Digital Futures in Southeast Asia

Dr Aim Sinpeng1, Dr Ross Tapsell2, Dr Cheryll Soriano3, Mr YoungJoon Koh4

1University Of Sydney, University of Sydney, Australia, 2Australian National University, Australian National University, Australia, 3De La Salle Universsity, Manila, The Philippines, 4University of Sydney, University of Sydney, Australia

Chair: Dr Aim Sinpeng


Digital transformations in Southeast Asia have upended existing structures in societies and created new space for social, economic and political participation in unprecedented ways. Labour could move much more freely in a digitised and globalised world; voters have more avenues for engagement, and civil society has more channel to advocate for its cause. Yet, the outcomes of these new opportunities afforded by digital technologies have not always been beneficial to society as a whole. We explore social, economic, and political dimensions of digital transformation in Southeast Asia in comparative perspective. The papers in this panel represent original empirical research conducted in Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines and employing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. They are deeply concerned with how digital technologies have both empowered civil society, voters and labour on the one hand but also undermine democracy, human rights and labour protection on the other. Implications for the digital futures of Southeast Asia will be discussed in the social, political and economic realms.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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