About the laboratory
The concept of order as the aggregation of institutions, norms, and regulations, which determine and spell out the rules for political actors’ behaviour, is a central concept to political science. Contemporary humanity is traditionally sensitive to any changes in the internal order, be it an introduction of a minor law or a full-scale régime change. The global political order, as an intrinsic part of the international system, is no less an integral part of everyday politics, and the changes it undergoes directly concern each and every one of us.
The last several decades have witnessed an ever-increasing spread of regional institutions and informal initiatives. This wave of new regionalism, as this development has been called, leads to a key question regarding the long-term perspectives of the global world order: how do regional institutions, régimes, and organizations reinforce global governance (e.g., financial stability, free trade, sustainable development, etc.) and, conversely, how do they fragment the global system and weaken its manageability? This already existing phenomenon in world politics entails both new opportunities and risks for the world order and global governance.
Researching the new regionalism and its impact on the global political order is therefore important in both theoretical and applied terms. The growing distinctiveness of international sub-systems emerging within geographical borders and under the auspices of new regional institutions seems to have a deforming effect on the world order, which once appeared uniform after the end of the Cold War. A relevant analysis at the global level has lost its relevance and efficiency as the international system becomes more and more fragmented. Yet, state-level analysis does not always explain country-specific and region-specific cultural traits, as well as peculiar frameworks of political competition and decision-making. In such circumstances, a regional focus on interdisciplinary analysis of intra-regional processes and regional institution building (i.e., new regionalism) is necessary.This, in turn, is crucial element for political science and IR studies, both from a theoretical and methodological standpoint.
Research on the new regionalism and its impact on the evolution of the global order will thus focus on the regional aspects of international relations. This approach has certain advantages over other approaches in the field: while the latter may seek to establish a ‘universal truth,’ fitting as many examples into it as possible, the regional approach explains cases that fail to conform. In such cases, this implies understanding the logic of political development of respective countries and regions, as well as the international linkages that may be often overlooked or ignored at a global level of analysis.
The faculty has a substantial background in this field. In fact, the faculty’s key competitive advantage is that it employs experts (primarily, political scientists and IR scholars) specializing in political processes and institution building in regards to different regions: Europe, East and South Asia and Middle East. These experts are seasoned researchers who have proven their command of contemporary political science methods.
Such inquiries are often pursued via individual tracks, which, unfortunately, reduce efficiency and generates a lack of sharing opinions and experience. Therefore, with this in mind, the establishment of the Laboratory will help to form our researchers into a single research team, thus marking a major milestone in new regionalism studies at HSE.
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