Singapore University of Social Sciences

Southeast Asian Societies

Southeast Asian Societies (SOC367)


Southeast Asian societies are extraordinarily diverse and dynamic. To help students make sense of the multifaceted political, economic, and social developments of the region, SOC367 Southeast Asian Societies will cover selected key thematic issues of Southeast Asian societies, including legacies of colonisation and the Cold War period, state formation, kinship and family systems, political systems, and major political, economic, and social issues. We will examine the region’s continuing struggles over democratisation, national identity, and uneven development. The main readings will include key works from a multidisciplinary range of fields covering sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, history, and economics.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Introduction to Southeast Asia
  • Colonialisms, nationalisms, and “state” formation
  • Kinship, family, and gender (1)
  • Kinship, family, and gender (2)
  • Culture and political systems
  • Borderless people, borders and states
  • Religion and politics
  • Peasant resistance
  • Migration and mobility (1)
  • Migration and mobility (2)
  • Development and its limits: the challenges of urbanisation and industrialisation
  • Development and its limits: ecological and social crises of development

Learning Outcome

  • Examine colonialisms, nationalisms, and nation-state building in the region
  • Analyse political systems and reform in the region
  • Discuss the major economic and social challenges in the region
  • Apply course content to understand contemporary political and social developments in the region
  • Evaluate the many ways different Southeast Asian states address various social and political issues
  • Demonstrate skills in sociological thinking and written and spoken expression
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