- State and Civil Society: Global Context, Southeast Asian Prospect
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 33, Number S, 2018
- pp. S131-S155
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- Additional Information
Globalization has not entailed the "eclipse" of the nation-state. While state sovereignty has been eroded, international society still remains organized as a network or "club" of nation-states which jealously guard their borders, especially to control the massive labour migration unleashed by the forces of economic globalization. States increasingly establish their relations to individuals less on the basis of their relations to their "citizens" than through the processes of their management of these transhumant "pariahs" (to borrow Hannah Arendt's dichotomy). These developments make necessary a reaffirmation of the life of active citizenship within "civil society", a domain of public human action intermediate between the family and the state. Some impediments hindering, and also prospects for, grounding the concept of "civil society" within the politicial idioms and cultures of Southeast Asian civilization are noted, as are the impact of the region's colonial legacy and its characteristic post-colonial state structures. Tensions are noted in contemporary Southeast Asia between the impulse to achieve "modernity" via participation in the borrowed sophistication of "brand-name" international consumerism and the enlargement of active citizenship, civil society, and the human space of public civic culture.