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The third level: regions as a frame for state action in the international society

Grant number: 16/07997-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2016
Effective date (End): June 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal Investigator:Janina Onuki
Grantee:Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira
Supervisor: Christina L. Davis
Host Institution: Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IRI). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Princeton University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:14/26455-7 - International regimes and the domestic, regional, and global levels: a multidimensional analysis in the fields of the market and society, BP.PD


Following several theoretical traditions in International Relations (IR), regions are crucial in explaining interactions among sovereign states. Nevertheless, all schools of thought in the discipline have ignored the plausible hypothesis that the regional dynamics of power might be at the origin of state behavior at the global level, focusing instead on a binary model of analysis that considers only two levels (domestic and international). Therefore, I suggest that the "third level" (the regional arena of power), often overlooked in Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) and IR theories, shapes the action of policymakers and non-state actors within the domestic level in what concerns their international interests. In other words, the regional level tends to have precedence over the dynamics of power in the domestic level and the global arena (conceived as being formed by states and regimes beyond the regional level). Following debates in social theory and the IR constructivist school of thought, I contend that those levels can then be conceived as fields, briefly defined as arenas of power. I build a conceptual framework based on the concept of fields to analyze the impact of the "third level" on state action by comparing the experiences of Brazil and India within South America and South Asia respectively. I argue that experiences of regional integration reframed the perceptions of economic interest groups within those two countries in relation to global trade, leading Brazilian and Indian policymakers to adopt different strategies in relation to foreign trade policy. In the 1990s, with the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), Brazilian agriculture gained more strength whereas industry became used to protected liberalization, restricted to regional partners, particularly Argentina. In India, in turn, lack of effective regional economic integration through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) led farmers to rely on old protectionist models, while manufacturing was forced to adapt itself to extra-regional competition from East Asia in particular. Hence, Brazil pursued agricultural liberalization in the 2000s during the negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), whereas India remained committed to protection of its subsistence agriculture. (AU)

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