Mapping Circumstance: Human Security, Marginality and Precariousness in Southeast Asia


A central problem in examining multiple insecurities in Southeast Asia is that each country confronts a different context of human security and faces a set of specific challenges embedded in people’s daily-lived experience. The ambiguous ways in which the ‘invisibility’ of their situations are conditioned and configured are neither readily recognized nor understood. State-led action tends to be generic and imitative rather than addressing effectively the conditioning factors and social imaginary that render individuals and communities insecure. How then are we to proceed? The following paper considers this question by examining the complex relationships between ‘safety’ and ‘risk’ and that of ‘trust’ and ‘uncertainty’. It argues that the field of human security needs to engage more fully with a range of sociological and anthropological concepts and approaches if it is to gain greater analytical purchase on Southeast Asia’s precarious lives in the 21st Century. In particular, the paper focuses on the utility of important theoretical and empirical developments on marginality and their relevance for the Southeast Asian context.

Author Information
Paul Carnegie, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2020
Stream: South-East Asian Studies (including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos)

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon