Part or chapter of a book
Regionality and globality. Two sides of the same narrative
The Multidimensionality of Regions in World Politics
London : Routledge
International Relations theory, international regions, nation
The need to historicise and at least localise, if not spatialise, International Relations (IR) theory has been one of the impetuses of Critical IR. Yet the formation of international regions and the characterisation of what “a region” — a time-space object par excellence — actually is, remain largely unsolved questions, despite the considerable body of works on international regionalism engendered by the field of IR. What looks increasingly like an impasse, that is, the improbable quest to define international regions, as such, derives most likely from the “territorial trap” exposed and in John Agnew’s eponymous and seminal article in 1994. The geographical assumptions of IR that form this “territorial trap,” and notably the “domestic/foreign polarity,” translates not only into a supposedly sealed national/international divide, but also into the fact that any entity that is neither national nor international can seemingly only be defined as “something in-between,” as opposed to an entity with its own characteristics and raison d’être. There appears to be no alternative to the definition of international regions other than as entities sandwiched in-between the nation and the world of nations. This could be called the “in-betweenness trap.” The present chapter hopes to offer a way around it.