Review of International Studies

Research Article

Mimetic adoption and norm diffusion: ‘Western’ security cooperation in Southeast Asia?



The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been pursuing new cooperative security agendas – namely, confidence-building measures (CBMs), preventive diplomacy (PD), conflict resolution and a set of agendas associated with security communities. The ASEAN members' pursuit of these agendas should be seen as a set of instances of their mimetic adoption of external norms for the sake of legitimacy. They have mimetically been adopting a set of norms associated with the collective management of conflicts, which have been practiced by the participant states of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). They have been doing so, with the intention of securing their identities as legitimate members of the community of modern states, and of enhancing the status of ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as legitimate cooperative security institutions.

(Online publication September 02 2010)

Hiro Katsumata is an Assistant Professor at the Waseda University Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (Japan). He defended his PhD thesis at the University of Birmingham (UK), and joined the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (Singapore) in May 2003. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Research Associate at the University of Bristol. He is the author of ASEAN's Cooperative Security Enterprise: Norms and Interests in the ASEAN Regional Forum (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009).

* Earlier versions of this article were presented at the British International Studies Association (BISA) conference at the University of St. Andrews on 21 December 2005 and the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention in Chicago on 2 March 2007. I thank the participants in these meetings and anonymous reviews for their useful comments.