Beyond Borders: Connectivity and Identities of Change in East Asia
Date: 13-14 December 2012
Venue: Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
For decades, the nation state has served as the epicenter of human activities. Various programs have been developed and engineered to integrate the differing segments of a territorially bounded society in the quest of creating a homogenous national identity under the so-called concept of nation building.
Nation building was and continues to remain an incomplete process. Ethnically homogenous states may find nation building less challenging they have fewer differences when compared to ethnically heterogeneous states. In East Asia, well established states with longer histories like South Korea and Japan may have a stronger national identity than poorer and developing states particularly in Southeast Asia but all states including China are finding it increasingly difficult to balance nation building and the forces of globalization. Such forces, be it in the political, economic or social realm, impact societies in varying degrees and create complexities that go beyond a state’s capability to address or manage effectively.
Globalization as understood by the shrinking of the geopolitical boundaries, the flow of new or unprecedented ideas, and the enhancing of connectivity across time and space, thus, challenges not only states but societies by demanding for change. Changes are welcome if they are seen as beneficial and resisted if they are viewed as destructive. In reality, however, it is complex since changes affect different segments of a society in differing ways and it is precisely this that the project seeks to untangle and discuss. The differing speed, direction and scope of changes or transformation that states and their societies experience are what define the dynamics of the East Asian region.
The purpose of this call for paper is to identify some of the major global and regional forces that have affected societal changes within East Asia, the kind of ‘connectivities’ that form or shape identities, how those ‘new’ identities are perceived by the state, and whether states engage other state and non-state actors in utilizing the same forces to preserve, if not enhance, their nationhood.
It asks, among many, what are some of the observable forces of globalization that have contributed to societal changes? What would those changes be, particularly within the context of East and Southeast Asia? How has connectivity through the shrinking of time and space shaped new identities within and without state boundaries? Do those new identities run parallel to state goals or do they challenge conventional norms? Are states passive actors or do they utilize globalization in ways that ensure their survivability, and if it’s the latter, how do they do it?
While the list is non-exhaustive, below are areas we have identified for the workshop. Should you have a topic or idea that does not fit into any of the areas, please feel free to write in for further discussion.
1. Migration and Identities
a) the impact of foreign workers and expatriates
b) the patterns of intercultural marriages
2. Governance and Identities
a) the role of political institutions, human rights and the rule of law
b) the role of states and regional organizations/institutions
c) the building of security communities
3. Economic Processes and Identities
a) economic regionalization processes
b) the role of foreign direct investments
c) mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
4. Family and Identities
a) the changing role of family institutions
b) transnational issues on gender and ethnicity
5. Civil Society and Identities
a) issue-oriented grassroots movements
b) the role of domestic and trans-border non-governmental organizations
6. Syndication and Identities
a) the role of transnational organized crimes and human trafficking groups
b) the impact of illegal trade, money laundering and scams
If you are interested to participate, kindly submit an abstract of not less than 400 words and your CV to Benny Teh (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) by 28 November 2012.
Financial assistance (covering food, accommodation and flight) will be provided for selected participants.
Selected papers will be compiled and published as an edited volume.
Benny Teh, Ph.D
School of Social Sciences
Universiti Sains Malaysia
(604)653 3888 Email: email@example.com
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