Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Onnis T (2017)
Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

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Bielefeld Dissertation | English
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Regional economic and political integration is not a new phenomenon. The study of regional integration has a long-standing tradition in the field of international relations and has arguably never gone out of fashion. Instead, over the past decade, scholarly attention in this area has increased due to the numerous and far-reaching effects of regional integration on nation states, their sovereignty, and their economic clout. Be it trade in goods and services, health care and medicine, legal jurisdictions, media and communications, or energy and other resources, regional integration has far-reaching consequences on countries globally.
After the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is one of the most developed and functioning unions in the world1. Yet this is a little known, often ignored, and usually discarded fact. Moreover, most literature on regional integration is centered around the EU and other unions such as Mercosur, Asean etc. It is also a general tendency of studies in regional integration to use the EU as a yardstick when researching non-EU integration. While avoiding comparative analysis altogether, this thesis takes a unique historical, institutional and legal perspective, and focuses on theoretical examination and the impact of factors such as institutions on the process of regional integration in the Caribbean.
The theory of Neofunctionalism is utilized in the thesis to examine the process of regional integration in CARICOM, with a focus on its functional domain, institutional capacity and geographic scope2. Specifically, this thesis examines the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and the Economic Partnership between CARICOM and the EU. Neofunctionalism as a theory of regional integration has often been decried as immaterial or even dead for analyzing and understanding current regional schemes. This thesis argues for the usefulness of exploiting underlying concepts of Neofunctionalism such as adaptive capacity, bivariate and miltivariate hypotheses, decisional cycles, entropy, and spill-over to study the process of regional integration in CARICOM. By utilizing regional economic and political integration in the Caribbean as a backdrop to examine traditional European theories of regional integration, the thesis reintroduces the theory of Neofunctionalism as a serious and promising theory and as an essential toolkit for examining and understanding regional integration not just in Europe and the Caribbean, but worldwide.
Among other things, the application of the theory of Neofunctionalism reveales a substantially greater influence of regional institutions and non-state actors on the process of regional integration in CARICOM than was previously acknowledged. It underscores the importance of social differentiation, discloses the process of politicization is an integral factor in integration and provides evidence of inter sector spillover of integration in CARICOM. The research furthermore demonstrates the importance of the process of regional integration in CARICOM as ongoing, unintended, indirect, and inevitable, and introduces a positive correlation between the level and the scope of integration, revealing that an increase/decrease in scope inevitably results in an increase/decrease in the level of integration.
Additional results of this undertaking include further insightful examination of social, institutional, political and economic constructs linked with regional integration in CARICOM; a new approach to examining and understanding regional integration in CARICOM; and an expansive pool of literature which can be extrapolated for other research.
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Onnis T. Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld; 2017.
Onnis, T. (2017). Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Onnis, T. (2017). Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Onnis, T., 2017. Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
T. Onnis, Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2017.
Onnis, T.: Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2017).
Onnis, Tamara. Theorizing regional integration in the Caribbean neofunctionalism and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2017.
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