Because of the insecurities of postcoloniality, we expect states in the global South to be ‘jealous’ of their sovereignty and to resist intrusions into domestic political and security matters. I find, contrary to this conventional understanding, that non-interference has eroded in the South in significant ways over time—especially since the ‘second wave’ of regionalism beginning in the 1980s—but that this erosion has been uneven. Regional organizations in Africa and Latin America have been empowered to monitor state practices and respond to intrastate conflicts and political crises intrusively, while Southeast Asian states have largely maintained their prohibition against such interference. What accounts for this variation? Through historical comparative analysis, I find that regional identity discourses—pan-Americanism and pan-Africanism—present a challenge to strict sovereignty norms and have contributed to the erosion of the norm of non-interference over time in Latin America and Africa. Pan-Asianism was not important to the establishment of ASEAN, an organization founded on anti-communism at the height of the Cold War. Pan-Americanism’s liberal commitments to representative democracy and human rights—espoused by independence leaders and carried forth by Latin American jurists and diplomats—became embedded in inter-American institutions and practices at an early stage and developed over time into intrusive democracy and human rights promotion regimes. Pan-Africanism’s distinct transnationalism—which originated in the diaspora and emphasizes solidarity among African people rather than among states—has provided critics of non-interference with discursive tools to promote the idea of a regional responsibility to protect human rights and human security. In Southeast Asia, non-interference has been much less contested over the decades, despite persistent domestic conflicts. I furthermore identify two proximate factors—regional democratic density and economic performance—that have contributed to more sharply divergent regional normative trajectories beginning in the late 20th century. The third wave of democratization brought Latin America’s average democracy level to an unprecedented high by the late 1980s, reinvigorating intrusive liberal multilateralism. In Africa, the economic crisis of the 1980s rendered states materially and socially vulnerable, more concerned about Africa’s image vis-à-vis investors and the international community. In order to improve this image, and to create the conditions for economic growth, African states empowered their regional institutions manage domestic governance and security problems. Meanwhile, Southeast Asia was less affected by democratization and experienced unprecedented and unparalleled economic growth in the 1980s, growth that bestowed ‘performance legitimacy’ upon Southeast Asian states and their regional organization, ASEAN.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2015. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Kathryn Sikkink. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 298 pages.
Regional Identities and Dynamic Normative Orders in the Global South: A Comparative Study.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.