Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2010

Regionale Ordnungen in politischen Räumen. Ein Beitrag zur Theorie regionaler Ordnungen

Nadine Godehardt, Oliver W. Lembcke

February 2010

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


Regional Orders in Political Spaces: A Contribution to the Theory of Regional Orders The concept of regions is once again on the agenda of international relations theory (IRT). Scholars are speaking of an “emerging regional architecture of world politics” or the future of a “multiregional system of international relations” or even a “world of regions.” The question is no longer which structural parameters of the international system are determining world politics, but rather—with regard to regional orders—when and under what conditions structures and actors actually become important (gain meaning) for regional contexts. The heuristic status of regions in IRT, however, remains vague. The purpose of this article is twofold: firstly, we structure the previous debate around three key concepts: cooperation, regional security complex, and externalities; secondly, we discuss the conceptual link between regions, political spaces, and regional orders. Finally, we introduce central criteria such as geographic proximity, political decision‐making, and the effects of interactions on third‐parties which further facilitate related work on different types of regional orders.