Consensus and governance in Mercosur: the evolution of the South American security agenda

Andrea Oelsner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article constitutes a first exploration of the security governance of Mercosur, the common market of Latin America's Southern Cone. Drawing on securitization theory, the article argues that three major clusters of security issues have consecutively become the focus of the region's security agenda. First, prior to Mercosur's foundation and during the various processes of democratization in the region, the success of democratic transitions, the stabilization of civil-military relations and the region's insertion into the world economy were successfully securitized. At a second stage, more traditional issues associated with the use of military force gained centrality in the security agenda. Finally, and particularly since 11 September 2001, the region's security architecture was redesigned to accommodate 'new' security threats. Around the consensuses on these three issue-clusters, formal and informal structures of policy coordination have emerged, constituting a limited system of governance. Yet, though regional governance is admittedly weak, this article contends that the security consensuses and the emerging institutional structures that have ensued are contributing to forging a shared normativity in the Mercosur area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Mercosur
  • securitization
  • international security
  • Latin America
  • security governance
  • regional institutions
  • Peru
  • OAS


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