Discussion Papers

No.830 Regionalism, Membership and Leadership: Insights from Asia and beyond

by Shintaro Hamanaka

December 2021


This paper offers an alternative interpretation of regionalism, focusing on its membership perspective. This alternative interpretation provides insights into the exclusionary aspect of regionalism, for which mainstream international relations theories lack a certain efficacy in providing plausible explanations. We hypothesize that a state forms a regional group in which it can be a leader, excluding states that are more powerful than it is. States value the leading position in a regional group, even in a small regional group.

Keywords: Regionalism, Membership, Leadership, Exclusion, Non-western international relations theory

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