ASEAS 11(1) published!

ASEAS' editorial team is pleased to announce the publication of our current issue - ASEAS 11(1) - with focus on The Political Economy of New Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia!

New authoritarianism has become a global phenomenon over the past years, and Southeast Asia is no exception to this trend. The current issue of ASEAS 11(1) discusses the rise of authoritarianism in the region from a political economy perspective. It raises questions about the connection between economic crises and the rise of authoritarian regimes, as well as the specific kinds of economic projects that authoritarian regimes pursue. The articles in this issue include an analysis of a Chinese mining project in Myanmar’s frontier region as well as a re-interpretation of Thailand's military coup in 2014 against the background of China's Belt-and-Road Initiative and the changing economic world system. Other contributions analyze the continuity and intensification of Malaysia's neo-liberal development paradigms, and the role and potential of National Human Rights Institutions in big transnational infrastructure projects. The articles illustrate not only facets of persistent authoritarian neoliberalism, but they also highlight the dawn of a new Chinese-centered accumulation cycle in world history. They reveal transnational mechanisms of primitive accumulation as well as sophisticated transnational institutionalization processes for the defense of human rights. It becomes clear that any response to new authoritarianism will need transnational cooperation and include a search for more fundamental economic alternatives.


In their editorial Rainer Einzenberger and Wolfram Schaffar summarize the debate on authoritarianism and the different approaches trying to explain different forms of authoritarianism. They focus on the rise of China and its political-economic influence on rising authoritarianism in Southeast Asia.

In his case study, Einzenberger (this issue) discusses the politics of dispossession around a planned Chinese mining project in Myanmar’s frontier at the beginning of the political transition in Myanmar since 2011. Schaffar in his article argues, that the high-speed railway project proposed in 2013 – connecting Thailand via Laos to China as part of Chinas Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI) – played an important role in intra-elite conflicts leading up to the 2014 coup in Thailand. Bonn Juego’s article adds to the discussion in how far the new authoritarianism in Southeast Asia is new and linked to a specific new economic project (such as Chinese investment or the Chinese BRI). His very topical article departs from the recent historic elections in Malaysia where the longtime opposition Pakatan Harapan defeated the Barisan Nasional, which had ruled the country since its independence in 1957. Carl Middleton, in his contribution, focuses directly on the nexus between economy and authoritarianism and discusses the dynamics of transnational business activities and human rights violations in the region. His analysis sheds light on economic actors from Thailand and Malaysia and on a transnational aspect of the work of human rights commissions in these countries.

In his out of focus contribution Singhanat Nomnian explores how Thai doctoral students adopt certain identity options during their societal acculturation while studying and living in Australia. William N. Holden demonstrates the injustice of climate change and how climate change causes an intensification of typhoons focusing on the case of the Philippines. In the Research Workshop section, Schaffar in his research note looks at the social base of new authoritarianism and sketches out new directions for future research. Referring to  the currently developed concept of the Imperial Model of Living he argues that a view from Southeast Asia – especially data from Thailand and the Philippines – has the potential to challenge some assumptions of this debate and add important insights. Schaffar also conducted an interview with Walden Bello to discuss the concept of Fascism and its usefulness in analyzing new authoritarianism in the Global South. Finally, Timo Duile reviews the book by B. G. Robinson (2018) on the background of the Indonesian Massacres 1965-66.

Enjoy reading!

Call for Papers: ASEAS 12(1) - Open Call

ASEAS 12(1) (June 2019) features an open issue, inviting authors from social sciences and humanities as well as area studies to submit high level research articles.

For more information please contact the editorial team!

Submission deadline: 31. August 2018

Please submit your paper online here!