Global Regionalisms and Higher Education
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Global Regionalisms and Higher Education

Projects, Processes, Politics

Edited by Susan L. Robertson, Kris Olds, Roger Dale and Que Anh Dang

This original book provides a unique analysis of the different regional and inter-regional projects, their processes and the politics of Europeanisation, globalisation and education. Collectively, the contirbutors engage with international relations and integrations theory to explore new ways of thinking about regionalisms and inter-regionalisms, and bring to the fore the role that higher education plays in this.
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Chapter 12: South–South development cooperation and the socio-spatial reconfiguration of Latin America–Caribbean regionalisms: university education in the Brazil–Venezuela ‘Special Border Regime’

Thomas Muhr


This chapter approaches the changing geometries of Latin America– Caribbean regionalisms through the lens of South–South cooperation and the role of university education in the construction of a Brazil–Venezuela cross-border sub-region termed ‘Special Border Regime’. Within the general reintensification of South–South cooperation in the geographical area, I concentrate on the Brazil–Venezuela official development cooperation between 2003 and 2015 and the transformation of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) in relation to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP), to argue that a South–South cooperation counter-space is being produced in which university education is sought to be re-established as a fundamental right and state responsibility. With the conclusion of the Venezuelan government’s 12-month pro tempore presidency of the MERCOSUR in July 2014, a Joint Declaration for the ‘promotion of the establishment of a Complementary Economic Zone’ was issued among the member states of MERCOSUR, the ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Governed by the South–South cooperation principles of complementarity, solidarity and cooperation, established as such by the Group of 77 Charter of Algiers of 1967, this zone avowedly seeks the promotion of ‘inter-dependent’ and ‘integral’ development, ‘fair trade’ and ‘productive integration’, to reduce ‘economic asymmetries’, ‘poverty’ and ‘social exclusion’ (MERCOSUR, 2014a, 2014b). As the outcome of ten consecutive summits in the respective regional for a between February 2012 and July 2014, this announcement accentuates the profound reconfiguration of the geometries of Latin America–Caribbean regionalisms since the turn of the millennium, manifest in the emergence of a third generation of de-colonialist and counter-imperialist regionalisms: the ALBA-TCP/ Petroamérica (Petroandina, Petrocaribe, Petrosur), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the transforming MERCOSUR and CARICOM, from second to third generation regionalisms. By drawing on Söderbaum and van Langenhove (2006), I have conceptualized the first generation of Latin America–Caribbean regionalisms as state-led, inward-oriented, modernization-driven, related to the import substitution industrialization development model; the second generation as outward-oriented (so-called ‘open’) regionalisms within global processes of neoliberalization; and the third generation as post-neoliberal counter-hegemonic projects constructed jointly by states and social forces, drawing from neostructuralist and socialist theory within a South–South cooperation rationale (Muhr, 2011b; also, Ojeda, 2010). The notion of generations (rather than waves or phases) underscores that patterns of regionalisms with different empirical qualities can coexist and overlap and that regionalisms may evolve from previous generations through processes of transformation linked to distinct political economic (that is, ideological) projects.

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