State sovereignty and regional integration in Southern Africa, 1980-2015

Notshulwana, Mxolisi
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This research is demarcated according to two modes, one conceptual – state sovereignty - and two - distant proximity – the ideal of regional integration. When these are juxtaposed in the state sovereignty-regional integration complex, they resemble a complex picture of what is under construction. The nation state currently exists, so it is an important variable. The research examines what happens to the nation state variable, in respect to its policy preferences, interests and ideational content as the process of regional integration evolves. Put differently, does the nation state remain indivisible or is it evolving as the process of regional integration deepens? The research has found that the policy preferences and interests of states in Southern Africa converge and/or diverge not so much based on the SADC objectives and norms. The convergence and/or divergence of policy preferences among states in SADC is informed by the constant negotiation and engagement among states - yielding not so much a zero-sum regional integration arrangement nor is it leading to the demise of the nation state – but around a range of factors including: perceived economic gains and losses; persuasion and influence among state and non-state actors; political solidarity among state actors; external and internal political and economic pressures. The notion of state sovereignty is invoked by many states when all the factors above have yielded inadequate results for the particular state. The research has found that a constructivist process of co-determination and co-constitution and solidarity, albeit very loose and not legaly binding, is taking place in Southern Africa. This process, the research has found, is pointing to an intergovernmental regional integration arrangement wherein certain policy areas or competencies reside at the regional level and some at the nation state level. The process of inter-state action and behaviour, the dissertation has found, is underpinned by the interests, preferences and choices of states in their discursive relationship to one another in the process of regional integration.
Dissertation Submitted in Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD.) at the University of Witwatersrand – School of Governance September 2015