The Meaning of Regional Integration: Introducing Positioning Theory in Regional Integration Studies
This article proposes a discursive constructionist approach and methodology for studying regional integration and related issues, such as cooperation between states, the formation of transnational regions as actors in governance, identity, sovereignty and social cohesion. Positioning theory is introduced as an analytical framework that highlights the meanings attributed to spaces and interactions, as well as the process of how regions are constructed as actors and meaning is engendered. This social‐psychological perspective is of theoretical and practical use, as it illuminates possibilities for change in conception and action. A brief discussion of validity and reliability criteria for the new framework is offered, and a prospective and participatory methodology is proposed. Finally, some broader implications of the approach are explored, and future research directions are suggested.