Regional Integration and Organization Theories

Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Regional Integration and Organization Theories

  • Host University

    Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

  • Location

    Bilbao, Spain

  • Area of Study

    International Relations, International Studies, Multicultural Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


     This course is part of the module "Theory, organization and dynamics of international society" and the subject "International organization and theory." The course aims to provide the student with a solid understanding of the politics and processes of regional integration across the globe and how and why these differ from the European experience. Regionalism is conceptualized as an intrinsic part of the EU's ideology and foreign policy, and the course seeks to understand to what extent the European model of post-sovereign governance is applicable in other parts of the world. The theoretical point of departure is in the different integration theories studied in the course: federalism, neofunctionalism, intergovernmentalism, constructivism etc. whereas the empirical component of the course has two main dimensions: Firstly, a study of the general features of processes of regional integration in other parts of the world and, second, a group project analyzing a specific case of regional integration. Thereby, the student obtains both a theoretically grounded general understanding of regional integration as well as in-depth knowledge of a specific regional case. The competence of critical thinking is developed through project seminars, where students will provide and receive feedback as well as reflect on their own group process.

    Subject competencies

    General Competence 3: Critical thinking. To question truth claims and analyze the foundation upon which ideas, actions and opinions of others and oneself are based.

    Level 2: Analyze the coherence of opinions and statements by oneself and others and take into consideration the personal and social implications of these.

    Learning outcomes: The student will be able to make solid truth claims and founded opinions with respect to internal consistency, coherence and scientific validity and will have the capacity to assess the practical implications of proposals and decisions

     Specific Competence 9: To know and explain different processes of regional integration and their similarities and differences with the process of European integration and its institutional expression.

    Learning outcomes: The student will be able to interpret the historical, political and social contexts in which regional integration processes develop and explain these processes from different theoretical approaches. Ability to assess the significance of the EU as a model for other processes of integration. Ability to identify relevant sources and apply these in a concrete research project.

     Course content

    1. Introduction to the phenomenon of regional integration and its contemporary relevance
    2. Theoretical approaches to regional integration (a)Neofunctionalism, b) Realism and intergovernmentalism, c) Constructivism, d) Theoretical synthesis and multilevel governance v. network approaches).
    3.  EU Regionalism as Ideology and EU foreign policy: Is the EU model of governance an exportable commodity?
    4. Empirical aspects (a) North and Central America, b) South America, c) Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, d) North Africa and Middle East,e) Central Asia, f) East Asia)
    5.  Group project on specific case of regional integration

    Teaching/learning strategy, assessment system and materials

    TEACHER/S:  Steffen Bay Rasmussen

    GROUP: 10 –English


     Two distinct strategies will be employed. First, an introduction to integration theory and the empirical manifestations of regional integration globally will be analyzed through lectures and in-class activities, such as group work on texts and generating questions and answers to texts with the aim of identifying and assessing their scientific and empirical basis, as well as their historical and contemporary relevance. This first strategy will be the basis for the second, the elaboration of a research project in groups. To complement the general theoretical and empirical understanding of the phenomenon of regional integration, students will analyze a specific case of regional integration, using the theoretical approaches and general comparative knowledge acquired in class as the basis and complementing this with an independent analysis using further specific sources. In-class seminars will be held in different phases of the research projects, where groups must give and receive constructive criticism of their work, including positive and negative aspects and well as generating concrete proposals for how to move forward. The Alud platform will be used to organize the course, define assigned reading and to submit and download course materials.

    In accordance with the 6 ECTS assigned to the course, the total dedication of students is 150 hours, distributed as follows:

     In class: 54 hours, approximately

    • work sessions on theoretical and empirical content: 28 hours
    • group project seminars: 18 hours
    • exams and feedback sessions: 8 hours

     Outside of class: 96 hours

    • group work on project: 56 hours
    • preparation of work sessions: 24 hours
    • preparation for exams: 16 hours


    1. Individual Written Assessment 1: 25%
    2. Individual Written Assessment 2: 25%
    3. 10.000-word Research Project: 50 % (Final report 30%, Project log 5%, Presentations in seminars 10%, Feedback given and received in seminars 5%). To have a project mark, it is necessary to participate actively in all project seminars (only permissible absences are excepted, when duly documented and notified in advance). Not all group members do necessarily receive the same mark.

    Final exam, ordinary call: The continuous assessment as outlined above.

    Final exam, extraordinary call: Those who do not reach an average of 5,0 in the three assessment categories will have the chance to re-take those written assessments where the mark received was below 5,0. In case of this being the project, this will be re-submitted before the official exam date, after having received instructions on necessary improvements.

     For students repeating the course:

     + If the student passed the project module (50%) but failed the individual exams (25%+25%), only these should be repeated. If the student passed the individual exams, but failed the project module, the student is required to submit a 4000-word report detailing the improvements and changes to the previous years' project or submit a new project. This should be agreed with the instructor during the first 2 weeks of class.


    Basic bibliography

    • Philippe De Lombaerde and Michael Schulz (eds.), The EU and World Regionalism. The Makability of Regions in the 21st Century, Ashgate, 2009.
    • Søren Dosenrode, Limits to Regional Integration, Ashgate, 2015
    • Finn Laursen (ed.), Comparative Regional Integration Europe and Beyond, Ashgate, 2010.
    • Philippe de Lombaerde and Fredrik Söderbaum (eds.), Regionalism, Sage, 2013.
    • Mario Telò, European Union and new regionalism, Ashgate, 2007.
    • Ludger Kühnhard, Region-building, vol. I and II, Berghahn, 2010.
    • Erik Jones, Anand Menon and Stephen Weatherill (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the European Union , Oxford University Press, 2013.
    • Van Meuers et al. (2018), The unfinished history of European integration, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
    •  Wiener et al. (2019), European Integration Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press
    • Bickerton et al. (2015), The new intergovernmentalism: European integration in the post-Maastricht era, in Journal of Common Market Studies vol. 53(4).
    •  Jones et al. (2016), Failing forward? The Euro crisis and the incomplete nature of European integration, in Comparative Political Studies, vol. 49(7), pp. 1010-1034
    • Lavenex (2018), ‘Failing forward’ towards which Europe? Organized hypocrisy in the common European asylum system, in Journal of Common Market Studies vol. 56(5)

    Specific bibliography for the course project complements this list.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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