Although globalisation has been defined in a variety of ways, 1 a common theme is that it generates increasingly intense interactions between nation-states and societies through flow of goods, money, people, ideas, images and information, in the process making territorial boundaries less salient (Hurrell 1995:54). This makes the recent growth of economic regionalism amidst globalisation rather a paradoxical phenomenon, and has generated considerable scholarly interest in the relationship between them. While globalisation tends to de-emphasise boundaries, regionalism appears to be an attempt by state actors at re-imposing them at a different level, consequently creating a new, larger space out of smaller territorial spaces bounded in nation-states although the larger space is rarely, if ever, a new political unit or super-state. 2 How do we explain a relationship between two seemingly opposing phenomena?
Recent works in IPE identify two ways in which regionalism might emerge as an outcome of, or a response to, globalisation, depending on whether the relationship is conceived of as being accommodating or antagonistic. The former—open regionalism—is the dominant model in the literature, conceptualising regionalism as a way station to globalisation, a means through which policymakers enhance the participation of their respective national economies in globalisation processes. It is a model that is informed by the liberal political economy perspective on IPE. A contrasting model, privileging domestic political dynamics, explains regionalism as an attempt by state or other domestic actors to resist the negative effects of globalisation. The main aim in this case is to preserve domestic social, including distributive agendas that are threatened by globalisation. Although providing considerable insight into developments in the contemporary world economy, these ideal-type models suffer two weaknesses, which consequently have implications for how they allow for the interpretation of empirical trends. Briefly, these models lack an adequate conception of the relationship of the state to domestic society on the one hand and to global market actors and other states on the other. These limitations, however, can be addressed by using a more appropriate theoretical tool, namely an analytical framework that integrates the