Beyond "Asian Values": Education and the Problem of Identity in the Asia Pacific
Since the late nineteenth century, both states and NGOs in the Asia Pacific have periodically sought some form of regional cooperation and identity as a means to cope with the perceived challenges of modernization, Westernization, and globalization. This paper contends that these attempts have all fallen short because elites representing these states typically think in terms of "regionalization" rather than "regionalism." Regionalization, as used here, consists of interstate forums dominated by officially recognized political and economic elites, who seek interstate cooperation in order to protect state interests, state power, and national identity from foreign as well as domestic challenges. Regionalism envisions the creation of transnational networks inclusive of non-official actors, whose identification with a particular state and set of national interests does not preclude the creation of a regional identity and support for regional interests.
Assuming that regionalism offers greater potential than regionalization to cope with the adverse political and economic effects of globalization, the question then becomes, what does pursuit of the former mean for the latter, and for the state itself? To try and answer this question, the paper takes up the problem of identity: specifically, the twofold problem of redefining national identity in order to create conditions conducive to the formation of one or more regional identities. After highlighting the integral role that education plays in creating a national identity and a sense of national unity, it examines some of the difficulties that states in the Asia Pacific now face as they struggle to redefine their educative function and modify their national school systems so as to move beyond regionalization to regionalism.
Mark Lincicome (United States)
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of History
College of the Holy Cross
As Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at a private, undergraduate college, I teach introductory courses in Asian history and introductory through advanced courses in all periods of Japanese history. My research interests focus on education and schooling, including: educational thought and the politics of education; educational reform movements; globalization and education in Japan and the Asia Pacific region.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)