- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 July 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0048
- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 July 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0048
The intellectual roots of regional security studies can be traced to the geopolitical writings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, although the definition of critical regions and the source of that criticality have changed over time. During the Cold War, regional security and stability were defined largely in terms of the place that a region occupied in the strategic calculation of the United States or the Soviet Union. The contemporary preoccupation with regional security reflects a confluence of the continuing relevance of traditional geostrategic calculations and the emergence of new security challenges that have redefined the content and scope of order in the contemporary international system. The rising salience of regional security and regional security orders across every dimension of interaction has generated a surprisingly large number of formal international arrangements that vary in scope, complexity, and strength. The scholarship on regional security is preoccupied with three major questions: What variables contribute to regional (in)stability and (dis)order? Is the Euro-Atlantic form of security governance transferable to other regions of the world? What is the nature of the interaction between the regional and international systems of order?
The scholarship on regionalism is fairly developed. The antecedents to contemporary scholarship can be traced to the late 1940s when scholars became particularly interested in the notion of regional integration and regional security institutions in the aftermath of World War II (Nye 1968). This early literature tended to be as descriptive and prescriptive as theoretical, whereas the subsequent literature has been divided between those engaged in heated theoretical debates and those treating regional security as a policy issue. Buzan and Wæver 2003 has had an outsized impact on the study of regional security owing to the authors’ elaboration and empirical application of the concept of regional security complexes. Lake and Morgan 1997 also draws on the concept of regional security complexes in a comparative study of the major regional systems, while Kelly 2007 places regional security into the general framework of the “new regionalism.” Katzenstein 2005 introduces the concept of “porous regional orders” to explore American agency in shaping Asia and Europe as regions. Solingen 1998 treats regional security orders as the joint product of domestic and interstate coalition formation, while Achyarya and Johnston 2003 is preoccupied with the problem of institutional design. Lemke 2002 generalizes power transition theory to capture the dynamic of regional security systems, while Fawn 2009 represents the major strands of international relations (IR) theory and comprehensive accounting of the rising saliency of regional security systems despite the countervailing imperative of globalization.
Achyarya, Amitav, and Alistair Iain Johnston. “Comparing Regional Institutions: An Introduction.” In Crafting Cooperation: Regional International Institutions in Comparative Perspective. Edited by Amitav Achyarya and Alistair Iain Johnston, 1–31. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
This brief essay provides a superior overview of how the theory of regionalism evolved in the postwar period as well as the more general problem of institutional design.
Buzan, Barry, and Ole Wæver. Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
The most influential work on regional security and regional security complexes. Magisterial in scope, the authors identify a comprehensive list of regional security systems on a global scale. Substantive chapters best treated as reference source; theoretical chapters essential.
Fawn, Rick. Globalising the Regional, Regionalising the Global. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
The introductory theory chapters address three important issues: regional hierarchies, the problem of overlapping security orders, and the propensity of regional security orders to peace and war. The substantive chapters cover the world’s major regional systems from a variety of theoretical perspectives. First published as a special issue of Review of International Studies 35 (2009): 1–257.
Katzenstein, Peter J. A World of Regions: Asia and Europe in the American Imperium. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.
This work represents Katzenstein’s major defense of analytical eclecticism. His most important contribution is the concept of “porous regional orders.” This concept provides the foundation for capturing the interaction between the core and the periphery in the construction of a region along several dimensions: material interests, culture, and regional identities.
Kelly, Robert E. “Security Theory in the ‘New Regionalism.’” International Studies Review 9 (2007): 197–229.
Explicitly places security theory into the “new regionalism” discourse. Kelly adopts the notion of porous regional orders toward understanding the opportunities for regional institutions to mitigate regional security dilemmas and enhance regional autonomy.
Lake, David, and Patrick M. Morgan, eds. Regional Orders: Security in the New World. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.
An important early work on regional security orders. Empirical chapters on Latin America, the former Soviet republics, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia are framed by the concept of regional security complexes. Conceptual contributions useful, particularly those on regional security complexes, concerts, multilateralism, and geostructuralism.
Lemke, Douglas. Regions of War and Peace. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Lemke undertakes two tasks in this study: establishing criteria for consistently defining viable regional security subsystems and modifying power transition theory in order to explain the dynamic interactions of small and medium powers. Case study on Africa is superb.
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. International Regionalism: Readings. Boston: Little, Brown, 1968.
This collection presents important postwar (1945–1968) statements on economic and security regionalism. The articles universally adopt an institutional perspective and most betray a bias toward the integration process. The suggested further reading will acquaint the reader with the major literature up to that time.
Solingen, Etel. Regional Orders at Century’s Dawn: Global and Domestic Influences on Grand Strategy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.
Solingen’s point of departure is the obsolescence of traditional IR theories for understanding regional security orders. She relies upon coalition theory to integrate the internalization of security policy debates with the regionalization of security free from the shadow cast by superpower competition.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Arms Race Modeling
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Big Data in Political Science Research
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Ideological Reasoning in Politics
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of India
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics