Viewed from the
realist perspective of mainstream international political economy, economic and
elite-based political integration are the keys to building a region; “soft” or “normative”
questions of identity can be ignored.
Contesting that view, Dr. Pietsch will argue that research on
regionalism, especially in Southeast Asia, could benefit from a focus on the
nature and role of national and regional identity in that process. Compared
with the growing body of scholarship on European identity as a means of
understanding “Europeanization,” regional identity in Southeast Asia is still
underexplored. Addressing this gap is important especially in relation to issues
of democratization such as human rights, migrant labor, access to citizenship,
environmental sustainability, gender equality, and corruption. These questions
necessarily invoke national cultural and political values and their
implications for regional identity.
Drawing on relevant
theories, Dr Pietsch will use AsiaBarometer data
to examine public opinion on democratization, national identity, and regional
cooperation in Southeast Asia. Her preliminary findings underscore the need to
broaden scholarship on regionalism in Southeast Asia to encompass both cultural
and political manifestations of identity. In addition, she will show how
identity helps explain why ASEAN-style regionalism is often thought by analysts
to have succeeded in economic and security terms but to have failed in the
consciousness of Southeast Asians themselves.
Pietsch is a senior lecturer in political science
in the Australian National University’s School of
Politics and International Relations. She studies broad patterns of
social and political behaviour in Australia and East Asia. Recent publications
include Dimensions of Australian Society (co-authored,
2010), and "Generational Change: Regional Security and Australian Engagement
with Asia," The Pacific Review (co-authored, 2010).