Public lecture

Press release — 14 April 2014

Professor James Gomez from the Webster University Thailand will give a public lecture entitled

“Social Transformations in Southeast Asia: The Impact on Democracy and Human Rights”

on 24 April 2014 from  14.00-15.45 at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lossi 36, room 215.

Social transformations taking place at many levels in Southeast Asia are challenging the contemporary scholarly accounts of the prerequisites of democracy, which are said to include (a) a fixed ‘sovereign’ territorial state; (b) a political culture of competition among political parties, periodic elections and parliamentary government; (c) a ‘national identity’ bound together by a common language, common customs and a common sense of shared history; and (d) a market economy capable of generating wealth that lifts citizens out of poverty and guarantees them a basic standard of living. This presentation sketches out in broad strokes some of the key challenges to the above notions of democracy in the region. It aims to provoke the audience to reflect on the state of social transformations in Southeast Asia and its impact on democracy and human rights.

Dr. James Gomez is Professor and Head of School of Communications, Webster University Thailand. In 2013, he was Associate Professor, Department of International Affairs, School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). Just prior, he was Visiting Professor (Human Rights) at the Faculty of Political Science at Thammasat University. Previously from 2009 to 2011, he served as the Deputy Associate Dean (International) for the Faculty of Arts and Head of Public Relations at the School of Humanities, Communications and Social Sciences at Monash University in Australia. From 2008 to 2009 he was Visiting Academic at the Faculty of Law, Department of Political Science at Keio University, Japan during which time he was awarded the Human Rights Service Fellowship by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy for a stint at Cheng Chi University, Taipei. Between 2006 to 2008 Dr Gomez was Programme Officer, Political Parties at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Sweden. For nearly ten years before, he was the Regional Research and Project Manager for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Dr James Gomez is an academic who is active in civil society and has participated two general elections in Singapore.