ASEAN: Institutionalizing Regionalism in Southeast Asia
Scholarship on regionalism is dominated by studies of the European Union (EU), which is thought to be the most successful realization of regionalism. However, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has the reputation of being “the most successful indigenously produced organization in the developing world” and has been in existence since 1967, remains understudied. There are few systematic studies of this organization; most are historical and descriptive in nature, and do not adequately analyze the organization through the frameworks used in political science and international politics. How does ASEAN fit or challenge the theoretical perspectives of realism and liberal internationalism? I argue that the existing scholarship does not consider the identity-building norms and practices that have contributed to the legitimacy and endurance of the organization. Both informal and formal structures and practices have helped to create an organization that has been critical in maintaining conflicts and promoting peace and stability in the region. --- The motivation and goal for this honors thesis is to provide a more systematic study of ASEAN norms, its socialization process, and identity-building initiatives. The contribution of this study is the inclusion of informal arrangements and the argument of a cultural commitment factor that constrains ASEAN and its role in regional order. This honors project shows how ASEAN institutionalized peace and stability in the Southeast Asian region and how it does not fit certain Western standards of interstate relations - mainly the rigid institutions of the EU. Despite the mixed successes for ASEAN and its member states, the existence of ASEAN serves as a foundation for Southeast Asia’s past, present, and future stability. --- Chapters 1 and 2 present the theoretical framework of regionalism by adapting the concept of a concert of power into a regional organization and explain what Southeast Asia regionalism is. Chapter 3 draws on specific cases that allow us to examine ASEAN as a security organization and its ability to manage intra-ASEAN conflict. Chapter 4 will examine ASEAN as an economic organization and its capacity to integrate its members and external states into concords of prosperity in pursuit of efficiency, growth, and harmonization. Chapter 5 concludes by highlighting the key theme of sovereignty in regionalism and the implications for the future of the East Asia.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2011
- F&M Theses Collection