Saturday, August 15, 2020

Jose Duke Bagulaya on a People’s Reading of the ASEAN Charter (Asian J of Law & Society)

Jose Duke Bagulaya (PhD candidate)
Asian Journal of Law and Society
June 2020, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.229-247
Abstract: While the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Charter has been read by commentators as a constitutional document, its use of the peoples of Southeast Asia as fictional authors of the text has not been fully explored. A people’s reading of the ASEAN Charter provides a critical perspective that uncovers the elitist and statist nature of this document. A close textual analysis of the preamble reveals that these purported authors are displaced by the Heads of State as the speaking subject and creators of the new legal entity. This textual displacement transforms the constituent treaty into a state monologue as it imposes a utopian vision of capitalism on the geopolitical body of the region. Contrary to its democratic claims, the Charter has only constitutionalised reification, class structures, and the exclusion of the peoples from power. The ASEAN constitution silences its own authors.

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