Developing a framework to study "what makes a region," Amitav Acharya investigates the origins and evolution of Southeast Asian regionalism and international relations. He views the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) "from the bottom up"—as not only a U.S.-inspired ally in the Cold War struggle against communism but also an organization that reflects indigenous traditions. Although Acharya deploys the notion of “imagined community” to examine the changes, especially since the Cold War, in the significance of ASEAN dealings for a regional identity, he insists that “imagination” is itself not a neutral but rather a culturally variable concept. The regional imagination in Southeast Asia imagines a community of nations different from NAFTA or NATO, the OAU, or the European Union.
In this new edition of a book first published as The Quest for Identity in 2000, Acharya updates developments in the region through the first decade of the new century: the aftermath of the financial crisis of 1997, security affairs after September 2001, the long-term impact of the 2004 tsunami, and the substantial changes wrought by the rise of China as a regional and global actor. Acharya argues in this important book for the crucial importance of regionalism in a different part of the world.
Preface to the Second Edition
Foreword to the First Edition (The Quest for Identity)
Chapter 1: Introduction: Region and Regionalism in the Making of Southeast Asia
Chapter 2: Imagined Communities and Socially Constructed Regions
Chapter 3: Imagining Southeast Asia
Chapter 4: Nationalism, Regionalism, and the Cold War Order
Chapter 5: The Evolution of Regional Organization
Chapter 6: Southeast Asia Divided: Polarization and Reconciliation
Chapter 7: Constructing "One Southeast Asia"
Chapter 8: Globalization and the Crisis of Regional Identity
Chapter 9: Whither Southeast Asia?
"As an introduction to the region, there is no better-written or more comprehensive volume available."—Robert H. Taylor, Asian Affairs
"The book highHghts patterns of interaction and socialization among key actors in the region, along with those actors' perceptions of factors and forces external to the region that must be managed by the individual states and by the principal regional organization, ASEAN, which, understandably, continues to be marked by stress and strain. Well written and readable."—Choice (December 2013)
"This comprehensive study is an updated and expanded version of the author's
The Quest for Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia (Oxford University
Press, 2000). It adds to the original a solid overview of the international-relations
policies that have shaped Southeast Asia since 1945, and an account of the developments
since the Asian crisis of the late 1990s.... [It]should be read by every student of Southeast Asia."—Vincent Houben, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies(2013)
"The debates that the book will engender promise to be fierce and constructive. Making is quickly becoming required reading for graduate courses around the Pacific. It can also be used in undergraduate teaching. . . . And it is just the libretto that often-puzzled Western diplomats and political leaders need for understanding the history, players, and motives they encounter in a frenetic world of ASEAN diplomacy, of which they are a welcome but peripheral part."—Paul Evans, Pacific Affairs (March 2014)
"This timely and important volume definitely adds something new to the existing academic discourse… [T]his book is systematically developed, theoretically sophisticated and richly documented. Its goals have been achieved as well"—Monir Hossain Moni, Political Studies Review (2015:457)