Explaining the Dynamics of Regional Integration: Democratisation, Identity, Institutions and Leadership in the Case of ASEAN

  • Pattharapong Rattanasevee

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis contributes to the theoretical understanding of the dynamics of regional integration by focusing on the key elements in regional integration process: democratisation, identity, institutions and leadership. The thesis is based on the premise that while theorisation of the EU experience of integration has provided an invaluable range of theoretical tools, the application of these theoretical perspectives to other regional organisations is often relatively uncritical. The contribution of the thesis is hence a theoretical examination of the applicability of concept derived from the European experience to the dynamics of integration in ASEAN. Specifically, the thesis analyses the importance of democratisation, identity, institutions and leadership as critical mechanisms and driving force in regional integration process. The thesisprovides a systematic analysis by addressing the roles of the four factors, whether or not they take part in constructing and solidifying regional community, as well as the interaction and causal relationship between these variables in the regional integration process. The thesis finds that while democratisation, identity, institution and leadership are important drivingforce in the intriguing dynamics of ASEAN integration, they are interrelated and function in different ways from the European experience while some of them have a complicated role and are subject to other influential factors. Importantly, in the context of ASEAN, democratisation probes problematic and causes a lot of internal tension among member states. At the end of the thesis, it contends that the problem of democratic deficit and the divergent political ideologies among ASEAN members lie at the root of all emerging major criticisms as well aslead to a slow progress of regional integration. Furthermore, this thesis argues that the association’s norms should be reinterpreted to allow constructive consultation on the existing problems and moving towards a more participatory community could be one way to break the deadlock and should be set as a long-term goal of ASEAN.
Date of Award1 Mar 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGraham Brown (Supervisor)

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