Main areas of research
State socialist systems in East Asia
East Asia is not only a region with remarkable success of the market capitalist model. State socialist systems have been established in China, North Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. Early on, they exhibited very specific features and differed fromEast Asia is not only a region with remarkable success of the market capitalist model. State socialist systems have been established in China, North Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. Early on, they exhibited very specific features and differed from their Eastern European counterparts. Moreover, the survived the collapse of socialism around 1990 and embarked on a developmental path that offers many new insights into our understanding of the functioning of economies, societies and political systems. With a focus on North Korea, we have been researching these phenomena in the past years. We held a conference on the topic, published a book on the transformation of state socialist systems in East Asia, and a PhD dissertation on capacity building is in preparation. We encourage students to write their theses on related topics. Researchers who are currently active in this field are Sabine Burghart and Rudiger Frank.
Climate Change, Environment and Energy in East Asia
The chair of East Asian Economy and Society has since October 2010 installed ‘Climate Change, Environment and Energy in East Asia’ as a key topic within our program. Given the need for intense research on global warming countermeasures, environmental degradation and energy politics in East Asia, we support contributions that imply a social science approach in one of these fields. In detail, we encourage research on the region’s climate change and environmental governance and states’ capability to solve environmental issues. We are particularly interested in the role of civil society, businesses and academia in shaping climate change and environmental politics in the region.
We aim at implementing this research focus on multiple levels of our program: We promote master and PhD theses as well as other research projects on one of these issues. Furthermore, we plan to intensify inter-disciplinary collaboration with domestic and international institutions and researchers from regional studies, political science, geography and meteorology. We intend to invite guest lecturers, hold workshops on various aspects of climate change in East Asia and produce related publications. Moreover, we encourage our staff and students to apply for externally funded research projects with the above mentioned focus. In order to disseminate our research findings, we will offer classes and seminars on environmental politics and governance in East Asia as part of our study program.
Research on Southeast Asia at the Chair of East Asian Economy and Society concentrates on three main areas. The first field is the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in shaping East Asian regionalism, by applying neorealist, neoliberal as well as constructivist approaches. Both the Association's internal integration process, notably the ASEAN Community (to be established in 2015), and ASEAN's relations with Northeast Asia are analyzed. Thereby, the role of institutions (e.g., ASEAN plus three, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit) and of formal and informal norms and values is examined in regard to their potential to promote collaboration in Southeast and East Asia.
A second area of research are the territorial disputes in the South China Sea which is a regional flashpoint due to its vast oil and gas resources and global importance as a shipping lane. Directly involved in this complex conflict are China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, indirectly the United States, Japan, Russia and India. In addition to the concrete policies of the claimant states, a special interest rests on the reasons for ASEAN's low profile in this conflict.
The third focus is the gradually changing notion of security in Southeast Asia from a traditional state-centric towards a human security view. Previous research was conducted by EcoS staff on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), climate change and counter-terrorism policies. It has shown that despite a human security rhetoric with reference to the endangered security of individual citizens - and a more prominent role of national and transnational human rights NGOs - the Southeast Asian governments still prioritize state and regime security.
East Asian new religious movements
Understanding the many religious traditions of East Asia is as significant today as understanding any political, economic and social developments. New religious movements (NRMs) in particular are a vital force in modern East Asia, playing a decisive role within the general public discourse and the process of social change. The study of NRMs—be it sociological, economic or philological—provides a mirror on contemporary East Asian societies. Evidently, East Asian NRMs have become international in recent decades, which even more so renders multi-disciplinary research indispensable. The chair of ‘East Asian Economy and Society’ thus welcomes Master’s and PhD research linked to the study of East Asian NRMs in East Asia and Europe, with the aim to spearhead cutting-edge comparative research in this area. In order to disseminate our scholarship we will offer lectures, courses, seminars and workshops on East Asian NRMs as part of our study program.
If you have any questions on this main area of research, please contact Dr Lukas Pokorny (profile): firstname.lastname@example.org