Focus: Empirical and Comparative Research in Regional Integration
Regional integration, together with globalisation, constitutes two of the central forces restructuring today's world. Yet while globalisation has been studied in all its manifestations empirically based, comparative knowledge of integration processes remains elusive. That a comprehensive understanding of regional integration still does not exist, despite existing works, is due to a lack of a genuinely international comparative empirically based approach to studying integration.
General studies have often been confined to individual regions; and where comparative research has been undertaken, these have been one time events focused on a few regions. In the process, what is a global phenomenon, and that is also a central force and component in the dynamics of the current international system, remains little understood. Derived from this, Centre for Comparative Integration Studies' aim is to contribute to the understanding of regional integration; what furthers and what stops it. It seeks to do so by conducting empirically based comparative analysis of regional integration processes (worldwide) with the long term aim of engaging, and where relevant reformulating, existing integration-theory.
The Centre for Comparative Integrations Studies aims at initiating comprehensive, empirically based analyses of regional integration-projects, successful as well as failed ones, in order to gain insights in the integration-processes, more specifically preconditions, ‘starters’, and ‘blockers’. We deliberately try to cover all significant projects systematically from the beginning of the 20th century until today worldwide; those which worked; those which failed and those in the making. Until now, the focus has to a large degree been on Europe, as an outstanding example of regional integration.
The distinctiveness of the centre revolves around the use of an explicitly comparative framework for understanding regional integration processes. In this respect the Centre for Comparative Integration Studies seeks to carve out a niche which is distinct from other similar research centres worldwide focusing on integration.