Skip to main content

Setting the Regional Agenda: A Critique of Posthegemonic Regionalism

  • Mark Petersen (a1) and Carsten-Andreas Schulz (a2)

There is a growing scholarly consensus that Latin American regionalism has entered a new phase. For some observers, the increasing complexity of regional cooperation initiatives renders collective action ineffective. For others, the creation of new schemes signals a “posthegemonic” moment that has opened a space for collaboration on social issues. Both camps attribute this shift to the absence of the United States and the presence of left-leaning governments. By contrast, this study demonstrates that this agenda is not new, nor has the United States impeded similar initiatives in the past. In fact, the United States was instrumental in expanding regional cooperation on social issues in the early twentieth century. Instead, this article argues that agenda shifts are best explained by an evolving consensus about the role of the state. The “new agenda” is in line with historical attempts by governments to use regionalism to bolster their own domestic reforms.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Setting the Regional Agenda: A Critique of Posthegemonic Regionalism
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Setting the Regional Agenda: A Critique of Posthegemonic Regionalism
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Setting the Regional Agenda: A Critique of Posthegemonic Regionalism
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Hide All
Abbott Kenneth W. 2007. Institutions in the Americas: Theoretical Reflections. In Governing the Americas: Assessing Multilateral Institutions, ed. Gordon Mace, Jean-Philippe Thérien, and Paul Haslam. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. 237253.
Altman David, and Luna Juan Pablo. 2012. Introducción: el estado latinoamericano en su laberinto. Revista de Ciencia Política 32, 3: 521543.
Arnold Christian. 2016. Empty Promises and Nonincorporation in Mercosur. International Interactions. Published online June 30.
Atkins Pope. 1997. Encyclopedia of the Inter-American System. Westport: Greenwood Press.
Bello Andrés. 1997. Selected Writings of Andrés Bello. Trans. Frances López-Morillas. Ed. Iván Jaksic. Library of Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bergquist Charles. 1986. Labor in Latin America: Comparative Essays on Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Bianculli Andrea C. 2016. Latin America. In Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism, ed. Tanja A Börzel and Thomas Risse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 154177.
Bianculli Andrea, and Hoffmann Andrea Ribeiro, eds. 2016. Regional Organizations and Social Policy in Europe and Latin America: A Space for Social Citizenship? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Birn Anne-Emanuelle. 2006. The National-International Nexus in Public Health: Uruguay and the Circulation of Child Health and Welfare Policies, 1890–1940. História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos 13, 3: 675708.
Brands Hal. 2012. Latin America’s Cold War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Briceño-Ruiz José. 2010. From the South American Free Trade Area to the Union of South American Nations: The Transformations of a Rising Regional Process. Latin American Policy 1, 2: 208229.
Briceño-Ruiz José, and Hoffmann Andrea Ribeiro. 2015. Post-Hegemonic Regionalism, Unasur, and the Reconfiguration of Regional Cooperation in South America. Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 40, 1: 4862.
Briceño-Ruiz José, and Morales Isidro. 2017. Introduction. In Post-Hegemonic Regionalism in the Americas: Toward a Pacific-Atlantic Divide?, ed. Briceño Ruíz and Morales. New York: Routledge. 115.
Carranza Mario E. 2003. Can Mercosur Survive? Domestic and International Constraints on Mercosur. Latin American Politics and Society 45, 2: 67103.
Carranza Mario E. 2014. Resilient or Declining? Latin American Regional Economic Blocs in the Postneoliberal Era. Latin American Politics and Society 56, 3: 163172.
Castle David Baron. 2000. Leo Stanton Rowe and the Meaning of Pan Americanism. In Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs, ed. David Sheinin. Westport: Praeger. 3344.
Centeno Miguel A. 2002. Blood and Debt: War and the Nation-State in Latin America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Chaves Cleide de Lima. 2013. Power and Health in South America: International Sanitary Conferences, 1870–1889. História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos 20, 2: 414434.
Collier Ruth Berins, and Collier David. 1991. Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Cueto Marcos. 1995. The Cycles of Eradication: The Rockefeller Foundation and Latin American Public Health, 1918–1940. In International Health Organisations and Movements, ed. Paul Weindling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 222243.
Cueto Marcos. 2006. The Value of Health: A History of the Pan American Health Organization. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization.
Dabène Olivier. 2009. The Politics of Regional Integration in Latin America: Theoretical and Comparative Explorations. 1st ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dabène Olivier. 2012a. Consistency and Resilience Through Cycles of Repoliticization. In Riggirozzi and Tussie 2012a. 4164.
Dabène Olivier. 2012b. Explaining Latin America’s Fourth Wave of Regionalism: Regional Integration of a Third Kind. Paper presented to the 30th International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, San Francisco, May 23–26.
Darnton Christopher. 2012. Asymmetry and Agenda-Setting in U.S.-Latin American Relations: Rethinking the Origins of the Alliance for Progress. Journal of Cold War Studies 14, 4: 5592.
Darnton Christopher. 2013. After Decentering: The Politics of Agency and Hegemony in Hemispheric Relations. Latin American Research Review 48, 3: 231239.
Dawson Frank G. 1990. The First Latin American Debt Crisis: The City of London and the 1822–25 Loan Bubble. New Haven: Yale University Press.
De Lombaerde Philippe. 2016. Theorizing Latin American Regionalism in the 21st Century. Fédéralisme Régionalisme 16. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Domínguez Jorge I. 2007. International Cooperation in Latin America: The Design of Regional Institutions by Slow Accretion. In Crafting Cooperation: Regional International Institutions in Comparative Perspective, ed. Amitav Acharya and Alastair I. Johnston. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 83128.
Engstrom Par. 2016. The Inter-American Human Rights System and U.S.-Latin American Relations. In Cooperation and Hegemony in U.S.-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea, ed. Juan Pablo Scarfi and Andrew Tillman. London: Palgrave. 208247.
Espil Felipe. 1928. Informe de Felipe Espil, marzo 1928. Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio y Culto (series 25 Box 27: XII). Buenos Aires.
Fawcett Louise. 2005. The Origins and Development of Regional Ideas in the Americas. In Regionalism and Governance in the Americas: Continental Drift, ed. Fawcett and Mónica Serrano. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2751.
Fernos Rodrigo. 2003. Science Still Born: The Rise and Impact of the Pan American Scientific Congresses, 1898–1916. Lincoln: iUniverse.
Ferreras Norberto Osvaldo. 2015. Europe-Geneva-America: The First International Conference of American States Affiliated to the International Labour Organization. In Beyond Geopolitics: New Histories of Latin America at the League of Nations, ed. Alan McPherson and Yannick Wehrli. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 8395.
Friedman Max Paul, and Long Tom. 2015. Soft Balancing in the Americas: Latin American Opposition to U.S. Intervention, 1898–1936. International Security 40, 1: 120156.
Gardini Gian Luca. 2010. The Origins of Mercosur: Democracy and Regionalization in South America. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goldstein Judith. 1996. International Law and Domestic Institutions: Reconciling North American “Unfair” Trade Laws. International Organization 50, 4: 541564.
Gómez-Mera Laura. 2013. Power and Regionalism in Latin America: The Politics of Mercosur. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
Gómez-Mera Laura. 2015. International Regime Complexity and Regional Governance: Evidence from the Americas. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 21, 1: 1942.
Gutiérrez Ramón, Tartarini Jorge, and Stagno Rubens. 2007. Congresos Panamericanos de Arquitectos, 1920–2000: aportes para su historia. Buenos Aires: Centro de Documentación de Arquitectura Latinoamericana (CEDODAL).
Guy Donna J. 1998. The Pan American Child Congresses, 1916 to 1942: Pan Americanism, Child Reform, and the Welfare State in Latin America. Journal of Family History 23, 3: 272291.
Harmer Tanya. 2011. Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Helleiner Eric. 2014. Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods: International Development and the Making of the Postwar Order. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Herz Mónica. 2011. The Organization of American States (OAS): Global Governance Away from the Media. London: Routledge.
Hettne Björn. 2005. Beyond the “New” Regionalism. New Political Economy 10, 4: 543571.
Howard-Jones Norman. 1978. International Public Health Between the Two World Wars: The Organizational Problems. History of International Public Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Howard-Jones Norman. 1980. The Pan American Health Organization: Origins and Evolution. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Hurrell Andrew. 1995. Regionalism in Theoretical Perspective. In Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order, ed. Louise Fawcett and Hurrell. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3773.
Ioris Rafael R. 2014. Transforming Brazil: A History of National Development in the Postwar Era. New York: Routledge.
Kelley Judith. 2009. The More the Merrier? The Effects of Having Multiple International Election Monitoring Organizations. Perspectives on Politics 7, 1: 5964.
Knight Alan. 1987. U.S.-Mexican Relations, 1910–1940: An Interpretation. La Jolla: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego.
Kurtz Marcus J. 2013. Latin American State Building in Comparative Perspective: Social Foundations of Institutional Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Legler Thomas. 2013. Post-Hegemonic Regionalism and Sovereignty in Latin America: Optimists, Skeptics, and an Emerging Research Agenda. Contexto Internacional 35, 2: 325352.
Legler Thomas. 2014. Beyond Reach? The Organization of American States and Effective Multilateralism. In Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World, ed. Jorge I. Domínguez and Ana Covarrubias. New York: Routledge. 311328.
Levitsky Steven, and Roberts Kenneth M., eds. 2011. The Resurgence of the Latin American Left. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Long Tom. 2015. Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Loveman Mara. 2005. The Modern State and the Primitive Accumulation of Symbolic Power. American Journal of Sociology 110, 6: 16511683.
Lowenthal Abraham F. 1976. The United States and Latin America: Ending the Hegemonic Presumption. Foreign Affairs 55, 1: 199213.
Malamud Andrés. 2003. Presidentialism and Mercosur: A Hidden Cause for a Successful Experience. In Comparative Regional Integration: Theoretical Perspectives, ed. Finn Laursen. Aldershot: Ashgate. 5373.
Malamud Andrés, and Gardini Gian Luca. 2012. Has Regionalism Peaked? The Latin American Quagmire and Its Lessons. International Spectator 47, 1: 116133.
Mann Michael. 1984. The Autonomous Power of the State: Its Origins, Mechanisms and Results. European Journal of Sociology 25, 2: 185213.
Martin Lisa L., and Simmons Beth A.. 2012. International Organizations and Institutions. In Handbook of International Relations, 2nd ed., ed. Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse-Kappen, and Simmons. London: Sage. 326351.
Miller Francesca. 1986. The International Relations of Women of the Americas, 1890–1928. The Americas 43, 2: 171182.
Newton Wesley Phillips. 1978. The Perilous Sky: U.S. Aviation Diplomacy and Latin America, 1919–1931. Coral Gables: University of Miami Press.
Nolte Detlef. 2014. Latin America’s New Regional Architecture: A Cooperative or Segmented Regional Governance Complex? EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2014/89. Florence: European University Institute.
Obregón Liliana. 2006. Between Civilization and Barbarism: Creole Interventions in International Law. Third World Quarterly 27, 5: 815832.
Palestini Stefano, and Agostinis Giovanni. 2015. Constructing Regionalism in South America: The Cases of Sectoral Cooperation on Transport Infrastructure and Energy. Journal of International Relations and Development. Published online May 8.
Payne Anthony, and Gamble Andrew. 1996. Introduction: The Political Economy of Regionalism and World Order. In Regionalism and World Order, ed. Payne and Gamble. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 120.
Pernet Corinne A. 2000. Chilean Feminists, the International Women’s Movement, and Suffrage, 1915–1950. Pacific Historical Review 69, 4: 663688.
Petersen Mark. 2016. The “Vanguard of Pan-Americanism”: Chile and Inter-American Multilateralism in the Early Twentieth Century. In Cooperation and Hegemony in U.S.-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea, ed. Juan Pablo Scarfi and Andrew Tillman. London: Palgrave. 111137.
Pevehouse Jon C. 2003. With a Little Help from My Friends? Regional Organizations and the Consolidation of Democracy. American Journal of Political Science 46, 3: 611626.
Phillips Nicola. 2003. The Rise and Fall of Open Regionalism? Comparative Reflections on Regional Governance in the Southern Cone of Latin America. Third World Quarterly 24, 2: 217234.
Plata-Stenger Véronique. 2015. “To Raise Awareness of Difficulties and to Assert Their Opinion”: The International Labour Office and the Regionalization of International Cooperation in the 1930s. In Beyond Geopolitics: New Histories of Latin America at the League of Nations. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 97113.
Prados de la Escosura Leandro. 2009. Lost Decades? Economic Performance in Post-Independence Latin America. Journal of Latin American Studies 41, 2: 279307.
Preuss Ori. 2016. Transnational South America: Experiences, Ideas, and Identities, 1860s–1900s. New York: Routledge.
Riggirozzi Pía. 2014. Regionalism, Activism, and Rights: New Opportunities for Health Diplomacy in South America. Review of International Studies 41, 2: 407428.
Riggirozzi Pía, and Tussie Diana. 2012a. The Rise of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism: The Case of Latin America. Dordrecht: Springer.
Riggirozzi Pía, and Tussie Diana. 2012b. The Rise of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism: The Case of Latin America. In Riggirozzi and Tussie 2012a. 116.
Riggirozzi Pía, and Tussie Diana. 2017. Rethinking Our Region in a Post-Hegemonic Moment. In Post-Hegemonic Regionalism in the Americas: Toward a Pacific-Atlantic Divide?, ed. José Briceño Ruíz and Isidro Morales. New York: Routledge. 1631.
Riggirozzi Pía, and Grugel Jean. 2015. Regional Governance and Legitimacy in South America: The Meaning of Unasur. International Affairs 91, 4: 781797.
Rivarola Puntigliano Andrés, and Briceño-Ruiz José, eds. 2013. Resilience of Regionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Development and Autonomy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rodgers Daniel T. 1998. Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Rosenthal Gert 1991. Un informe crítico a 30 años de integración en América Latina. Nueva Sociedad 113: 6065.
Saavedra Lamas Carlos. 1934. Informe por el presidente de la delegación, Dr. Carlos Saavedra Lamas, noviembre 1934. Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio y Culto, Series 25, Box 31: III. Buenos Aires.
Saltalamacchia Ziccardi Natalia. 2014. Regional Multilateralism in Latin America: Unasur, Alba and Celac. In Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World, ed. Jorge I. Domínguez and Ana Covarrubias. London: Routledge. 298310.
Salvatore Ricardo Donato. 2006. Imperial Mechanics: South America’s Hemispheric Integration in the Machine Age. Americas Quarterly 58, 3: 663691.
Sanahuja José Antonio. 2012. Post-Liberal Regionalism in South America: The Case of Unasur. EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2012/05. Florence: European University Institute.
Scarfi Juan Pablo. 2016. In the Name of the Americas: The Pan-American Redefinition of the Monroe Doctrine and the Emerging Language of American International Law in the Western Hemisphere. Diplomatic History 40, 2: 189218.
Schulz Carsten-Andreas. 2014. Civilisation, Barbarism and the Making of Latin America’s Place in 19th-Century International Society. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 42, 3: 837859.
Schulz Carsten-Andreas. 2017. Accidental Activists: Latin American Status-Seeking at The Hague. International Studies Quarterly. Published online October 6.
Serbin Andrés. 2012. New Regionalism and Civil Society: Bridging the Democratic Gap? In Riggirozzi and Tussie 2012a. 147165.
Sheinin David. 1998. Searching for Authority: Pan Americanism, Diplomacy and Politics in United States-Argentine Relations, 1910–1930. New Orleans: University Press of the South.
Sheinin David. 2000. Rethinking Pan Americanism: An Introduction. In Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs, ed. Sheinin. Westport: Greenwood Press. 18.
Sikkink Kathryn. 2014. Latin American Countries as Norm Protagonists of the Idea of International Human Rights. Global Governance 20, 3: 389404.
Söderbaum Fredrik. 2004. The Political Economy of Regionalism: The Case of Southern Africa. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Soifer Hillel David. 2015. State Building in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Soifer Hillel David, and vom Hau Matthias. 2008. Unpacking the Strength of the State: The Utility of State Infrastructural Power. Studies in Comparative International Development 43, 3–4: 355365.
Taffet Jeffrey. 2007. Foreign Aid as Foreign Policy: The Alliance for Progress in Latin America. New York: Routledge.
Thies Cameron G. 2005. War, Rivalry, and State Building in Latin America. American Journal of Political Science 49, 3: 451465.
Threlkeld Megan. 2014. Pan American Women: U.S. Internationalists and Revolutionary Mexico. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Tussie Diana. 2009. Latin America: Contrasting Motivations for Regional Projects. Review of International Studies 35, S1: 169188.
Vom Hau Matthias. 2012. State Capacity and Inclusive Development: New Challenges and Directions. Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre Working Paper 2. March 5. Accessed May 23, 2017.
Weiffen Brigitte, Wehner Leslie E., and Nolte Detlef. 2013. Overlapping Regional Security Institutions in South America: The Case of OAS and UNASUR. International Area Studies Review 16, 4: 370389.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Latin American Politics and Society
  • ISSN: 1531-426X
  • EISSN: 1548-2456
  • URL: /core/journals/latin-american-politics-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Petersen and Schulz supplementary material

 Word (53 KB)
53 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 18
Total number of PDF views: 131 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 435 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 15th January 2018 - 22nd February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.