Awkward states and regional organisations: The United Kingdom and Australia compared

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Series Details Vol.12, No.3, May 2014 p279–300
Publication Date May 2014
ISSN 1472-4790
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Both the United Kingdom and Australia have been studied by specialists in each region rather than by comparativists. This article seeks to fill this gap by examining the regional ‘awkwardness’ of the United Kingdom and Australia comparatively. Australia and Britain are ‘awkward’ states in their respective regions – Asia and Europe. This is clear in their approaches to institutions, economic policy, security and identity. We examine comparatively the role of power, institutions, economy, domestic politics and culture to see which mix best accounts for the awkward status of these two states. Through this comparison, this article demonstrates that the so-called ‘uniqueness’ of the United Kingdom in regionalism literature is in fact a nearly ‘universal’ phenomenon, insofar as many global regions include awkward states.

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