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Sandra Lavenex and Nicola Piper

Building on the distinction in the literature between more formal ‘regionalism’ as political institution-building and ‘regionalisation’ as transnational societal process, this chapter’s main argument is that the development of regional migration governance is the product of top-down and bottom-up dynamics. It is the interaction between the two that determines the form and the scope that migration governance takes in different regions. In addressing the dynamic and procedural character of regional migration governance beyond the static form of formal institutions, we present a multi-actor model of governance highlighting the multiplicity of organisations involved and thus different ways of interpreting what governance actually consists of and a more accurate characterisation of the variety of governance forms we find in different regions. Moreover, by highlighting its multidimensional nature, we extend the debate on governance by developing a perspective beyond formal structures to the actual practice, as well as contestation, of the ‘governance project’.