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Regional Commonalities and Regional Identities: Forging a Normative Understanding of Southeast Asian Identity

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Baba, Gürol

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Abstract In the last two decades, most of the IR academia’s attention on Southeast Asian regionalism utilised constructivism and/or realism and has focused on ASEAN and its derivatives. This article aims to skew this angle by elaborating a possible relationship between Asian values and a normative understanding of Southeast Asian identity. The major reason for this article’s focus on a normative interpretation is that a practical application of Southeast Asian identity is not very achievable due to various ethnic, cultural, political, territorial, and historical diversities. While the region is diverse, there are also a number of commonalities among its states. Asian values, from a Confucian perspective, account for some of these commonalities. By using constructivists’ claims on both the links between norms and identity and the dynamic interaction between values and norms, this article argues that Asian values could contribute to the development of Amitav Acharya’s widely cited normative/ideational format of Southeast Asian identity. The article takes ASEAN identity as a case study and aims to show why a normative identity is more achievable than a practical identity among Southeast Asians, and how Asian values might contribute to the creation of this shared identity. (author's abstract)
Keywords Asia; Southeast Asia; identity; collective identity; regional identity; cultural identity; constructivism; social construction; social norm; value; value-orientation; ethnic structure; heterogeneity; ASEAN; economic relations
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 91-121
Journal Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 35 (2016) 1
ISSN 1868-4882
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs