Featured Panels

The panel provides a platform for young researchers to debate on the egalitarian ideal and policies for future development in Asian countries. The study of democracy has adopted theories and research methods from Western schools and has been struggling to find new and unique definitions of Asian democratic states. The redistribution of power and wealth manipulate the development progress on equity. Corruption and omnipotence prevent the rise of effective governance. Lighting the hope for better political rights, the egovernment systems were introduced from South to North Asian states. The new network of transformative information is established among local governances (cities to cities), which is faster, easier to apply than among central governments. The movement from grass-roots organizations intervenes deeply into sustainable development progress. Although human rights issues continue to drag away at the moral faith of democratic states on the continent; the rise of civil society, freedom on social media networks, and a number of NGOs and FBOs may create an advocacy coalition network among Asia countries.

Thus, the new color of democracy may happen in Asia. Researchers that are passionate about this dynamic continent still have plenty of space to build the theoretical frameworks, units of analysis, or innovative methodology to explore Asian political systems, understanding the Asian origins, characteristics, and changes. How are issues of good governance and accountability demonstrated in the region? Has public leadership been more creative in planning for the environment, urban land use, and transportation? The economic ivy tower is getting higher significantly in Asian states; whereas, the development of public management tools and the institutionalization process is yet compatible.

Despite the recent global economic slowdown, the Asia-Pacific remains a bright spot in an otherwise mixed picture, with a number of economies displaying impressive growth in recent years. Economic, institutional, and technological developments are having profound effects on the nature of trade and integration within the Asia-Pacific region. Engagement of SMEs in the global economy, the emergence of global value chains, the growth of digital commerce, and the increased importance of services in the region are all connected to this growing regional integration.

In recent decades, the number of trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific has increased greatly, stimulating the economies of the region, prompting reforms, and improving livelihoods. The success of current regional trade agreements such as CPTPP, RCEP, and FTAAP will have long-term implications for regional economic 5 growth and integration, particularly in terms of setting rules for future economic liberalization. This has, however, been thrown into disarray by the withdrawal of the US from TPP, perhaps reflecting a wider skepticism about the benefits of free trade and globalization. There are also issues of promotion of national economic development balanced against maintaining economic sovereignty.

While there has been steadily increasing economic integration within the Asia-Pacific, there is still a disconnect between this economic interdependence and political or security cooperation. Despite the regional political successes of ASEAN over the past half a century, there are questions over its ability to contribute to regional political integration in its current form. In addition, old certainties in the international arena are rapidly disappearing; these political power shifts may influence the direction of further regional integration. Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy initiatives, for example, – the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — may have profound effects on regional integration through connectivity and infrastructure building. The region’s increasing dependence on China for trade also has the potential to lead to asymmetric interdependence, with an increasingly assertive Chinese government using its power to influence political outcomes. There is also the rise of India to consider; after a decade of unremarkable growth, the Indian economy is now booming. Might we see India begin to emerge as a counterbalance to Chinese influence in the area?

With the continued uncertainty over regional trade agreements, and rapidly shifting patterns of political and economic power, this would appear to be a critical juncture for the Asia-Pacific regional integration landscape.

History did not end in the 1990s as Fukuyama claimed. The train of history is rushing on and a great deal of the kinetic energy that is pushing it forward is now generated in the Asia-Pacific region. However, many of us have for much too long been effectively fukuyamaist. We consciously or subconsciously believed that we were living in a global village sustained by global cultural flows. Regardless if some scholars viewed this phenomenon as positive, neutral, or negative, very few people proposed alternative models or trajectories of social and cultural exchanges under globalization. Thus, we had concepts of transculturality (Welsch), flexibility (Ong), disjuncture and difference (Appadurai), fluid modernity (Bauman), hypermodernity (Augé), cultural proximity (Staubhaar, Iwabuchi), McDonaldization (Ritzer), and cultural imperialism and orientalism (Said).

We were also often provided with grounded analyses in the organizational and economic logics of creative industries, policies of the nations that promote or hinder cultural flows, and the media convergence and surging demand for regionalized/orientalised/occidentalized cultural products. Such insights are of crucial importance for a better understanding of the dynamics of transnational cultural flows that are receiving increasing attention in cultural policy studies, creative industries research, cultural studies, and regional studies. However, we can clearly see that they are unable to transcend Castell’s dichotomy of the space of flows and a place of space. The slogan “Think globally, act locally” perfectly expresses one of the most important problems of cross-cultural exchanges under neoliberal globalization. We lose sight of the real community – the political community. Our attention is divided and directed to the personal side like the family and locality or to the global side like the planet and humanity, thus we waste energy on reflections that are too narrow or too broad.

As Slavoj Zizek often warns, under globalization the eternal marriage between democracy and capitalism is approaching divorce. The concept of a liberal globalization is failing as we can clearly see that new walls and restrictions are emerging everywhere. Money and goods circulate freely, but people and ideas become less and less free to move. The idea of a secular republic that creates a neutral public sphere for people of different cultures, religions, and worldviews is crumbling before our eyes as societies become more polarized and their members antagonized. Cultural others, carried with the global flows that were a source of inspiration and objects of fascination, are again viewed as dangerous and unwelcome intruders.

We call for submissions of theoretical and research papers that use perspectives and cases of the AsiaPacific region to rethink the role of globalization, multiculturalism, cosmopolitism, and concepts like l’esprit général and Leitkultur (Tibi). It is worth adding that as Rorty wrote we are likely to get more interesting, and more practically useful, cross-cultural comparisons if we supplement dialogues between our respective theoretical traditions with dialogues between our respective traditions of ani-theory. We should also try to look for a mezzo-level of analysis of cultural and social flows that oppose the neoliberal fluid global and the reactionary traditionalist local. There is a great demand for a new understanding of East-West, North-South relations and also relations within the Asia-Pacific region in the wake of the rise of China and India.

This section calls for papers organized around the intersection of globalization and civil society. Seeking to build on existing literature and move the conversation forward, the panel hopes to create discussions that extend and think through the notions of globalization and civil society.

The concept of a civil society has had a lengthy development with roots that start in the early philosophical debates concerning the state’s role. The discussion has also been notably western as well as state oriented. The classic idea of a civil society is discussed as having a role in the social protection of individual and property rights. More recent considerations of civil society have dealt with the concept of pluralist activity and a public sphere of social interaction. Within this western context, contemporary civil society has been given certain specific attributes. These include a set of norms of operation such as equality; participation; tolerance and political inclusion; sphere of individual-state voluntary activity; and an ultimate goal of individual happiness. Current research of civil society has also centered on the relationship of democracy and civil society. While there is disagreement about whether civil society is a precondition to democracy and if so how, most seem to agree that there is some relationship or linkage. Globalization is commonly associated with the apparent shrinking of the world as we know and experience it. As a phenomenon predicated on interconnectivity, plurality, and interdependence, globalization and its consequences have a worldwide reach – socio-economic, political, cultural, ecological – and in academia co-opts all disciplines. In the current socio-economic research, globalization, as a concept, has two primary areas of concern. In one set of debates, globalization is used, implicitly and explicitly, to refer to multilateral trade. Liberalization and governmental trade policies are the focus of concern. In another set of debates, globalization is regarded more as a microeconomic phenomenon, driven by the strategies and behavior of corporations. Changing dynamics of global competition and international competitiveness — among firms, as well as among countries and regions — are the main focus of the debate.

We support submissions of both empirical and theoretical presentations that seek not only to build on current formulations of globalization and civil society, but also shed light on singular contexts or comparative and regional explorations. The panel aims to acquire various outlooks and contexts for a productive exchange that moves the concept of ‘globalization and civil society’ forward.

The understanding of regional conflict and cooperation per se draws on our knowledge of the regional architecture. Accordingly, order in the region has been understood, in terms of the prevalence of self-interest and resilience of institutions, or as a concept that has been negotiated and is continuously renegotiated (Goh, 2013). In simpler terms, within the material and ideational domains, and in trying to explain security, the former subscribes to scientific and positivist approaches; and the latter, to philosophical, sociological, and constitutive ones (Buzan & Hansen, 2009). At the height of the sharpening of complex challenges confronting the region ranging from a plethora of traditional and non-traditional concerns, the conference aims to encourage fresh interpretations on the dynamics of actors, particularly of powers, in pursuit of security and prosperity.

Among the wide range of issues having systemic impact include the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea. An earlier postulation remains relevant in claiming that while emphasis is given on powers creating and managing regions, to consider local responses in terms of resistance and/or the socialization of powers is equally as important (Acharya, 2007). Thus, in the Asia-Pacific, while the US preserves its preponderance through either competition or accommodation among major powers, ASEAN retains its centrality. Depending on the differences of our ontological standpoints, we provide explanations—the thinking and rethinking of international politics (Wendt, 1999).