Despite regionalism having developed into a global phenomenon, the European Union (EU) is still more often than not presented as the ’role-model of regionalism’ whose institutional designs and norms are adopted by other regional actors and organizations as part of a rather passive ’downloading process’. Reaching beyond such a Eurocentric perception, Mapping Agency provides an empirically rich ’African perspective’ on regionalisms in Sub-Saharan Africa. It adopts an actor-centred approach but departs from a rather simplified understanding of agency as exerting power and instead scrutinizes to what extent actors actually participate in or are excluded from processes of regionalism. The value of this volume derives from the inclusion of historical dimensions, its open multi-actor approach to both formal and informal processes and its comparative perspective within but also beyond Sub-Saharan Africa. The chapters offer a multifaceted picture of agency beyond disciplinary divides where the EU is one actor amongst many and where local, national, regional and global state and non-state actors shape - and sometimes break - processes of regionalisms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A Baker & Taylor Academic Essentials Title in Area/Ethnic Studies: Black Studies outside the U.S. ’This welcome volume sheds light on the under-explored phenomena of regionalisms in Africa, helping us to understand not only how the regionalisms of that continent continue to shape its politics, but also how the debates on African regionalism can contribute to wider comparative study. Deserves to be widely-read.’ Alex Warleigh-Lack, University of Surrey, UK ’By focusing on actors and agency, Lorenz-Carl, Rempe and colleagues present a fresh, innovative and rich analysis of African regionalisms, which is both politically and theoretically relevant. Their book is recommended reading for all those who are interested in better understanding the macro-regional dynamics in Africa.’ Philippe De Lombaerde, United Nations University (UNU-CRIS), Belgium ’This important and thoroughly researched book provides convincing arguments for an 'agency approach' to regionalism. By rejecting conventional wisdom and Eurocentric assumptions, Mapping Agency makes us rethink 'who' builds regions and for what purpose. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of regionalism and it is recommended reading for both scholars and policy makers.’ Fredrik SÃ¶derbaum, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and United Nations University-Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)