Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

uni'wissen 02-2015_ENG

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rüland studied political science, history, and German studies at the University of Freiburg. He earned his PhD in 1981 and his habilitation quali- fication in 1989, both in Freiburg. Following stints in Passau and Rostock, he returned to the Breisgau, accepting a position at the Department of Political Science. From 2001 to 2007 he served as director of the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute in Freiburg. In addition, he has taught and researched for more than seven years at several Southeast Asian universities. His research interests include cooperation and institutions in international relations, globalization, and regionalization; inter- national politics in the Asian-Pacific region; democ- ratization; and political, socioeconomic, and cultural change in Southeast Asia. Photo: Hanspeter Trefzer Further Reading Nguitragool, P. / Rüland, J. (2015): ASEAN as an actor in international fora. Reality, potential and constraints. Cambridge (= Integration through law: The role of law and the rule of law in ASEAN Integration 7). Rüland, J. (2014): The limits of democratizing interest representation: ASEAN’s regional corporatism and normative challenges. In: European Journal of International Relations 20/1, pp. 237–261. Rüland, J. (2014): Constructing regionalism domestically: Local actors and foreign policymaking in newly democratized Indonesia. In: Foreign Policy Analysis 10/2, pp. 181–201. criticism to the effect that ASEAN cultivated an elitist political style that ignored the interests of the people. Global Standards, Local Interpretation However, it is more important to look behind the terminology, says Rüland. It is necessary to examine which norms are actually being imple- mented. “The parliament has neither legislative nor supervisory functions. It possesses only advisory powers. In addition, the positions the members represent are very similar to those of their governments.” Instead of adopting European norms one-to-one, ASEAN adapts them to fit their own interests. In order to preserve harmony and unity, the organization hardly discusses contentious issues like the human rights situation in Myanmar at all. An ASEAN statement on the protection of human rights passed in 2012 is internationally controversial, because it provides loopholes as soon as national interests become involved. “The parliament is essentially a facade,” sums up Rüland. He regards an organization based on the European model as unrealistic, not least due to the differences between the countries. “This leads to a situation in which it is necessary to remain on the level of the lowest common de- nominator.” The topic is embedded in the research focus “Dynamic Alignments and Dealignments in Global Southeast Asia” at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and in the project “Grounding Area Studies in Social Practice,” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Edu- cation and Research. Besides Rüland, the project also includes the ethnologists Prof. Dr. Judith Schlehe and Prof. Dr. Stefan Seitz, the econo- mist Prof. Dr. Günther Schulze, and the historian Prof. Dr. Sabine Dabringhaus, who are thus also strengthening research on Southeast Asia at the University of Freiburg. Rüland’s work does not just benefit science; it also has current practical relevance in political consulting. Together with colleagues, he takes part in meetings with think tanks and sits on committees that help to shape German policy on Southeast Asia. In addition, he and his team make sure to stay informed about current developments in the region. “After all, we don’t want to just sit in an ivory tower and conduct research for a small group of experts.” uni wissen 02 2015 The European Union as a model? The question of whether ASEAN is growing more similar to the EU is one of the topics of Jürgen Rüland’s research. Photo: European Parliament 27 uni wissen 022015