Whither the push and pull for integration: Taking stock of Latin America’s declaratory regionalism

Produced by: 
European University Institute
Available from: 
November 2013
Paper author(s): 
Nicole Jenne
Globalization and Trade

Repeated setbacks to a regional project in Latin America have given rise to a narrative portraying the region’s integration endeavor as a succession of failed attempts. Analysts concordantly highlight that Latin America’s institutional development and actual policy output do not live up to the integrationist discourse sustained in the region, and point to a series of obstacles standing in the way of deep integration. Such a perspective misses out, however, on an intriguing persistence of Latin American regionalism both in discourse as well as in repeated attempts to induce new impetus into the regional project.In an attempt to map out the basis for a more rigorous, theoretically guided approach to the subject, this paper brings the debates on the different push and pull factors of Latin America’s regionalist project together. Based on the premise that forces pushing towards integration are present within the region, it is argued that the dominant hypotheses in the study of regional integration do not address Latin America’s declaratory regionalism in a conclusive manner. The key to the broader picture of the region’s integration gap lies with a lack of determination to let the word follow the deed, and needs to apprehend of the political function declaratory regionalism has come to fulfill in the Latin American international system.



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