ISSN (Print) 1996-7845

ISSN (Online) 2542-2081


Postal address:  11 Pokrovsky Boulevard, Moscow, Russia, 109028
National Research University Higher School of Economics
International Organisations Research Journal (IORJ) editors office

Actual addressOffice 308, 33, Profsoyuznaya street, bld. 4, Moscow, 117418

Tel.+7 495 772-95-90 ext. 23150 

E-mail: iorj@hse.ru

Indexed in 




Elena Martynova

Theoretical Approaches to the Study of ASEAN

2013. Vol. 8. No. 4. P. 243–251 [issue contents]

Elena Martynova - PhD student at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of the National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, 20 Myasnitskaya, Russia; E-mail: emartynova@hse.ru


One of the main trends in the recent years has been the shift of global economic development to the Asia-Pacific Region (APR). Consequently, the political importance of the region has increased greatly. The integration processes taking place in the region attract the attention of many researchers. Whether the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an effective organization or not has been a matter of dispute among international affairs experts for a long time. The ASEAN’s place in the world politics and economy does not render itself to an easy assessment. In the academic community there is a lively debate about how to analyze the international relations in East and Southeast Asia. Methodological questions of studying the international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region have not yet received much coverage either in Russian and foreign literature. In this regard, a comparative analysis of the theoretical approaches to the study of ASEAN, one of the most influential organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, is very important.

This article explores the main theoretical approaches to the study of international relations in Southeast Asia. Most researchers tend to believe that the study of the region should not be carried out within one theory or generally accepted paradigm such as realism or constructivism. The presented analysis highlights that the abundance of the different theoretical frameworks complicates achievement of consensus on the effectiveness of ASEAN as an organization between the researchers. However, theoretical pluralism is the most productive approach since it contributes to the objective analysis of contemporary international relations.


Acharya A., Stubbs R. (2006) Theorizing Southeast Asian Relations: an Introduction. The Pacific Review, vol. 19, no 2, pp.125-134.

Busse N. (1999) Constructivism and Southeast Asian security. The Pacific Review, vol. 12, no 1, pp. 39-60.

Davies M. (2013) ASEAN and Human Rights Norms: Constructivism, Rational Choice, and the Action-identity Gap. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific. Available at: http://irap.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/19/irap.lct002.full.pdf+html (accessed 1 October 2013).

Eaton S., Stubbs R. (2006) Is ASEAN powerful? Neo-realist versus Constructivist Approaches to Power in Southeast Asia. The Pacific Review, vol. 19, no 2, pp. 135-155.

Huxley T. (1996) Southeast Asia in the Study of International Relations: The Rise and Decline of a Region. The Pacific Review,vol.9, no 2, pp.199-228.

Jetschke A., Rüland J. (2009) Decoupling Rhetoric and Practice: the Cultural Limits of ASEAN Cooperation. The Pacific Review, vol. 22, no 2, pp. 179-203.

Kai H. (2006) Does ASEAN Matter? International Relations Theories, Institutional Realism, and ASEAN. Asian Security,vol. 2, no 3, pp. 189-214.

Kivimäki T. (2008) Power, Interest or Culture – is There a Paradigm that Explains ASEAN's Political Role Best? The Pacific Review, vol. 21, no 4, pp.431-450.

Narine S. (2008) Forty years of ASEAN: a Historical Review. The Pacific Review, vol. 21, no 4, pp. 411-429.

Narine S. (2006) The English School and ASEAN. The Pacific Review, vol. 9, no 2, pp. 199-218.

Peou S. (2002) Realism and Constructivism in Southeast Asian Security Studies Today: a Review Essay. The Pacific Review, vol. 15, no 1, pp.119-138.

Ravenhill J. (2009) East Asian Regionalism: Much Ado about Nothing? Review of International Studies, vol. 35(S1), pp. 215–235.

Rüland J. (2000) ASEAN and the Asian Crisis: Theoretical Implications and Practical Consequences for Southeast Asian Regionalism. The Pacific Review, vol. 13, no 3, pp. 421-451.

Simon S.W. (1995) Realism and Neoliberalism: International Relations Theory and Southeast Asian Security. The Pacific Review, vol. 8, no 1, pp. 5-24.

Tan S.S. (2006) Rescuing Constructivism from the Constructivists: a Critical Reading of Constructivist Interventions in Southeast Asian Security. The Pacific Review, vol. 19, no 2, pp. 239-260.

Tsygankov P.A. (2004) Tendencii klassicheskih paradigm v zapadnoj teorii mezhdunarodnyh otnoshenij [Trends of Classical Paradigms in Western Theory of International Affairs]. Obshhestvennye nauki i sovremennost', vol.2, pp. 119-130.

Citation: (2013) Teoreticheskie podkhody k izucheniiu ASEAN [Theoretical Approaches to the Study of ASEAN] INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS RESEARCH JOURNAL, 4, pp. 243- (in Russian)
Rambler's Top100 rss