1st Edition

Transnational Civil Society in Asia The Potential of Grassroots Regionalization

Edited By Simon Avenell, Akihiro Ogawa Copyright 2022
    242 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    242 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume addresses how transnational interactions among civil society actors in Asia and its sub-regions are helping to strengthen common democratic values and transform dominant processes of policymaking and corporate capitalism in the region.

    The contributors conceive of transnational civil society networks as constructive vehicles for both informing and persuading governments and businesses to adopt, modify, or abandon certain policies or positions. This volume investigates the role of such networks through a range of interdisciplinary approaches, bringing together case studies on Asian transnationalism from South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia across four key themes: local transformations and connections, diaspora politics, cross-regional initiatives and networks, and global actors and influences. Chapters demonstrate how transnational civil society is connecting people in local communities across Asia, in parallel to ongoing tensions between nation-states and civil society. By highlighting the grassroots regionalization emerging from ever-intensifying information exchange between civil society actors across borders – as well as concrete transnational initiatives uniting actors across Asia – the volume advances the intellectual mandate of redefining ‘Asia’ as a dynamic and interconnected formation.

    Transnational Civil Society in Asia will appeal to students and scholars of international relations, politics and Asian studies more broadly. 

    Introduction: Transnational civil society in Asia

    Simon Avenell, Akihiro Ogawa

    Part 1: Northeast Asia

    1. Translocal Civil Society and Grassroots Resilience: A Case Study of the Fukushima-Cairns Recuperation Initiative

    Akina Mikami

    2. The Hardest of Hard Cases: Transnational Mobilization and Civil Society in China

    Stephen Noakes

    3. Unethical Politics: Japan’s Nuclear Technology Export to Turkey and Transnational Antinuclear Networks

    Akihiro Ogawa

    4. Japanese Civil Society and Asian Transnationalism: Bringing the Region In

    Simon Avenell

    Part 2: Southeast Asia

    5. Freedom of Expression in Myanmar and Transnational Civil Society

    Jeff Kingston

    6. Dealing with Human Trafficking: Connecting Civil Society in Singapore with Asia

    Gillian Koh and Dhevarajan Devadas

    7. Transnational Neoliberalism in Asian Civil Society: Microfinance and poverty in Cambodia

    Ruth Phillips and Deanna Davy

    8. Overseas Filipino Workers as Transnational Constituents: Legislative Politics of Divorce in the Philippines

    Apichai W. Shipper

    Part 3: South Asia

    9. Diaspora to the Rescue: The Role of Civil Society Groups in Helping Indians Stranded by the COVID-19 pandemic

    Pradeep Taneja and Surjeet Dogra Dhanji

    10. Promoting Pluralism through Development: Transnational Initiatives of the Aga Khan Development Network

    Salim Lakha

    11. Remote-controlled Domestic Politics? Sri Lankan Migrant Workers and Diaspora as a New Form of Transnational Civil Society

    Udan Fernando

    12. Conclusion: Romance and Tragedy in the Telling of Transnational Asian Civil Society

    Ian Rowen


    Simon Avenell is a Professor at the Australian National University. He studies Japanese history, civil society, environmentalism, and transnationalism. He has published in leading journals, including The Journal of Japanese Studies and Environmental History. His most recent book is Transnational Japan in the Global Environmental Movement (2017).

    Akihiro Ogawa is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. His major research interest is in contemporary Japanese society, focusing on civil society.