The Asia Research Group comprises researchers from Asia and Europe, working on a range of approaches to the study of the comparative and international politics of the Asia-Pacific Region.
We meet regularly to discuss key publications in the field; to share experiences of fieldwork; to discuss contemporary issues; and to provide a supportive environment for Group members to present their research and receive feedback. The Group periodically produces reports on issues of interest in contemporary global politics, reflecting on the significance of key events for the Asia-Pacific region.
David Norman (Research Fellow)
Olivia Whitworth (Doctoral Student)
Edward Li (Masters Student)
Billy Jao Hao Gao (Masters Student)
Matteo Piccio (Masters Student)
22-23 November 2013: Transnational Advocacy in the Rising Powers
States remain powerful. But today the nature of that power is contested and the role of non-state actors both in influencing and shaping contemporary forms of power is now hotly debated. Formerly the sole preserve of inter-governmental negotiations, contemporary diplomacy necessitates a complex layering of relationships, among state, business and other non-state actors. The very composition of activist networks is also varied, such that they may function largely within states, or transcend state boundaries to create new transnational allegiances, influencing a range of international bodies, regional authorities and state actors. Against the background of democratisation and globalisation, this conference examines those activist groups in the IBSA states (of India, Brazil and South Africa) engaged in transnational endeavours to influence government policy in the three important areas of environment, health and land. In so doing, we aim to examine whether, and if so how, new opportunities to develop linkages with like-minded groups from other states impacts upon activist group behaviour. We will also make a preliminary assessment to establish whether or not it is possible to identify the influence of transnational activist networks on policy outcomes.
Speakers: Angela Crack (Portsmouth), Julie Gilson (Birmingham), VB Rawat (Social Development Foundation, India), Maria Rodrigues (Holy Cross, Boston), Mary Upton (OU), Helen Yanacopulos (OU).
10 January 2014
For three decades scholars have been debating the implications of the rise of China, but since 2008 still greater attention has been given to apparent evidence of Beijing’s greater assertiveness, not least concerning its regional policy towards Southeast Asia and its territorial disputes. Various accounts have been put forward to explain this perceived assertiveness, from changing geopolitics to the rise of nationalism. More recently, changes within China have broadly coincided with the decision by the Obama administration to strengthen its alliances and to focus more closely on its security partners in East Asia and the Pacific. Washington has argued that there are both cooperative and competitive elements to the relationship with Beijing, and the Obama administration, whilst simultaneously rebalancing some of its military assets in East Asia, has emphasized the importance of a stable security environment and a regional order based on economic openness, the peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for universal rights and freedoms.
China’s perceived growing assertiveness and US rebalancing affect Southeast Asia’s, and especially ASEAN's, international relations. A relatively substantial literature has already emerged that examines China’s relations with individual Southeast Asian states, as well as the triangular relationships of China, the US and the ASEAN countries. These works include empirical contributions, conceptual and theoretical pieces aimed at explaining the evolving choices of ASEAN countries, and those seeking to analyse Southeast Asia’s preferences for regional order. The general consensus appears to be that to date ASEAN countries have not wanted to choose between Beijing and Washington; indeed, they seek to exploit economic opportunities with China while relying on the US to maintain regional security in the face of high stakes and considerable uncertainty.
Speakers: David Dunn (Birmingham), Rosemary Foot (Oxford); Jurgen Haacke (LSE); Kirsten Schulze (LSE); Shogo Suzuki (Manchester); Steve Tsang (Nottingham).