ASEAN Post-50 pp 135-154 | Cite as

Representing Migration in ASEAN: Challenges to Regional Integration

  • Charity LeeEmail author


This chapter presents a discourse analysis of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprints, focusing on how intra-regional migration is represented. It then examines declarations and action plans that address migration-related issues, including the ASEAN Declaration on Transnational Crime (1997), Hanoi Plan of Action (1998), Bangkok Declaration on Irregular Migration (1999), ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children (2004), Vientiane Action Programme (2004), Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (2007) and most recently, Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (2017). The analysis identifies how the social actors mentioned are linguistically and thematically represented and the themes surrounding the discourse of migration. Findings revealed that migration discourses centred around the feminization of migration, human trafficking, skilled labour mobility and the underrepresentation of forced migration and displacement.


  1. AICHR. 2015. Five-Year Work Plan of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (2016–2020). ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.Google Scholar
  2. Andika Ab. Wahab. 2017. The Future of Forced Migrants in ASEAN. In 50 Years of ASEAN—Still Waiting for Social and Ecological Justice. Heinrich Böll Stiftung.Google Scholar
  3. ASEAN. 2017. “ASEAN Leaders Commit to Safeguard the Rights of Migrant Workers.” Accessed May 20, 2018.
  4. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 2016. ASEAN Economic Community at a Glance.Google Scholar
  5. Baker, Paul. 2006. Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  6. Baker, Paul, Costas Gabrielatos, Majid KhosraviNik, Michal Krzyzanowski, Tony McEnery, and Ruth Wodak. 2008. “A Useful Methodological Synergy? Combining Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics to Examine Discourses of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press.” Discourse Society 19 (3): 273–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker, Paul, and Tony McEnery. 2005. “A Corpus-Based Approach to Discourses of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in UN and Newspaper Texts.” Journal of Language and Politics 4 (2): 197–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Billig, M. 2008. “The Language of Critical Discourse Analysis: The Case of Nominalization.” Discourse & Society 19 (6): 783–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Charteris-Black, Jonathan. 2006. “Britain as a Container: Immigration Metaphors in the 2005 Election Campaign.” Discourse & Society 17 (5): 563–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Docquier, Frédéric, Giovanni Peri and Ilse Ruyssen. 2014. “The Cross‐country Determinants of Potential and Actual Migration.” International Migration Review 48: 37–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Don, Zuraidah Mohd, and Charity Lee. 2014. “Representing Immigrants as Illegals, Threats and Victims in Malaysia: Elite Voices in the Media.” Discourse & Society 25 (6): 687–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fairclough, Norman, and Ruth Wodak. 1997. “Critical Discourse Analysis.” In Discourse as Social Interaction (Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction: Vol. 2), edited by T. A. van Dijk, 258–284. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Fowler, R., B. Hodge, G. Kress, and T. Trew. 1979. Language and Social Control. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Gabrielatos, Costas, and Paul Baker. 2008. “Fleeing, Sneaking, Flooding: A Corpus Analysis of Discursive Sonstructions of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press, 1996–2005.” Journal of English Linguistics 36 (1): 5–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hart, Christopher. 2008. “Critical Discourse Analysis and Metaphor: Toward a Theoretical Framework.” Critical Discourse Studies 5 (2): 91–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hoewe, Jennifer. 2018. “Coverage of a Crisis: The Effects of International News Portrayals of Refugees and Misuse of the Term ‘Immigrant’.” American Behavioral Scientist 62 (4): 478–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hunston, S. 2002. Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ibrahim, Maggie. 2005. “The Securitization of Migration: A Racial Discourse.” International Migration 43 (5): 163–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. ILO. 2014. Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour. Geneva: International Labour Organization.Google Scholar
  20. ILO. 2015. “Analytical report on the international labour migration statistics database in ASEAN: Improving data collection for evidence-based policy-making.” Tripartite Action for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrants Workers in the ASEAN Region (ASEAN Triangle Project). Bangkok: ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.Google Scholar
  21. ILO. 2018. International Labour Migration Statistics Database in ASEAN, edited by International Labour Organization (ILO).Google Scholar
  22. International Labour Organization (ILO), and Asian Development Bank (ADB). 2014. ASEAN Community 2015: Managing Integration for Better Jobs and Shared Prosperity. Bangkok: International Labour Organization and Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  23. IOM. n.d. “Key Migration Terms.”
  24. Johnson, Heather L. 2011. “Click to Donate: Visual Images, Constructing Victims and Imagining the Female Refugee.” Third World Quarterly 32 (6): 1015–1037. Scholar
  25. Kaur, Amarjit. 2018. “Patterns and Governance of Labour Migration in ASEAN: Regional Policies and Migration Corridors.” In Handbook of Migration and Globalisation, edited by Anna Triandafyllidou, 105–124. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kneebone, Susan. 2011. “ASEAN: Setting the Agenda for the Rights of Migrant Workers?” In Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region: Towards Institution Building, edited by Hitoshi Nasu and Ben Saul, 144–164. Hoboken: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Kneebone, Susan. 2016. “Comparative Regional Protection Frameworks for Refugees: Norms and Norm Entrepreneurs.” The International Journal of Human Rights 20 (2): 153–172. Scholar
  28. Koser, K. 2001. “The Smuggling of Asylum Seekers into Western Europe: Contradictions, Conundrums, and Dilemmas.” In Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives, edited by D. Kyle and R. Koslowski, 58–73. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Malkki, Liisa H. 1996. “Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization.” Cultural Anthropology 11 (3): 377–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Martin, Philip, and Manolo Abella. 2014. Reaping the Economic and Social Benefits of Labour Mobility: ASEAN 2015. Bangkok: ILO.Google Scholar
  31. MOLES, and ILO. 2016. Myanmar Labour Force, Child Labour and School to Work Transition Survey 2015. Yangon: Central Statistical Organization and Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.Google Scholar
  32. MOM. 2016. Labour Force in Singapore 2016. Singapore: Ministry of Manpower.Google Scholar
  33. Musarò, Pierluigi. 2011. “Living in Emergency: Humanitarian Images and the Inequality of Lives.” New Cultural Frontiers 2: 13–43.Google Scholar
  34. Nah, Alice M. 2016. “Networks and Norm Entrepreneurship Amongst Local Civil Society Actors: Advancing Refugee Protection in the Asia Pacific Region.” The International Journal of Human Rights 20 (2): 223–240. Scholar
  35. Nieuwenhuys, Céline, and Antoine Pécoud. 2007. “Human Trafficking, Information Campaigns, and Strategies of Migration Control.” American Behavioral Scientist 50 (12): 1674–1695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Peñamante, Laurice. 2017. “Nine Waves of Refugees in the Philippines.” Accessed May 28, 2018.–9wavesrefugees.html.
  37. Petcharamesree, Sriprapha. 2016. “ASEAN and Its Approach to Forced Migration Issues.” The International Journal of Human Rights 20 (2): 173–190. Scholar
  38. Pupavac, Vanessa. 2006. “Refugees in the ‘Sick Role’: Stereotyping Refugees and Eroding Refugee Rights.” In New Issues in Refugee Research. Geneva: UNHCR.Google Scholar
  39. Rajaram, Prem Kumar. 2002. “Humanitarianism and Representations of the Refugee.” Journal of Refugee Studies 15 (3): 247–264. Scholar
  40. Rathgeber, Theodor. 2014. “Human Rights and the Institutionalisation of ASEAN: An Ambiguous Relationship.” Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 33 (3): 131–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sinclair, J. 1991. Corpus, Concordance and Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Song, Jiyoung. 2015. “Introduction.” In Irregular Migration and Human Security in East Asia, edited by Jiyoung Song and Alistair D. B. Cook, 1–19. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. UN Population Division. 2017. “International Migrant Stock: The 2017 Revision.”
  44. UNESCAP. 2017. Trends and Drivers of International Migration in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: United Nations Economic and Social Council.Google Scholar
  45. UNHCR. 2014. South-East Asia Fact Sheet.Google Scholar
  46. UNHCR. n.a. “Asia and the Pacific.”
  47. van Leeuwen, Theo. 2008. “Representing Social Actors.” In Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis, edited by Theo van Leeuwen, 23–54. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wongboonsin, Patcharawalai. 2006. “Asian Labour Migration and Regional Arrangements.” In Globalizing Migration Regimes: New Challenges to Transnational Cooperation, edited by Kristof Tamas and Joakim Palme, 201–217. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Languages and LinguisticsUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations