Far-reaching changes in the global distribution of wealth over the last few decades have led scholars of regional integration to recognise a need to examine the regional level as an arena of social policy formation and implementation. This development has long been an aspect of a region such as the EU, but is relatively recent in the regions of the developing world. This collection of essays, the result of the RISC Conference held from 30 November to 3 December 2011, marks a welcome contribution to the start of a discussion about regional integration and social cohesion in the developing world, by major scholars in each field.
This book examines key challenges to the cultivation of social cohesion at the regional and national levels. It asks the question whether regional integration as currently practised presents a hospitable site for the cultivation and delivery of social goods in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. Without discounting the national and sub-national levels in the addressing of social goals, the volume indicates a path to greater awareness of the impediments to agreement on social policy at the regional level, examining the different conceptions of social cohesion across regions; the impediments to social cohesion in the African and Latin American regional integration models; and, the domestic level progress of social cohesion, especially in South Africa and Vietnam.