Dealing with diversity: State strategies on ethnic minority management in Southeast Asia


  • Hansley A. Juliano serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
  • Matthew David D. Ordoñez is currently a postgraduate student of Public Administration at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
  • Enrico Antonio B. La Viña is an incoming Ph.D., student in the Department of Political Science at the University of California Davis.


Southeast Asia, nationalism in Southeast Asia, state-building in Asia


Southeast Asia’s ethnic, political and cultural diversity continues to pose major policy and governance hurdles in enforcing a common community born out of the post-colonial nationalist baggage of almost all the region’s countries. ASEAN’s “non-interference” clause gives leeway to each member state to respond to its ethnic diversity with nation-building projects through exclusionary governance. With this leeway, each Southeast Asian country’s nation-building policies
legitimize a particular, existing ethno-nationalist or “ethno-religious” majority at the expense of democratic accountability. This study proposes a preliminary quantitative model which uses regression analysis to compare Southeast Asian countries’ data on their religious and ethnic populations. The initial model categorizes the types of minority management strategies depending on their respective ethnic heterogeneity. This study hypothesizes that a) states with more
ethnically homogenous populations will have more exclusionary and violent state policies towards minorities, while b) states with more heterogeneous populations will have fewer exclusionary and violent policies. The results indicate a moderate causality between the two variables and may be correlated with additional variables such as the level of democratic consolidation (as tabulated by the Polity IV democratic index) and the centralized structure of governance.


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How to Cite

Juliano, Hansley A., Matthew David D. Ordoñez, and Enrico Antonio B. La Viña. 2020. “Dealing With Diversity: State Strategies on Ethnic Minority Management in Southeast Asia”. ASIAN REVIEW 32 (1):85-108.



Research Articles