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Nationalism and regional integration arrangements : a case study of Indonesia and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement

Chandra, Alexander Christian


Alexander Christian Chandra


Christopher M., 1965 Dent


This thesis analyses the relationship between Indonesian nationalism and ASEAN regional integration, with specific reference to the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). Traditionally, the relationship between nationalism and regionalism has most often been characterised as contentious. This thesis, however, challenges the argument that nationalism and regionalism cannot co-exist, and argues instead that the two ideologies can stand in a symbiotic relationship to each other. The relationship between nationalism and regionalism can be conflicting or mutually exclusive, but can also sometimes be mutually reinforcing. Therefore, nationalists today are not necessarily hostile to free trade and closer economic ties with other states.

In 1992, members of ASEAN agreed to closer economic integration through the formation of AFTA. In principle, this agreement was made to increase the international competitiveness of ASEAN industries and to make the Southeast Asian region an attractive investment location. This thesis analyses the contemporary attitude of Indonesians towards this trade agreement. During the signing of this trade agreement, little opposition was expressed by Indonesian domestic actors because within Indonesian politics at the time Indonesian foreign economic policy was the business of the President, the Nfinistry of Foreign Affairs, the military, and a handful of members of the academic I community. The wave of democratisation that emerged as a result of the economic crisis of 1997 allowed for the greater involvement of domestic actors in determining Indonesian foreign economic policy. Although the majority of the Indonesian political elite remain supportive of AFTA, some Indonesian pressure groups, particularly non-governmental. organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs), have expressed their scepticism. Despite this, scepticism about AFTA is not a result of increased nationalist sentiment in Indonesia, but is due instead to the lack of proper information disseminated to these pressure groups. ii


Chandra, A. C. (2004). Nationalism and regional integration arrangements : a case study of Indonesia and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 26, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords South East Asian studies
Public URL
Additional Information Department of South East Asian Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 2004


Thesis (33.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2004 Chandra, Alexander Christian. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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