Singapore University of Social Sciences

Southeast Asian Societies

Southeast Asian Societies (SOC367)


The political, economic and social landscape of Southeast Asia provides a rich and diverse terrain for understanding transformative historical forces globally and regionally. With case studies from mostly Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the course primarily highlights the diversity and commonalities of the region in terms of political systems, state formation, urbanisation processes and modernisation trends, religious traditions, ethnic identities, emerging social issues and dominant cultural systems. In discussing recent trends brought about by increasing globalisation, and political and social changes, historical events are also examined for a comparative perspective of the selected countries in the region.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • The Experience of Colonialism & The Fight for Nationalism
  • Politics and The Role of Intellectual Elites
  • Plural Societies: Ethnicity and Religion in Southeast Asia
  • Modernisation and Economic Development
  • Urbanisation: Processes and Meanings
  • Emerging Social Trends: The Faces of Change

Learning Outcome

  • Use the concepts, theories and current debates in the Sociology of Southeast Asia, including the sociology of politics, urbanisation, migration, gender and family
  • Compose a picture of the connectivities across different countries in the region, to identify common links, whether historical or current
  • Examine colonialism and nation-state building in the region
  • Analyse political systems and reform in the region
  • Discuss the intersections of ethnicity, politics and religion in the region
  • Debate the meaning of modernity, and economic development in the region
  • Appraise urbanisation trends in the region
  • Demonstrate emerging social trends in the region
  • Propose policy formulations to address issues and problems affecting Southeast Asia
  • Develop critical research skills and prepare a case analysis/project
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