Capitalising on Regional Integration: Sub-national Movements and the Rhetorical Leveraging of NAFTA and the EU

Publication Title

New Political Economy

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Department or Program


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EU, NAFTA, nation states, regional trade agreements, sub-national movements


This article contributes to the growing comparative scholarship on regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the dynamics they engender in national and local life. An objective of that scholarship is to identify patterns across RTAs. We investigate the following question: how have RTAs helped separatist and autonomous movements in their ambitions? We propose that both the left- and right-leaning movements have successfully appropriated, in positive and negative language, RTAs in their rhetoric to articulate not only their goals against their nation states but also their claims against those who oppose them. We identify four factors that might explain the observable differences in rhetorical approaches. The empirical evidence concerns the Quebecois nationalists in Canada, Convergència i Unió in Spain, the Zapatistas in Mexico and the Lega Nord in Italy. We conclude by reflecting on the possible local and regional impact of the observed rhetorical leveraging across RTAs. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.


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