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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the mismatch between an intuitive expectation about how a high degree of regionalization particularly in the Arab part of the Middle East would translate into an advanced form of regionalism, on the one hand, and the predominant view of the Middle East as a region without (much) regionalism, on the other. The Middle East has been rich on visions of regional integration but these have seldom been realized. Instead the region is marked by weak regionalism and inefficient institutions aiming at modest forms of regional cooperation. The Middle East points to how the relationship between regionalization and regionalism can be more ambiguous than is often acknowledged. Certain forms of regionalization have been a burden rather than an enabling factor for regionalism in the Middle East. Inefficient institutional designs of some regional organizations have been intended to counter the effects of regionalization and more ambitious regionalist projects.

Keywords: Middle East, Arab regionalization, regionalism, institutions, institutional design

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