chapter  12
20 Pages

Asia/Europe and the construction of regional governance

BySTEPHANIE LAWSON

Global and regional governance in the contemporary period are both attuned to a policy agenda requiring a certain convergence in behaviour among states around the goals of a liberal world economic order. As is pointed out in the introductory chapter, this implies a certain universalist orientation. However, while ‘global governance’ may be understood in application to multilateral mechanisms that transcend interstate relations on a worldwide scale, ‘regional governance’ obviously narrows the scope of these activities to a particular geographical space in which state actors may find ‘a more concentrated sharing of norms and histories’.1 How any particular region is defined, whether in geographical, economic, social or political terms, and on what basis it assumes a distinctive identity within the broader global sphere, thus become issues in any discussion of regional governance. It seems equally obvious that regional governance implies some measure

of regional integration. The latter, however, needs to be scrutinised further, for it envelops two closely related dimensions: regionalisation and regionalism. These terms are often used synonymously, but at least some observers have posited a distinction that takes the former as denoting activities consisting largely of region-centred economic pursuits emanating from a relatively uncoordinated set of private sector actors. Regionalism, on the other hand, is understood to denote self-conscious political activities that give rise to formal political initiatives and agreements, although these are by no means unrelated to economic activities.2