ASEAS 12(2) published!

ASEAS' editorial team is pleased to announce the online open access publication of our current issue, ASEAS 12(2)!

The issue focuses on violence in Southeast Asia. Rampant forms of violence increasingly take place not only in troubled areas but also in centers and metropoles. Such violence is no longer simply confined to local concerns or historical ruptures, but emerges instead in relation to modalities of power. The movement of people and expanding networks of actors and capital enables the notion of violence to transgress boundaries set by institutions, geography, state, and power. In some conditions, rather than sealing off the emergence of violence, the transition to democracy has opened the door for engineered violent confrontations to manifest out of cleavages that have been tempered by previous authoritarian rule.

ASEAS 12(2) addresses violence in selected cases and on different scales. The contributions discuss how violence is practiced, how it (re)produces structures, and how it may eventually transform into non-violence. Violence is not simply an outcome of tensions but is a mechanism that actors and organizations deploy to stabilize their struggles, which eventually makes peacebuilding or democratic projects volatile. This issue, therefore, seeks to initiate a discussion of how violence operates on different scales through possible machinery.

In his article, Peter Kreuzer provides a detailed analysis of pre-Duterte and Duterte police use of deadly force in the Philippines. The analysis shows that in the past decade as under Duterte inter-provincial spatial and temporal variation of police use of deadly force has been very high. Lethality-levels have been outstanding in both periods despite dramatically differing levels of lethal violence. Clearly, Philippine police tended to shoot-to-kill already before Duterte granted them a carte blanche. 

Helle Rydstrom‘s contribution takes the notion of crisis as a helpful analytical entry point to unfold the temporalities and modalities of the machinery of violence as manifested in men’s abuse of their female partners in Vietnam. The machinery of violence, the article shows, refers to processes of symbolic and material transformations of a targeted woman, shaped in accordance with a perpetrator’s essentialist imaginations about her embodied properties (e.g., gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, and bodyableness).

In his article, Ario Seto details the process of how the proliferation of insensitive message in both the online and offline realms plays a role in mobilizing those sympathetic to religious fundamentalism In Indonesia. As this research shows, the interviewed Islamist social media political operators (buzzers) were one of the driving forces behind the massive success of the fundamentalist Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI) as they mobilized people to participate in the organization’s political rallies.

Lúcio Sousa’s article discusses how leaders of customary practice (lia na`in) are becoming key to public cultural policies in Timor-Leste. Since 20 May 2002, when political power was handed from the United Nations to the Timorese authorities, several episodes have illustrated that the involvement of the lia na`in has shifted from their traditional local contexts to national ones. From small-scale sociopolitical agents, the lia na`inbecame actors in national state ceremonies, taking part in the process of (re)creating the nation’s cultural identity.

In her contribution, Amporn Marddent discusses the complexity of applying human security through the notion of gender equality in Thailand’s Deep South where violent conflict has been prevalent for nearly half a century in a Malay-Muslim-dominated society. In the prolonged armed violence and conflict, women’s security and their role in peacebuilding emerge as pertinent concerns. Thus, according to Marddent, in order to reflect upon how contemporary security notions are framed, gendered security perceptions ought to be considered as they signify the exercise of peacebuilding programs in the local context.

In the Research Workshop section Gunnar Stange, Patrick Sakdapolrak, Kwanchit Sasiwongsaroj, and Matthias Kourek present a basic overview on recent forced migration research in Southeast Asia for the period 2013 to 2018. Their results show that the major part of studies focuses on refugees and asylum seekers in the region’s main host countries (Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia). However, although Southeast Asian countries account for a substantial share of worldwide IDPs, the review found that only a very limited number of studies focus on this group of persons of concern.

The In Dialogue section features an interview, conducted in August 2019 in Jakarta, by Gunnar Stange with the conflict analyst Sidney Jones on questions of religious extremism, political violence, and conflict dynamics in contemporary Indonesia.

Enjoy reading!


Call for Papers

The Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS) is an international, interdisciplinary, and open access social sciences journal covering a variety of topics from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

ASEAS welcomes out-of-focus submissions on current research, theoretical and methodological discussions, conference reports, and book reviews at any time, beyond the special issues which are published two times per year. Articles can be submitted in both German or English. 

For more information, please contact ASEAS editorial team!