The Environment: Securing the Commons (WP1)

Leader • Chayan Vaddhanaphuti | Co-Leader • Tomasz Kaminski

The University of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and the University of Lodz, Poland, lead the team research on the extent to which competition over regional ‘commons’ – in the milieus of sea, river, land, forest and air – is reaching a tipping point, with potentially wide-ranging consequences for the region’s security. Failure to face transnational environmental challenges could undermine ASEAN’s legitimacy.

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The Economy: Competing Models and Practices of Capitalism (WP2)

Leader • Edmund Terence Gomez | Co-Leader • Pietro Masina

The University of Malaya, Malaysia, and the University of Naples L’Orientale, Italy, lead study to assess development models adopted in ASEAN economies and to determine the impact of locally- as well as globally-driven economic change on the legitimacy of these models and their underlying political frameworks. Module 1: Competing models of developmental capitalism, involves an assessment of the varieties of capitalism employed in specific institutional contexts, structured by the state, domestic enterprises of different sorts and global engagements; Module 2: Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial parks, will undertake a review of regional production networks examining whether integration has supported or hampered Southeast Asian countries from pursuing industrial upgrading; and Module 3: Labour mobility across different regimes and social security frameworks, involves an appraisal of ‘circulatory migration’, the lives of industrial workers (and, specifically, industrial workers) after they cease to participate in industry, and the consequences and implications for social security policy of the precarization of labour.

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The State: Contesting the Liberal State (WP3)

Leader • Tomas Larsson | Co-Leader • Pham Quynh Phuong

Southeast Asia’s political history has been marked by the emergence of states characterized by a great diversity of regime forms, institutional capacities, and ideological orientations. This diversity is a product of the region’s ethnic and religious heterogeneity, varied colonial experiences, the uneven impact of Cold War-era conflicts, and of differing patterns of economic development. Amidst this diversity it is perhaps not surprising that many Southeast Asian states continue to face serious questions concerning their claims to political legitimacy.

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Identity: Forging Regional Belonging (WP4)

Leader • Volker Grabowsky | Co-Leader • Jayeel Serrano Cornelio

The integration of Southeast Asia is typically framed in economic terms. Its institutional configurations, especially those related to ASEAN, are couched in intergovernmental agreements, increase mobility and the circulation of goods and professionals in key areas. These agreements take advantage of the region’s productive sectors composed of a highly educated youth, aspirational middle class households, and skilled professionals. The awareness that ASEAN integration is thus perceived as elitist serves as a backdrop to our Work Package’s interest in the role of non-state actors in fostering alternative regional identities. More specifically, WP4 investigates different modes of alternative regionalist projects in which non-state actors such as NGOs, transnational corporations, and various types of social networks and movements are involved. This form of regional integration that takes place from below influences the ways citizens think about themselves as members of an ASEAN or Southeast Asian community. It also has an impact on the strategies they deploy to collectively address issues confronting the region today.

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The Region: ASEAN’s Contested Centrality (WP5)

Leader • Sophie Boisseau du Rocher | Co-Leader • Moe Ma Ma & Sophie Boisseau du Rocher

This WP examines the evolution of the ASEAN project within the global geopolitical and geo-economic context, with particular attention to the Association’s legitimacy – both in the process of its enlargement, past and present – and in the face of, what has been argued, is a crisis of globalisation. This WP will examine the dynamics of integration and disintegration, namely the centrifugal and centripetal forces, impacting on the Association in multi-lateral, ‘mini-lateral’ and bi-lateral contexts. We propose to examine the perception and reality of ASEAN as an institution by in four research modules, examining the Association as such, membership experiences, and ASEAN within wider regional and global contexts.

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