Journal Article

Forming a security community: lessons from ASEAN

Alan Collins

in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Published on behalf of Japan Association of International Relations

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 203-225
Published in print May 2007 | ISSN: 1470-482X
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1470-4838 | DOI:
Forming a security community: lessons from ASEAN

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  • East Asian Studies


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At its Ninth Summit in October 2003 the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced its intention to create an ASEAN Community based upon three pillars: ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Security Community and an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. A year later ASEAN established the Vientiane Action Programme to realise this goal. The official discourse of community building is complemented by a vibrant academic debate over whether ASEAN's norms indicate that it is a nascent security community ready to transform itself into a fully-fledged security community. In this article I argue that ASEAN has never been a nascent security community but has instead been a security regime and therefore its norm compliance does not provide evidence of community building. If ASEAN is to form a security community then new socialising norms will need to emerge, which will need to include the active involvement of regional civil society organisations in order to bring plurality to ASEAN decision making. Only then will the people of ASEAN be able to take ownership of the community building process.

Journal Article.  9839 words. 

Subjects: International Relations ; East Asian Studies

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