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Volda-Griffith Austral-Asian Study Immersion Program 2010. An Overview of Asia Wayne Muller Griffith University 13 th September 2010. Presentation Structure. Five Sections: (1) “Defining ‘Asia’, and issues of cultural perspective.”

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Volda-Griffith Austral-Asian Study Immersion Program 2010

  • An Overview of Asia

  • Wayne Muller

  • Griffith University

  • 13th September 2010


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Presentation Structure

  • Five Sections:

    (1) “Defining ‘Asia’, and issues of cultural perspective.”

    (2) Geography, demography ethnography, and ecological aspects of ‘Asia’.

    (3) The traditional legacies of Asia.

    (4) Colonialism, imperialism and nationalism in Asia.

    (5) The characteristics of modernisation and globalisation in Asia.


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Section 1

  • “Defining ‘Asia’, and issues of cultural perspective.”


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Section Structure

  • (1) Defining “Asia” geographically- the concept of “many Asias”.

  • (2) Defining “Asia” historically- the concept of “Orientalism”.

  • (3) Defining “Asia”- dealing with stereotypes.

  • (4) The concept of “cultural perspective”.

  • (5) Some commonly claimed “Asian perspectives/ values”.

  • (6) “Asian perceptions” of Australia.


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(1) Defining “Asia” geographically- the concept of “many Asias”.

  • (1) Boundaries of Asia- clear cut and blurred?


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  • (5) “Many Asias”- “many Asias”.

    • Diversity within Asia and within Asian countries

    • Change and the modernisation/ westernisation debate


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(2) Defining “Asia” historically- the concept of “Orientalism”.

  • (A) Edward Said’s Thesis:

  • “The West defined the East in order to colonise and dominate it.”


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  • (B) Some definitions of “Orientalism” “Orientalism”.

  • (1) ".........The European vision of all Eastern peoples as exotic, remote, inferior, and subject to the political, military, economic, cultural, and sexual dominance of the west". (Broinowski:1992:2)

  • (Some Australian manifestations of “Orientalism”- Paranoia/ White Australia/ racist cartoons.)


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  • (2) "......that powerful past image of Asia as poor, military, threatening and exotic has been replaced by a new, just as simple yet ambivalent image of Asia as rich (and also poor). An Asia beckoning us simultaneously with economic opportunities; and still exotic". (Viviani:1990:2)


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(3) Defining “Asia”- dealing with stereotypes trees. ...................The mind that knows the trees

  • (1) Stereotypes- the need to generalise?

  • (2) Classifying stereotypes, for example:

    • Romantic stereotypes

    • Repugnant stereotypes

    • Realistic stereotypes ( de Souza 1992: 6)

  • (3) Analysing and challenging stereotypes.

    • Eg “All Asians look alike”.


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(4) The concept of “cultural perspective”. trees. ...................The mind that knows the trees

  • Concepts of 'World View'/ Core Values/ Attitudes/ Perceptions/ etc

  • Importance of 'Reality Constructors'

  • Ethnocentrism: The subjectivity of 'Common Sense‘ (eg the grasshopper)

  • The Emic and the Etic Perspectives *****


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  • Strengths, weaknesses and paradoxes in all societies trees. ...................The mind that knows the trees

  • Problem of making moral judgments from our perspective- “In order to know the other, one must other the known.”

  • “Cultural Relativism” versus “Moral Relativism” (Evans: Reading 2)

  • Case study of “Education” from multiple perspectives (Milner and Quilty: Reading 3)


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(4) The concept of “cultural perspective”- some examples.

  • (1) "I think, therefore I am".

    • (Individualism) western?

  • (2) ”I am because we are and we are because I am".

    • (Group oriented) Oriental? Traditional?

  • Or

  • (1) Western dichotomy.

    • E.G. Male......................Female

  • (2) Eastern dualism/ holism.

    • E.G. Yang......................Yin


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(5) Some commonly claimed “Asian perspectives/ values”. examples.

  • (1) “The Good Society”

  • Harmony/ order

    • (Contrasted with Western notions of “freedom”)

  • Hierarchy

    • (Contrasted with Western notions of “egalitarianism”)

    • within Asia

    • within one society

    • gender based

    • sources of the concept


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  • Group identity examples.

    • (Contrasted with Western individualism)

  • "Strong" leadership

    • (Contrasted with Western aversion to“authoritarianism”)

  • Respect

    • (Knowing one's proper place)


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5) Some commonly claimed “Asian perspectives/ values” (continued).

  • (2) “Behaviour Patterns”

  • Belief systems including a diversity of religions (c.f. “secular” Australia)

  • Core values of honour, face and shame

  • Formality and protocol

  • Hiding one's feelings

  • Don't give offence

  • Consensus decision making

  • Meeting deadlines


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(6) “Asian perceptions” of Australia. (continued).

  • Knowledge limitations (e.g. textbook stereotypes: the sheep farm, the beach and the tourist resort; media representations)

  • Lifestyle stereotypes (e.g. outdoors, beach, sport, BBQs)

  • Stereotypes of 'national characteristics' (e.g. friendly, relaxed, lazy, etc.)

  • Racism ('White Australia')


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(6) “Asian perceptions” of Australia (continued). (continued).

  • Our openness, directness and criticism of some Asian issues (e.g. human rights) are seen as rudeness and “white arrogance”.

  • Culturally immature

  • Puzzled by our 'national identity':-the flag and the head of state

  • Weak commitment to citizenship

  • Problems in business dealings (e.g. meeting deadlines)

  • A “mine” and a “beach”


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Section 2: (continued).Geography, demography ethnography, and ecological aspects of ‘Asia’


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GEOGRAPHY (continued).

  • Size and diversity

  • Physical characteristics/ plate tectonics

  • Regionalism

    • Mainland Asia/ peninsula Asia/ archipelago Asia

    • Rural Asia/ urban Asia

    • Desert Asia (hot and cold)/ equatorial Asia/ tropical Asia


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GEOGRAPHY (Continued) (continued).

  • The characteristics and importance of 'monsoon Asia’

  • Riverine and coastal geographies

  • Hydro culture/ rice culture

  • Asia and 'natural disasters'






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Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami 26 (continued).th December 2004







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DEMOGRAPHY (continued).

  • (Reading 4: Mackerras Chapter 35)

  • Population distribution/ density/ totals

  • Various demographic indicators

  • Culturally based attitudes to reproduction and parenting:

    • Children as a 'resource'

    • The 'male child', etc.


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DEMOGRAPHY (Continued) (continued).

  • Population growth rates

    • Huge variations

  • Population control measures

    • Family planning/ abortion/ infanticide

  • Government demographic policies

    • China's 'one child policy'

    • Singapore's 'marriage policy', etc.


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    DEMOGRAPHY (Continued) (continued).

    • Population mobility

    • (A) International migration

      • Within Asia eg “Nanyang”

      • Beyond Asia, including Australia

      • (Immigration debate and refugees)

  • (B) Internal migration

    • (1) Urbanisation/ city growth/ urban problems.

      • eg Bangkok, Seoul

    • (2) Government initiated migration programs:

      • China's 'special economic zones’

      • Indonesia's transmigration program


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    ETHNOGRAPHY (continued).


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    ETHNOGRAPHY (continued).

    • Classification- ethnic and linguistic criteria

    • Han/ “non Han”/ Mongoloid/ Indo-Aryan/ Dravidian/ Malay/ Melanesian/ Micronesian/ etc


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    ETHNOGRAPHY (continued) (continued).

    • Intra-Asian migrations

    • Overseas Chinese- 'nanyang‘

    • Multi-racial societies

    • Indigenous minorities

      • Ainu/ non-Han Chinese/ Dyaks/ people of Irian Jaya/ etc


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    ETHNOGRAPHY (Continued) (continued).

    • Intra-Asian racism

    • Ethnicity and nationalism


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    ENVIRONMENT (continued).

    • Asia as a sub-set of global environmental issues and debates:

      • “People overpopulation” and “consumption overpopulation”

  • Asia in the context of first world/ third world environmental controversies:

    • The nexus between development and environmental issues; the green revolution


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    ENVIRONMENT (Continued) (continued).

    • Asian 'attitudes' to the environment- can we generalise?

    • The environmental 'harmony' of hydro culture/ slash and burn?

    • Urban environmental issues in Asia

    • A 'national case study' eg. Japan, Malaysia


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    ENVIRONMENT (Continued) (continued).

    • Specific environmental issues:

      • Endangered species- e.g. Bengal tiger, panda

      • Rain forest extinction- e.g. logging in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, 1997 forest fires

      • Water management issues, including dams- e.g. the three gorges dam, dams and water sharing of the Mekong

      • Corporate irresponsibility- e.g. Minamata disease, Bhopal

      • Land degradation- e.g. hillside farming

      • Urban problems- e.g. Bangkok traffic, smoky mountain in Manila, air pollution in Chinese cities, etc.

      • Displacement of traditional peoples by forestry, mining, dams, tourism, etc.



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    Introductory Points (continued).

    • Using “reason” or “faith” as the catalyst for analysis?

    • Are “spirituality” and “being religious” synonymous?

    • The subjective circumstances of the acquisition of a belief system?

    • Equal validity and subjectivity of all belief systems and religions? An example of cultural relativism.

    • “Orthodox teaching” versus “actual practices”

    • “Moderates” and “fundamentalists”


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    Hinduism (continued).


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    Buddhism (continued).


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    Islam (continued).


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    Confucianism (continued).


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    Shintoism (continued).


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    BELIEF SYSTEMS, PHILOSOPHIES, INTELLECTUAL LEGACIES, CODES FOR LIVING

    • "SECULAR""RELIGIOUS"

      (GROUP IDENTITY, (HUMAN MORTALITY

      NATIONALISM) AND SUPERSTITION)

      * Confucianism * Hinduism

      * Communism * Islam

      * Capitalism * Buddhism*

      * Bushido * Christianity

      * Taoism

      * Shintoism

      * Animism/ Shamanism/ Magic


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (1) Universalistic <-----> Community

      ReligionsReligions

      (Plus sects/ denominations)

    • (2) Monodeism <----> Polydeism <---> Nondeistic

      *Islam *Hinduism *Buddhism

      *Christianity *Taoism

      *Shintoism

      *Animism


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (3)“Tolerant <----> “Exclusive, expansionary

      Religions”intolerant Religions”

      *Buddhism? Christianity??

      *Shintoism? Islam??

      Judaism??

    • (4) Religions with a focus on “Nature”

      * Hinduism--- “Gods of…..”

      * Taoism---Yin-yang, balance, harmony, earth’s natural energy, feng shui, etc

      * Shintoism---Kami

      * Animism---Eg: Indonesian spirits, exorcism, etc


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (5) Religions subject to “syncretism”

      • Balinese Hinduism

      • Javanese Islam

      • Filipino Christianity

    • (6)Belief systems which stress hierarchy/ respect

      All-, but especially:

      • Confucianism (filial piety, etc)

      • Hinduism (Caste system, etc)

      • Islam (gender based hierarchy, etc)

      • Buddhism (self respect/ self discipline)


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (7) Group Oriented <---> Individualistic

      * Confucianism * Christianity (both?)

      * Shintoism * Buddhism (both?)

    • (8) Accceptance Progress oriented/

      of the <--------> perfectability

      status quo

      * Hinduism * Christianity

      * Islam * Buddhism


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (9) Reincarnation <------> Single life

      (Multiple lives) (Heaven or equivalent)

      * Hinduism * Christianity

      (incl animals) * Islam

      * Buddhism

      (Nirvana)

    • (10) Religious observance

      * Shrine/ church/ temple/ mosque

      * Home

      * Individual


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    SOME WAYS OF CLASSIFYING “BELIEF SYSTEMS” FOR LIVING

    • (11) Religion and “the State”

      • Islam- strong link: eg Malaysia and Indonesia

      • Confucianism-was the state

      • Community religions- ignore the state

  • (12) Religions and “Modernity”

    • Modernisation and secualarisation?

    • The role of the mass media and popular culture?

    • As the basis of a set of “Asian values”?


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    Section 4: Colonialism, Imperialism and Nationalism in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Motives: “Gold, God and Glory”

    • Colonial Patterns:

      • Britain- India, Burma, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore

      • France- Indo-China (modern day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia)

      • Holland- “The East Indies” (modern day Indonesia)

      • Spain- The Philippines

      • Portugal- Macau, Goa

      • Germany- the eastern section of New Guinea

    • Debates over Colonialism and Nationalism



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    Section Structure FOR LIVING

    • (1) The concepts of modernisation and globalisation

    • (2) The patterns of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia

    • (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia

    • (4) The case study approach to modernisation/ globalisation: Some examples


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    (1) The concepts of modernisation/ globalisation FOR LIVING

    • “Modernisation” and “globalisation” as processes

    • The “evidence” of modernisation/ globalisation

    • Beyond “modernity”- concepts of the “post modern” and the “post industrial”

    • “Western” and “Asian” modernisations the interface with globalisation

    • The uneven nature of modernisation/ globalisation- an urban phenomenon?


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    (2) The patterns of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • The theory of “the western movement of civilisations”

    • Modernisation despite adversity?

    • East Asian modernisation- Japan as a catalyst, and the role of the USA

    • The “Tiger Economies”

    • South-east Asian modernisation- “The Mini Dragons”

    • China and India


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    (2) The patterns of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Modernisation in “Communist” systems- China and Vietnam- China’s stellar performance

    • South Asia and Modernisation- India’s remarkable growth

    • The “failure” to modernise- Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines

    • Defying modernisation- North Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan

    • Regional contrasts in modernisation- across Asia and within individual Asian countries


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    (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Economic

    • Technological

    • Ideological/ political

    • Social/ cultural/ lifestyles


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    (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    Economic modernisation

    • Measuring economic modernisation- growth rates, GDP, GNP, demographic indicators

    • The “miraculous” nature of the growth statistics (p151)

    • From import substitution to export orientation

    • The role of government in economic modernisation?- “Command capitalism”

    • The role of “comparative advantage”- off shoring and cross investment in Asia

    • Economic modernisation and economic crises? – from July 1997 to the recent “global financial crisis” (“GFC”)


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    (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Technological modernisation

    • The “traditional pattern” of technological modernisation: Crafts/ toys/textiles -> Heavy industry -> High Tech (ETMs)

    • Modifications of this pattern in Asia- eg straight to manufacture of ETMs

    • “Niche products” and “niche markets” (Window shop activity)

    • “Product development” versus “product manufacture”


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    (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Ideological/ political modernisation

    • Modernisation as a challenge to authoritarian governments: (“Authoritarian democracies” and Communist systems)

    • The rise of the middle class -> political activism or the ideology of consumerism?

    • Consumerism as a replacement for nationalism -> consumerism and individual and cultural identity? AND nationalism associated with increasing prosperity- eg China

    • Is there an ideology called “Asian capitalism”?

    • Modernisation and the “Asian values” debate?


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    (3) The dimensions of modernisation/ globalisation in Asia FOR LIVING

    • Social/ cultural/ lifestyle/ modernisation

    • “Cultural convergence theory”- does Asian modernisation mean westernisation?

    • Global influences versus Japanese influences versus local influences?

    • Lifestyle evidence of modernisation versus maintenance of “core values”?

    • The centrality of “consumerism”- fashion, brand labels, the latest technology, etc. The “feel good factor” and “cultural identity”


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    Japan FOR LIVING

    South Korea

    Taiwan

    Malaysia

    Singapore

    Indonesia

    China

    Vietnam

    India

    (4) The case study approach to modernisation/ globalisation: Some examples


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    China FOR LIVING

    • A long tradition of “doing business”

    • Mao’s ideological “madness”

    • Deng’s modernisation policies- “to get rich quick is glorious”, “the colour of the cat…”, etc

    • The significance of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) eg Shenzhen then Shanghai and Beijing- 2008 Olympics

    • Contemporary “economic miracle”- emphasis on “manufacturer to the world” and rampant consumerism- potential enormity of domestic market

    • The westward movement of modernisation eg Chongqing

    • The “two Chinas” and rural unrest

    • Environmental consequences

    • Emergence of China as a “global investor”- issues of Chinese takeover or partial ownership of Western companies

    • Chinese companies becoming major project builders in the “third world”

    • As the “creditor nation” to the USA’s “debtor nation status”- what does this mean for recovery from the “global financial crisis”/ GFC?


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    Shenzhen FOR LIVING


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    Shanghai FOR LIVING


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    Beijing FOR LIVING


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    Beijing Olympics FOR LIVING


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    Shanghai Stadium FOR LIVING


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    India FOR LIVING

    • Advantages of a well educated workforce fluent in English- a “colonial legacy” and current education policies

    • Focus on services- especially call centres, and technology- especially computer software

    • Main epicentre of India’s “economic miracle” is Bangalore, but Delhi and Mumbai also emerging

    • Has the world’s largest middle class- 250 million- consumerism

    • “Outsourcing” and “offshoring”

    • Impact on jobs in Australia and the USA

    • Ongoing poverty in most of the 640,000 Indian villages- “two Indias”


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    New Delhi FOR LIVING


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    Bangalore FOR LIVING


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