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The Struggle for Global Justice and Development. The Role of the European Union in a World of Competing Regionalisms

From January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015

Understanding the significance of global development and its impact on global justice is vital for the disciplines of International Relations, Politics, International Political Sociology and International Development. For this reason our proposal takes an interdisciplinary approach by drawing upon recent contributions made by political science, international political economy, sociology, and law, while combining conceptual and empirical social science.

Specifically, the project explores and evaluates the expansion, diffusion and importance of social policy regulation, provision and empowerment processes that occur at the regional tier of governance. Despite the resurgence of regionalism and intraregional relations since the late 1980s and the resilience of regional institutions during and after the economic crises of the late 1990s and mid-2000s, little research has provided sustained and comparative analyses of these institutions and initiatives, and their impact on global justice and governance.

Given the changing power configurations and the rise of regional powers that challenge the more normative global governance scripts, this issue demands closer examination to understand state-market relationships, the meaning of international development and global justice itself.

The research will thus make an original contribution by bringing together for the first time three traditionally separate research strands in the social sciences: regionalism, regulation and development. Moreover, it will reveal how and to what extent the articulation of these regional initiatives shape the development space via the provision of public goods otherwise unattainable by national governments that rely on often very limited regulatory capacities [Braithwaite 2006].

Building on, but seeking to go beyond the European Union (EU) experience, this is backed by a detailed comparative analysis of regional blocs in Africa,Asia and Latin America to illustrate the re-emergence of the region as a unit to mitigate the negative effects of market instability derived from globalisation [Telò 2001; Beeson 2007], but also as development space for managing uncertainties through social regulation and provision [Yeates and Deacon 2006; Deacon et al. 2009] and contesting global criteria. The project will focus on social policy regulation and provision in trade and development, gender equality, education, health and labour. The general objective of the project is thus to develop a theoretically and empirically integrative approach to the analysis of the (cross) regional interaction in the area of social policy, and its impact on global justice and governance. To the extent that these regional regulatory processes have to be apprehended within the global context where they attempt to insert, convergence and competition across regions are also relevant factors to consider. Based on an in-depth analysis of the new forms of regional cooperation in the Global South, the project will then explore the role and the extent to which EU policies and institutions involved in the promotion of a just global order can contribute to or hinder the deepening of these regional dynamics. The research will thus explore the bridging initiatives and mutual impact of intersection points between EU and South-South cooperation.

In so doing, the study will advance an interdisciplinary approach to outline how (cross) regional regimes interact, intersect and impact development and global justice.

Researchers