Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Extra-Sovereign, Regionalism, European Union


"Governance, globalization, and regionalism are all statements regarding the nature of integration in the current international relations system, but they do not readily explain what brings nation-states together in the first place. At first glance, regional institutions seem to be established on a basis of proximity, suggesting a spatial model of regional integration. However, a deeper investigation of the motivations and factors that lead to the creation of these institutions show this is not the case. In considering regional integration movements, this study establishes three core principles. First, that the creation of a successful extra-sovereign institution is dependent on specific issues and motivations, creating a functional model of regional integration, as opposed to a spatial model. Second, with purpose to clarify much of the debate surrounding the definition of regional movements, this study establishes that this functional model is made up of two incremental steps. The first step is an initial period of mutual economic interactions and integration, which leads to the second step of political integration and stability brought on by the pressure of an external political or economic threat. Finally, it identifies the European Union as an extra-sovereign institution which, during the formation of the institution, followed this functional model, but as it continued to expand strayed from the model in favor of a spatial-centric model. This shift in the model of regional integration has directly resulted in the economic woes and internal political stress the European Union currently faces, in the wake of the 2008 recession. In order to come to these conclusions, a case study was was done between the Swiss Confederation, the Iroquois League, and the European Union."



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