This chapter contextualizes the study in current debates on the effects of norm diffusion. Research intellectually influenced by world polity theory projects an increasing similarity of regional organizations as a result of two concurring processes: the promotion of the European model of regional integration by the EU and the model's imitation by other regional organizations. Highlighting diversity, this book takes a different perspective. It argues that world polity theory overemphasizes structural similarities and underestimates cultural differences, thus lacking context sensitivity. By grounding the research in Eisenstadt's "multiple modernities" paradigm, the chapter argues that the belief in only one modernity is a myth and that modern institutions are socially and culturally embedded. As culture is diverse and path dependent, terminological and organizational similarities tend to be superficial and often conceal extant normative underpinnings, which do not match the seemingly appropriated model of regional integration.
The chapter develops an essentially constructivist theoretical framework that strongly draws from Amitav Acharya's theory of "constitutive localization." It nuances Acharya's theory to make its outward-in perspective compatible with a bottom-up analysis of ideational discourses. Acharya conceptualizes recipients of external normative challenges less as passive norm-takers than as agents that actively reconstruct foreign norms to make them congruent with their own local norms. Constitutive localization thus transcends strongly Western-centric, modernization theory-driven approaches to norm diffusion and helps to add Southern perspectives to IR and regionalism studies. The second part of the chapter details the study's methodology, including case selection, selection of foreign policy stakeholder groups, and research techniques. The latter are largely qualitative and interpretive and rely strongly on discourse analysis of newspaper articles, other written materials, public speeches, and expert interviews.
This chapter seeks to establish what Acharya has termed the "cognitive prior." It explores extant Indonesian ideas on foreign policymaking and ASEAN cooperation. Europeanizing changes were triggered by the Asian Financial Crisis (1997–1998), which discredited the ASEAN Way as ASEAN's established repository of cooperation norms. The chapter shows how the worldviews of Indonesian foreign policy elites have been shaped by adverse historical experiences, which have evoked on the one hand strong sentiments of insecurity and vulnerability, on the other, a strong sense of entitlement to regional leadership. At the regional level, the cognitive prior is strongly influenced by Westphalian sovereignty norms. In the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis the ASEAN Way was challenged by external and domestic critics, climaxing with the ASEAN Charter debate. The chapter ends with an analysis of the institutional changes the Charter inaugurated and the ideas and norms it seemingly appropriated from the EU.
The Indonesian government was the most significant actor in the ASEAN Charter debate and the relevance of regionalism for Indonesia's foreign policy. It negotiated the Charter with the other ASEAN governments and strongly influenced the domestic debate on ASEAN and Indonesia's role in it. The chapter outlines changes in Indonesian foreign policymaking, which became a multistakeholder process after the demise of President Suharto's authoritarian New Order regime in May 1998. Applying Acharya's localization theory, it examines how leading government exponents—the president, the foreign minister, and high-ranking diplomats—framed, grafted, and pruned European concepts of regional integration. The chapter shows that although the Indonesian government was the most vocal among ASEAN members in propagating EU-style reforms, it localized core reformist concepts such as democracy and human rights with extant local ideas such as organicism, soft law, leadership ambitions, ancient welfare and security conceptions, and the ASEAN Way.
Non-governmental organizations were the main antipode to the Indonesian government in the ASEAN Charter debate. The chapter shows how NGOs proliferated in Indonesia's post-1998 democratization and became major actors in the country's domestic politics, including the debate on Indonesia's ASEAN policies. The chapter examines how civil society activists localized European concepts of regional integration. NGOs promoted bolder reforms than did the government, focusing on popular empowerment in regional decision making, human rights protection, and social benefits for the less advantaged segments of society. NGOs pleaded for an "alternative regionalism" or "regionalism from below," which critically evaluated ASEAN's government-driven market-opening reforms. Even more than the government, NGOs also imported ideas on regionalism not only from Europe, but also from Latin America and Africa. Yet NGOs, too, localized these alien concepts of regionalism with extant ideas on welfare, organicism, anticapitalist traditions, and—to a lesser extent—security.
The chapter shows how as a consequence of democratization the Indonesian legislature became a major stakeholder in Indonesian foreign policymaking. Based on Acharya's localization theory, it goes on to scrutinize the responses of Indonesian legislators to the external normative challenges during the ASEAN Charter debate. One of the results is that Indonesian legislators expect a reformed ASEAN to promote the democratization of regional governance and increases in public welfare. Yet, unlike NGO representatives, legislators avoided explicit calls for popular empowerment. In sum, legislators, too, did not opt for a wholesale adoption of European concepts of regional integration. They localized democracy aspirations with ancient notions of leadership, organicist ideas, and welfare concepts.
The chapter details how in the last two decades the participation of academics in Indonesian foreign policymaking broadened. While in the past only a few think tanks provided input on the government's foreign policy decisions, in the Era Reformasi many university scholars also became foreign policy stakeholders. The chapter examines how the academe localized European ideas on regionalism during the ASEAN Charter debate. While most academics strongly opted for a democratization of regional governance and the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism, the motivations differed. One group supported such reforms from a strictly normative point of view, others saw in them a leverage to increase ASEAN efficiency in the wake of the challenges posed by rising regional giants China and India. Academics localized European ideas of regionalism to a lesser extent than the government and legislators. Yet they too fused them with extant local ideas of security.
The chapter highlights the changes in Indonesian print media after democratization and their increased role in foreign policy debates and discourses on regionalism. Based on Acharya's localization theory, the chapter explores the print media's ideas on the reform of Southeast Asia's regionalism. The print media contributed strongly to the ASEAN Charter debate, stressing democracy, increased welfare, and security improvements as major motivations for the reforms. While they, too, were receptive of European ideas, in their articles and editorials journalists fused them with the country's organicist traditions, leadership claims, soft power, and notions of survivalism.
Economic interest groups proliferated after the end of the Suharto regime. They, too, became major stakeholders in foreign policy decisions, especially those with implications for the international competitiveness of Indonesian businesses. The chapter investigates how and to what extent business representatives localized EU norms of regional integration. Interestingly, public contributions of business interests to the Charter debate were rare, and the economic implications of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) envisaged in the Charter were discussed only much later. Yet responses to the AEC's common market and production base differed. While EU-style market-opening reforms were supported by large, export-oriented firms, the majority of small- and medium-scale industries producing for the domestic market rejected them. Business representatives localized reforms imitating the EU model, too, thereby relying on ancient prosperity ideas, the vulnerability discourse, leadership, and soft power.
With the "leadership frame," the chapter unearths a new interpretive frame of the Charter from 2009 onward, suggesting a gradual return of extant ideas of Indonesian foreign policymaking. The chapter also scrutinizes the internalization of the new EU-inspired ideas of regionalism. The litmus tests were events in which the territorial and economic sovereignty of Indonesia was challenged, such as the disputes with Malaysia over maritime borders and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area. The response to these events showed that most stakeholders except civil society threw overboard many of the liberal-cosmopolitan values associated with European regional integration. Last, the chapter examines whether this ideational reversal continued under the Jokowi government and suggests that the latter did not abruptly break with the foreign policy of his predecessor. Many of the seemingly new Jokowi policies had their roots in the second term of the Yudhoyono presidency.
The chapter recapitulates the norm appropriation by the Indonesian foreign policy community. Most stakeholders localized external ideas and norms. In the process, the government was exposed to localization pressures by nonstate actors from below. Legislators and business representatives mainly drew from extant beliefs, while in their majority NGOs, academics, and the press vocally propagated the European ideas of regional integration. By charting additional pathways of norm diffusion and distinguishing defensive and offensive localization, the study nuanced existing norm diffusion theory. Indonesian foreign policy stakeholders also imported ideas from Africa and Latin America, making norm diffusion an omnidirectional process. The study provides strong evidence that ASEAN's cooperation norms continue to differ from the EU. Highlighting the normative agency of Indonesian foreign policy stakeholders, the study contributes to the project of a Global IR, which more than hitherto takes into account events and processes in the Global South.