Scott Edwards

Institutionalising Trust: ASEAN and the culture of Southeast Asian Diplomacy

Scott Edwards

Supervisor: Professor Nicholas Wheeler 

My current research looks at applying emerging trust literature in International Relations, as well as within Psychology, to international organisations, looking at whether such organisations can encourage the institutionalisation of trust. Whilst trust has been seen as a key foundation of organisations and communities in theoretical security dilemma literature, the role of trust within ASEAN is under theorised and under applied empirically. The dominant view of institutional trust within ASEAN and security community literature emphasises trust as deriving from norms which constitute collective identity, such as non-interference in ASEAN’s case. Despite this, trust is often under conceptualised and not explored thoroughly. This normative focus is increasingly problematic due to an emerging interventionist liberal agenda that opposes the current normative framework. My research, therefore, seeks to explore the role of trust within ASEAN. Utilising this literature, my research will explore whether trust is a significant dimension of interstate peace in the region, and whether any trust within ASEAN can best be explained through the way in which ASEAN encourages a culture of trust, leading to its institutionalisation.


Scott Edwards is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Birmingham. His doctoral research seeks to analyse the dynamics of trust within ASEAN, and particularly whether interpersonal links within ASEAN encourages the formation of wider trust and a collective identity. He is also interested in Southeast Asian security and politics, after having resided in Malaysia, and has produced work for Transparency International in the areas of defence and security. He can speak Malay and Indonesian.


  • BA International Relations and History (Coventry University)
  • MA International Relations (Contemp. Asia-Pacific) (University of Birmingham)

Research interests

  • Trust
  • Southeast Asian Security
  • Southeast Asian Diplomacy
  • Malaysian Politics
  • Indonesian Politics

Professional memberships

  • ASEASUK (Association of South-East Asian Studies in the UK)
  • ISA (International Studies Association)
  • BISA (British International Studies Association)


Edwards, S., & Heiduk, F., (2015) Hazy days: forest fires and the politics of environmental security in Indonesia, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs (Forthcoming)

Contact details:

Twitter: (@ScottEdvvards)