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New Regionalisms and Radical Identity Formation in Latin America: Towards an “Alter-global” Paradigm

posted Jan 24, 2011, 12:03 AM by Sergiu Baltatescu   [ updated Feb 18, 2011, 2:00 PM ]

Efe Can Gürcan1

Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 1, Issue: 2, Pages: 19-33
Date: December 2010
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: The post-Cold War period has witnessed the simultaneous emergence of a new trend of regionalism and a radicalized form of identity politics in Latin America, in parallel with the rise of numerous new left governments and alter-globalist social movements confronting neo-liberalism. In fact, the globalization of this continental struggle through a new trend of regionalism is a process which illustrates the fact that in today’s world, national, regional and global identities are complexly entwined beyond “wellestablished” dichotomies such as nationalism-cosmopolitanism. This paper suggests that regionalism could be an efficient tool to promote the formation of new collective identities at the global level by linking social struggles at the national level to the global resistance movement against neo-liberalism, as observed in the current Latin American experience of new regionalism. The first part of the paper would attempt to explain the actual significance of regionalism and the challenge of “identity formations” under globalization, and would develop an alternative theoretical approach based on Mittelman’s underrated concept of “transformative regionalism” (2004), besides elaborating the basic premises of the New Regionalism School. In turn, the second part would discuss the transformative potential of the new Latin American regionalisms through the involvement of social movements, mostly based on the experience of ALBA, but not without mentioning also the experience of TELESUR, UNASUR and Bank of the South. Finally, the concluding parts would deal with alternative policy recommendations and the emerging research agenda of new regionalism in Latin America, with a special focus on the case of the rising food sovereignty (globalization of peasant identities) and counter-hegemonic mass education movements (the “HEFA regime”) within the context of “radical identity formation”. Thereby, the paper attempts to explain how local identities could intertwine with radical projects of regional identity formation so as to develop globally “new collective identities” with an advocacy for “democratic globalization”.

Keywords: ALBA; Alter-Globalization; Counter-hegemony; Food Sovereignty; Identity Formation; New Regionalism; Transformative Regionalism; UNIALBA

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Sergiu Baltatescu,
Feb 18, 2011, 1:02 PM
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Sergiu Baltatescu,
Feb 18, 2011, 1:02 PM