Questioning Geopolitics: Political Projects in a Changing World-System

By Georgi M. Derluguian; Scott L. Greer | Go to book overview


The Geoeconomic Reconfiguration of
the Semiperiphery: The Asian-Pacific
Transborder Subregions in the
World-System

Xiangming Chen

The guiding idea or general proposition for this chapter is that the Asian-Pacific transborder subregions that have emerged and expanded in the 1980s and 1990s have begun to reorganize a major part of the semiperipheral zone of the world system, with important implications for the study of the world system. To evaluate this proposition, I will begin by locating the origin of the transborder subregions in a temporal conjuncture of interdependent historical, economic, political, and sociocultural factors. These factors, which reflect geohistorical continuity and geopolitical change in the Asia-Pacific region, will be crystallized into a geoeconomic model of transnational (sub)regional formation. Then I will develop the argument that the transborder subregions, once taking shape, are capable of (1) mediating the impact of globalization on local economic development by creating both opportunities and constraints, and (2) altering the horizontal relationship between nation-states and the vertical relationship between central and local government by challenging the conventional principles and practices of national sovereignty, exclusive territoriality, and regulatory capacity. These consequences could reorganize and even revitalize the Asian-Pacific semiperiphery of the world system.

This chapter is organized into four sections. The first section conceptualizes the transborder subregion as a new unit of analysis for studying the world system. Section two traces the historical and contemporary conditions for the emergence of the transborder subregions, and then accounts for it theoretically. Section three illustrates the analytical issues regarding the transborder subregions with three cases. The last section draws the implications for the reconfiguration of the semiperiphery in the Asia-Pacific.

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