Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/145264
Title: The unbearable lightness of legalism : the historical role of social morality in South East Asian international politics
Authors: Chong, Alan
Keywords: Social sciences::General
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Chong, A. (2019). The unbearable lightness of legalism : the historical role of social morality in South East Asian international politics. South East Asia Research, 27(4), 418-436. doi:10.1080/0967828X.2019.1702375
Journal: South East Asia Research
Abstract: The application of law in South East Asia frustrates many scholars due to its subliminal character. I call this subliminal form of law ‘legalism’. This article adopts the method of historical sociology to trace three evolutionary phases in South East Asia’s international history of legalism to illuminate the cumulative mixture of informality beneath formality in the practice of legalism via ‘social morality’. In pre-colonial times, divinely-guided moral censure and the ethical reputation of particular rulers passed for proto-intersocietal law. In colonial times, international law was foisted by Western powers onto the informal social morality of the region, resulting in power politics operating behind legal manoeuvres. The advent of ASEAN saw a reversion to a preference for even greater informality and soft law. Finally, the post-colonial era witnessed experimentation with Westphalian international law. This has resulted nowadays in a cumulative halfway house of soft legalism operated through diplomatic social morality.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/145264
ISSN: 0967-828X
DOI: 10.1080/0967828X.2019.1702375
Rights: © 2019 SOAS University of London. All rights reserved. This paper was published in South East Asia Research and is made available with permission of SOAS University of London.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Journal Articles

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