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06 December 2023

Vaccine Hesitancy and the Cultural Politics of Trust in the Dengvaxia Controversy:A Critical Discourse-Ethnographic Study of Online News Content, Producers, and Audiences

Karl Patrick R. Mendoza

Vaccine hesitancy refers to the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite vaccine availability. At its very core lies the problem of trust. Yet, there is very little research on the role of trust in vaccine hesitancy particularly with respect to its cultural-ideological dimensions. The aim of this thesis is to describe and explore how the online news discourse on the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy legitimizes a particular trust culture in Philippine society. For this purpose, it adopts the general theory of trust propounded by Piotr Sztompka and links it to the study of news media using critical discourse analysis. By doing so, the thesis demonstrates that the power of a trust culture lies precisely in being hidden and shared, which, if left unchallenged, may lead to a vicious cycle of particularized trust granting and trust reciprocating in society. The generalization of personality-based trust in society is not only inimical to public health but also to democracy.


Political Governance on Food Security Policy in Indonesia

Farid Idris

The political interaction within a policy process is a crucial point in policy analysis, as this stage would direct a public policy. This study use the policy process around MIFEE program in Papua as a case study. It seeks to answer two questions; how the framing of food security issue has influenced the formulation process of MIFEE? And how the interaction among political actors has led to implement this project in Papua. These questions are important to find out how policy actors influence the process to change its course to accommodate their agenda. This study is centralized on actors, and it applies the Governance Analytical Framework to arrange the analysis within five aspects; problem, norms, actors, nodal points and process. This study found that the actors has influenced the policy process of MIFEE at the context of political governance to fit their interest. This study also proves that GAF is a proper analytical tool to examine the politics in a policy process.


The politics of candidate selection in Thai Local Administrative Organisations

Pinsuda Wonganan

Candidate selection in academia has received increasing attention since the 1960s and in the recent decade, it has determined the character of parliament and the resulting nature of the democratic system. However, much of the existing literature has mainly focused on established democracies. Less attention has been paid to the candidate selection process in developing democracies. Thailand hitherto has no primary elections nor formal party involvement in local elections. This raises questions of who plays the critical role in selecting local electoral candidates and whether the gatekeeping process is the cause of an under-representation of women in local and national politics. This study seeks to fill the literature gap in the candidate selection system and propose possible measures for a more open and transparent candidate selection process in Thai local elections.


State-Civil Society Relations in Disaster Risk Management Policymaking in the Philippines

Juhn Chris Espia

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and has a long history of contested state-civil society relations. My PhD thesis examines state-civil society dynamics in the context of disaster risk management policymaking in the Philippines and how civil society engagement with the state shapes policymaking outcomes in this policy area.  The research project aims to theorize the on-going process of negotiation and competition between state and civil society actors to continuously redefine what I consider as porous and inter-permeable boundaries between state and societal domains. It will also look at the interplay between institutions, political agency, and exogenous factors in the policymaking process.  By taking the view that policymaking is inherently “messy”, non-linear, and embedded in history and the local context, the thesis aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the role of institutions in policymaking and the dynamics of claims-making between policy actors.


Power and Local Networks in Northeast Thailand after the 2006 Military Coup

Suthikarn Meechan

This study examines the nature of local power and political networks under transitioning Thai politics after the military coup in 2006. As a regional case study, the Northeast is a strong power base for certain political parties and a source of significant resistance to the Junta. This study examines political activities at local levels, whereby prominent actors create networks and interact through the applied model of local clientelistic cluster networks. Significant aspects of local networks as color-coded conflicts, policy implementation, and local government budgeting, including local and general elections, are explained and discussed. The outcomes of this study will help specify the forms of clientelism embedded in Thai politics today, as well as present the scenarios of power mapping in Northeast Thailand under the new regime.


Local Governance and Conflict Resolution in the Philippines

Dennis Flores Quilala

The study of conflict resolution has been overtly focused on the role of international actors like international organizations, superpowers, and neighbouring states. The “local turn” in the literature aimed to correct this by including the study of the roles of communities and local peacebuilders. These have focused on the importance of local knowledge and local ownership. What is missing in these bodies of research is the role of local governments. The study looks at four exemplary cases in two provinces in the Philippines. These cases have been recognized as being able to put a dent, within their respective jurisdictions, on the fifty-year communist insurgency in the Philippines. It is argued that their roles are crucial in resolving armed conflicts. Moreover, in order to sustain gains of the national government against insurgencies, local governments must be mobilized. Insights from this research could be applied in other contexts including hotspots in Southeast Asia and beyond.


Transformative journeys: Overseas Indonesian migrant workers and identity change

Khairu Sobandi

International migration in the era of globalization poses various challenges to the formation of identity.  However, the various impacts of overseas migration have been mostly analyzed from the point of view of a state’s economy and development. Yet international migration is not merely about financial gain.  Indeed, financial gain is an important benefits of temporary labor migration, however, it should also be recognized its transformative potential of this overseas labor migration for the migrants and the community around them in the country of origin. Thus, my research aimed at enhancing our understanding of the impact of overseas work experiences on the lives of temporary migrants and on their home communities especially on their identity.


The Different Ways of Being Chinese: A Comparative Study of Resilience, Identity and the issue of Sovereignty for Chinese Youth of Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Orson Tan

The consequences of China’s rise to a hegemonic power has been put firmly into the spotlight by events like the US-China trade war, and more recently, the narrative around the Covid-19 pandemic. This rise as a major power has also been paralleled by China’s politicisation of the Chinese identity, which has seen signs of pushback, especially from overseas Chinese youth. From the protest in Hong Kong to rising xenophobia in Singapore, and the politicisation of relations with China in Taiwan, we have witnessed a growing rejection of China’s attempts to assimilate the Chinese identity into its nationalist message . This study seeks to answer the question of why the Chinese youth in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines seem more resilient to China’s ethnonationalist-centric identity politics. In particular, this study seeks to examine the relationship between the construction of a national identity and the conceptualisation of sovereignty in making developing such resilience.


The Militarisation of Thai Society After the 2014 Coup

Pasit Wonggnamdee

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