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Ritual and Region

Ritual and Region

  • The Invention of ASEAN
  • Mathew Davies, Australian National University, Canberra

Why has ASEAN endured and why do members, many of whom remain comparatively weak and poor, continue to invest in the regional project? Existing answers, either that ASEAN is meaningless or that it has transformed regional affairs through the creation of shared values are both misplaced. Neither argument is empirically plausible. Instead, this Element argues that ASEAN has and continues to serve state interest through the creation of a shared ritual and symbolic framework. This framework has mitigated regional tension through the performance of regionalism, but has not fundamentally addressed the sources of that tension.

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