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Palgrave Macmillan

ASEAN's Engagement of Civil Society

Regulating Dissent

ISBN 9781137359469
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific

ASEAN has embarked on an ambitious reform program, a key aspect being its inclusion of civil society organizations in policymaking. This "people-oriented" agenda parallels developments in regional and global governance institutions elsewhere, where civil society engagement is deemed necessary in addressing these institutions' "democracy deficit". Scholars have documented the expanded role of civil society organizations in global politics, however prevailing theoretical accounts overlook exactly why and how they are included in policymaking, and how their inclusion shapes political outcomes.
This groundbreaking book harnesses political economy analysis to explain this trend. Through the lens of ASEAN, it examines how social and political conflicts define participatory channels. Charting the specific modalities of civil society participation, Kelly Gerard demonstrates that ASEAN's "people-oriented" agenda builds legitimacy, while sidelining ASEAN's detractors. ASEAN's Engagement of Civil Society demonstrates why and how participatory policymaking is not inherently democratizing, instead creating new sites for contestation.

Kelly Gerard is Assistant Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests span political economy, social movements and governance in East Asia, and her work has been published in The Pacific Review, Contemporary Politics and Globalizations.

1. A 'People-Oriented' ASEAN?
2. Civil Society Consultations: Explaining Why and How
3. ASEAN and Associational Life in Southeast Asia
4. Civil Society Participation in Spaces Established by ASEAN
5. Civil Society Participation in Spaces Recognized by ASEAN
6. Civil Society Participation in 'Created Spaces'
7. Engaging Civil Society and Regulating Dissent


"In this timely, rigorously researched and theoretically informed work, Kelly Gerard analyses ASEAN's engagement with regional civil society, going beyond current writings that uncritically laud that engagement as indicative of progress towards participatory regionalism or simply dismiss such engagement as mere window dressing. Using Kanishka Jayasuriya and Garry Rodan's 'mode of political participation' approach that usefully distinguishes between participation, representation and contestation, the book confirms the rhetorical nature of ASEAN's engagement with civil society and, importantly, tells us why and how this has been accomplished. It is valuable reading for all those interested in understanding the intricacies and intrigues involved in ASEAN's journey towards participatory regionalism." - Helen E S Nesadurai, Monash University, Malaysia Campus
"A much-needed addition to the current literature on ASEAN, bringing into focus the significant relationships that ASEAN has fostered with civil society organizations in recent years. The book is a compelling case study of the inherent conservatism of ASEAN's engagements with civil society. Kelly Gerard deftly and rigorously exposes how rhetorical commitments to a more 'people oriented' ASEAN mask the extent to which engagements with civil society serve to legitimize the projects of marketization and liberalization being pursued by ASEAN elites. ASEAN's Engagement of Civil Society will prove a valuable source for anyone interested in the complexities and dilemmas facing civil society groups seeking to influence the agendas of international organizations." - Juanita Elias, University of Warwick, UK
"This book provides a sophisticated analysis of the participation of civil society organizations in ASEAN. Kelly Gerard's work provides a wealth of empirical analysis that will make it indispensable for those working on ASEAN. But this work is much more than that: it represents a substantive theoretical contribution to the analysis of civil society participation that provides fresh insights for those working on the relationship between non-state actors and governance institutions. This work is essential reading for students of regional and global governance." - Kanishka Jayasuriya, University of Adelaide, Australia
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