RSIS Seminar by Dr Stéphanie Martel, Assistant Professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University
Enacting the Security Community: ASEAN's Never-Ending Story
About the Seminar
The book “Enacting the Security Community: ASEAN’s Never-Ending Story” illuminates the central role of discourse in the making of security communities through a case study of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Despite decades of discussion, scholars of political science and international relations have long struggled to identify what kind of security community ASEAN is striving to become. Talk about security, Stéphanie Martel argues, is more than empty rhetoric. It is precisely through discourse that ASEAN is brought into being as a security community. Martel analyzes the epic narratives that various state and non-state actors tell about ASEAN’s journey to becoming a security community, featuring a colorful cast of heroes and monsters. Chapters address a wide spectrum of current regional security concerns, from the South China Sea disputes to the Rohingya crisis, and nontraditional challenges like natural disasters and pandemics. Through fieldwork and in-depth interviews with practitioners, Martel provides clear evidence that discourse is key to sustaining regional organizations like ASEAN. The book also contributes to debates among scholars and practitioners about security communities as well as the role of discourse in the study of world politics.
About the Speakers
Stéphanie Martel is Assistant Professor of Political Studies – specializing in International Relations – at Queen’s University, where she is also Scientific Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Director of the Network for Strategic Analysis (Réseau d’analyse stratégique). Her research focuses on multilateral diplomacy, security governance, and the role of narratives in world politics, with a focus on Southeast Asia and the broader Asia/Indo-Pacific. Dr. Martel’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Perspectives, and The Pacific Review, among others. She is the author of Enacting the Security Community: ASEAN’s Never-Ending Story (2022, Stanford University Press). Dr. Martel serves as a Canadian representative in informal diplomacy dialogues on security and other strategic issues in Asia, including the ASEAN Regional Forum’s Expert and Eminent Persons Group and the Council for Security Cooperation on the Asia-Pacific. She is also a member of the Research Network on Women, Peace and Security.
Joel Ng is Research Fellow and Deputy Head of the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS). His research focuses on regionalism, integration, security, and intervention norms, focusing on ASEAN and its dialogue partners as well as the African Union. He began his career in international affairs working in Uganda on peace, conflict, and refugee issues. He has also worked in the private sector in Singapore in public and investor relations. He is presently in the Singapore committee for the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP). Dr Ng is the author of Contesting Sovereignty: Power and Practice in Africa and Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He has a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was an Oxford-Swire and Tan Kah Kee scholar, and also holds a MA (Distinction) from the University of Sussex, and a BA (Hons) from the University of East Anglia.
Nazia Hussain is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. She holds a MSc in Asian Studies from RSIS. Her research interests include Indian Ocean Security; Sino-Indian Relations; ASEAN and regional security; and sub-regional multilateral organisations.