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Unity-in-diversity? Regional identity-building in Southeast Asia

Einheit-in-Diversität? Regionale Identitätsbildung in Südostasien
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Jönsson, Kristina

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Abstract The aim of this paper is to discuss the issue of regional integration and regional identity-building in Southeast Asia. The idea is to problematise the quest for a regional identity by relating the efforts of integration to the issues of multi-ethnicity, national identity-building and multicultural societies in times of globalisation. The article consists of three broad themes intending to capture the complexity of regional identity-building: regionalism and regional cooperation; tensions by diversity; and dilemmas of regional identity-building in multi-ethnic societies illustrated by Laos and Burma/ Myanmar. This analysis is explorative in character and attempts to combine different bodies of literature in order to better understand some of the contradictory processes related to regional identity-building in Southeast Asia. A tentative conclusion is that without an accommodating, inclusive and pluralistic society, the creation of a common regional identity will remain an elitist political project.
Keywords Southeast Asia; Laos; Myanmar; ASEAN; regionalism; regional integration; identity formation; regional identity; multicultural society; ethnic conflict; national identity; cooperation; pluralism; complexity; society; globalization; ethnic relations
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy
Method applied research; empirical; qualitative empirical
Free Keywords Political Science; Southeast Asia; Burma/ Myanmar; regionalism; regional integration; identity-building; 2000-2010
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 41-72
Journal Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 29 (2010) 2
ISSN 1868-4882
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works