Regionalisms and the ‘exceptionality’ of security regions


  • Maano Ramutsindela University of Cape Town, Department of environmental and geographical science


Work on regions and regionalisms highlights the complex processes through which regions emerge or disappear, or are remade often with unpredictable outcomes. This well-established knowledge of regions is however not fully appreciated by proponents of Regional Security Complex Theory, who are pre-occupied with security as a central element in region-formation. In security context the intersection between regions and security is expressed through a pluralistic security community in which the security of the regional group is a focal point for member states and their activities. In this paper I draw on insights from research on regionalism and from the emergence of southern Africa as a region to suggest that there is no need to treat regional security complexes as ‘special regions’ of some sort as Regional Security Complex Theory suggests. Security should be understood as an integral part rather than an exceptional feature of region-formation processes. I further suggest that analyses of regional security complexes are still trapped in the concept of bounded territoriality.

How to Cite

Ramutsindela, M. (2015). Regionalisms and the ‘exceptionality’ of security regions. Nordia Geographical Publications, 44(4), 81–86. Retrieved from