Fredrik Söderbaum is a professor of peace and development research at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, and an Associate Research Fellow at the United Nations University – Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), in Bruges, Belgium. For more than two decades, he worked with Ian Taylor on regionalism and politics in Africa, which resulted among many other things in Regionalism and uneven development in southern Africa. The case of the Maputo Development Corridor (2003) and Afro-regions. The dynamics of cross-border regionalism in Africa (2008).
This article reflects on Ian Taylor’s legacy for comparative regionalism which has not received as much recognition as it rightfully deserves. Some of Ian’s most important contributions to this research field evolve around two themes: firstly, neoliberalism and the relationship between globalisation and regionalisation, and, secondly, regionalisation beyond the rhetoric of regional organisations. This piece reflects on his article of 2003 published in the Review of International Political Economy, entitled ‘Globalization and regionalization in Africa: reactions to attempts at neo-liberal regionalism’. It also situates Ian’s contributions within a broader context and refers to Sarah Whiteford’s excellent contribution on Ian’s impact on regionalism studies. Finally, the last two sections reflect on Ian’s legacy as a field worker, as well as some of his personal traits.