Environmental neoliberalism in Southeast Asia

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In this chapter, I introduce ways in which different scholars have approached the concepts of ‘environmental neoliberalism’ and ‘neoliberal natures’. I draw upon a number of examples that highlight the utility, as well as the limits, of neoliberalism as an ‘ideal type’ concept, and of the notion of ‘neoliberalization’ as an ongoing political-ecological project, for understanding the complex environmental transformations ongoing in Asia. Southeast Asia is a particularly fertile region for studying the application and (partial) uptake of neoliberal modes of environmental governance and governmentality − not just due to the diversity of places, local social relations and institutional landscapes (Roth and Dressler, 2012), but also, I suggest, due to the enduring presence in the region of alternative logics of state power, and modes of political-economic rule. These alternatives to neoliberalism in Southeast Asia include dominant paternalist and developmentalist orientations of different regional states, and the persistence of more overtly illiberal and authoritarian governance formations, as well as the growing dynamism of East/Southeast Asian state-capitalism. This leads me to highlight the potential for further grounded research into the relational connections and contradictions between neoliberal environmental ideologies, actor-networks, institutions and practices on the one hand, and the consolidation of alternative and hybridized forms of power and authority in Southeast Asia on the other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia
    Editors Philip Hirsch
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)9781315474892
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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