This book examines the trend towards regionalism in the contemporary world order. Until quite recently, studies of regionalism tended to focus on developments in the industrialized areas and/or on the so-called Third World. However, the term ‘Third World’ has ceased to have much analytical significance and scholars have moved on to examining instead the political economy of an increasingly interconnected global order. As one leading scholar of international political economy has phrased it, a ‘main source of academic uncertainty and confusion…has been the collapse of the Third World coalition of less developed countries’ (Strange 1995:162). Consequently, the focus of regionalist studies must also change. The concept of the Third World, pictured as a group of countries sharing important developmental features and similar linkages with the international system, needs to be reconfigured on the basis of their links (or absence of) with the industrialized world.