The rise of ethnic conflict in Southeast Asia is a phenomenon brought about by the tension coming from the assertion of cultural identity in the region vis-à-vis the forces of globalization. Globalization has a huge impact in the social, cultural, economic and political aspect of the countries in the region. The reconfiguration that it caused in the social structure has fragmented the society inter alia unequal distribution of resources and representation in the government. This had created “status resentments”, as what a scholar had argued, that in turn caused the birth of various ethnic groups conforming to a particular socio-political bond creating social cleavages and threat in the stability of Southeast Asia. The ethnic conflicts that exist in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Philippines have long been a feature in their domestic settings, and although there were reforms taken by the respective governments to control the situation, there has been no concrete policy yet that would diminish the tensions in their respective domicile. Integration and holistic approach to the problem have been taken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but because of the principle of non-interference and non-intervention, every actions were only made at a superficial level. The conformity of the ethnic minorities towards their local organizations and to other civil society institutions, along with the assertion of individual and collective rights have reinforced their status causing decentralization of power and in the long run pronouncement for separatism and autonomy.
Jobelle V. Abaya, University of the Philippines Diliman, the Philippines
Stream: Cultural Studies
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