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Chih Yuan Woon

This chapter demonstrates how military geography can benefit from critical engagements with the concept of the everyday. This is because it casts attention on the more-than-human dimensions - the objects, technologies and materialities - that mediate the ‘playing out’ of military activities in everyday, mundane spaces. Locating militarism and militarization in everyday life enables nuanced investigations into how these ideas and processes are embodied, performed and reacted to by a range of actors. Through a Southern Philippines case study, the chapter examines efforts by a group of soldiers working with local communities and NGOs to actively intervene against the heightened culture of terror associated with the Mindanao region. Encounters with material objects, such as vision maps of peace drawn by children affected by warfare, motivated these soldiers to develop ethical relationships with relevant stakeholders. The chapter concludes that a concern with the everyday reveals the consequences and impacts of militarism and provides possibilities for understanding transformative pathways towards positive social change.

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Chih Yuan Woon

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Klaus Dodds and Chih Yuan Woon

This opening chapter explores how the admittance of Asian states as observers to the Arctic Council in May 2013 acted as a lightning-rod for analysis and commentary. Some commentators even spoke and wrote about ‘Asia eyes the Arctic’. The authors address the contested imaginaries and practices, and the more technical literatures on Arctic governance including work that has followed closely the evolution of the Arctic Council. The current and future intention of Asian stakeholders, and the spectral presence of what some have called ‘Polar Orientalism’, deserves consideration. Areas of cooperation between the eight Arctic states (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) and Asian states such as China and Korea in fields such as science, shipping and business should not be underestimated. What the admission of new Asian observers made manifest, however, is five questions: Who exercises control in the Arctic? How are problems and issues dealt with in the Arctic and beyond? What demands are being placed on the Arctic? Where is the Arctic felt? And can the Arctic Council anticipate future problems and challenges? Russia’s intervention and annexation in Crimea/eastern Ukraine and worries about ‘spill-over’ effects contaminating the spirit and purpose of Arctic cooperation merely added further fuel to ongoing debates about a ‘global Arctic’. The last part of the introduction introduces the essays that make up this collection including an afterword.

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Chih Yuan Woon and Klaus Dodds

This chapter hinges on debates on ‘small state diplomacy’ within Singapore to reflect on the ways in which the country’s elites have managed its external relations and responded to international political developments. Specifically, it expounds on strategies of ‘jacked-up’ and ‘jacked-down’ diplomacy to signal Singapore’s insistence on adopting a more flexible approach in dealing with broader geopolitical relationships and dynamics. When applied to the Arctic context, these strategies constitute calculated and pragmatic diplomatic practices designed to attain two desired outcomes: first, they serve to ‘play up’ Singapore’s contributions and relevance to Arctic affairs such that the country will not be bypassed in important deliberations that are of tremendous concern to its ecological and economic well-being. Second, certain facets of the city-state’s interventions and efforts in the Arctic are being downplayed in order to allay possible fears and suspicions of Singapore’s forays into the region and create more benign geographical imaginations of Singapore’s role and positioning within the Arctic Council.