Globalization, Education, and the Politics of Identity in the Asia-Pacific

The Ethical Dilemma of "East Asian Bioethics"

Author: Mark Lincicome


This essay examines a resurgent interest in “regionness” as a response to globalization, and it looks at how governments and citizens have participated in the discourse on forging a new Asia-Pacific community that has developed over the past fifteen years. Part one distinguishes between “regionalization” and “regionalism” as competing visions for the construction of a future Asia-Pacific community. Regionalization, the dominant paradigm during the postcolonial period, centers on interstate forums dominated by officially recognized political and economic elites who seek interstate cooperation in order to protect state interests, state power, and national identity from foreign as well as domestic challenges. Regionalism, as an alternative paradigm, envisions the creation of transnational networks inclusive of nonofficial actors, whose identification with a particular state and set of national interests does not preclude the creation of a regional identity (or identities) and support for regional interests. Part two considers the challenges that regionalism poses for the nation-state and its leadership. It does so by highlighting the pressure for reform that globalization has brought to bear upon one particular institution that theorists of nationalism have long identified as central to the perpetuation of national identity, national unity, and state authority: schooling. Part three assesses the current prospects for such reforms by briefly examining recent educational developments in Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

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© Jeff Kingston