Democratization and Regional Identity in Southeast Asia

Juliet Pietsch, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, School of Politics and International Relations,Australian National University

RSVP required by April 30

Viewed from the realist perspective of mainstream international political economy, economic and elite-based political integration are the keys to building a region; “soft” or “normative” questions of identity can be ignored. Contesting that view, Dr. Pietsch will argue that research on regionalism, especially in Southeast Asia, could benefit from a focus on the nature and role of national and regional identity in that process. Compared with the growing body of scholarship on European identity as a means of understanding “Europeanization,” regional identity in Southeast Asia is still underexplored. Addressing this gap is important especially in relation to issues of democratization such as human rights, migrant labor, access to citizenship, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and corruption. These questions necessarily invoke national cultural and political values and their implications for regional identity.

Drawing on relevant theories, Dr Pietsch will use AsiaBarometer data to examine public opinion on democratization, national identity, and regional cooperation in Southeast Asia. Her preliminary findings underscore the need to broaden scholarship on regionalism in Southeast Asia to encompass both cultural and political manifestations of identity. In addition, she will show how identity helps explain why ASEAN-style regionalism is often thought by analysts to have succeeded in economic and security terms but to have failed in the consciousness of Southeast Asians themselves.

Monday, May 03, 2010 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor