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OCLA 2125 - Regionalisms in Latin America

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

This course is design to introduce the history and politics of regionalism in Latin America. It is divided in four parts: Part I offers an overall theoretical and historical introduction. It clarifies the concepts and approaches used in the course, and presents a narrative of territorial fragmentation and contemporary unification efforts ; Part II draws a picture of the main regional integration processes in Central America, the Andean and Southern cone regions since the post-war period ; Part III focuses on the “new model of regional integration”, introduced by leftist governments during the last 15 years, and its critics ; Part IV addresses the way regional integration helps solving crises and defending democracy. It also tackles the so-called democratic deficit of regionalism ; Objective of the course: develop a general understanding of Latin American regionalism; discover different theoretical approaches explaining the main features of Latin American regionalism (as opposed to the European one) ; learn about the different regions, namely Central America, Andean region and Southern cone, and clarify a very complex panorama with such agreements as SICA, CAN, MERCOSUR, ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC and Pacific Alliance ; assess the differences between the different projects that shape the current debates (trade-centered as opposed to post-trade regionalism) ; relate international politics with domestic politics: evaluate the effect of Latin America's turn to the left on international relations.


DABENE, Olivier (Professeur des Universités à Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

First hour: professor's presentation. Second hour: one or two student's presentations followed by a discussion based on the readings.

Course validation

Students are expected to do all the readings, to make an oral power point presentation that will circulate, and to submit a 50 000-character final research paper on an agreed-upon topic. The final paper can be an extended version of the oral presentation. The grade will be calculated as follows: 25% on class participation and reading, 25% on paper and presentation, and 50% on the final research paper.

Required reading

Olivier Dabène, The Politics of Regional Integration in Latin America. Theoretical and Comparative Explorations, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Additional required reading

Other reading materials are included in the course outline

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Part I: Theoretical and historical introduction

Session 1: Definitions, concepts and theories

  • Reading: Olivier Dabène (2009), The politics of regional integration, chapter 1

Session 2: Legacies of the past: Latin America’s post-colonial fragmentation

  • Reading: Salvador Rivera (2014), Latin American unification. A history of political and economic integration efforts, chapters 1 and 2 (available online on Google books)
  • Student presentation: XIXth century state building (Argentina, Chile)

Session 3: Latin America’s four waves of regional integration

  • Reading: Dabène, Olivier (2012), “Explaining Latin America’s fourth wave of regionalism”
  • Student presentation: Comparative perspective (Asia, Africa)

Part II: Regional groupings

Session 4: Central America

  • Reading: Schmitter, Philippe (1970), “Central American integration: spill-over, spill-around or encapsulation?”, Journal of Common Market Studies, 9(1), pp.1-48.
  • Student presentation:  Education, Parliament

Session 5: Andean region

  • Reading: Adkisson, Richard (2003), “The Andean Group: Institutional Evolution, Intraregional trade, and Economic Development”, Journal of Economic Issues, XXXVII (2), pp.371-379.
  • Student presentation:  Reform process, Culture

Session 6: Southern cone

  • Reading: Jeffrey Cason (2000), “On the Road to Southern Cone Economic Integration”, Journal of inter-American studies and world affairs, 42(1), pp.23-42.
  • Student presentation:  MERCOSUR’s enlargement to Venezuela and Bolivia

Part III: The “new model of integration”

Session 7: ALBA: post-hegemonic regionalism?

  • Reading: Muhr, Thomas (2010), “Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all: Venezuela and the ALBA”, Globalization, Societies and Education, 8(1), pp.39-57.
  • Student presentation:  ALBA/China

Session 8: UNASUR: a post-commercial agenda?

  • Reading: Dabène, Olivier  (2013), “The contingency of agenda setting in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)”, Paper delivered at the ECPR 7th general conference.
  • Student presentation:  UNASUR’s defense council, health

Session 9: From FTAA to Alliance of the Pacific: the free trade alternative and the relationship with the US

  • Reading: Required readings: Inter-American Dialogue (2012), Remaking the relationship. The United States and Latin America
  • Student presentation: The Pacific Alliance

Part IV: Issues

Session 10: Integration, war and crisis resolution

  • Reading: Olivier Dabène (2009), The politics of regional integration, chapter 2
  • Student presentation:  UNASUR’s role in Bolivia (2008) and Venezuela (2014)

Session 11: Integration and the defense of democracy

  • Reading: Olivier Dabène (2009), The politics of regional integration, chapter 3
  • Student presentation: MERCOSUR’s role in Paraguay (1996, 2012)

Session 12: Incoherent regional governance?

  • Reading: Olivier Dabène (2015), “Multilayered summitry and agenda interaction in South American” in Summitry in the Americas (to be published)
  • Student presentation:  Civil society participation in regional governance

Biographical information

Olivier Dabène is professor of political science at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and senior researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI, Sciences Po). He is also the President of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean ( His main area of expertise is Latin American regionalism. Visiting professor in many North American and Latin American universities, his latest book in English is titled The Politics of Regional Integration in Latin America (N.Y., Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). In 2012, he edited La Gauche en Amérique Latine, 1998-2012 (Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2012).