Despite a growing number of specific comparisons of selected aspects of regionalism (especially concerning regional institutions and the role of power) in selected areas of the world, there is a weak systematic debate on the fundamentals of comparative research in the study of global regionalism. Differences over what to compare, how to compare and even why to compare at all, arise predominantly as a consequence of the tension in the field between regional specialization (i.e. case or area studies) and more general research that is built around European integration theory and practice to a large degree. Treating European integration as the foundation for conceptual development, theory-building and comparison is the most dominant approach in the field of regionalism.
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