Regionalization along with the globalization serves an important part of the modern policy and the spirit of our time. The regional studies focus on the internal and external factors of the territorial community development, regional process development and their influence on the main aspects of the international relations. The subject field of the regional studies of politics comprises the linkages between regional and social internationality and the problems of regional sociology of international relations. The research problem of the regional sociology of international relations is determined by a number of reasons. Social process development is taking place in all regions; emerging social actors are rising from the national to the regional level. Therefore, the regional associations collaborate with the problems emerging in this sphere. The global processes are viewed nonlinear; therefore, the solution of global problems require regional instruments. As a result, spatial planning is considered as a problem, which becomes relevant to the regional studies. International relations distinguish two opposite characteristics: consistency and variability. The two movements differ in their social approaches and back in early times even caused crucial conflicts. The international relations study the main point of geopolitical differences, and focus on analyzing the problem from different perspectives, in accordance with other areas of the study, and use the variety of methods. The regional studies consider to be one of the most efficient studies, and focus on analysis of regions’ political and socio-economic development, the role and function of the international relations model.
Keywords: International relationssociologyspatial developmentregionalization
The regional sociology is a part of the sociology, it studies a complex of social and territorial relations connected with the influence of the spatial factor on social reality (Khalikov, 2011; Shedenova, 2006; Crothers, 2015). This part of sociology is connected along with other the social sciences studies the sociology of globalization (Koretsky & Khalikov, 2017). The conjugation of subject fields organically reflects the complex, contradictory interplay of globalization and regionalization. They are observed from a historical perspective within the civilizational and formational paradigms, in socio-economic terms, in the areas of governmental and international relations. As a result, the sociology of international relations becomes a branch of general sociology.
The research problem of regional sociology of international relations is determined by a number of reasons. Firstly, social process development is taking place in all regions. Secondly, new social actors are becoming relevant in the regionalization. It causes the regional associations’ collaboration with the problems emerging in this sphere. Thirdly, the global processes are viewed nonlinear; therefore, the solution of global problems require regional instruments. And the last, as a result, spatial planning is considered as a problem, which becomes relevant to the regional studies and requires new approaches of analysis.
The term "spatial development" first appeared in 1930s in Europe, Canada, and by the early 1970s was known in the United States. The concept itself was first applied to the characteristics of the Metropolitan District of Toronto, formed in 1934. In 1926, Thünen, the German economist published his main work “The Isolated State in Relation to Agriculture and political Economy”. He made a great contribution to the sociology and analyzed the impact of the spatial factor on various aspects of the economy. Weber (1998) studied the concept further and defined three components of spatial development - the social process, the process of civilization and the movement of culture.
Most modern researchers support Weber’s perspectives, although they consider the definition of “spatial development” as broad and confusing according to the territorial parameters of scientific analysis. Modern sociology requires the further study of the definition along with the development of the sociopolitics, economics, and culture. These perspectives correlate and mainly impact other corresponding fields of sociology. The described criteria become the region’s characteristics and remain one of the main features known over the centuries. In geographical perspectives, the region is a place where the residents have an opportunity to conduct productive economic activity and form their view of self-expression.
Purpose of the Study
Along with the development of various life aspects including the history of regions, their development and the perspectives of the concepts, modern regional studies require a superdisciplinary approach. Therefore, the political regionology makes forward the main idea in the residents’ engagement in the regional and international problems. On the one hand, they express the interests of their regional communities and spaces. On the other hand, there is a good opportunity for them to work for the development of the similar regions, translate the common interests into global institutions and get international support. Regional social actors and social spaces remain one of the most important subjects of the sociology of international relations (SMO) and in its regional vision.
Theory of political regionology collaborates with the different fields including sociology of international relations. The liberal paradigm is firstly used in the analysis of social realities of 18th Century, it had a great influence on politics, economics, law, military art, culture, etc. Since then the theory of political regionology began to develop. According to the liberal paradigm, each of the subjects of the political process, besides the scale of its activities (local, regional, national, global) must rely on the justice and common moral norms, including those who make political decisions and those who must comply with them (Berlin, 2001; Fukuyama, 1992; Wallerstein, 1995). According to the liberal paradigm, regional actors are free from the development processes which deal with the spatial face of the region. Such recognition of diversity implies the assumption that the objectives of regional actors are plural, if possible, these goals are coordinated and ranked.
The analysis of the subject fields of political regionalism and regional sociology of international relations, shows liberal paradigm and its connection with the ability of regional markets, including regional ones, to self-regulation, healthy competition, and rational behavior of individuals in the economic, social and political perspectives.
The liberal paradigm is the theoretical basis for regional integration in Europe. The regional associations took their beginning since the Treaty of Paris (1951) on the creation of the European Coal and Steel Association (ECSC) and the Treaty of Rome (1957) and were aimed to provide mobility of people and goods between Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and the formation of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), reflected not just the liberal principle of economic integration, but the type of economic movement historically inherent in Western Europe, in which social associations of artisans and merchants were involved, and later with the Industrial Revolution major entrepreneurs were involved. According to the liberal model, integration is unfolding in other regions. For example, the states of the Pacific Club, i.e. The Pacific Coast region (Peru, Chile, Mexico, Colombia) take the stand of a liberal economy and free trade, considering it necessary for economic cooperation between participants to conquer new markets (Nolte, 2016).
The liberal logic of in regional integration is not cross-functional. It functions mostly in self-governing regions with their own political and economic cultures. According to these features the regions form their civil society and social institutions which also impact regional sociology of international relations and globalization. Lipchitz (1992), a professor at University of California states the idea to form new political spaces different from those defined by the borders of the system of nation states. According to his research, new political spaces collaborate with economics, social and cultural relations, and have common interests in politics and ideas to realize despite the distance. Lipchitz (1992) characterize the global civil society as active and civilly engaged in social problems. They collaborate and with other countries and governments to work on specific political issues.
Civil society is quite new component of sociology. The term itself originated in 17th century: antique philosophers studied its features and revealed burghers' origins, the ability to resist royal power and the church. Since the national states formation the civil society was developed and translated into the regional level. These are the characteristics of civil society of that century given by T. Hobbes and J. Locke.
The ideas and values of civil society in medieval Europe were first put forward by members of the educational institutions, mainly universities. By the end of the 15th century, there were 86 universities in Europe. They built an integral social system with the specific principles of organization, requirements for teachers and students, hierarchy of academic degrees, constituted the type of programs and, most importantly, they supported a spirit of freedom. The university corporation was clearly aware of its rights and did not allow them to be violated by the authorities (Wan Haaske, 2012) On the one hand universities were a part of the cultural structure where the education began, on the other hand, the university system tried to improve its structure along with the existing traditions (Ternova, 2019). The collaboration of universities with other cultural space led to the development regional culture. In accordance with the university system, the region determined its cultural and historical perspectives, as well as political identity. It is the result of university’s influence on the political culture of the regions. The university had its own principles, democracy and the right of conservative values. And now the success of the region largely depends on education in general, to be exact on universities. This caused the idea of promoting the regional component into federal universities of Russia.
The university tends to be influential on the area of its location: it increases region’s general literacy, contributes and establishes sociocultural traits which consider as a regional identity. These include the mother tongue of the population. University functions in all spheres of human development and controls the process of education in all the university aspects. The language expresses the regions identity mostly and give particular vision of the culture. Most universities conducted discussions concerning the development of residents’ speech culture of residents, engagement of students into the development of poetry in a way of public reading or singing. This made the speech more alive and expressive. At the same time, the ethnic composition of the region was not affected, but with the speech the mentality of the population changed.
The strengthening of regional identity went through the several evolutions. This point of view was expressed by scientists who share the evolutionary version of the culturological paradigm (A. Bastian, S. Leturno, L. G. Morgan, G. Spencer, E. B. Taylor, J. Frazer). The presence of more articulated signs of the cultural identity of the region contributed to the conservation of the regional mode, and along with it contributed the strengthening of the cultural isolation of the regional space. The researchers have revealed the cyclical characteristics of this process: D. Andreev, L. Gumilev, N. Danilevsky, P. Sorokin, A. Toynbee, O. Shpengler analyzed the rhythmic development of regional space. The representatives of the cultural paradigm in regional studies provides a diversity of cultural manifestations existence in the regional society. The main idea of this conclusion lies in the regional resistance of any geopolitical unification, regardless of whether it is carried out within the framework of the nation state, or is on a global scale
There is an idea of the regional leader type which is mainly based on the image of a cultural hero who contributed the development of the region. This is a personal approach of analyzing region studies, and here the diversity becomes limited only by the number of regions, it may be noted that attempts are made to apply a pluralistic cultural-cultural paradigm in regional studies. It was divided by such authors as M. Scheller, F. Boas, X. Arendt, who can be attributed to the researchers of regional sociology of international relations. This approach focuses on the connection between political and social activity, reflecting faith in the transformative potential of the individual.
According to the modern studies of this sphere, regional destiny is determined not by the strength of the regional leader, but by its weakness. For example, the Catalan journalist and politician Carles Puigdemont the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 2016-2017, supported the holding of a referendum on independence, but could not ensure its positive result. Perhaps taking into account the lessons that show the vulnerability of leadership patterns of the past in modern conditions, the Yellow vests movement (fr. Mouvement des Gilets jaunes), manifested in late 2018 in France and gradually exciting other European states, has a spontaneous character in the absence of a pronounced leader. It reflects the meanings of popular mobilization which implies society’s belonging to a particular region. This is the main idea of the regional identity the protesters bring into the account.
At the same time, according to the pluralistic approach of the culturological paradigm in regional studies it is impossible to distinguish the type of the political behavior. Although, there are many similar political protests in different regions, which was used by the color revolution organizers. The main focus of these actions is the change of government leaders, but the protests were hold not throughout the country, but in the regions mostly populated by people who react to the mass consciousness slogans. These could be capitals of states that have a critical mass of opposite-minded citizens, or suburb regions with their internal problems. “The tulip revolution” in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 is a bright example of the phenomenon described above.
According to Huntington (1996), the author of the theory of the conflict of civilizations, culturological paradigm of regional studies explains the nature of social actions which characterize the cultural domain itself. In 1993, his article “The Clash of Civilizations?” was published in “Foreign Affairs” – an American political science journal. Later he wrote a treatise “The Clash of Civilizations and the Transformation of the World Order”. In fact, civilizations in its model are historical and cultural areas that can rightfully be identified as regions. The value of Huntington’s theory lies in the development of the conflict theme of such regions, in which he reflects not just a discrepancy, but competition between economic, political, strategic and other actors where the struggle begins in the region but rises to the global level.
Such a clash of interests of regional actors in life coincides with the picture of the struggle in the theory of regional studies itself. This is the basis of regional sociology of international relations. According to Kononchuk and Yachin (2012), the key to victory in the struggle with competitors for the cultural paradigm is not great truth, but the reflection of the problem and its efficient solution (p. 9). External conditions reflection requires not only cultural paradigm, but also any regional policy directed to the external world. This idea combines the individual level of perception of regional problems, the group level and the position of leaders of regional management. When the perception of the problem is common or mostly understood by the representatives of government, the population of the region would express their point of view in a legal way, mostly using a referendum.
According to the socioeconomic and political processes of the regions there is a spatial separation of the regions into four levels: quasi-state, quasi-corporation, region-market, region-society. Each of them needs to develop its own type of interaction with the government, corporations and other regions. These fields become the subject of regional sociology of international relations. For example, the activity of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, which is a pan-European political assembly within the Council of Europe and represents local and regional authorities from 47 member countries; the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, the European Cities Alliance and regions in support of the integration of Gypsies and others.
The organizations of the mid-1990s took their beginning during the “new regionalism” process (Hettne & Söderbaum, 2008). Hettne and Söderbaum (2008) relate the beginning “new regionalism” to the beginning of the decade, and the core reason refers to the neoliberal globalization. Based on the combination of the views of regional sociology of international relations and political regionology, the chronological side of the “new regionalism” is marked by the birth of the above-mentioned international institutions.
Regional processes are less demonstrative, they deeply coincide with a spatial cultural environment, rather than global processes. The approaches of regional sociology of international relations provides an opportunity to be identify the mechanisms for preserving regional specificities, to involve the regions into the leading global trends, and to take the lead to the international level.
- Berlin, I. (2001). The Philosophy of Freedom. Europe. Moscow: New Literary Review.
- Crothers, Ch. (2015). Regional Sociology: Attention to the Deepening Gaps. New Zealand Sociology, 30(1), 239–242.
- Fukuyama, F. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press.
- Hettne, B., & Söderbaum, F. (2008). The Future of Regionalism: New Divides, New Frontiers. Regionalization and global governance: the taming of globalization? London: Routledge.
- Huntington, S. P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Khalikov, M. S. (2011). Economic Sociology of the Region. Moscow: Academic Project, Alma Mater.
- Kononchuk, D. V., & Yachin, S. E. (2012). Cultural Paradigm: Experience of Conceptual Comprehension. Ocucumene, 2, 7–13.
- Koretsky, V. A., & Khalikov, M. S. (2017). Sociology of global processes. Moscow: Academic project.
- Lipchitz, R. (1992). Reconstructing world politics: the emergence of global civil society. Millennium, 21(3), 392–393.
- Nolte, D. (2016). The Pacific Alliance: Nation-Branding through Regional Organizations. German Institute of Global and Area Studies. 15 August. Retrieved from: https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/publication/the-pacific-alliance-nation-branding-through-regional-organisations.
- Shedenova, N. U. (2006). Regional Sociology. Almaty.
- Ternova, L. O. (2019). Student corporatism: endurance tests. Moscow: INFRA-M.
- Thünen, I. (1926). Isolated State. Moscow: Economic life.
- Wallerstein, I. (1995). After Liberalism. New York: The New Press.
- Wan Haaske, L. A. (2012). Formation of university corporations and their regional specificity in Europe of the era of the High Middle Ages. Bulletin of the Moscow State Humanitarian University, 3, 34–41.
- Weber, A. (1998). The Crisis of European Culture. Saint Petersburg: University book.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
28 December 2019
Print ISBN (optional)
Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
Cite this article as:
Bagaeva*, A. (2019). Regional Perspective Of The International Relations Sociology. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 176-182). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.25