To Be and Not to Be: The Question of Transborder Civic Activism and Regionalization in Mexico. A Critical Account of Neo-Gramscian Perspectives
ABSTRACT This article analyses how neo-Gramscian IPE and IR traditions look at the transborder agency of civil society actors in the making and re-making of regional orders. In particular, the article identifies key limitations of neo-Gramscian analyses that derive, on one hand, from how agency is understood and, on the other, from an insufficient attention to complex and paradoxical features of transborder collective action. Having as a case study three examples of Mexican TCA opposing market-driven regionalization policies during the 1990s, my empirical observations suggest that diversity and ambivalences of collective transborder action need to be addressed as first order questions. Despite this, neo-Gramscian accounts on transborder forms of collective action have either emphasized that: a) agency is conditioned by powerful structures of the global political economy; or b) that agency is making up these structures. While not rejecting this altogether but attempting to go further, this article advances a critique of both ‘emphases’ on agency and some alternatives.