Crisis, States and the Sociology of Southeast Asia: Constructing and Deconstructing 1997

  • John Clammer Sophia University, Japan
Keywords: Sociology, State, Southeast Asia, Crisis, 1997


The events of 1997 in Southeast Asia have been largely interpreted as a financial crisis, as a momentary problem in an otherwise smoothly operating development model. This paper takes issue with this interpretation and argues that in fact it indicated the extent of the penetration of globalization in the region and threw into stark relief the underlying sociological transformations that have accompanied and been created by the developmentalist policies of regional states. The paper attempts to indicate what the major sociological issues generated by the crisis are, to argue for the continuing salience of class analysis in interpreting social transformations in contemporary Southeast Asia and to propose the elements of a fresh sociological model for examining post-crisis Southeast Asian societies encapsulated in a pattern of globalization that is having profound but not yet fully mapped cultural and social consequences. The paper in other words attempts a sociological interpretation of what has been mostly read as an economic problem, and indicates necessary linkages between the economic, the sociological and the cultural in the interpretation of social change in the region.

Author Biography

John Clammer, Sophia University, Japan
Professor, Sociology, Sophia University, Faculty of Comparative Culture