EU and ASEAN: World Regions as Ecumenes in the Making?
Fri 11:00-12:30 Room 0.18
- Nadine Lobner Superior Institute of Social and Political Sciences
- Paulo Castro Seixas Universidade de Lisboa
- Andrea Valente Institute of Social and Political Sciences
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ASEAN-EU Cooperative Security: Is It Sustainable for Peacebuilding in Southeast Asia?
Jonathan Eli Libut Universite Catholique de Louvain
Southeast Asia by global comparison is a region prone to intractable and protracted conflicts, but since the creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), inter- and intra-state conflicts in the region have declined. However, ASEAN lacks a strong institutional peace engagement mechanism necessary for the elimination of potential triggering factors for conflict relapses and recurrences. The European Union (EU) and ASEAN have formed multilateral platforms for security dialogue and have established the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, leading to the development of a cooperative security that aims to address both traditional and non-traditional security threats in the region. This cooperative security provides both optimistic and precarious trajectories in the peacebuilding dynamics of Southeast Asia depending on the interplay between the asymmetrical capacities and expectations in the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, the existing influence of ASEAN’s Non-Interference Principle, and the resiliency of populist and authoritarian regimes in the region.
Cross-border Micro-Regionalism in the EU and ASEAN: Strengthening Regionalism from Below?
Elisabetta Nadalutti Université de Lille
Jürgen Rüland University of Freiburg
A concomitant of the rapid globalization of the last three decades is the emergence of a global governance system that observers see as differentiating vertically and horizontally. In its vertical dimension it is subdivided into a hierarchy of levels, horizontally into policy regimes in a wide array of issue areas. Part of this institutional hierarchy – and the key concern of the envisaged paper - are micro-regional cross-border cooperation schemes. While these schemes proliferated in Europe throughout the 1990s, they also became part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s (ASEAN) institutional ecology at around the same time. Yet, both global governance research as well as regionalism studies, have largely neglected this new institutional phenomenon. Existing studies focus on single cases, are in their overwhelming majority undertheorized and treat cross-border micro-regionalism as detached from other levels of regional and global governance.
Milk Tea Alliance: social media and political activism
Nuno Canas Mendes Instituto do Oriente/University of Lisbon
My presentation will focus on Milk Tea Alliance (MTA), a movement created with one single purpose: containing China and all forms of autocracy. Uniting Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand (against the Military Junta) and then Myanmar (after February 2021 coup), the protests are made especially made through social media, hashtags and memes, avoiding physical violence in the streets and making campaign for democracy. In Southeast Asia this kind of phenomena are rare. Milk Tea Alliance reinforced the links between the countries of the region and contributed to the development of an identity leverage. In a certain way, transposing this type of movement to Europe reinforces the idea that “modern wars” are fought through social media and whether in ASEAN or EU this kind of civil society manifestation can be oriented to erode and demolish all kinds of sharp power. How volatile or firm, spontaneous or organized, efficient or pointless the MTA is or similar movements (eg, Me too or Black Lives Matter) remains to be seen. The presentation will provide a description of MTA origins and development and a reflection on its impact in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar’s Post-coup Civil War: An Existential Crisis for the ASEAN Ecumene?
David Camroux Sciences Po
The ratifying of the ASEAN Charter in 2008, gave it a legal personality and, also, sanctified the fundamental principle of non-interference while downplaying the promotion of human rights and democracy. The concept of “ASEAN centrality” was also legitimized. Some 12 year later, through a policy of constructive engagement, ASEAN could congratulate itself on contributing to the democratic transition in Myanmar which saw a quasi-democratic hybrid regime established. In this context, the coup d’état of 1st February 2021 in Myanmar, and the ensuing civil war, is increasingly seen as presenting an existential crisis threating the Association. Following the refusal of the military junta to apply any of a five-point consensus agreed to in April 2021, the Myanmar junta has been excluded from ASEAN summits and the spectre of the country’s exclusion being raised. This paper explores three themes. The first is the tension between the non-interference principle and the seventh of the Charter’s purposes and principles, the promotion of human rights and democracy. This it is argued has contributed to an “expectations-capability gap”. Secondly it examines “ASEAN centrality” as a form of declaratory posturing. Finally, it argues that observing “the forest” of this regional organization as a totality has diverted attention from “the trees” (i.e. the regimes of individual member states). As these are mainly authoritarian or semi-authoritarian, they have no particular interest, or willingness, to support the democratic aspirations in one of Association’s member states.
This panel is about understanding the EU and ASEAN as International Regions in the Making. We aim at moving beyond the scientifically traditional economic-political explorations, towards a deeper understanding of social reality constructions that strongly contribute to the making-of-the world in the 21st century. Global dynamics, which are more intrinsic and complex than ever through the information age and network society, lead to new reality constructions within space and time. We argue that these global dynamics are in need of translations, which therefore enable an interaction compromise between top-down and bottom-up: political decision makers on one side, social actors and their identity building on the other side. Within this world-at-large matter which remains rather unexplored in socio-cultural debates, we aim at creating a constructive multidisciplinary debate about how social actors contribute to the shaping of shared world(s) beyond national borders.
Therefore, this panel targets the two main global players of the 21st century - both in economicpolitical and socio-cultural terms: the EU and ASEAN. Both regions provide a very rich ground of national diversities and identities which are in need of translation(s), through which the construction of transnationally shared human spaces will be emphasized: different Ecumenes in the Making. We invite social scientists from all fields who focus on case studies and conceptual frameworks that concern the understanding of the EU and ASEAN as ground(s) for mutual understanding between different nations, identities, realities and imaginations, potentially contributing to a narrative of an intra- and transregional togetherness. These can be about pop culture ideologies, social movements, a current Zeitgeist, beyond border imaginations… and others, which reveal the building of international regions from bottom-up as a constructive response to top-down dynamics. The EU and ASEAN are - due to their global relevance on innumerable levels - a rich ground for grasping and debating the future of humanity: Beyond border interactions and worldviews for promoting conviviality.