Pipelines, Crisis and Capital: Understanding the Contested Regionalism of Southeast Asia
Pacific Review, Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 625-647, December 2010
Posted: 6 Dec 2010 Last revised: 9 Dec 2010
Date Written: November 30, 2010
Via an analysis of the trans-ASEAN gas pipeline project (TAGP), in this article we argue for a reconceptualising of the regional dynamics of Southeast Asia and the forces shaping them. For this task, we propose an analytical framework based upon social conflict theory that delves within and beyond the state, and which places emphasis upon the roles of both material and ideological factors operating across time in the reordering of particular geographical spaces. The framework reveals that the tensions acting within and upon ASEAN and the TAGP influence regionalism in such a way that the gas pipeline project – much like other ‘regional’ projects – is unlikely to ever come close to fulfilling its brief of enhancing regional security and cohesion. What is more probable is that the project’s form will continue to be conditioned by entrenched politico-economic realities and the influence of dominant ideologies – factors which have the capacity to exacerbate existing regional animosities and disparities.
Keywords: ASEAN, contested regionalism, energy governance, regionalism, trans-ASEAN gas pipeline (TAGP), Southeast Asia.
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