The Influence of Anthropology on the historiography of Native-European Contact in the New World in the Sixteenth Century

The first contact between European nations and the native societies of the New World in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was undoubtedly one of the most momentous events of Early Modern history. The discovery of new continents, natural and human phenomena changed the fortunes of several European states and altered the intellectual climate of the period, as traditional beliefs regarding the nature of the planet were inevitably challenged. It is therefore unsurprising that early European contact with the New World has been an area of particular historical interest ever since Christopher Columbus’ first reports of the Caribbean in 1493. However, the historiography of this contact has evolved considerably since the earliest interpretations of the sixteenth century. One of the determining factors of this evolution is the influence of anthropology on historical writing and intellectual debate regarding native-European contact. Since its early origins, anthropology has branched out considerably into several sub-disciplines, leading one of its most renowned proponents Clifford Geertz to comment, “it is virtually impossible to convey what precisely the nature of this discipline is.”[1] Nevertheless, put simply, anthropology is the study of human nature, societal culture and how this has changed over time. Anthropologists seek to look at these areas in a global perspective to determine the similarities and variations amongst the human condition across the world, unlike ethnographers whose focus is usually reserved for one specific society.[2] Unsurprisingly, the European contact with the New World brought a vast, previously undiscovered[3] landmass and its contents into the realm of Old World scholars, initiating intense anthropological debate, several centuries before the discipline was professionalised. Therefore, European contact with the Americas influenced the development of anthropology, by increasing awareness of the global human condition, whilst the resulting anthropological debate impacted on histories of the contact. This essay seeks to trace the influence of anthropology, both prior to and after the institutionalisation of the discipline, on historical interpretations of native-European contact in the New World. It will start by examining the early histories of the Spanish conquests and how they remained relatively free from cultural considerations of native societies, yet raised important anthropological questions regarding the origins and character of the American people. The impact of the resulting anthropological debates on New World contact history and the undermining of the early “ethno-histories” will then be considered. Thirdly, the varying influences of the competing factions of early professional anthropology – biological and cultural – on history of the contact will be discussed. Finally, the essay will examine the increasingly important role of cultural anthropology in the twentieth century on the writing of New World contact history, acknowledging the individual contributions of particular anthropologists and historians, as well as the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

Christopher Columbus' famous voyage to the 'New World' challenged historical thought and historiography in general
Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage to the ‘New World’ challenged historical thought and historiography in general

The first histories of European contact with the New World appeared surprisingly quickly after Columbus’ 1492 voyage. Peter Martyr, the Italian historian, had the first part of his Decades detailing the Spaniards in the New World, published in Seville in 1511.[4] Within the next thirty years several more accounts, taking into consideration the Aztec and Inca conquests, as well as extensive exploration conducted by various European nations in the Americas, had emerged. Conquistadors such as Hernan Cortes, Pedro de Alvarado and Juan Diaz wrote their own versions of the conquest of Mexico, which, whilst “written for overt political purposes” to try and enhance their reputation[5], became some of the first historical interpretations available to the readership of Europe in regards to the New World. One thing these early histories all had in common was a strongly Eurocentric view of discovery and conquest, with little consideration for the impact inflicted upon the “losers”: the native societies of Central and South America.[6] Although reference was naturally made to the various tribes encountered by the European parties, they often appear treated merely as similar political entities, distinguished only by name rather than any distinct cultural traits. Even Bernal Diaz’ The Truthful History of the Conquest of New Spain, which has been taken as an important account of the Aztec conquest by contemporary historians[7], rarely expands beyond the number of warriors incumbent in each territory, despite his pivotal role in the conquest. [8] One instance, however, where Diaz does provide greater insight into Aztec culture at the time of European contact, is with his description of Tenochtitlan (the Aztec capital) which he portrays vividly and compares with Rome and Constantinople.[9] Whilst this gives us an insight into the sophistication of Aztec society, it is still placed within a European context; something Anthony Pagden has termed the “principle of attachment.” Pagden argues that the Europeans, when confronted with alien natural and social phenomena on arriving in the New World, attempted to attach familiarity to their surroundings by relating them to an Old World equivalent.[10] This is evident in all the sixteenth century histories of the first contact from Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo’s attempts to classify New World animals[11], to Columbus’ interpretation of Taino ritual celibacy as an act of Christian chastity.[12] Whilst this technique may have enabled the Europeans to come to terms with “their” New World, it diminishes the historical worth of these accounts by misinterpreting the cultural characteristics of the early American societies. Furthermore, anything the early historians could not comprehend or incorporate within a European contextual knowledge was dismissed as “barbaric” or “monstrous.”[13] Oviedo, in his General and Natural History of the Indies (1535) referred to the natives as “worthless beasts” who conducted “savage practices”[14], whilst Martyr labelled inhabitants of some of the islands Columbus visited as “rapacious wolves.”[15] Martyr and Oviedo were two of the most reputed historians on the New World during the sixteenth century. Therefore, it is unsurprising that their writings quickly inspired anthropological debate on the native character, which in turn “created a new sense of direction in the writing of history.”[16]

Some Amerindian practices and customs, such as human sacrifice and cannibalism, were dismissed simply as proof of their barbarity by many early Spanish New World historians
Some Amerindian practices and customs, such as human sacrifice and cannibalism, were dismissed simply as proof of their barbarity by many early Spanish New World historians

The first New World histories by the likes of Martyr, Oviedo and Francisco Jerez[17] were printed widely throughout Europe in the first half of the sixteenth century and sparked anthropological debate on the newly contacted “barbarians” of America.[18] As Margaret Hodgen has recognised, “the study of man in the Western world is not young,” and anthropological discussion began several centuries before the professionalization of the discipline.[19] Indeed, the concepts of barbarism and savagery were something most Europeans could relate to by the sixteenth century. The medieval literature regarding monstrous foreign races was well-established in European thought, particularly through the “travels”[20] of Sir John Mandeville in the fourteenth century, and the revival of Pliny the Elder’s work regarding such monstrosities by Renaissance scholars.[21] Now Europeans were confronted with “new” peoples that, whilst not monstrous in appearance, posed significant anthropological questions. Namely, where had they come from? And were they really human?[22] These questions initiated intense deliberations over the native character for the rest of the century and became embedded in New World histories, at a time when historians were beginning to be seen as dispersers of the truth and servants of the public interest.[23] The most notorious debate was held between 1550 and 1551 in Valladolid between Bartolomé de las Casas and fellow Dominican friar Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, the former defending the natives as fellow humans, the latter denouncing them as inferior and legitimately enslaved.[24] Inspired by accounts of the earlier historians, as well as personal experience in the case of Las Casas, the debaters would influence historical writing on New World contact in the following years. In 1552 Francisco Lopez de Gomara had his influential General History of the Indies published, in which he subscribed to Sepúlveda’s view of native inferiority, suggesting that their subjection under the Spanish was for their own benefit and he dismissed their role in early European settlement in America. [25] On the other hand, Las Casas himself produced two histories denouncing the Spanish conquest of the natives of America[26] as a series of “massacres of innocent people”[27] who, despite their human equality, were being subjected by the Spanish Crown. The question of how the inhabitants of America originated further polarised intellectuals over their categorisation. The strong religious conviction that all men were descended from Noah still dominated in the sixteenth century, and made it very hard to explain cultural diversity, particularly with regard to people in far-flung lands, such as the Americas.[28] For those believing the natives to be a separate species, their isolation was proof they had not descended from Noah like everyone else, whilst others sought more logical anthropological answers. Chief amongst these was Jesuit Father and historian José de Acosta, who in his Natural and Moral History of the Indies (1590) suggested the natives of America had somehow migrated from the Old World[29], thus certainly remaining part of the human race.[30] Despite his advocacy of native humanity, Acosta, like all other historians of the New World in the sixteenth century, regardless of their stance, undermined the native voice. Whilst Oviedo, Gomara and other historians like Samuel de Champlain in Canada intentionally underplayed the role of the natives in accounts of early European contact on anthropological grounds[31], others were less deliberate. Acosta, in postulating his theory of migration completely ignored the Incas’ own accounts of their origins and contact with Europeans[32], whilst Las Casas’ bitter polemic against the Spanish Crown led to the neglect of native cultures in his works and inadvertently contributed to their inferior image by his continual reference to them as meek and vulnerable creatures. The silencing of the native voice in sixteenth century contact histories was heavily influenced by the dominant anthropological mindset of Europe at the time, with any work challenging its superiority forever undermined.

Las Casas (l) and Sepulveda (r) used religious justification for their conflicting views on the natives of the New World
Las Casas (l) and Sepulveda (r) used religious justification for their conflicting views on the natives of the New World

Having said that, there were isolated incidences in the sixteenth century in which European histories of New World contact based on extensive interactions with the natives emerged. In the twentieth century Clifford Geertz emphasised the importance of conversing and interacting with people in their native society to best understand them[33], and he was preceded in this by a handful of the first “ethno-historians” in the New World.[34] For example, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who was one of only four survivors from Panfilo de Narvaez’ shipwrecked expedition to Florida in 1527, survived seven years of nomadic life amongst several native groups in today’s Southern United States before making his way back to Spanish Mexico.[35] In his account of his travails, the Naufragios (1552), de Vaca not only detailed the experiences of the expedition and its survivors, but produced a history of the different tribes and cultures he encountered and their reactions to the European arrival[36], something neglected by the early histories. Similarly, Huguenot Jean de Léry had extensive contact with the Brazilian Tupinamba tribe after being evicted from the French colony of France Antarctique near Rio de Janeiro in 1557.[37] His History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil (1578) “furnished a vivid picture of the Tupi which did not seek to assimilate them to European customs and prejudices.”[38] Furthermore, it was more than a simple ethnographic study, as it related the Tupi’s experiences of European contact to other native groups and dismissed their “savagery” by comparing their practices with those of Europeans.[39] Despite their reputed status now, these historical accounts were largely unacknowledged at their time of publication. Indeed, Léry’s account, published two decades after he wrote it, was far less popular than Andre Thevet’s Singularities of France Antarctique (1557), which again emphasised the barbarity of the natives, despite the fact Thévet was only in Brazil for a matter of months and “not above faking evidence.”[40] The only aspect of Léry’s history that immediately gained prominence was his descriptions of ritualistic cannibalism, which was used to supplement German Hans Staden’s dubious account of anthropophagi in his True History (1557), based on his own Brazilian captivity.[41] The historical discipline regarding native-European contact in the New World was being regulated by the dominant anthropological beliefs of the European elite, to the detriment of the native voice and men like Léry, who sought more inclusive histories. Even when histories of the conquered native societies themselves began to emerge in the late sixteenth century, they could not escape European influence. For example, Mason cites Diego Duran’s History of the Indies of New Spain (1581) as an example of a history “exclusively of native origin.”[42] In reality, whilst Duran undoubtedly drew on native sources, it was for the purpose of creating an intimate understanding of Aztec religion, as a pretext for their ultimate conversion to Christianity.[43] The history included what the Europeans wanted to know, not what the natives had to say. Over the next couple of centuries, historiography of the New World continued to neglect native culture and responses to European infiltration at the time of contact. It was influenced by philosophers of the human condition, the precursors to modern anthropologists, who continued to emphasise the primitiveness of the New World natives.[44] This current of thought was not always directed derogatively towards the natives and it was during the Enlightenment that the concept of the “noble savage” was heavily promoted. Native primitiveness and inferiority was hailed as a purer way of living than the increasingly corrupted and selfish decadents of Europe by the likes of Rousseau and Dryden.[45] These sentiments resulted in histories like Marmontel’s The Incas (1777) in which the Spanish conquest over those “feeble in body and mind” was heavily criticized but at the same time seen as inevitable.[46] Despite positive intentions, such histories continued to undermine the role of the native in the contact period and lent justification to European colonialism and slavery over “weaker” and less culturally advanced peoples.  Breaking such a prolonged historical and anthropological tradition was going to require a radical change in thinking.

Theodor de Bry's 1590 engraving of a 'noble savage' of Virginia
Theodor de Bry’s 1590 engraving of a ‘noble savage’ of Virginia

The nineteenth century saw a polarisation between those maintaining the belief in native inferiority outside Europe and those advocating a more universal understanding of the human condition. This polarisation was encompassed within a professional anthropological discipline, which developed within universities and museums during the century.[47] Some of the earliest proponents of the anthropological discipline were determined to take advantage of improving scientific technology in order to study the physical characteristics of human societies across the globe.[48] Unfortunately, their approach towards racial classification left an unwanted legacy for other scholars that took note of their findings, including historians. The likes of Samuel Morton, Josiah Nott and George Gliddon promoted, and popularised, an idea of polygenesis with Europeans classed as a superior “species” to the Amerindians of America and black Africans.[49] By bedding their theories within a scientific framework, these physical anthropologists found academic approval for their race classifications[50], with the Anthropological Review even praising Nott’s “unflinching” approach to “unpalatable truths” in 1868.[51] At a time when nationalist movements were threatening to overthrow colonial rule in Central and South America, physical anthropology was taken as justification for native subordination and supported the imperialistic histories of native-European contact from the sixteenth century,[52] which went through a revival in popularity. Furthermore, new histories were published along these lines, praising the European conquest of the New World and thus maintaining the subaltern status of the natives in historical writing. For example, in his Discovery of America (1892), John Fiske studied the effects of the “strange world of savagery and barbarism” on the “civilised Europeans” of the sixteenth century[53] and used anthropological support as proof of the native people’s primitivism. Fiske cited E.B. Tylor’s work on mankind as proof that human sacrifice amongst the Aztecs was indicative of a primitive society and thus one inferior to the arriving Europeans at the time.[54] Nevertheless, Tylor also advocated the importance of studying the native history of what he called “primitive societies” to enable a better understanding of their human development.[55] Another early pioneer of professional cultural anthropology, Franz Boas, took a similar view, emphasising the similar intentions of historians and anthropologists in their study of man and suggesting the necessity to look beyond written records for insights into non-European societies.[56] These writings coincided with the publication of some of the Aztec Codexes, native histories based on myth and memory regarding pre and post-European contact. In particular, the Florentine Codex, compiled under the supervision of missionary Bernardino de Sahagun throughout the sixteenth century and based on extensive conversations with the natives of Mexico,[57] was finally published in the late nineteenth century.[58] It is perhaps little surprise that its publication came at a time when respected anthropologists, trying to move the discipline away from an obsession with race, encouraged historians to look beyond European accounts of native societies to get a better understanding of cultural contact.

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As the twentieth century progressed, anthropologists began to look in greater detail at the American cultures that preceded Columbus’ arrival. Clark Wissler built on the work of Tylor and Boas in his Anthropology of the New World (1917) by suggesting that the European settlers in America had “not only displaced the Indian in this land” but also “absorbed a great deal of his culture.”[59] If this was true, then it undermined the idea of “primitive” native societies and made them an area worthy of greater study. In addition to this, the success of the Central and South American independence movements in the nineteenth century and the final dismantling of colonialism on the continent after World War II, led to demands for the rewriting of American history to take into account native perspectives.[60] Early attempts to move away from the Eurocentric histories of native-European contact in the New World[61] were undertaken by only a small number of historians. For example, Charles Gibson’s Tlaxcala in the Sixteenth Century (1952) focused on Mexican society before and after the Spanish arrival, highlighting the impact the conquest had on Mexican culture through a mix of written and non-written native sources.[62] Furthermore, historians with backgrounds in anthropology made a contribution. John V. Murra’s Economic Organization of the Inca State (1956) and M. Leon-Portilla’s The Broken Spears (1959) used both European and native sources, as well as utilising anthropological methodology such as interviews and the study of material properties to attain a fuller understanding of the mutual influences of European and native culture on one another at the time of first contact.[63] These inclusive histories, inspired by anthropological concerns and methods, were only the beginning of modern native-European contact history and remained fairly unique for a time. Many historians of the New World remained indebted to the “scientific” approach to history, predicated on the thorough study of written sources that had been popularised in the nineteenth century.[64] This ensured the continued dominance of history-writing based on European visions of contact with the New World natives[65], because of the “dependence on an ethnographic archive…largely devoid of cultural context.”[66] Contact historians were still largely ignorant of the potential anthropological influence on their area of study that the likes of Murra and Leon-Portilla had acknowledged. It would require the individual contributions of anthropologists like Claude Levi-Strauss and historians such as James Lockhart to alter this awareness and enable more comprehensive historical writing in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Finally engaging with descendants of the New World's native inhabitants changed European historiography
Finally engaging with descendants of the New World’s native inhabitants changed European historiography

Levi-Strauss was the most prominent cultural anthropologist of the twentieth century and had a significant influence on the profession of history, both in a general sense, and specifically towards history of the New World. He emphasised the complementary nature of anthropology to history, particularly the anthropologist’s concern with “unconscious processes” to aid the historian’s reconstruction of events.[67] These “unconscious processes” include myths and the material development of societies, which are particularly informative when attempting to recreate a “picture of vanished societies as they were.”[68] This methodology became pertinent for the historical study of the impact of Europeans on native societies in the sixteenth century, which had been silenced by the Eurocentric histories of the past. Levi-Strauss conducted his own study of the myths and memories preserved amongst the indigenous Tupinamba of Brazil to gain an insight into the cultural and demographic change brought about by European arrival in native societies. He further suggested that his mere presence in the land of the Tupinamba in Brazil enabled him to recall “the close relations existing between the French and the Indians” all those years ago.[69]  This emphasis on experiencing life in the society under study was forwarded by Geertz, who suggested it was the best way of understanding the idiosyncrasies of that society’s contemporary and past behaviour.[70] Such an approach was adopted by some historians of the New World from the 1970s, such as Lockhart, Murra and Spalding, as they moved their studies away from the imperial power centres like Lima and Mexico City, engaging with local constituencies for a more indigenous perspective on the region’s past.[71] Lockhart, for instance, for his Nahuas after the Conquest (1992), conducted a survey of the “cultural and social organisation” of Nahuatl speakers (Aztec descendants) in Mexico, using anthropological techniques such as the study of memory, to create a contact history from a native perspective.[72] These histories did not replace but complemented the earlier Eurocentric ones, allowing comparison of the differing accounts of native-European contact to produce a more inclusive and interpretive historical knowledge. Indeed, it is now common to find histories written specifically on the contact itself, rather than singular interpretations from either a native or European viewpoint.[73] For this, historians are indebted to modern anthropology for firstly, highlighting the silent figure of the native in the early contact narratives and secondly, for giving historians the means of vocalising them without recourse to colonial sources. History of early native-European contact in the New World has become inseparable from anthropology, with the foremost historians on the topic, such as Inga Clendinnen[74] and Ross Hassig[75], coming from anthropological backgrounds, or at least being well versed in anthropological methodology, including the use of interviews, fieldwork and oral studies. A lot has changed since the anthropological mindset of Europe ensured the dominance of a one-dimensional historical interpretation of the contact period.

The father of anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss' investigations had a great impact on historical writing
The father of anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss’ investigations had a great impact on historical writing

The earliest histories of New World contact were written from a strictly European perspective, which failed to acknowledge the native role in the early conquest and settlement of the American lands by the Spanish. This position was supported by an anthropological climate that existed for centuries in Europe, which regarded alien peoples as inferior, barbarous and thus unworthy of consideration. Consequently, little was written about the native societies and their culture at the time of first contact, and how European settlement affected the indigenous inhabitants. Whilst Las Casas and a minority of other moralists attempted to humanise the American natives in the European mind, they contributed little to the native perspective of contact in their histories. Furthermore, those that did, such as Léry and Cabeza de Vaca, were dismissed as having been tainted by the savagery in which they had lived, and only achieved popularity in the changed intellectual climate of the twentieth century. Creating that climate saw clashes between competing strains of a newly professionalised anthropological discipline in the nineteenth century, both of which influenced the writing of history. The racial anthropologists’ “scientific” variant helped keep the subaltern status of the natives amongst the imperialist historians that dominated the 1800s, although the impact of cultural anthropology became noticeable towards the end of the century, with the first conscious efforts to seek a native history of the contact period based on indigenous sources. However, it took the work of pioneering anthropologists and a historical turning point in the shape of decolonisation to bring about a change in mindset for many English-language historians regarding the native character, which saw an increased desire to study the history of the “other.” Native histories became more widespread as the century wore on, largely thanks to the influence of anthropological methodology and interdisciplinary proponents like Levi-Strauss, which enabled historians to broaden their scope in regards to non-literate cultures of the past. As a result, a more balanced history has emerged of the contact period between New World natives and Europeans in the sixteenth century, highlighting the mutual cultural impacts of the two parties and the legacy it has provided for relations in the contemporary world.

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Journals

Adorno, R. ‘The Negotiation of Fear in Cabeza de Vaca’s Naufragios’, Representations, Volume 33 (1991), pp. 163-199

Whatley, J. ‘Impression and Initiation: Jean de Léry’s Brazil Voyage’, Modern Language Studies, Volume 19(3) (1989) pp. 15-25

 

 

[1] C. Geertz, After the Fact: two countries, four decades, one anthropologist  (Cambridge, Mass., 1995), p.119

[2] E.A. Schultz & R.H. Lavenda, Cultural Anthropology: a perspective on the human condition (6th ed.) (New York; Oxford, 2005), pp. 3-10

[3] It is now widely accepted that a Norse expedition reached Newfoundland around 1000AD and was settled for a short period. However, this encounter would be incomparable to the extensive contact initiated by Columbus in 1492.

[4] D.B. Quinn, ‘New Geographical Horizons: Literature’ in F. Chiappelli et al. (eds.), First Images of America: the impact of the New World on the Old, Volume 2 (London, 1976) p. 649

[5] R. Hassig, ‘Foreword’ in P. de Fuentes (ed.), The Conquistadors: first-person accounts of the conquest of Mexico (Norman; London, 1993), p.viii

[6] J. Jorge Klor de Alva, ‘Foreword’ in M. Leon-Portilla (ed.), The Broken Spears: the Aztec account of the conquest of Mexico (Boston, 2006), p.xi. Notes that the “winners” ordinarily write history.

[7] For example see R. Hassig, Mexico and the Spanish Conquest, (Norman, 2006), p.3 & T. Todorov, The Conquest of America: the question of the other (Norman, 1999), pp. 120-21

[8]B. Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain (Harmondsworth, 1963) (Translated by J.M. Cohen)

[9] J. Jorge Klor de Alva, ‘Foreword’, p.xxxv

[10] A. Pagden, European Encounters with the New World: from Renaissance to Romanticism (New Haven; London, 1993) p. 24

[11] A. Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: the American Indian and the origins of comparative ethnography (Cambridge, 1982) pp. 11-12

[12] A. Pagden, European Encounters with the New World,  pp. 17-19

[13] P. Hess, ‘Marvellous Encounters: Albrecht Durer and early sixteenth century German perceptions of Aztec culture’ in M.R. Wade & G. Ehrstine, Foreign Encounters: case studies in German literature before 1700 (Amsterdam; New York, 2005), p. 177

[14] D. Abulafia, The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic encounters in the age of Columbus (New Haven; London, 2008), p.264

[15] P. Hulme, ‘Tales of distinction: European ethnography and the Caribbean” in S.B. Schawrtz (ed.), Implicit Understandings: observing, reporting, and reflecting on the encounters between Europeans and other peoples in the Early Modern era (Cambridge, 1994), p.190. Indeed Hulme suggests that this labelling left an anthropological legacy that saw the natives of the Eastern Caribbean marked out from the rest of human society as “cannibals”, which reduced opposition to their enslavement in later centuries.

[16] A. Gerbi, ‘The earliest accounts of the New World” in F. Chiappelli et al. (eds.), First Images of America: the impact of the New World on the Old, Volume 1 (London, 1976) p.40

[17] Whose Verdadera relación de la conquista del Perú (1534) was the first account of the Inca conquest

[18] A. Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man, p.58

[19] M.T. Hodgen, Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Philadelphia, 1964), pp. 7-8

[20] Contemporary scholars widely believe these to be invented travels

[21] G. Jahoda, Images of Savages: ancient roots of modern prejudice in Western culture (London, 1999), p.2, 15

[22] P.J. Marshall & G. Williams, The Great Map of Mankind: British perceptions of the world in the age of enlightenment (London, 1982), p.187

[23] M.T. Hodgen, Early Anthropology, pp. 437-8

[24] D. Castro, Another Face of Empire: Bartolome de las Casas, indigenous rights, and ecclesiastical imperialism (Durham; London, 2007) p. 12

[25] C.A. Roa-de-la Carrera, Histories of Infamy: Francisco Lopez de Gomara and the ethics of Spanish imperialism (Boulder, 2005), pp. 1-5

[26] A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1552) and Apologetic History of the Indies (1566)

[27] In his A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (Harmondsworth, 1992), p.3

[28] M.T. Hodgen, Early Anthropology, pp. 208-9

[29] J. de Acosta, The Natural and Moral History of the Indies (Durham; London, 2002) pp. 61-3

[30] Anthropologists have since proven this speculation correct, through the existence of a land passage between the Old and New World via the frozen Bering Strait during the Ice Age, A.M. Brues, People and Races (New York; London, 1977), p.292

[31] For Champlain, T. Ellingson, The Myth of the Noble Savage (London, 2001), pp. 48-50

[32] G.M. Sayre, ‘Prehistoric Diasporas: Colonial theories of the origins of Native American peoples’ in P. Beidler & G. Taylor (eds.), Writing Races Across the Atlantic world: medieval to modern (Basingstoke, 2005), p.61

[33] Cited in K. Thor Carlson, ‘Reflections on Indigenous History and Memory: reconstructing and reconsidering contact’ in J.S. Lutz (ed.), Myth and Memory: stories of Indigenous-European contact (Vancouver, 2007), p.46

[34] Although it must be noted that these ethno-historians did not “go native” intentionally, as modern anthropologists do.

[35] R. Adorno, ‘The Negotiation of Fear in Cabeza de Vaca’s Naufragios’, Representations, Volume 33 (1991), pp. 165-7

[36] J.P. Ronda suggests that de Vaca’s realisation that he saw the universe in a “remarkably similar way” to the natives he encountered, enabled mutual discovery of the other. In Revealing America: image and imagination in the exploration of North America (Lexington, Mass., 1996) p. 27, 48

[37] J. Whatley, ‘Impression and Initiation: Jean de Léry’s Brazil Voyage’, Modern Language Studies, Volume 19(3) (1989) p. 16

[38] R. Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London, 1997), p.183

[39] M.T. Hodgen, Early Anthropology, p.367

[40] O. Dickason, The Myth of the Savage and the Beginnings of French Colonialism in the Americas (Edmonton, 1984), p.176, 192

[41] G. Jahoda, Images of Savages, p.100

[42] P. Mason, Deconstructing America: representations of the other (London, 1990), p.99

[43] T. Todorov, The Conquest of America: the question of the other (Norman, 1999), pp. 202-3

[44] A. Gerbi, The Dispute of the New World: the history of a polemic, 1750-1900 (Pittsburgh; London, 1973) p.35, 47. From David Hume’s declaration of the inferiority of the inhabitants of the tropics to Raynal’s claim that the American natives were “degenerates.”

[45] T. Ellingson, The Myth of the Noble Savage, pp. 1-8. Although Ellingson acknowledges that Rousseau did not use the term “noble savage.”

[46] A. Gerbi, The Dispute of the New World: the history of a polemic, 1750-1900 (Pittsburgh; London, 1973) p.50

[47] W. MacGafrrey, ‘Dialogue of the deaf: Europeans on the Atlantic coast of Africa’ in S.B. Schawrtz (ed.), Implicit Understandings: observing, reporting, and reflecting on the encounters between Europeans and other peoples in the Early Modern era (Cambridge, 1994),pp. 249-50

[48] E.A. Schultz & R.H. Lavenda, Cultural Anthropology, pp. 5-6

[49] R. Horsman, Josiah Nott of Mobile: southerner, physician and racial theorist (Baton Rouge; London, 1987), pp.84-5

[50] T. Ellingson, The Myth of the Noble Savage, pp. 151-3

[51] R. Horsman, Josiah Nott of Mobile, p. 1

[52] T. Ellingson, The Myth of the Noble Savage, p. 127

[53] J. Fiske, The Discovery of America: with some account of Ancient America and the Spanish conquest (Cambridge, Mass., 1892), pp. v-viii. For similar imperialistic histories of native-European contact, see A. Helps, The Spanish Conquest: and its relation to the history of slavery and to the government of colonies (London, 1855) & F. Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World (Boston, 1865)

[54] J. Fiske, The Discovery of America, p.119

[55] E.B. Tylor, Anthropology: an introduction to the study of man and civilization (London, 1881), pp.373-382

[56] F. Boas (ed.), General Anthropology (Boston; New York; London, 1938), pp. 1-5

[57] J. Lockhart, We People Here: Nahuatl accounts of the conquest of Mexico (Berkeley; London, 1993), pp.27-8

[58] Along with other sixteenth century native histories, such as Hernando Alvarado Tezozomoc’s Cronica Mexicayotl (written 1598) and Fernando de Alva Ixtilxochitl’s Relacion historica de la nacion tulteca (Written 1600-1608), J. Marichal, ‘The New World from within: the Inca Garcilaso’ in F. Chiappelli et al. (eds.), First Images of America: the impact of the New World on the Old, Volume 1 (London, 1976) p. 59

[59] C. Wissler, The American Indian: an introduction to the anthropology of the New World (2005) p.2

[60] J. Jorge Klor de Alva, ‘Foreword’, p.xii

[61] Which had dominated for over four hundred years. P.J. Marshall & G. Williams, The Great Map of Mankind, p.188

[62] See C. Gibson, Tlaxcala in the Sixteenth Century (Stanford, 1967) esp. pp.1-5

[63] J.V. Murra, The Economic Organization of the Inka State (Greenwich, Conn., 1980); M. Leon-Portilla (ed.), The Broken Spears: the Aztec account of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston, 2006), esp. pp. 175-85

[64] G.A. Collier, ‘In the Shadow of Empire: new directions in Mesoamerican and Andean ethnohistory’ in G.A. Collier et al. (eds.), The Inca and Aztec States 1400-1800: anthropology and history (New York; London, 1982) pp. 2-3

[65] J. Axtell, Natives and Newcomers: the cultural origins of North America (New York; Oxford, 2001), pp.17-18

[66] W. Wickwire, ‘Stories from the Margins: toward a more inclusive British Columbia historiography’ in J.S. Lutz (ed.), Myth and Memory: stories of Indigenous-European contact (Vancouver, 2007), pp. 120-1

[67] C. Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York, 1963), pp. 23-25

[68] C. Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (London, 1972) p.256

[69] C. Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques (London, 1973), p.82

[70] C. Geertz, ‘Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture’ in The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays (London, 1975)

[71] G.A. Collier, ‘In the Shadow of Empire’, pp. 1-3

[72] J. Lockhart, ‘Sightings: Initial Nahua reactions to Spanish Culture’ in S.B. Schawrtz (ed.), Implicit Understandings: observing, reporting, and reflecting on the encounters between Europeans and other peoples in the Early Modern era (Cambridge, 1994),pp. 218-9 Other such examples include: R. Wright, Stolen Continents: 500 years of conquest and resistance in the Americas (New York, 2005) esp. p. 5, K. Spalding, Huarochiri: an Andean society under Inca and Spanish rule (Stanford, 1984), esp. p.2

[73] For example see: A. Pagden, European Encounters with the New World: from Renaissance to Romanticism (New Haven; London, 1993), S. Greenblatt (ed.), New World Encounters (Berkeley; Oxford, 1993), E.R. Seeman, Death in the New World: cross-cultural encounters, 1492-1800 (Philadelphia, 2010)

[74] See I. Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 (Cambridge, 1987) Especially, “Finding Out”, pp. 131-138

[75] See, R. Hassig, Mexico and the Spanish Conquest, (Norman, 2006),

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Omar al-Bashir Escapes Again: a shameful oversight by the ‘leaders’ of South Africa

So President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has escaped again. Indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) more than five years ago for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, he has managed to elude arrest ever since and remains a fugitive despite being the head of one of Africa’s largest states.

Omar al-Bashir returns to a hero's welcome in Khartoum
Omar al-Bashir returns to a hero’s welcome in Khartoum Photo: AP

Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that al-Bashir was allowed to depart South Africa after an African Union (AU) meeting, despite that state being a member of the ICC and therefore obliged to detain this most despotic of rulers. The ICC has long been accused of bias against African states and, indeed, most of those currently being prosecuted – whether in person or absentia – come from Africa. Situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Libya and the Central African Republic have been investigated and indictments made, whilst events in the Middle East (such as Palestine) and Europe (such as Ukraine) are yet to draw conclusions.

It may be then that African leaders have a point about the unfairness of the ICC’s critical gaze. Yet could it not be simply that Africa is the most unstable continent, where horrific crimes are committed by politicians and the military alike on a daily basis? Few regimes in Africa score well when subjected to close scrutiny. Even South Africa, a supposedly wealthy and democratic bastion of regional leadership, has proven itself in recent years to be corrupt, crime-infested and intolerant, its leader Jacob Zuma hardly the paragon of virtue.

South Africa’s reluctance to detain al-Bashir is troubling given the crimes he is accused of committing, namely waging a genocidal war against the restive province of Darfur which has rumbled on for over a decade. Indeed, such is the persistent misery and seeming unending nature of the Darfur conflict, that it is barely mentioned today in international affairs or in the global press.

DARFUR CONFLICT
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled Darfur due to persistent, brutal conflict Photo: Michel de Groot

Darfur existed as an independent sultanate from the early seventeenth century until 1916 when, in the midst of WWI, it was annexed to Sudan by British colonial forces and their Egyptian allies. Since that moment, Darfur has not escaped the oversight of Khartoum which refuses to relinquish control over the province or make any concessions to regional autonomy.

The most troubling aspect of British colonialism was its tendency to forge and manipulate unnatural borders, merging disparate tribes into unitary states where ethnic and religious differences were completely overlooked. Unlike most of Sudan, the people of Darfur are generally not Arabs, coming instead from the Fur and Tunjur groups.

Omar al-Bashir has exploited the legacy of ethnic division by providing government support to the Janjaweed, a Darfur-based Arab militia responsible for numerous atrocities against the civilians of the province. Pure racism and a fury at the presumptuousness of the liberation movements in Darfur to seek independence have fuelled Khartoum’s aggression.

As a state that suffered the bitter legacy of colonialism more than most, South Africa would do well to recognise the historical and political conditions in Sudan, and Darfur in particular, which have led to such bloodshed, misery and displacement.

Bashir and Zuma - allies in opposition to the ICC Photo: SA Breaking News
Bashir and Zuma – allies in opposition to the ICC
Photo: SA Breaking News

It is one thing to stand by your continent and defend its interests; yet to blindly and hypocritically overlook the tyrannical rule of Omar al-Bashir – whose reign surely defies everything that South Africa claims to stand for (democracy, a ‘rainbow nation’, universal rights) – is unacceptable.

If the recent actions on a Pretoria runway do not result in sanctions, then the ICC can forget about bringing to justice those who deserve it most.

 

For a useful historical background to the Darfur conflict see: http://www.sarpn.org/documents/d0001277/PNADC475_Darfur_Febr2005_Chap2.pdf

Revisiting Transnational Migration Issues in East Asia: the historical paranoia over national sovereignty

Whilst accurate data is impossible to come by, there is no doubt that transnational migration has become an increasing phenomenon in East Asia over the last couple of decades:

The process by which immigrants [cross international borders and] forge and sustain simultaneous multi-stranded relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement. (Glick Schiller et al., 1995, p.48)

This evolving process has posed several problems to states in the region, especially in relation to national security:

The protection of the sovereign state from external or internal threats.

Stranded at sea: Rohingya migrants escaping persecution in Burma are treated as a burden and even a national security threat by regional states
Stranded at sea: Rohingya migrants escaping persecution in Burma are treated as a burden and even a national security threat by regional states

However, these problems have arisen not necessarily as an inevitable result of regional population movements but primarily because of the way East Asian states conceptualise the issue of transnational migration. This essay will argue that East Asian states perceive essential transnational migration networks to be national security threats because of their strict upholding of the key principles of Westphalian national sovereignty:

  • The territorial integrity of the state
  • Cultural homogenisation
  • State autonomy over its internal affairs
  • Non-interference in other states’ internal affairs (Joffe, 1999, pp.124-5; Beeson, 2003, pp.359-361)

Secondly, it will suggest that this in turn has resulted in the imposition of restrictive immigration policies in most states in the region, thus fostering an increase in irregular migration which:

takes place outside a legal framework usually through trafficking, smuggling and overstaying of visas, not always at the fault of the migrant (Koser, 2005, p.5)

This creates greater problems for national security, as migration networks become criminalised. The essay will conclude by suggesting that the failure of East Asian states to find effective solutions to irregular transnational migration, as a result of their sovereign concerns, is exacerbating these security problems. This can only be resolved through greater accommodation of migrant networks and increased multilateral cooperation. The essay will draw on examples from across the region to highlight how the security problems brought by transnational migration are interlinked, regardless of the development status of individual states.

Transnational migration has become a necessary by-product of the process of globalisation, whereby people follow the movements of capital and labour requirements across borders predominantly in order to secure more profitable employment. (Hollifield, 2000, p.151) This is particularly applicable to East Asia, where developed and rapidly developing countries require the surplus labour of the region’s poorer nations in order to maintain high production levels. (Lee, 2005, p.166) Even China, the world’s most populous country, is facing labour shortages in its crucial manufacturing centre in the Pearl River Delta. (BBC News, 22/02/2010) The obvious way to prevent these shortages is through migrant labour, meaning transnational networks are theoretically an important contributor to economic development. However, a problem arises in East Asia in that these networks are often seen as a national security threat as well as an essential labour source.

The desire amongst East Asian states to preserve their national sovereignty is especially strong given that many are still involved in the nation-building process following external colonisation and occupation. (Narine, 2005, p.424) Consequently, any challenge to this concept is perceived as a national security threat. Transnational migration is seen as one such challenge as it supposedly leads to a breakdown in border control, threatening the territorial integrity of the state, even if little evidence supports this view. (Koser, 2005, pp.10-11) Furthermore, because transnational migrants are often of a different ethnic and cultural heritage than the indigenous population, it has been argued that they form independent communities that “take on the form of exile diasporas, determined to establish their own nation-states.” (Castles, 2002, p.1158) For example, some see the arrival of transnational migrants in Japan as a challenge to the country’s uniquely homogenous society and cite cases of ethnic conflict between migrants and natives as a sign of the threat migration poses to internal stability. (Sellek, 1994, pp.193-4) Whilst such cases may be infrequent they are perceived as a national security threat because of their potential challenge to the sovereign norm of cultural homogenisation.

Additionally, East Asian states have sought to link the issue of transnational migration with other domestic problems. For instance, rising immigrant numbers are often linked to increases in crime rates in the host country, something the Malaysian government has frequently claimed when referring to the influx of Indonesian workers in the last two decades. (Caballero-Anthony, 2008, p.166) Moreover, the idea that transnational migrants aid the spread of infectious diseases because of long transit periods is another concern. (Jakarta Post, 19/02/2007) These phenomena are seen as national security threats, as they undermine the credibility of the state, thus challenging its survival. Although isolated events may occur where migrants cause such problems, the idea that they create a proliferation of crime and disease transmission in host countries is probably a “myth.” (Wickramasekera, 2002, p.5) Nevertheless, it is the perception of the states that is significant and therefore transnational migration poses a dilemma for them, as they try to balance their economic needs with their sovereign concerns.  In attempting to achieve this, most regional states have enacted very restrictive immigration policies since the 1990s that permit the entry of only a small number of temporary migrants to suit their economic demands. (Skeldon, 1998, p.39) However, these policies are simply causing greater irregular migration, which is posing more serious problems to national security.

Indonesian migrants have often been subjected to harsh treatment and minimal protection in neighbouring Malaysia
Indonesian migrants have often been subjected to harsh treatment and minimal protection in neighbouring Malaysia

The imposition of restrictive immigration policies in most East Asian states has not diminished the desire for transnational migration or prevented employers from hiring migrants in these countries, as economic considerations persist. (Van Meijl, 2007, p.17) What they have done is changed the characteristics of transnational migration in East Asia, with up to forty per cent of regional population movements now thought to be irregular. (Lee, 2005, p.165) This increasing irregular migration is not merely the result of more people being smuggled across national borders but also due to the manipulation of entry visas. For example, thousands of transnational migrants enter Japan each year on “trainee” or “pre-college student” visas with the intention to work illegally rather than enter education. (Sellek, 1994, p.188) These migrants not only enter host countries on invalid grounds but often remain there after their visas expire (Stahl, 2003, p.34), thus contributing to the irregular migrant trend and making it harder for regional governments to monitor population movements. This in turn increases the chances of covert transnational communities, separate from mainstream society, from forming, which theoretically poses a greater challenge to the notion of cultural homogenisation.

Escalating irregular migration in East Asia is being exploited by transnational criminal organisations, which can profit from the phenomenon. Migrants often pay such organisations to smuggle them across borders and if they are unable to pay then they can be forced into criminal employment with the groups as compensation. (Piper, 2005, p.205)Transnational migration networks have consequently become criminalised largely due to the policies of the sovereignty-concerned states, which offer more severe challenges to regional security.   (Curley & Wong, 2008, p.180) Firstly, irregular transnational migrants are recruited into the drug-trafficking industry as a means to cross national borders. (Emmers, 2003, p.1) Drug-trafficking has become an increasing problem in East Asia, which is both a major producer and consumer of drugs (Dupont, 2001, pp.204-5), and has undoubtedly been aided by the recruitment of irregular migrants in the transport of illicit merchandise. This is a severe concern for the national security of regional states, for as Emmers suggests it:

can reduce a government’s capacity to govern, weaken the credibility of financial institutions and undermine social order by questioning the rule of law and increasing the level of violence. (2003, p.2)

This security threat has been evident in Laos, where state security forces often clash with drug traffickers using migrant routes across the Thai border (Thayer, 2004, p.112) and even developed nations like Japan, where overstaying migrants become distributors for thriving criminal gangs in return for being kept illegally in the country. (Friman, 1996, pp.974-5)

Secondly, female irregular migrants unable to pay their smugglers are increasingly forced to work in the illegal sex businesses of the region in order to pay off their debt. (Bishop & Robinson, 1998, p.17) This has contributed to thriving sex industries in Japan and Thailand in particular, as there is a ready source of illegal workers and widespread demand from both domestic and foreign “tourists.” (Seabrook, 1996, pp.79, 130) These industries help fund criminal organisations such as the Japanese Yakuza (Lee, 2005, p.182), who use the money to “dispose over modern military equipment and to corrupt politicians, judges and police authorities,” thus threatening the autonomy of the state over its internal affairs. (Emmers, 2003, p.4) Furthermore, the proliferation of irregular migrants in the sex industry has led to the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS across the region, particularly when migrants return to their country of origin, as exemplified by Burmese Shan women returning from Thailand. (Beyrer, 2001, p.547) The link between transnational migration and human trafficking is often overlooked by regional states. (Skrobanek et al., 1997, p.7) Yet they remain interlinked problems, with McFarlane’s claim that transnational crime only became seen as a regional security threat in the mid-1990s (2005, p.301) coinciding with an increase in irregular migrant networks due in part to restrictive immigration policies.

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Thirdly, a further problem posed by irregular migration in East Asia is the role it plays in facilitating transnational separatist movements. Not only have regional states enforced restrictive immigration policies but many have also placed limitations on the migrants they do allow across their borders. For example, in Southern Thailand, transnational migrants arriving from Malaysia are forcibly assimilated into Thai religious and political culture, despite their Islamic affiliation. (Albritton, 2005, pp.166-7) This is in line with the sovereign concern of forging a united national identity (Narine, 2005, p.424), which the Buddhist state of Thailand obviously sees as being threatened by Islamic infiltration. Consequently, migrants become potential recruits for the Muslim separatist movement in Southern Thailand, as they can forge links with their Islamic homeland of Malaysia. This separatist movement has claimed over 3,000 lives in the last five years and been increasingly linked to acts of terrorism against local civilians (AFP, 19/03/2008), therefore becoming a severe threat to national security. These movements are widespread across the region, including between Indonesia and the Philippines (Hedman, 2006, p.191), and are becoming increasingly interlinked with irregular migrant networks. Therefore, the restrictive immigration legislation enacted by regional states has merely resulted in their security fears regarding transnational migration becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In addition to this, their failure to effectively address the issue of irregular migration is exacerbating the problems these criminalised networks pose to national security.  As Schloenhardt recognises, “transnational problems require a multilateral response.” (2008, p.36) However, the strong concern for protecting national sovereignty amongst East Asian states, institutionalised by regional organisations such as ASEAN (Acharya, 1997, pp.328-9), has limited the chances of this occurring in several ways.  Firstly, states in the region are reluctant to pool their sovereignty (Higgott, 1997, p.177), as this naturally requires a degree of reliance on other states in managing their affairs. This limits the potential for resource-sharing to combat transnational issues. (Narine, 2005, p.424) Alone, many states in East Asia have insufficient resources to secure their borders either as a result of poor socio-economic development, as highlighted by Laos, or inadequate allocation of resources in developed states such as Japan. (Emmers et al., 2008, pp.65-6) Shared border security and intelligence gathering regarding irregular migration, and the criminal organisations often associated with it, would help overcome such limitations. Although some attempts at the latter have been made, many regional governments refuse to disclose such intelligence to neighbouring states despite the relevance it may have to their national security. (Piper, 2005, p.224) Furthermore, the lack of a coherent regional definition of irregular migration means data is collated in various ways by different states, making any shared intelligence conflicting and of questionable value. (Laczko, 2005, p.11) In regards to the former, multilateral law enforcement along state borders remains limited to small-scale operations. (Emmers et al., 2008, pp.74-5) This lack of significant multilateral cooperation makes borders easier to penetrate for irregular migrants and their sponsors, ensuring criminalised networks continue to flourish.

The failure of states to pool their border resources to combat irregular migration also contributes to what Godson terms the “political-criminal nexus.” (PCN) (2003, pp.259-61)Poorly financed security forces and politicians responsible for border protection are often left underpaid for a virtually impossible task, making them open to corruption. (Emmers, 2003, p.10) For example, despite heavy police presence and crossing checkpoints, Burmese criminal groups are able to smuggle irregular migrants across the Thai border because of their capabilities in purchasing protection from corrupt officials. (Beyrer, 2001, p.547) The “PCNs affect regional cooperation, colour relations with other states, and contribute to local instability in geostrategic regions of concern.” (Godson, 2003, p.264) However, whilst some multilateral declarations condemning transnational corruption have arisen in East Asia, they have not been followed by decisive action. (Schloenhardt, 2008, p.45) This is typical of responses to transnational issues in the region, with optimistic multilateral rhetoric being undermined by the reality of unilateral sovereign concerns. (Khoo, 2004, p.50) In this case, corruption is perceived as an internal issue meaning it continues to be dealt with at the national level (Emmers et al., 2008, p.78) because of the region-wide sovereign norm of non-interference in other states’ domestic affairs. (Acharya, 2003, pp.379-80) This is despite the fact that in regards to irregular transnational migration, corruption has simultaneous security implications for several states. This further absence of multilateral action surely encourages transnational criminal groups to increase their exploitation of irregular migrants, as their chances of being punished are minimised by state collusion.

The non-interference norm prevailing in the region also enables East Asian states to pursue their own migration policies without having to face external criticism. Therefore, whilst the majority of states have restrictive immigration policies, some also allow significant emigration depending on their domestic needs. (Goss & Lindquist, 2000, p.400) This is particularly evident in the case of the Philippines, which explicitly encourages emigration to more vibrant economies so that Filipino transnational communities can generate additional wealth for their homeland. (Suzuki, 2002, p.99) Such regional incoherence in migration policies contributes to irregular transnational flows, as those encouraged to emigrate are forced to find illegal entry into states trying to restrict immigration. This helps create the tension between origin and host countries that Wickramasekera warns is an undesired effect of irregular migration (2002, p.26), as states’ conflicting policies seemingly exacerbate each other’s security problems. These sovereign concerns are restricting multilateral cooperation against irregular transnational migration to non-binding statements of ambition such as the Bangkok Declaration, which called for a “comprehensive and balanced” response to the issue from regional states. (1999, p.2) Without acting upon such promising dialogue, states will continue to target the problems posed by this phenomenon in a unilateral manner, further entrenching the criminalised networks and the security problems they create.

ASEAN's strong non-interference norms has often made decisive action on transnational issues difficult
ASEAN’s strong non-interference norms has often made decisive action on transnational issues difficult

The concerns of the East Asian states about the threats posed by transnational migration to national security have become a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the policies they have enacted to try and protect their sovereignty. The increase in irregular migration as a result of such legislation has given increased strength to a plethora of transnational criminal networks, facilitated the spread of potentially devastating diseases and even proved a catalyst for separatist activity in the region. These phenomena lead to the insecurity of national borders, a reduction in state autonomy over its internal affairs, the undermining of the governing capacity of the state and weaker cultural homogeneity, ensuring the objective of safeguarding sovereignty is not even being achieved. Furthermore, a lack of coherent multilateral solutions is intensifying the security problems posed by transnational migration and deepening inter-state tension. States in East Asia need to be more accommodating to migrant networks, which still remain important for regional economic development. In doing this they will reduce the needs for migrants to seek irregular routes across borders, which are often associated with the transnational crime that has become a severe regional security threat. However, as long as East Asian states remain committed to a strict preservation of Westphalian national sovereignty, it is unlikely such accommodation will occur. Rather, states will remain focused on ineffective unilateral solutions geared towards restricting immigration, creating a continual cycle of increasing irregular migration that will become further interlinked with transnational crime. Without significant multilateral cooperation in breaking this cycle, transnational migration in East Asia will continue to pose regional security problems and the human costs of irregular migration will remain overlooked.

 

Bibliography

Books

Bishop, R. & Robinson, L.S. (1998), Night market: sexual cultures and the Thai economic miracle (Routledge: New York; London)

Caballero-Anthony, M. (2008), “Reflections on managing migration in Southeast Asia: mitigating the unintended consequences of securitisation” in M.G. Curley & S. Wong, Security and migration in Asia: the dynamics of securitisation (Routledge: London), pp. 165-176

Curley, M.G. & Wong, S. (2008), “Conclusion: undocumented migration and the state/human security nexus in Asia” in M.G. Curley & S. Wong, Security and migration in Asia: the dynamics of securitisation (Routledge: London), pp. 179-184

Dupont, A. (2001), East Asia imperilled: transnational challenges to security (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge)

Emmers, R. et al. (2008), “Securitising human trafficking in the Asia-Pacific: regional organisations and response strategies” in M.G. Curley & S. Wong, Security and migration in Asia: the dynamics of securitisation (Routledge: London), pp. 59-82

Godson, R. (2003), “Transnational crime, corruption, and security” in M.E. Brown (ed.), Grave new world: security challenges in the 21st century (Georgetown University Press: Washington, D.C.), pp. 259-278

Hollifield, J.F. (2000), “The politics of international migration: how can we bring the state back in?” in C.B. Brettell & J.F. Hollifield (eds.), Migration theory: talking across disciplines (Routledge: New York), pp. 137-186

Schloenhardt, A. (2008), “Illegal migration and migrant smuggling in the Asia-Pacific: balancing regional security and human rights” in M.G. Curley & S. Wong, Security and migration in Asia: the dynamics of securitisation (Routledge: London), pp. 35-56

Seabrook, J. (1996), Travels in the skin trade: tourism and the sex industry (Pluto: London)

Sellek, Y. (1994), “Illegal foreign migrant workers in Japan: change and challenge in Japanese society” in J.M. Brown & R. Foot (eds.), Migration: the Asian experience (Macmillan in association with St. Antony’s College, Oxford: Basingstoke), pp. 169-201

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Stahl, C.W. (2003), “International labour migration in East Asia: trends and policy issues” in R. Iredale, C. Hawksley & S. Castles (eds.), Migration in the Asia Pacific: population, settlement and citizenship issues (Edward Elgar: Cheltenham), pp. 29-54

Suzuki, N. (2002), “Gendered surveillance and sexual violence in Filipina pre-migration experiences to Japan” in B.S.A. Yeoh et al., Gender politics in the Asia-Pacific region (Routledge: London), pp. 99-119

Journals

Acharya, A. (1997), “Ideas, identity and institution-building: from the ‘ASEAN way’ to the ‘Asia-Pacific way’?”, The Pacific Review Volume 10(3), pp. 319-346 (Online: Accessed 05/03/2010) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09512749708719226

Acharya, A. (2003), “Democratisation and the prospects for participatory regionalism in Southeast Asia”, Third World Quarterly Volume 24(2), pp. 375-390 (Online: Accessed 02/03/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993518

Albritton, R.B. (2005), “Thailand in 2004: the ‘crisis in the South’”, Asian Survey Volume 45(1), pp. 166-173 (Online: Accessed 02/03/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/4497087

Beeson, M. (2003), “Sovereignty under siege: globalisation and the state in Southeast Asia”, Third World Quarterly Volume 24(2), pp. 357-374 (Online: Accessed 05/03/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993517

Beyrer, C. (2001), “Shan women and girls and the sex industry in Southeast Asia: political causes and human rights implications”, Social Science and Medicine Volume 53(4), pp. 543-550 (Online: Accessed 27/02/2010) doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00358-0

Castles, S. (2002), “Migration and community formation under conditions of globalisation”, International Migration Review Volume 36(4), pp. 1143-1168 (Online: Accessed 17/02/2010) http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sociology/notes07/Level5/SO5512/Week%2010%20(2).pdf

Friman, H.R. (1996), “Gaijinhanzai: immigrants and drugs in contemporary Japan”, Asian Survey Volume 36(10), pp. 964-977 (Online: Accessed 05/03/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2645628

Glick Schiller, N. et al. (1995), “From immigrant to transmigrant: theorizing transnational migration”, Anthropological Quarterly Volume 68(1), pp. 48-63 (Online: Accessed 15/02/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/3317464

Goss, J. & Lindquist, B. (2000), “Placing movers: an overview of the Asia-Pacific migration system”, The Contemporary Pacific Volume 12(2), pp. 385-414 (Online: Accessed 26/02/2010) http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/contemporary_pacific/v012/12.2goss.pdf

Hedman, E.E. (2006), “The Philippines in 2005: old dynamics, new conjuncture”, Asian Survey Volume 46(1), pp. 187-193 (Online: Accessed 02/03/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/4497168

Higgott, R. (1997), “De facto and de jure regionalism: the double discourse of regionalism in the Asia-Pacific”, Global Society Volume 11(2), pp. 165-183 (Online: Accessed 07/03/2010) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13600829708443128

Joffe, J. (1999), “Rethinking the nation-state: the many meanings of sovereignty”, Foreign Affairs Volume 78(6), pp. 122-127 (Online: Accessed 05/03/2010) http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/fora78&id=1048&collection=journals&index=#1048

Khoo, N. (2004), “Rhetoric vs. reality: ASEAN’s clouded future”, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs Volume 5(2), pp. 49-56 (Online: Accessed 05/03/2010) http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/geojaf5&div=32&g_sent=1&collection=journals#215

Laczko, F. (2005), “Introduction: data and research on human trafficking”, International Migration Volume 43(1/2), pp. 5-16 (Online: Accessed 01/03/2010) http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118685790/PDFSTART

Lee, J. (2005), “Human trafficking in East Asia: current trends, data collection and knowledge gaps”, International Migration Volume 43(1-2), pp.165-191 (Online: Accessed 28/01/2010) http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118685798/PDFSTART

McFarlane, J. (2005), “Regional and international cooperation in tackling transnational crime, terrorism and the problems of disrupted states”, Journal of Financial Crime Volume 12(4), pp. 301-309 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13590790510624774

Narine, S. (2005), “State sovereignty, political legitimacy and regional institutionalism in the Asia-Pacific”, The Pacific Review Volume 17(3), pp. 423-450 (Online: Accessed 01/03/2010) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0551274042000261524

Piper, N. (2005), “A problem by a different name? A review of research on trafficking in South-East Asia and Oceania”, International Migration Volume 43(1-2), pp. 203-233 (Online: Accessed 28/01/2010) http://www.humantrafficking.org/uploads/publications/intl_migration_piper.pdf

Thayer, C.A. (2004), “Laos in 2003: counterrevolution fails to ignite”, Asian Survey Volume 44(1), pp. 110-114 (Online: Accessed 27/02/2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/4128569

Online Articles

Bangkok Declaration on Irregular Migration (1999), “Towards regional cooperation on irregular/undocumented migration” (Online: Accessed 02/03/2010) http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/shared/mainsite/policy_and_research/rcp/APC/BANGKOK_DECLARATION.pdf

Emmers, R. (2003), “The threat of transnational crime in Southeast Asia: drug trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, and sea piracy”, UNISCI Discussion Papers 2, pp. 1-11 (Online: Accessed 29/01/2010) http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/767/76711296006.pdf

Koser, K. (2005), “Irregular migration, state security and human security: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration”, Global Commission on International Migration, pp. 1-33 (Online: Accessed 26/02/2010) http://www.gcim.org/attachements/TP5.pdf

Van Meijl, T. (2007), “Beyond economics: transnational labour migration in Asia and the Pacific”, IIAS Newsletter 43, p.17 (Online: Accessed 13/02/2010) http://www.iias.nl/nl/43/IIAS_NL43_17.pdf

Wickramasekera, P. (2002), “Asian labour migration: issues and challenges in an era of globalisation”, International Migration Programme (International Labour Office: Geneva), pp. 1-48 (Online: Accessed 17/02/2010) http://training.itcilo.it/actrav/courses/2005/A3-00391_web/resources/migrant_labour/asian_labour_migration.pdf

News Sources

“Bloodshed part of daily life in Thailand’s Muslim south”, AFP 19/03/2008 (Online: Accessed 02/03/2010) http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hcTlgAZVzJiptydwaDUTo068R0ow

“China’s Pearl River manufacturing hub ‘lacks workers’”, BBC News 22/02/2010 (Online: Accessed 22/02/2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8527621.stm

“HIV/AIDS and migration: fixing the broken chain”, The Jakarta Post 19/02/2007 (Online: Accessed 28/02/2010) http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2007/02/19/hivaids-and-migration-fixing-broken-chain.html