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Department of European Studies and Modern Languages

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Dr Gian Luca Gardini

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Dr Gian Luca Gardini is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Latin American Politics in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies (POLIS). He is Director of Studies for the Politics master programmes at POLIS (Euromaster, MAIR, MIREP, MAIS & MRes). He is also the Coordinator of the Bath Latin American Network (BATLAM) and served as Deputy Director of the European Research Institute - ERI - (2007-2010)

Dr Gardini joined the University of Bath in 2006. He graduated in International and Diplomatic Affairs, cum laude, from the University of Trieste, and obtained his MPhil and PhD in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in European Studies from the Italian Centre for International Economic Cooperation. His main research interests cover the International Relations of Latin America, international organization, regional integration, foreign policy formation and issues of international power, order and institutions. His works have been published in the UK, Europe, North and Latin America. Dr Gardini previously taught at the University of Cambridge, he was visiting Scholar at the Universities of Belgrano and Brasilia and a visiting Lecturer at Shandong University, PRC. He is currently Associate Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London and Erasmus Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of Bologna and Udine in Italy. He also acted as a practitioner of International and EU affairs. He was project manager for several EU consulting firms, Representative to the EU of the Italian Confederation of Industry, and International Trade Advisor to EUROCHAMBRES, the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Office hours: Please book a slot via email (glg20@bath.ac.uk). Office location: 1WN 4.2a





GL Gardini and PW Lambert (Eds), Latin American Foreign Policies. Between Ideology and Pragmatism, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2011


In recent years several Latin American countries have adopted a more assertive and autonomous stance in their foreign policy. The growing rejection of neo-liberalism as an ideological dogma seems to have given space to more pragmatic stances in favour of national interests. Whilst ideological discourse continues to be directed towards both domestic and international audiences with varying intensities and tones, it appears to be combined with clearly pragmatic policies and aims. This book reviews the foreign policy of eleven Latin American countries and argues that a combination of pragmatism and ideology characterises contemporary Latin American approaches to international relations. It analyses whether this is a permanent or contingent feature, what factors affect the mix of pragmatism and ideology, and whether this is an identifiable new pattern of foreign policy in Latin America


"Gian Luca Gardini and Peter Lambert's collection takes an innovative approach to interamerican international relations and
examines foreign policy design from the side of the individual Latin American countries, collating the studies in a volume to enable a regional perspective. The editors have lined up a range of distinguished contributors to discuss an impressive
range of countries'. [...] The variety of authors, ranging from the United States to Latin America, Canada, and Europe, provides a rich and pluralistic analysis. [...] Gardini's chapter on regional integration is a particularly excellent contribution. [...] The text is both engaging and rich, rendering the volume a most welcome addition to the international relations literature. The book is excellent for students of the international relations of Latin America, scholars, and those involved in the more practical side of policy development and implementation in the region. Gardini and Lambert's use of an innovative analytical framework renders the volume a most important contribution to the understanding of contemporary interamerican relations". - Benedict Hayes, Latin American Politics and Society, 55:1, 2013, pp. 176-178

"This volume chronicles the coming of age of Latin American foreign policy in the past two decades. Rare among edited volumes, the authors use the same framework to analyze the foreign policies of 11 Latin American countries. In the new millennium as Latin Americans define their own future, the Gardini and Lambert book is indispensable"' - Robert A. Pastor, Professor at American University and Former National Security Advisor for Latin American Affairs

"This timely and thorough volume addresses the fascinating and much overlooked component of Latin American foreign policies in the current globalized era. We are used to believing that Latin America is always on the receiving end of diplomacy, but this volume's well-researched contributions force us to reconsider our assumptions." - Russell Crandall, Professor of international politics, Davidson College and author of The United States and Latin America after the Cold War

"A volume such as this one is long overdue. In the first decade of the 21st century, unprecedented domestic political change and a shift in global power structures allowed Latin American states to greatly enhance their global presence, both individually and collectively. Gardini and Lambert dissect this process by bringing together wide-ranging case studies of the recent foreign policies of 11 key Latin American states. The line-up of distinguished contributors is impressive, and the result is a volume that subtly analyses the tradeoffs between ideology and pragmatism in regional policy making. The book will prove useful to academics and policy makers alike."- Timothy J. Power, Director, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford

"One of the most valuable assets among the many of this book is the enduring quality of the overall framework that serves as the basis for analysis throughout the volume."- David Scott Palmer, Professor of International Relations, Boston University





GL Gardini, The Origins of Mercosur, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2010


The processes of democratization and regionalization in South America ran parallel to one another between 1985 and 1991. However, the nature of this relationship has been historically ambiguous. This book explores the diplomatic history of the formation of Mercosur and analyzes the precise place of democracy in the process. At the methodological level, a combination of hitherto unexamined documents and extensive interview material makes for a novel oral history approach to diplomatic studies. At the theoretical level, a melding of cognitive approaches to foreign policy making and realist theory of international relations provides a nuanced but systematic explanation of events.


"The origins of Mercosur and the nature of the rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina on which Mercosur was built have been neglected. It is this gap that this well-researched and well-written book seeks to fill – and succeeds in filling. [..] The historical account gives a crisp overview of the history of relations between Brazil and Argentina. [...] Full of insightful arguments and suggestive lines of analysis". - Andrew Hurrell, Oxford University, The Journal of Latin American Studies, 44:3, August 2012, pp. 599-601

"A work of notable originality that makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of the politics of regionalization. I admire what Gardini has achieved." - Philippe Schmitter, Professorial Fellow of Political Science, European University Institute and 2009 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science

"Gardini has achieved a thorough and persuasive analysis of the political, economic, and social conditions that shaped the Argentine-Brazilian strategic agreement and later led to the creation of Mercosur. His study places equally in prespective the interest in defending reacquired democracy in the Southern Cone and the weight of economic factors and interests. The book exhaustively explores the ultimate reasons for the end of indifference, or even confrontation, between the two bigger economies in South America." - Roberto Lavagna, Minister of the Economy of Argentina 2002-2005

"The level of details that Gardini provides, the care with which he considers the different opinions in the literature and between his respondents, and the caution and clarity with which he writes are all convincing. Excellent revisioninst history." - Geoffrey Hawthorn, Formerly Professor of International Politics, University of Cambridge

"This is exceptionally well-grounded, both empirically and theoretically [...] The methodology used is of great relevance: without pre-established positions, seeking out the written sources and valuing in-depth interviews. The fact that he gives credit to certain idealist principles and recognises the role of ideas and values whilst not disregarding the significance of interests, demonstrates an excellent handling of the theoretical tools, without any sign of misuse." - Tullo Vigevani, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Sao Paulo State University.



Latin America in the 21st Century


GL Gardini, L'America Latina nel XXI Secolo, Carocci, Roma, 2009
GL Gardini, Latin America in the 21st Century, Zed Books, London,


Twenty-first century Latin America is a vast continent, rich in history, culture and political and social experimentation.
This book analyses contemporary developments in Latin America adopting an analytical framework based on three tensions: rhetoric vs. pragmatism, unity vs. diversity, and change vs. continuity. These tensions are especially evident at the three interconnected levels that define the structure of the book: the state, the region and the international position of Latin America.
At the state level, leaders such as Lula of Brazil or Chavez of Venezuela embody a renewed intellectual autonomy in the continent but there are significant discrepancies between their discourse and their actions. At the regional level, while a consensus emerges over Latin American unity as the only way towards development, the existence of several competing schemes of regional economic and political integration, such as MERCOSUR, ALBA and UNASUR reflect the actual diversity of the continent. At the global level, on the one hand, elements of change such as the rise of Brazil, the availability of non-traditional partners like China are evident; on the other, the search of triangular relations, with the EU or China as an alternative to the US, and the crucial political, economic and ideational role of Washington represent traits of continuity with the recent and less recent past.
Overall, it is argued, Latin America has never been so well-off, so autonomous, so effective in its quest for endogenous development and so well positioned in the world as it is at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

REVIEWS of the Italian edition:

"This book is valuable not only to experts and scholars in Latin American and EU external relations but to all those interested in understanding the political and international relations of this fascinating part of the world. The book exhaustively examines the politics of the countries of Latin America at the beginning of the new millennium". - The International Spectator, June 2010.

"While the subject is complex, the reading is easy. The book represents a complete text for those looking for a 360° overview of the social, political and international situation in this area". Affari Internazionali. Book of the month April 2010.

"The book combines a pleasant and accessible reading with scientific rigour. It is suitable for both the general reader interested in contemporary international affairs and for those with a specific interest in Latin America". - Friuli nel Mondo, February 2010.

PRAISE for the English Edition (2012): Latin America in the 21st Century

"[…] an approachable, lucid and readable introduction to contemporary issues in Latin America. The book has the merits of making complex issues comprehensible without distorting them and of placing questions raised by social scientists in a clear context of contemporary history". Christopher Abel, Reader in Latin American History, University College, London.

"The book has a strong and highly relevant analytical framework (rhetoric vs. pragmatism, unity vs. diversity, and change vs. continuity) and is innovative in its approach. It combines academic rigour with an impressive breadth of coverage". Peter W. Lambert, Senior Lecturer in Latin American Politics, University of Bath, and formerly President of the UK Society of Latin American Studies (SLAS).

Exporting Bath model & philosophy

Postgraduate students at Shandong University, PRC, in November 2006. The European Research Institute is a pioneer in EU-China Programmes.

Promoting academic debate

The 2007 Political Studies Association (PSA) annual Conference was held in Bath. Dr Gardini, local organiser, with PSA Director J. Arthurs.

Linking academia and practice

Dr Di Bernardo, formerly UN high official and Dr Gardini on a cooperation mission of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region to Santa Maria, Brazil, 2004.

Excellence in research

Research & dissemination: Dr Gardini at the panel on Mercosur during the 7th ISA CISS Millennium Conference in Bucaco, Portugal, June 2007.

Lecturing is an enriching experience

The excitement of learning and teaching, even more so overseas. Dr Gardini lecturing at Shandong University, Jinan, PRC, 2006.

Latin America and International Relations

The Bath Latin American Network is the focal point for Latin Americanists in Bath. Dr Gardini was its founder and is currently its coordinator.