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Nationalism, Populism, Dependency: Southeast Asia and Responses to the Asian Crisis

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Opposition to neoliberal globalisation has been especially intense since the Asian crisis. This paper assesses three responses to the crisis: a broad localist reaction in Thailand, and the approaches adopted by two major Asian-based organisations, the Third World Network (TWN) and the Focus on the Global South. The discussion of these approaches focuses on the issues of nationalism and populism; dependency; industrialisation and the state; and liberalisation, international institutions, and local society. Their critiques range from the conservative populism of the localists, to reformism of TWN, and to the more radical “deglobalisation” approach of the Focus group. However, none have been able to free themselves of the influence of dependency models. Their populism and “progressive nationalism” prevents an accurate location of the causes of exploitation in capitalist processes. This paper questions whether the national-global dichotomy of these approaches is an adequate way to conceptualise capitalist production and exploitation in the era of globalisation.

Keywords: anti-globalisation; globalisation; localism; nationalism; non-governmental organisations; populism

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Southeast Asia Research Centre and Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong,

Publication date: November 1, 2001


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