The role of small states in the construction of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR): the cases of Ecuador and Uruguay

Salgado Espinoza, Raul (2015). The role of small states in the construction of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR): the cases of Ecuador and Uruguay. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This investigation introduces an innovative model for studying the role of small states in regional organisations. It conceptualises small states into region-engaging, region­constraining and region-adapting actors, according to their particular type of engagement in regional politics. This thesis defines Ecuador and Uruguay as region-engaging small states, and argues that elements of a shared collective identity were a major factor of influence on the region-engaging character of Ecuador and Uruguay in the construction of the South American Union of Nations (UNASUR). Theoretically, the study employs a constructivist approach to exploring the reasons why these states have supported the creation and consolidation of UNASUR. It takes a cross case-oriented approach based on the analysis of documents, political speeches and semi-structured interviews, whilst also considering various historical events during the period from 2000 to 2012. Each case study delves into various historical events to provide specific foci on elements of a shared collective identity, left­ oriented ideology, the failure of economic integration projects, the overpowering influence of exterior agents, the need for national and regional peace, as well as the prospect of leading roles and a new type of political cooperation. A significant component of the research concerns the shared factors of a South American identity, whereby comparison facilitates the understanding of the aspects of identity influencing the behaviour of Ecuador and Uruguay in the consolidation of UNASUR.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Secretariat of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Ecuador
Subjects: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)


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