Towards a Re-Traditionalization of Security in Southeast Asia – a seminar by Dr Alfred Gerstl (Wed, 30 September 2015)

Speaker: Dr Alfred Gerstl (Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna)
Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/98 and the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 have demonstrated that non-traditional, i.e. non-military, threats can endanger the citizens more than the governments. Consequently, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has further deepened its notion of security, as it implicitly addressed human security in the ASEAN Charter of 2008.

The main argument of this presentation, though, is that despite a stronger emphasis on non-traditional and even human security in official ASEAN documents, the Southeast Asian governments still primarily view security from a state-and regime-centric perspective. Accordingly, strengthening the political and individual rights dimension of human security could undermine regime security. The underlying reason for this notion of security is that the governments interpret sovereignty, similar to territoriality, in a strict Westphalian-sense. Another strong catalyst for the re-traditionalization of security is China´s rise. Beijing´s increased military power raises fears in East Asia, in particular among the South China Sea claimant nations.

About the speaker
Dr Alfred Gerstl, MIR is an Austrian political scientist, specialized on International Relations in the Asia-Pacific. He is a postdoc researcher at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna. He has taught International Relations and Political Sciences at the Departments of Politics in International Development at University of Vienna from 2001 on. From 2007-2009, he lectured International Security Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. His research interests combine regional cooperation and the changing notion of security from traditional to human security in East Asia, ASEAN’s integration process, political and economic systems in Southeast Asia, regional and global effects of China’s rise and Australian politics. He can be reached at