Public feelings toward ASEAN: One vision, one identity, one community?

Hyo Won Lee, Sijeong Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


What determines how ASEAN is perceived by the citizens of its member states? Most studies on ASEAN take a state-centric and elite-oriented viewpoint. We improve on this by bringing the people of ASEAN into the center of the analysis. Considering lessons from the European Union's internal legitimacy crisis, we develop hypotheses on how skill-based economic interests, sociocultural beliefs, and assessments of national context shape people's attitude to ASEAN. Our hypotheses are tested using the latest data from the Asian Barometer Survey, covering eight of the 10 ASEAN countries. We find that citizen confidence in domestic governance and a positive assessment of major extra-regional powers are associated with a closer identification with ASEAN. Our analysis also identifies age and gender cleavages. ASEAN affinity is higher among older rather than younger and male rather than female respondents. Our findings have important policy implications for the proponents of ASEAN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-829
Number of pages27
JournalAsian Survey
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by The Regents of the University of California.


  • ASEAN affinity
  • ASEAN citizen
  • Domestic governance
  • External powers
  • Internal legitimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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