Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Regionalism refers to the political and cognitive idea of forming regions. It is usually associated with a formal program, and since the mid-1980s, there has been an explosion of such regional programs on a global scale. The broadening and deepening of the European Union (EU) is perhaps the most obvious example, but regionalism is also evident in the revitalization or expansion of many other regional projects around the world, such as the African Union (AU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur, MERCOSUR), and, more recently, the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR). Today's regionalism is closely linked with the shifting nature of global politics and the intensification of globalization. Regionalism is characterized by the involvement of ...