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Comparative Regionalism beyond Europe

Comparative Regionalism beyond Europe

Object of Research

The diffusion of ideas has become a central research theme in political science, sociology, law, history, and economics. Scholars have focused on how ideas are spread across time and space. The European Union serves as an almost ideal laboratory for investigating processes and outcomes of diffusion.

However, considering the limited progress in the global harmonization of norms and rules, other regions have become a central venue for creating common cross-border rules. While the KFG continues to focus on the “transformative power of Europe”, it is necessary to de-center the EU in this context, since it is not the only game in town with regard to the spread of ideas across the globe.


Research Questions

How and under what conditions do European policies and institutions diffuse to other regions of the world, particularly to Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia? How are they adapted, translated, or “localized” in different regional and cultural contexts? And when do they meet rejection and resistance, especially considering the possible rivalry of different scripts?

In how far do experiences of regional integration and cooperation travel back to Europe and are translated into the European institutional model? Has today’s EU learned from other international settings, such as NATO or IMF, and regional integration forms in Latin America, the Arab world, Africa, and Asia?


Research Approach

Having focused so far on the diffusion of ideas, policies and institutions within the EU and its neighborhood, the KFG now turns its attention towards processes of diffusion beyond Europe. These processes may generate adaptation and localization, but also resistance and rejection. Moreover, we scrutinize the European Union as a receiver of diffusion processes.

The KFG employs the approach of comparative regionalism, as it allows us to explore the extent to which policies and institutions have, on the one hand, diffused from Europe to other regions of the world, and, on the other hand, traveled back to Europe.

Moreover, we draw inspiration for our research from transnational and transfer studies in law and history as well as translation studies in the humanities. Integrating this scholarship with the social science literature on diffusion, we are able to arrive at a more fine-tuned picture of the processes and outcomes of regional cooperation and integration.


For detailed information see Grant Proposal