The European Union and East Asia
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The European Union and East Asia

Interregional Linkages in a Changing Global System

Edited by Peter W. Preston and Julie Gilson

The global system has seen sweeping changes in recent years and this has precipitated a revival of interest in the relationship between Europe and Asia. This book examines the extent and nature of the regional linkages between East Asia and the European Union. Issues discussed include: the reactions and approaches of both regions to the Asian Crisis; postcolonialism and the balance of power in Europe-Asia Relations; trade relations between Europe and Asia and the revival of the Silk Road; and the development of the role of Asia-Europe Meetings.
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Chapter 12: Europe-Asia linkages: notes towards an historical/structural research agenda

Peter W. Preston


Peter W. Preston INTRODUCTION The chapters in this volume presented above have made it clear that there is much to debate in the matter of Europe-Asia linkages, for not only do the two regions have a wealth of substantive connections but the very conceptual language which can be used to grasp these matters is in question. The precise characterization of Europe, Asia and their interconnections is not a simple matter; rather it is clear that there are radically different strategies available. Indeed, this point might be made more generally. Thus it can be asserted that social theorists have no direct access to ‘reality’ and that the world we inhabit is given to us in terms of the conceptual machineries which run through the cultures we inhabit; in brief, theorizing the social world is deeply interpretive. In this concluding chapter I will return to the issue of theorizing regions and their interlinkages, and sketch the outlines of an historical/structural agenda for scholarly enquiry. Such an agenda will represent a particular interpretation of the still-unfolding exchange of commentary and events. It will reflect the subtle interchange between the onward rush of events and the ways in which we grasp and order these patterns of activity. We might begin by noting that, at the present time, a series of recent and ongoing changes within the global system have been identified: (i) the very sharp reforms in the hitherto socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe (1989/91); (ii) the sequence of broadly integrative changes...

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