Home » announcements » PANEL 5: Challenges to the Concept of the State in East Asia: History, Rivalry, and Migration

PANEL 5: Challenges to the Concept of the State in East Asia: History, Rivalry, and Migration

Chair and Discussant: Rhodalie O. Emilio (Ateneo de Davao University)
– Assistant Professor, Political Science Department
Panel’s abstract: This panel aims to elucidate contemporary practical and ontological challenges to the concept of the state in East Asia. As a social construct the state is constantly formed by the vicissitudes of its current context. The South China Sea dispute manifests a traditional challenge to the territorial state. Yet non-traditional security concerns like international migration also challenges our notions of a bounded territorial-state. Ontologically the concept of the state is critiqued by alternative readings of history debunking primordialist narratives of state formation.

5.1 Philippine Foreign Policy in the West Philippine Sea after the 2012 Scarborough Standoff: Implication for National Security
Rhisan Mae E. Morales (Ateneo de Davao University)
– Assistant Professor, International Studies department
Abstract: The primary concern of this study is to answer the question: How does the Philippine government formulate its foreign policy with respect to its territorial claims over areas in the West Philippine Sea after the Scarborough standoff in April 2012? Specifically, the study seeks to provide understanding on the political process in the formulation of foreign policy relating to the Philippine claims in the West Philippine Sea after the 2012 Scarborough Standoff, first, by determining the long and short term foreign policies of the Philippines with respect to its territorial claims over the West Philippine Sea. Secondly, this study aims to examine the the relationship of bureaucracies and how it influences the decision-making process. Lastly, this study seeks to determine the implication of Philippine foreign policy in settling the West Philippine Sea dispute on the country’s national security. The Bureaucratic Politics Model (BPM) in Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) is the framework utilized in this study, which focuses primarily on the relationship of bureaucracies in the formulation of foreign policy and how these agencies influence the process of foreign policy formulation. The findings of this study reveal that: first, the Philippines foreign policy in the West Philippine Sea continues to develop to address current developments in the WPS. The Philippine government upholds a foreign policy that addresses the issue in the WPS through peaceful and cooperative negotiations. Although we have established long term continuity in terms of our policies, we lack a long term approach that will enact these policies to strengthen our claims over areas in the South China Sea. After the Scarborough Standoff, the Philippine government saw the need to update dormant policies that address territorial concerns. Second, the Inter-agency Committee on the West Philippine Sea (ICC-WPS) and the National Coast Watch Council were two interagency committees composed of representatives coming from different government agencies. Both interagency mechanisms aim to harmonize role and the relationships of different bureaucracies. Furthermore, these mechanisms are tasked to monitor that each agencies share similar understanding and strategic objective. Lastly, as the government requires demilitarization there is a shift from traditional to non-traditional security approach. This shift caused inconvenience from the defense sector particularly the Navy thinking that they are being deprived of their traditional role to protect national security offshore. The Scarborough Standoff did not only cause a shift from the security approach of the Philippine, it also implies that the country needs to reassess its security concerns and look into territorial security.

5.2 Repercussions of Immigration Control: Case of Filipino Irregular Migration to Japan
Dr. Anderson V. Villa (Ateneo de Davao University)
– Associate Professor, International Studies department
Abstract: This study explores the specific phenomenon of the outcome and consequences of irregular migration that is immigration detention and/or deportation. The study aims to shed light on the consequences of unauthorized migration from the Philippines and the recipient countries’ response which include migration enforcement measures such as arrest, detention and deportation (i.e. Japan’s migration control). It attempts to further elucidate on the reasons behind seemingly sustained phenomenon of distressed migrants and their precarious status as the borders of their countries of work destination are governed by strict immigration policies that either sought to facilitate or hinder their entry. The research aims to generate a hypothesis and a conceptual framework to further expand the scope of the study. The study utilizes an exploratory-descriptive case study research design using multiple cross-case analyses. The research addresses the question of validity through utilization of varied sources of information in terms of data and theory. The research process was accomplished through a modified-grounded instrumental approach (research-before-theory model), using replication sampling instead of the typical population sampling. Reliability of the data gathered was made certain through a pilot study conducted at the earlier phase of the research process. In addition, as a qualitative research employing open-ended in-depth interviews, a combination of data collection techniques validated the methodology including key-informant interviews, direct and participant observations, and document analysis from secondary sources. The narratives of the respondents reveal that the state’s discretionary or selective application of the law appears to be consistent with the current trend in advanced welfare states, as in the case of Japan, which is bent on excluding irregular immigrants and not moving forward on extending citizenship rights to the large group of unwanted immigrants. To address this rival explanation, the study also highlights the role of selected non-state entities (NGOs, church-based organizations) and self-help groups in the Philippines and Japan, which becomes a catalyst to ensure protection of migrants’ rights serving as “watchmen” to ensure that these are constantly upheld through a negotiated status. As such, in exercising their agency, some of these migrants were able to protect their rights while others unsuccessfully defended their lot and became deportees.

5.3 The International Subsystem of East Maritime Southeast Asia, 1500-1860
John Harvey D. Gamas (Ateneo de Davao University)
– Assistant Professor and Chair of International Studies department
Abstract: Eurocentrism and the narrative of Westphalian nation-states have been ontologically and epistemologically dominant in International Relations (IR). Addressing this problem in IR required the study of the genealogy of the international systems by focusing on a world region. One such region that has been understudied and continues to stay in IR’s disciplinal periphery is Southeast Asia. Yet Southeast Asia is too wide and complex. A possible approach to this difficulty is to take one sub-region of Southeast Asia as a starting point. An interesting area of departure would be East Maritime Southeast Asia. This thesis argued that in order to integrate non-Western regions in IR and subsequently universalize the discipline, there is a need to utilize a more nuanced systems theory. Via Buzan and Little’s conception of the international system and with the aid of the historical method, the study confirmed the existence of an international subsystem in East Maritime Southeast Asia from the 1500s to the 1860s. This was made possible by the various physical and social technologies which greatly facilitated the military-political, economic and socio-cultural interactions in the sub-region. Furthermore, East Maritime Southeast Asia’s historical experience as an international subsystem offers lessons necessary for the universalization of IR theory.

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