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CfP | 7th conference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (2 -5 July 2013, Lisboa)

Democratizing Regionalism? Civil Society and Regional Integration in Southeast Asia

Virtually all regional organizations including the European Union struggle with what critics regard as a glaring “democratic deficit.” The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is no exception. Its detractors have time and again denounced its seeming elitism and state-centeredness. The obvious democratic defects of regional organizations have opened up a new field for multi- and interdisciplinary democratization studies. No longer exclusively focusing on national polities, democratic practices are now increasingly examined in the realm of international, transnational and regional politics. They are also reaching beyond the long-term bias of democratization research which predominantly focused on the level of institutions and state-to state relations and addresses attempts at “democratization from below”.

The proposed Panel seeks to join this debate. It departs from the observation that since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/1998 Southeast Asian civil society organizations spearheaded increasingly vociferous demands to democratize regional governance in Southeast Asia. The debate on the ASEAN Charter intensified these calls. Yet, it is highly contentious what various stakeholder groups mean when they propagate a more “people-oriented” or “people-centred” ASEAN. These concepts may stand for the empowerment of broad popular sectors, but they may also conceal efforts to contain and control the emergence of a more “participatory regionalism” (Acharya).

Panel organizers invite papers studying the ideational roots of ASEAN’s participatory discourses, the functions and actual performance of existing institutionalized channels for participation including CSO forums such as the now defunct ASEAN People’s Assembly (APA) or the Asian People’s Forum (APF/ACSC), the region’s transnational parliamentary association AIPA, and regional level interactions between governments and CSOs in policy fields such as human rights, labor migration and environmental issues.


The EuroSEAS Conference will be held in Lisboa, Portugal, from the 2nd to the 5th July, 2013. The host institution will be the School of Social and Political Sciences of the Technical University of Lisboa (ISCSP/UTL).

Please submit your paper proposal including an abstract (between 200 and 400 words)  to the two panel organizers no later than   October 31, 2012.


Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rüland:

Chair in Political Science at the University of Freiburg, Department of International Relations

Chair of the project Southeast Asian studies in Freiburg “Grounding Area Studies in Social Practice”


Stefan Rother:

Managing Editor of the International Quarterly for  Asian Studies and Research fellow at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute for socio-cultural research, Freiburg


E-Mail (please send your proposal to both organizers):

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