Cultivating Talented Individuals

Economic Integration and Sustainability

Cultivating Talented Individuals:Support Scheme:Support Scheme for Presentation at International Conference, etc. (for student)

Ong, Bernard (Kuai Hong)/ 6th Asian Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies/ National University of Singapore


Affiliation: GSAPS, Waseda University
Year: D2
Name: Bernard Ong
Itinerary: 07/09/11 - 07/17/11 (Month/Date/Year)

Destination (Name of city and country)


Research Objectives

Does recognition matters to a region as much as it does to a state and an individual? The power and role of recognition is an area largely overlooked in the study of regional cooperation. Between states, international law looks at how recognition of a prior state confers legal status and personality. International politics also shows how recognition of states has been exploited by great and small powers alike as a form of diplomacy tool. A case in point is the recognition (or non-recognition) of Taiwan. Between people, sociologists and philosophers highlight the pivotal role of recognition in shaping the identity and development of an individual. Given the centrality of recognition theory in these fields, there is a notable dearth of research on how recognition affects the pace of regional cooperation.

In line with GIARI's focus on the promotion of Asian integration, this research therefore aims to examine the role of recognition in the development of inter-state cooperation. It tests the hypothesis that recognition by foreign powers has a direct influence on the outcome of any regional concepts such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during its formative years in the 1960-70s.

Research project

The title of this research is "Recognizing Regionhood: The Struggle for U.S. Recognition of ASEAN". It sheds light on the importance of a new region's interaction with non-member states, and shows how such a socialization process directly influences the development of a regional grouping. The project contributes to existing literature on regional cooperation by introducing the ideas of "recognition" and "regionhood" to the study of regionalism. Rather than focusing on the interaction between member states of a regional grouping which most studies have done, it analyzes the social practices of a region with the international community based on a new theoretical model. In brief, the proposed framework is a synergy of the concepts of recognition in political theory and international law/politics. The discussion describes how the struggle and contest for recognition of a regional concept between the regional grouping and foreign powers directly affects the degree and pace of inter-state cooperation.

On methodology, the research draws on recently declassified U.S. diplomatic records, covering the time period from the formation of ASEAN in 1967 to its institutionalization in 1976. The content analysis comprises approximately 3,500 archives related to U.S. relations with ASEAN. All information gaps or discrepancies are corroborated with primary data from news sources published during the period of analysis (approximately 100-150 articles).

The central theme of this project is that recognition plays an important function in the development of a regional concept. Based on the ASEAN case study, the empirical evidence points to a strong correlation in the degree of recognition accorded to a region by foreign powers and the development of its regionhood. It also finds that the demand and struggle for recognition motivates behaviors and strengthens cooperation among member states of a regional grouping.


Presented a paper entitled “Recognizing Regionhood: The Struggle for U.S. Recognition of ASEAN” at the 6th Asian Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore as part of a panel on the theme ‘Regional Politics’ on 13 July 2011.

Confirmed by person in charge of project promotion (signature and seal)

Academic Adviser: Professor Shujiro URATA
Sub Adviser: Professor Takashi TERADA