Do Regional Multilateral Institutions Underpin Regional Security?

Professor Mark Beeson

The University West Australia, Perth, Australia

Professor Mark Beeson from the University of Western Australia considers whether the role of regional multilateral institutions is underpinning security. Have institutions such as ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum played a necessary part in promoting regional peace, or are wider systemic factors at work? Does the very definition of the region in question make a difference when trying to understand such issues? In an effort to understand this last question the possible role and development of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region is assessed.


Mark Beeson is Professor of International Politics at the University of Western Australia. Before rejoining UWA in 2015, he taught at Murdoch, Griffith, Queensland, York (UK) and Birmingham, where he was also head of department. Mark’s work is centred on the politics, economics and security of the broadly conceived Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of more than 150 journal articles and book chapters, and the founding editor of Critical Studies of the Asia Pacific (Palgrave). Recent books include, Institutions of the Asia-Pacific: ASEAN, APEC and Beyond, (Routledge, 2009, Securing Southeast Asia: The Politics of Security Sector Reform, (with Alex Bellamy, Routledge, 2008), Regionalism and Globalization in East Asia: Politics, Security and Economic Development, (Palgrave, 2007), and edited collections Issues in 21st Century World Politics (with Nick Bisley, Palgrave), and The Routledge Handbook of Asian Regionalism, Routledge (with Richard Stubbs).

The Prospect of Regionalism and Multilateralism in Asia

Professor Kai He

Professor Kai He from Griffith University would like to discuss the prospect of regionalism in the light of the new wave of multilateralism—what he calls “multilateralism 2.0”. After the 2008 GFC (Global Financial Crisis), major powers, instead of ASEAN, have actively engaged in multilateral institutions, such as TPP (the US under Obama), AIIB (China), and CPTPP (Japan). Professor He will examine how different role conceptions of states during the international order transition have shaped the various institutional balancing strategies in the era of multilateralism 2.0 in the Asia Pacific.


Kai He is Professor of International Relations at Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia. He is a visiting Chair Professor of International Relations at the Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, China (2018-2020). He is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow (2017-2020). He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program (2009-2010). He is the author of Institutional Balancing in the Asia Pacific: Economic Interdependence and China’s Rise (Routledge, 2009), Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in the Asia Pacific: Rational Leaders and Risky Behavior (co-authored with Huiyun Feng, Routledge, 2013), and China’s Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2016).

Is Regional Multilateral Institutions Underpinning Regional Security?

Professor Baogang He1

1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia

Professor Baogang HeDeakin University, will examine the roles of China-led regionalism in the context of US–China rivalry through the case studies of ASEAN plus 1 (China) regarding the South China Sea, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in particular explore the question of whether China-led regionalism has modified the logic of alliance politics by developing a hybrid and overlapping membership arrangement that blurs friend–enemy assumptions. The question of whether regionalism will continue to grow or decline in future Asia will be examined.


Baogang He is the Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Alfred Deakin Professor, Chair in International Relations, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts & Education, Deakin University. Graduated with PhD in Political Science from Australian National University in 1994, Professor He has become widely known for his work in Chinese democratization and politics, in particular the deliberative politics in China as well as in Asian politics covering Asian regionalism, Asian federalism and Asian multiculturalism.


Whither Regionalism in Asia?

Prof. Baogang He1, Professor  Shaun Breslin2, Professor  Kai He3, Professor  Mark  Beeson4

1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia, 2University of Warwick, Warwick, UK, 3Griffith University , Nathan, Australia, 4the University West Australia, Perth, Australia

Chair: Prof. Baogang He


Regionalism, once deemed the crown jewel of world politics, is in deep trouble. Brexit has been a devastating blow for the potential of regionalism in Europe and in Asia; and both Trump’s “America First” and Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative have marginalised the centrality of ASEAN as a regional actor. Is it possible to have “the Asia-Pacific minus the USA” when the Trump administration disengages from Asia-Pacific regional institutions as suggested by Pempel (2018)?  Has Asia developed what Kai He calls “contested multilateralism 2.0”? Has China took, and will China continue to take, a leadership role in building regional institutions? What is the prospect of regionalism in Asia when it has become an instrument for global power contestation between the USA and China? These questions will be discussed by four international relations scholars in this panel.


People’s Movement in Transition: Case of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

Souvik Lal Chakraborty

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

The people of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, India experienced a successful people’s movement against the Korean steel giant Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) from the year 2011-2016. In 2005 the Korean Steel giant POSCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Odisha to invest US$12 billion for building an integrated steel project in Odisha. The people of Jagatsinghpur were initially able to stall the project as the land acquisition process began and finally, in 2016, succeeded in removing POSCO from the project site. The government of Odisha is keen on supporting extractive industries and they decided to transfer the same land to another business conglomerate JSW Utkal Steel Limited in 2018. And yet again, Jagatsinghpur is turning into a ground of mass resistance – awaiting conflict between the people and the mighty Indian state. The objective of this paper is to explore the problems and prospects of a people’s movement which is in transition from one historical juncture to the other. In a social constructivist and interpretative perspective this paper will examine the social conditions and the complex relationship of several actors which enable these movements. This paper will explore the continuities and divergences between the previous movement and the current movement against JSW Utkal. It will also focus on the evolving nature of leadership in the current movement against JSW Utkal.


Souvik Lal Chakraborty completed his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Jadavpur University, India. After completing his undergraduate studies, Souvik was selected as an esteemed Young India Fellow (2012-13) to continue his Postgraduate Diploma in Liberal Arts. Souvik completed his Master’s in Democratic Governance and Civil Society from the University of Osnabrück, Germany as a DAAD Public Policy and Good Governance Scholar. Currently he is enrolled as a Doctoral Research Scholar at Monash University, Australia.
Souvik’s doctoral research will provide an in-depth analysis of people’s movement in India with specific focus on the eastern state of Odisha. This research will also analyse the developmental pathway India is currently following and how it is affecting the cultural identity of the marginalised and the tribal communities in the country. This research will also address new insights in context of people’s movement in India and the tenacious issues of injustice and inequality. Souvik’s research interests highlight environmental governance, human rights, social rights and regional politics of South Asia


Unveiled in Public: Religiosity and Democracy

Suzie Handajani

Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Anthropology, Indonesia

This paper examines the practice of unveiling among Indonesian youth. These are young women who strategically take off their veils in their daily lives. In the midst of rising public display of religiosity in Indonesia, it is interesting to see these practices of unveiling, either permanently, regularly or occasionally and the justification for doing so. It is surprising that some of these women provide a very religious excuse for doing not-so-religious practice (i.e. unveiling). I argue that this practice could indicate, in a subtle way, that religious pluralism exists in small pockets in society despite efforts to turn Islam into a homogenous practice. This way democracy finds its way through (un)religious practices and women are involved in voicing their difference of opinions through an avenue that seems unconventional. As Islam is turning more and more political, the practice of democracy seems to be more elusive as different points of view are seen as threats rather than mere opposition. However, micro-politics and daily practices may provide hope for the continuing practice of democracy.


Suzie Handajani is a lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, Universitas Gadjah Mada. Her field of interest is popular culture, gender and media. She has done research on gender and representation. She is currently researching beauty and lifestyle.

The Phantom of Rent-Seeking in Democratic Indonesia: Resource Governance at Sub-National Level

Poppy S. Winanti1 and Muhammad Djindan2

1Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of International Relations, Indonesia,

2Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia

The fall of Soeharto has marked a major political change in Indonesia which is mainly characterized by the broader implementation of democratization and decentralization. This article focuses on the changes, or the lack thereof, in extractive industries governance in the post authoritarian regime and its impact on the welfare of the local community. It is widely believed that decentralization has provided the sub-national government with a greater authority and thus is expected to create a better extractive industries governance. However, more than twenty years after reformasi we found that the political change in the form of decentralization in extractive industries governance does not necessarily create a more democratic extractive governance, let alone bring prosperity for the people as expected. The experience of some resource-rich regions shows that the failure of greater autonomy in decentralization is mainly caused by the fact that locally-based natural resources governance also provides more opportunities for local political actors to engage in rent-seeking activities. Despite the decentralization and greater autonomy in the governance of extractive industries, this article argues that there is a lack of meaningful democratic changes in this sector.


Poppy S. Winanti is a Senior lecturer at the International Relations Department, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM). Currently she also serves as a Non-Resident Fellow, Perth USAsia Centre. Her research interests cover global and regional trade relations in global political economy; conflict and political economy of natural resources and extractive industries; Indonesia’s economic diplomacy, and South-South Cooperation. She holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Glasgow. Her PhD thesis focused on developing countries compliance and non-compliance with the TRIPs Agreement. Poppy is the author of a number of publications, including as one of the contributors for a book chapter published by Routledge and Springer, editors of books published by Gadjah Mada University Press, and some journal articles. Her recent publications include regulatory framework on IPR in Indonesia; Indonesia-Australia trade relations in the Indo-Pacific Era; the politics of ASEAN cooperation; extractive industry, policy innovations and civil society movement in Southeast Asia.
Muhammad Djindan is a lecturer at the Department of Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia. Prior to assuming his current position, Djindan worked for more than five years in international development organizations such as Oxfam, UNDP, and GIZ in Indonesia. He has a bachelor degree in political science and a master degree in environmental policy from Wageningen University. His research focus is on sustainable natural resource use, extractive industries governance, and environmental policy.


Reconsidering Consociational Democracy: Twenty Years of Indonesian Democracy

Nanang Indra Kurniawan and Wawan Mas’udi

Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, Indonesia

How does consociational politics play a role in accommodating social and political cleavages in a society? How does power sharing facilitate sustainability of democracy? These questions have occupied the debate of democracy in post 2019 election in Indonesia. Following the growing tension due to political polarization during electoral processes, the elected president, Joko Widodo, embraces actors from various political spectrums into the government as part of his un-ideological power sharing strategy to ease down the tension. President Joko Widodo formed cabinet to accommodate almost all political cleavages including political opponents, old-class politics, emerging elites, and parochial representative (religion, ethnicity, and Java–non-Java categories). Various literatures in political science have been debating the role of consociation in democracy particularly in seeing whether power sharing is the fundamental element of democratic practices or, in reverse, the problem for democracy. On the one hand the proponents of consociation underline the importance of power sharing in a politically divided society to provide political stability, foundation of democratic development, and to avoid conflicts. On the other hand, the opponents argue that consociational politics encourages a politics of immobilism and reinforces elite dominance within their community as the elites who are accommodated within consociational politics are those who have vested interests in maintaining collective antagonism (O’Leary, 2012). This current phenomenon in Indonesia reminds us to the classic debate between Harry J. Benda and Herbert Feith, on whether the development of democracy should reconcile with Indonesia social context or it should be put in the principle of universalism. This paper will analyze current development of Indonesian democracy from the lens of consociation to understand the extent to which power sharing resolves political conflicts. We will provide critical analysis on the limits of consociational politics and its impacts on the sustainability of democracy in Indonesia.


Nanang Indra Kurniawa is a lecturer at Department of Politics and Government in Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Between 2001 and 2006, he involved in NGO activism at Institute for Research and Empowerment (IRE), Yogyakarta, as a researcher. His research focuses on natural resource politics, social movement, and state-making. He obtained his PhD from University of Melbourne with dissertation research on participatory mapping of customary land and state-making. He is currently the Program Coordinator of Resource Governance in Asia Pacific at Department of Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada.
Wawan Mas’udi is lecturer at the Department of Politics and
Government, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. He completed PhD at The Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne. His thesis is on Jokowi’s Path to Political Legitimacy in Solo. His main interest is on Political Populism and Welfare Politics. His most recent publications are: Welfare Politics in Indonesia (edited book with Cornelis Lay, Obor, 2018); Programmatic Politics and Voter Preference: The 2017 Election in Kulonprogo (with Nanang Indra Kurniawan, Contemporary South East Asia, 2017); and Creating Leadership Legitimacy in Post-Reform Indonesia (book chapter in Continuity and Change after Indonesia’s Reforms: Contributions to an Ongoing Assessment, ISEAS, 2019).   His current research projects is on Negative Campaign in 2019 Indonesian Presidential Election (collaborative project with Dave McRae, The Asia Institue, Unimelb) and The Indonesian Future Political Leaders (FISIPOL UGM).


Musyawarah-Mufakat and the Taming of a Political Mass

Agus Suwignyo

Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of History, Indonesia

This paper explores whether the formalized, traditionally rooted consensual democracy, known by Indonesians as musyawarah–mufakat, needs to be re-visited as to better understand the growing sense of citizenship of the Indonesian people over the past two decades. Musyawarat–mufakat stands as an ideology of the Indonesian state, thus it is legally binding for Indonesian citizens. With the renewed liberal democracy during the Reformasi period, musyawarah–mufakat as a mechanism of decision making has fallen under critical scrutiny in terms of its principal values. While the social dynamics of individual citizens has become qualitatively more and more compelling over time, in this article I argue that the collective nature of musyawarah–mufakat does represent the taming of the political mass that overrides the individuals’ sense of citizenship. Musyawarah–mufakat as a state ideology has promoted a collective type of citizenship imposing that decisions on public affairs have to be made consensually and unanimously. However, such values hardly conform with the mechanism of liberal democracy currently undertaking.


Agus Suwignyo is an assistant professor in History at the History Department, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta. He earned his doctorate degree from Leiden University, the Netherlands in 2012 on the teacher training in Java and Sumatra from 1890 to 1969. His recent publications include ‘Diffusionism in World History Teaching in Indonesia 1950 – 2006’ in World History Teaching in Asia: A Comparative Survey, ed. Shingo Minamizuka (Berkshire, 2019); ‘Gotong royong as social citizenship in Indonesia 1940s – 2014’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 50 (3), September 2019.


The Future of Indonesian Democracy: Views from Within

Dr Agus Suwignyo1, Dr Nanang Indra Kurniawan2, Dr Wawan Mas’udi3, Dr Poppy S. Winanti4, Dr Muhammad Djindan5, Dr Suzie Handajani6

1Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of History, , Indonesia, 2Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 3Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 4Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of International Relations, , Indonesia, 5Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 6Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Anthropology, , Indonesia

Chair: Dr Agus Suwignyo


While progressing in many extents, Indonesian democracy over the past twenty years has moved to tumultuous trajectories so paradoxical its future nobody knows. Political reforms, widening freedom of speech and law enforcement are convincingly improving. However, those who live inside Indonesia also witness and experience that identity politics, oligarchy pattern of leadership, and systematic challenges to corruption eradication have gained supports in the recent years which nonetheless are embedded in a democratic mechanism. In this panel, speakers—all Indonesians—will discuss from the insiders’ view the future of Indonesian democracy by examining the working of its ideology, practices of governance, and life style manifestation of the Indonesian youth. The main question is: why should Indonesia defend or give up democracy? The sources of data being analysed include archival texts, surveys, interviews and ethnographic observations. Digging into both conceptual and empirical aspects, the speakers argue that the ideological discourse of democracy and the working of the institutional mechanism of governance have a lot to be improved and synchronized. However, for democratic values to be embraced in the practices of daily life, a shift in the paradigm of participatory society is also required. Indonesian democracy is too complicated with both promises and perils that whether to defend or to give it up hardly earns a good, immediate reason.




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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