ASEAS 13(1) published!

ASEAS' editorial team is pleased to announce the online publication of our current issue, ASEAS 13(1)!

The current issue offers critical debates on Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Southeast Asia. The SDGs, a set of 17 goals agreed on as an extension of the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, are significantly shaping the current development agenda until the year 2030. Tourism thereby is regarded to make a substantial contribution, explicitly linked to goals number 8, 12, and 14 – particularly given its economic role it plays in the Global South, also in the region of Southeast Asia. At the same time, tourism bears an often under-utilized potential to contribute to the entire set of the 17 goals, moving beyond economic empowerment towards health, environmental conservation, climate change efforts, education, gender equality, and more. Its relationship with sustainable development is often regarded as precarious, though, since its negative impacts and conflicts between different actors and stakeholders cannot be overlooked. Particularly with regard to the SDGs, little research exists to date that investigates if and how tourism can contribute to reaching the targets set out in the goals in order to achieve a more sustainable development in the future. This issue, therefore, discusses the role that tourism plays in the achievement of the SDGs in Southeast Asia, particularly at a time when the region, and the industry at large, have been strongly impacted by the global health crisis caused by COVID-19.


In their introduction to this special issue, Alexander Trupp and Claudia Dolezal discuss the role tourism plays for (sustainable) development in Southeast Asia, outlining the state of the art on tourism and the SDGs to then critique Agenda 2030’s “leaving no one behind” tagline, and conclude by setting a research agenda for tourism and the SDGs in times of unprecedented immobility. Heidi Dahles, Titi Susilowati Prabawa, and Juliette Koning explore ways in which small tourism-based enterprises can offer a crisis-resilient pathway to sustainable development. Their contribution offers empirical, longitudinal data on small-firm performances in the tourism industry, arguing that an embeddedness approach, sensitive to location-specific characteristics, promises a better understanding of small tourism enterprises as crisis-resilient development pathways. In their article ‘Volunteer Tourists and the SDGs in Bali’,Claudia Dolezal and Dominyka Miezelyte analyze whether and under which conditions volunteer tourism can be a viable instrument in line with Agenda 2030. Findings identify a range of obstacles for volunteer tourism in the Balinese context to be in line with the SDGs. These include a lack of needed skills and feeling of uselessness on volunteers’ part, expectations that are set too high through marketing, a lack of coordination, and the fact that projects don’t focus on the marginalized. Singhanat Nomnian, Alexander Trupp, Wilawan Niyomthong, Prakaimook Tangcharoensathaporn, and Anan Charoenkongka examine the interconnections between language, tourism, and SDG4 (education) by exploring local communities’ perceived English language needs and challenges for tourism purposes in Thailand’s second-tier provinces of Chiang Rai and Buriram. The findings reveal four key issues such as the limitations of host-guest interaction and communication, dependency on tour guides, communities’ current communicative English needs, and language users’ sociocultural and linguistic identities. Focusing on economic impacts of tourism aligned with SDG8, Sabine Müller, Lukas Huck, and Jitka Markova compare the Willingness to Pay (WTP) of domestic travelers, expatriates, and international travelers for products and services offered by Community-Based Tourism (CBT) sites in Cambodia. Their study found that expatriates display significantly higher willingness to pay than international tourists. Expatriates can form an important niche market, which allows the CBT sites to grow organically without reaching carrying capacity limits too soon. Less research so far has focused on tourism and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), which emphasizes the need to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Based on three ASEAN case studies located in Myanmar (Yangon), Lao PDR (Vientiane), and Thailand (Phuket city), Marcus L. Stephenson and Graeme J. Dobson in this issue discuss the alignment between the conceptualization of ‘smart cities’ on one hand and the objectives shared within SDG 11 on the other. The book review section includes a contribution by Richard S. Aquino of the recently published edited volume Tourism and Development in Southeast Asia (2020, Routledge), edited by Claudia Dolezal, Alexander Trupp, and Huong T. Bui. 

Two contributions in this current issue – although not directly linked to the SDGs – study the representation and experiences of Thai migrant groups in Singapore. Ying-kit Chan examines how Singaporeans have socially constructed the idea of ‘Little Thailand’ along the urban development of postcolonial Singapore and through their own cognitive, racial categories. Exploring the trajectory of Singapore-based Thai transsexual (male to female) sex workers, Witchayanee Ocha analyses the role of brokers as well as the experiences of transsexual sex workers in global sex tourism. Both of these contributions focus on marginalized groups of society in the region, which the SDGs are aiming to target specifically. The contribution by Timo Duile continues this focus on marginalized communities by analyzing current relations between indigenous peoples and the state in Indonesia.

All articles are open access and can be downloaded at ASEAS website. Enjoy reading!


Call for papers: ASEAS 14(1) - Social Media in Southeast Asia - Submission Deadline Extended

The upcoming issue ASEAS 14(1) features a focus on Social Media in Southeast Asia. 

The increasing impacts of social media on ‘real life’ phenomena like political elections, identity formations, or consumerism urge us to resolve the dichotomy between the online and the offline and consider how social media have become integral to political, cultural, and social transformations. Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia are world-leading when it comes to the time spent in the internet and on social media. With the advent of the Corona Crisis, the social media penetration as well as their ubiquitous use have further jumped up.

As much as social media have permeated the everyday life and routines of both rapidly growing urban populations and remote communities, they have also often been extoled as a tool of civil society in order to organize against or challenge the current status-quo. In Southeast Asia, social media are indeed used for political critique as well as an additional means to express people’s demand often ignored in politics. This is, however, just one side of the coin. The other side depicts social media as an instrument of reactionary groups and authoritarian regimes. For vulnerable groups, for instance, social media have been useful in carving out spaces of mutual support, but in the last years, we have also seen increasing online mobilization stigmatizing minorities. The mobilizations against the governor of Jakarta in 2017, for example, were accompanied by online-spread hatred against Chinese minorities, while in the aftermath of the 2014 Coup d’Etat in Thailand, royalists used social media to attack political enemies.

Apart from politics, religious, ethnic, and other social identities are constituted, revitalized, and performed in social media. This holds true for distinct interest groups as, for instance, pious Muslims in Kuala Lumpur, environmentalists in Bangkok, or atheists in Jakarta, as well as for ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia’s margins. Furthermore, social media are used to drive consumer behaviour, to spread environmental awareness and help organize disaster management, to educate young people how to deal with hoax, and to promote notions of “peace” where activists fear social and political disorder. Chat platforms play an important role as a site to flirt, find friends and lovers; they serve as a platform for sex education in increasingly pious and conservative societies. Last but not least, social media increasingly function as economic space, which entrepreneur-minded young people use and create opportunities to make a living. Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube and other platforms make it possible to acquire the status of an influencer and earn money – albeit under highly precarious conditions. What we yet see on social media is often the result of multiple dynamics, including the formation of algorithmic enclaves or the work of self-organized buzzers and online “sweatshops”.

For the upcoming special issue, we invite conceptual and empirical articles addressing this variety of social media in Southeast Asia.

For more information, please read the full call for papers at our ASEAS website and visit our Author Guidelines!

Guest Editors: Wolfram Schaffar

Managing Editors: Timo Duile & Dayana Lengauer

Submission Deadline EXTENDED: 15 August 2020

Publication Deadline: 30 June 2021


 Further call for papers: ASEAS 14(2) & ASEAS 15(1)

We are pleased to announce that we are working on two further special issues, to be published at the end of 2021 and in the mid of 2022 respectively!

ASEAS 14(2) features a focus on Multicultural Lingual Education in Southeast Asia in co-operation with the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia at Mahidol University,  Thailand. ASEAS 15(1) aims to present adapted papers issuing from the Symposium on Social Sciences organized by the Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies at Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. You can find the full call for papers at ASEAS website soon! For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our editor, Lukas Husa, for ASEAS 14(2), and our guest editor, Vissia Ita Yulianto, for ASEAS 15(1).