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Competing Patterns of Regionalism in East Asia: New Dynamics and New Roadmap
Hu, WX
Conference NameThe 2005 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA)
Source PublicationProceedings of the 2005 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA)
Conference DateMarch 1st - 5th, 2005
Conference PlaceHonolulu, HI, USA

East Asian regionalism made a new turn after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98. East Asia has become far more interconnected than it was in the 1990s, when the first tide of regionalism was sweeping the region. Intra-Asian trade and investment patterns, for example, have become more interwoven, while military and security linkages, traditional and non-traditional, have eroded unilateral and bipolar arrangements. Similarly the region's political boundaries, environmental problems and environmental protection programs are not isomorphic. Labor markets, both legal and illegal, have become less constrained by national boundaries, as have organized criminal activities and the spread of infectious diseases. In response to these trends and at times independent of them, a host of transnational organizations, institutions, and networks have sprung up across East Asia. Some have government support, others are privately run, and some, including the activities of policy experts, involve a mixture of public and private actors. Most analysts assumed that an increasingly interconnected Asia, stronger and more cohesive, would follow a roughly similar pattern of regionalization in Europe and North America. However, the financial crisis that swept across Asia in 1997-98 forced a reassessment of these assumptions. To better understand the East Asian patterns and competing patterns of regionalism, we need to distinguish between and analyze the processes of regionalism and regionalization. Regionalization as a top-down process of institution-building has proven to evolve slowly and unsuccessfully so far because it requires formal, usually governmental, agreements and involves semi-permanent structures. On the contrary, regionalization as a bottom-up course of action, often economic, are more dynamic and effective in transnational cooperation and social construction. As a middle way between the above two patterns, a pattern of regional networking, institutional and economic arrangements, is now to reshape the definition of regionalism within East Asia and the boundaries of its institutions. This paper will discuss the competing patterns of regionalization in East Asia and their implications for East Asian regionalism. It will also examine how the competing patterns of regionalization would be affected or hampered by impediments such as national interest of major players, regional identity or Asian-ness, and extra-regional forces such as the United States in East Asian regional integration.

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Document TypeConference paper
CollectionFaculty of Social Sciences
AffiliationUniversity of Detroit Mercy
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Hu, WX. Competing Patterns of Regionalism in East Asia: New Dynamics and New Roadmap[C],2005.
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