351

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Johnston, Richard & Banting, Keith & Kymlicka, Will & Soroka, Stuart, 2010. "National Identity and Support for the Welfare State," SULCIS Working Papers 2010:11, Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
    5. Allison Harell & Stuart Soroka, 2010. "Race of Recipient and Support for Welfare in Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 2010s-42, CIRANO.
    6. Gilliam, Franklin D. Jr. & Valentino, Nicholas A. & Beckman, Matthew N., 2002. "Where You Live and What You Watch: The Impact of Racial Proximity and Local Television News on Attitudes about Race and Crime," Institute for Social Science Research, Working Paper Series qt7g05r6s4, Institute for Social Science Research, UCLA.
    7. Dietlind Stolle & Stuart Soroka & Richard Johnston, 2008. "When Does Diversity Erode Trust? Neighborhood Diversity, Interpersonal Trust and the Mediating Effect of Social Interactions," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56, pages 57-75, March.
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