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Comparing ASEAN and the EU’s implementation of cultural projects: a historical institutionalist analysis

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This paper is a comparative case study that examines the different ways that the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) implement cultural projects. It contends that one key difference between the two is that the former emphasizes regional commonality in its activities, while the latter highlights the differences among countries. Applying a historical institutionalist perspective, this paper argues that the disparity between ASEAN and EU cultural projects can be explained by historical differences, which are manifested in ideas that were institutionalized when the two organizations were created. For example, since its establishment after the Second World War, the European bloc has been guided by the vision of creating an ever-closer union, which aligned policy preferences towards deepening integration among Member States. On the other hand, the Southeast Asian bloc has consistently maintained the primacy of state sovereignty and, as such, has favored cultural policies that allowed countries to showcase their respective national cultures.

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This paper was made possible through financial support from the Ateneo Center for Asian Studies and a Faculty Development Grant from the Ateneo de Manila University.

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Correspondence to Manuel Enverga III.

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Enverga, M. Comparing ASEAN and the EU’s implementation of cultural projects: a historical institutionalist analysis. Asia Eur J 16, 65–80 (2018).

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