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Regionalism from without: External involvement of the EU in regionalism in southern Africa

Buzdugan, SR (2013) Regionalism from without: External involvement of the EU in regionalism in southern Africa. Review of International Political Economy, 20 (4). pp. 917-946. ISSN 0969-2290

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Abstract

Theories and analyses of regionalism, from both ‘orthodox' and ‘critical' strands of international political economy (IPE), have tended to conceptualise regional integration as a process led by intra-regional actors typically in reaction to external forces such as globalisation and the hegemonic power of international actors. This article sheds new light on theories of regionalism by arguing that international actors can have a direct and significant influence on the dynamics of regionalism, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, by examining the influence of the European Union (EU) on the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Building on the recent literature on Africa and international relations, which shows how lines of sovereignty between domestic and international actors are blurred in the case of African political economies, the article shows how the EU played a significant role in the SADC's inception and has been directly influential in shaping the SADC's strategies and priorities in the post-Lomé period. In the latter instance, this article explains how the EU's institutional embeddedness in the SADC's aid structures and its asymmetrical bargaining power in the SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has encouraged the SADC's pursuit of a neoliberal, trade-oriented form of regionalism.

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