Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific

College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific header image 3


by Matthew Hill

1. ‘Approaching Languages of Security’

2. The contemporary literature on languages and security

3. Approaching Language, Security, and Meaning

4. Methodological Considerations

5. Key Themes and Highlights from the Research

6. Conclusion

Approaching Languages of Security

Language plays a tremendous role in human affairs. It serves as a means of cooperation and as a weapon of conflict. With it, men can solve problems, erect the towering structures of science and poetry – and talk themselves into insanity and social confusion.

– Irving J. Lee[1]


This volume seeks to engage with a vital, but under-explored question at the inter-disciplinary juncture of linguistics, international relations, and area studies: namely, what role does language play in shaping understandings and interpretations of security in the Asia-Pacific? In examining this issue, analysis has focused on identifying and explicating specific terms and their usage, framing the role of language in defining the practical realities of security in the region. The chapters that follow are formatted as sub-lexicons, containing insights into perceptions and attitudes towards both key terms within the international security discourse from across the Asia-Pacific, and indigenous concepts unique to specific cultures and nations from North Korea to India. The result is a survey of the diversity of the impact of language and communication on security across the region.

This introductory paper has the triple objectives of a) surveying the state of the literature on the relationship between language and security, b) identifying the key methodological elements that frame the interdisciplinary approach to the Languages of Security project, and c) identifying the key themes that have arisen out of the research. The intention is to provide background for readers to engage with the lexicon as a whole, while hopefully encouraging further debate both between disciplines and across the region regarding the practical and theoretical implications of the intersection of language and security in the Asia-Pacific.

Such a debate is sorely needed. For much of the post-war period, the disciplinary consensus within security studies has taken a jaundiced view of the relevance of the unique, specific, and particular considerations of actual conflict. Driven primarily by positivist conceptions of knowledge, the discipline sought to focus on developing concrete universal theories of national power, military force, and the threat of organised violence they pose. This drive to emulate the scientific pursuit of ‘natural laws’ has been relatively uncharitable to non-material, less quantifiable considerations. Consequently, it is only recently, with the inroads made by post-modern and constructivist thought, that these objectivist conceptions have been challenged, leading to both a more ecumenical approach to the analysis of security, and a complementary willingness to critically analyse the deeper social, linguistic, cultural, and communicative factors which define security realities. It is this research agenda that motivates this volume.

Analysis will proceed firstly by exploring the scope of the relationship between language and security, incorporating recent developments in the literature as well as canonical contributions to the field. Following this introduction, the project’s specific focus on the local variations in the linguistic conceptions of security across the Asia-Pacific will be outlined, and with it, the methodological underpinnings of its key contributing disciplines: security studies and Asian studies. Reconciliation will be attempted between the divergent epistemological assumptions of these two disciplines, with the aim of identifying a pragmatic synthesis. Finally, the key research themes from the lexicons will be identified and explored.

In approaching this analysis, this survey will harness a four-fold typology of security terms.[2] Type A terms represent ‘trigger’ concepts, those that frame our very understanding of  ‘security’. These include peace, stability, human security, harmony, order, face, and resilience, and reflect the notions that frame debate on security within and between societies. Type B terms are those that focus on referents, the objects of security, ranging from the state, to regime, race, region, religion, and community. Type C terms represents the range of harms that are to be covered by security, encompassing for example reputation, physical attack, race, and the state. Finally, Type D concepts are those that structure the strategies and responses to threats, such as offense, apology, ceasefire, deterrence and confidence building.


The contemporary literature on languages and security

In parallel with this typology, the relationship between language and security can be seen as falling across four broad domains:, the use of language as an instrument of security or strategy, the defence of language as a referent of security, the emergence of language as a form of security threat and finally, the role of language in our conception and analysis of security.

In the first case, language can operate as a tool of security orientated towards of achieving strategic outcomes. The purposeful harnessing of language lies at the heart of propaganda and contemporary military psychological operations. Shared language represents a key source of symbols for manipulation, allowing for sub-conscious activation of cultural, emotional, and normative reactions, and their association with the object of the propagandists will.[3] In particular, language associated with conflict has potential to trigger visceral popular reactions that can be harnessed for political ends.[4]The manipulation of language also plays a crucial role in diplomacy. At the level of elite statecraft, the phrasing of agreements provides a means of shaping perceptions of intent, psychological sensations of cost-benefit in terms of individual and national honour, extending to the framing of the issue that is being contested by the negotiations process.[5] Additionally, a state’s depth of foreign language skills is recognized as a crucial capability in determining the success of its global engagement, and consequently, its national security.[6]

Language can also be seen as an object of contestation in and of itself, both a threat and something to be defended. Linguistic identity is frequently framed as something that needs to be secured, or that should be promoted out of nationalism or ideology.[7] This is linked to the broader defence of cultural integrity, and is predicated on the role of language in the constitution of individual and community identity. [8] It also reflects the influence that language holds as a foundation of power. As a consequence, it can be the site of an active contest between state language policies designed to assimilate or isolate heterogeneous domestic groups, and the resulting defensive approaches to language within those groups.[9] Languages, particularly those of proximate, powerful societies and cultures, can also appear as a direct threat to linguistic communities. Even in the absence of a conscious attempt to inculcate language into smaller groups, the very power structures associated with dominant language groups can make its acquisition a conscious goal for those who are concerned to gain power and influence.[10]

Finally, and most importantly from the perspective of this project, language plays an integral role in shaping our understanding of security. As Robert A. Dahl noted, all understanding surrounding human affairs presuppose a fundamental question: “What do I mean by the key terms I use or the statements I make?”[11] Two dynamics are particularly relevant to this discussion. The first is concept generation.  Language, in the context of cultural variation and peculiarities of historical experience, can be seen as a source of unique security perspectives. It adds new terms to the four-fold division of concepts identified above, terms which are a reflection of the specific cultural, geographic, political and environmental circumstances of a community or society. These terms may be intelligible outside of that society, but their applicability and relevance are fundamentally anchored in the local context.

The second dynamic is that of interpretation generation. Languages represent particular webs of meaning, and consequently are the locus of varying interpretations of existing security concepts. While terms may be used that have a commonality with wider international discourse on security, their meaning to a group or a society can be subtlety or significantly different. This reflects the location of contemporary understandings within intersecting – but not completely overlapping – webs of historical experience and linguistic structures.


Approaching Language, Security, and Meaning

The practical role of language in defining and shaping the security discourse is the key focus of this volume. Consequently, engaging with the dynamics of interpretation and concept generation is of particular importance in framing the approach taken towards this research. Central to this analysis is the nature of the two-fold distinction between concept generation and interpretation generation sketched out above. While superficially similar, in that they invoke the particularity of terms in security discourse, the two dynamics of concept and interpretation generation are crucially distinguished by the assumptions of knowledge they are founded on. This points to a deeper epistemological fault-line that exists in the treatment of security terms. This fault is in fact mirrored in the methodologies of the key constitutive disciplines at the heart of this project. The twin dynamics of concept and interpretation generation occupy central respective roles in the divergent approaches towards knowledge implicit within security studies and Asian studies. As Max Weber noted:

The focus of attention on reality under the guidance of values which lend it significance and the selection and ordering of the phenomena which are thus affected in the light of their cultural significance is entirely different from the analysis of reality in terms of laws and general concepts.[12]

This divergence has led to conflict over the desired approach at those points where the two research agendas meet. Indeed, this breach is given added significance by the fact that it provides a basis for the very disciplinary relevance of area studies, and the humanities in general, to be contested by the ascendance of social science.[13] Consequently, these distinctions require greater explication, if a mutually convergent approach is to be identified.

The first dynamic, concept generation, focuses on the proliferation of particular concepts as different ways of organising a common security reality. It assumes a positivist view of the world. This involves the ontological assertion of dualism, a separation between an objective outer reality and an inner mental environment containing representations of that reality.[14] The degree of accuracy in the correspondence of those representations to the objects in world they specify provides the arbiter of truth, of what really is the case. The purpose of social science, under such an understanding, is consequently to craft better and more effective representations through theorising on the basis of empirical inquiry. Importantly, the assertion of an objective reality provides a context against which these theories can be tested, allowing for their falsification, and hence for a progressive, iterative improvement of our conceptual frameworks. Within the context of specific international relations theories, this is best reflected primarily in the structuralist conceptions of neo-realism, which claim objective access to a security reality whose ontology is defined by the presence of the nation-state as the fundamental referent of security.[15]

The proliferation of approaches to security studies in recent years gives an impression of methodological diversity. While traditional approaches have assumed the positivist cohesive, universal framing of security concepts identified above, constructivist and critical approaches have leaned towards defining knowledge socially. As a result there is the appearance of significant debate within security studies as to which concepts of security should have priority, i.e. as to whether the focus should be on military force,[16] or a broader perspectives advocating the extension of the security to embrace a wider range of challenges and dynamics, including economic and social considerations within Asia.[17] Yet despite debates as the conceptual emphasis of the discipline, at a deeper level both traditional and critical/constructivist approaches are essentially undergirded by the same positivist approach towards knowledge. Despite claiming its roots in a more subjective, interpretivist tradition, constructivism has ended up pursuing similarly broad-brush epistemic ambitions to those of realism and liberalism. While there is significant debate over the degree to which it should welcome pluralism within its ontology, i.e. regarding which actors, entities, and causal linkages matter, it has at the same time pursued a take-no-prisoners approach towards other theories. As See Seng Tan observes:

…the relentless search for essence – or, more properly, the desire, if not for the reality of essence then certainly for its ideal – could well be an improbable quest for a holy grail.[18]

Many constructivist analyses, like their structural realist counterparts, identify empirical observation as being separate from the reconstruction and conceptualization of intentions and meanings.[19] The key objective of such research is to craft definitions of security so as to provide a “clear concept”, one that better aligns with reality, through the removal of semantic confusion to enhance the underlying logical structure of the idea.[20] This in turn facilitates orderly discussion and operationalization, and the generation of insights into the functioning of the political world. In the context of assessing the role of language in defining security, the epistemological orientation of security studies naturally inclines it towards an emphasis on concept generation. The processes through which particular security concepts are generated and framed are consequently subordinated to the interests of objective intelligibility.

In contrast, Asian Studies has generally encompassed a more genuinely subjective outlook that privileges individual meaning and identity as key factors in determining the spectrum of security analysis. The discipline represents an instantiation of area studies, and is consequently defined by two principles: 1) that regions with common characteristics can be examined as a whole, and 2) that the region should be examined from an internal perspective on the basis of the knowledge of its inhabitants.[21] This practical outlook parallels the hermeneutic observation that:

[i]f there is no Archimedean fulcrum outside of language, culture, and history, this [does] not imply that rationality is to be replaced by propaganda and brute force. It is rather to recognize that epistemic authority, like moral authority, is entirely embedded within historically conditioned communities of language-users.[22]

Asian studies recognises the existence of security concepts as epistemologically dependent on, and thus constrained to, the local systems of ideas, beliefs, histories and meanings that exist within a discrete society. This assumes an attitude to knowledge that, following Ludwig Wittgenstein, views the meaning of a concept as lodged in its use, the role it plays in the context of specific ‘language games’, structured by rules that are learnt through custom and acculturation.[23] The result is an emphasis on meaning variation as the basis of interpretation, which in turn suggests a plurality of equally valid, subjective security realities. Indeed, as Max Weber argued:

…concept-construction depends on the setting of the problem, and the latter varies with the content of culture itself. The relationship between concept and reality in the cultural sciences involves the transitoriness of all such syntheses.[24]

This represents the contribution of a broad family of constructivist theories. While the specific ontologies and epistemologies of constructivism vary widely, they all mark a significant distinction with positivism over the nature of ideas. Contra to positivism’s relegation of ideas to the secondary role of representations, mere mirrors to reality, constructivism advances the subjective assertion that ideas have their own independent value in constructing a frame to human perception and action that can be just as relevant to the study of social dynamics as the physical objects of the world. This has deep practical implications. The speech therapist Wendell Johnson has observed:

It is not only true that the language we use puts words in our mouths; it also puts notions in our heads.[25]

It is important to note that this construal is equally dualist in nature. The overlap of perspectives shaped through common interaction with the world provides a basis for defining meaning socially, through language.

In practice, this downplays the relevance of a search for trans-cultural and trans-historical ‘realities’ on which to ground general theories. Consequently, it contests the more fundamental question of the independence of conceptualisation from the act of inquiry. Indeed, the discipline does not draw a hard line between empirical observation of key ideas and systems of meaning within a society, and the process of conceptualization. In essence, the two are fundamentally linked. As Xu has noted, “…one cannot arrive at knowledge without having travelled some distance in discursive space.”[26] In the context of examining the relationship between languages and security, this epistemology inclines the discipline towards a focus on interpretation generation. Security terms are thus defined at the grass roots, within the context of the specific web of meaning that a society or culture inhabits.

These divergent epistemic assumptions undergirding security studies and Asian studies are ultimately a challenge to the cohesiveness of the research agenda of this volume. Consequently, the key objective must be to identify a methodological framework which respects the various values of the two disciplines, but which incorporates the theoretical insights of both[27] There are important advantages to combining these perspectives. These include gaining an appreciation for the subjective, socially constructed nature of concepts of security. We acknowledge, with Wittgenstein, that “[t]he limits of my language are the limits of my world.”[28] The problem with adopting a positivist epistemological account, as with security studies and social science in general, is that it ignores the crucial definition that real world ‘ordinary’ language use places on terms.[29] This carries with it the associated risk that conceptualization will lose its tether to the particularities of a situation or community. Language does not exist as a fixed system, but is subject to evolution and change. As Birgit Renzl has noted, “[w]e do not only describe and report with language, but we create with it.”[30] The conscious use of language to synthesize ideas and concepts can branch out into new forms of meaning that can in turn gain traction through wider use. Thus the process of conceptualization is still vitally relevant to the progress of knowledge. In incorporating such ideas into this research framework, we are engaging with the idea of the “living process” of communities as a basis for meaning and communication inherited from hermeneutic theorists such as Hans-Georg Gadamer.[31]

Conversely, however, we must recognise the weakness to subjectivist approaches. Interpretative conceptions of meaning pose an understanding of knowledge that aspires ultimately to be foundation-less – that goes ‘all the way down.’ However, such an approach, by asserting explicitly a rejection of foundations, and of the relevance of an external world, in fact generates  “a priori theorising on transcendental conditions that are deemed to hold universally.” [32] There appears no reason by which to grant Interpretivist conceptions this sort of privileged position, since there is no external perspective available from which to justify these assertions. It is important to appreciate that these webs of meaning are not isolated, but rather exist within an inter-subjective human reality that in fact links societies. Regardless of whether terms such as ‘war’, ‘status’, ‘obedience’, or ‘ceasefire’ have a particular connotation and meaning within a society, the very fact that they are frequently utilized across language, cultural, and ideological boundaries in a fashion that is mutually intelligible is indicative that meaning can be broadened, shared, and co-defined in a manner that isn’t completely dominated by particular concerns. There is thus plentiful potential to advance an inter-subjective understanding of knowledge that links the abstract, general conceptualization to the multiple usages of those terms in specific, concrete circumstances.

Incorporating the insights of objectivist and subjectivist conceptions suggests a form of constructivism grounded on a pragmatic attitude towards knowledge and meaning.  Such a framework provides an effective meta-theoretical basis for integrating social science with interpretivist approaches, without prejudice to their contributions to knowledge in the field. What is proposed is a pragmatic turn that builds upon the uniting role of language in the action of communication, linking subject and object into webs of mutually comprehensible meaning. Such a conceptions says nothing about the component facts of the world, nor attempts to define a dualist relationship between the subject and object. Instead, it sets aside those debates in favour of the practical reality that meaning is carried through communication, which provides a strong causal description of how interpretations relate to effects in the world.

Exploring the ontology of this position in the context of security studies, the burden of reality located within language as part and parcel of broader cultural webs, but that these webs are ultimately evolved, redefined and intelligible only in the context of acts of communication that take place within linguistic communities. The challenge of operating at the interface of such communities is that the webs of meaning will only be as complete as the mutual linguistic and cultural awareness of the parties involved. While this interface can be manipulated, ultimately it also a structural source of potential misperceptions, mistranslations, and disagreements.

In summarising the approach taken by this study:

  1. Knowledge and our concepts are linguistically constructed, and culturally situated; they reflect particular experiences and refer to specific histories. The essence of understanding is thus local, and the process of conceptualising and theorising are themselves language-situated acts.
  2. Nonetheless, we can identify and develop terms in such a way that they are intelligible beyond the immediate context. Perceptions, threats, fear and empathy can extend beyond the local and across cultural boundaries. In a globalised world our sphere of action inevitably interacts with those of adjacent and frequently distant communities. Consequently, this interaction leads to the interpenetration of language-games and the over-lap of rule-sets governing meaning. This allows for intelligible debate and evaluation of security terms across the Asia-Pacific region.
  3. Thus our conceptual frameworks, while locally initiated, can from a pragmatic perspective be robust to the practical demands of a world where mutual intelligibility is the key to securing our values. Crucially, however, me must recognise that what is produced is not an objective categorisation of reality, but rather a meta-interpretation of the wider web of inter-societal interactions that can be constantly improved or critiqued. As Clifford Geertz argued with regards to interpretive anthropology, “…progress is marked less by a perfection of consensus than by a refinement of debate.”[33]


Methodological Considerations

The format of this study is relatively unusual, centred as it is on a series of lexicons as opposed to essay-style analyses. Nonetheless there is some precedent for this approach in the form of David Capie and Paul Evans volume, The Asia-Pacific Security Lexicon, which has provided significant inspiration for this project.[34] The crucial distinction between these works is in linguistic scope. Capie and Evans, acknowledging the challenges in bridging the conceptual and practical challenges surrounding interpretation and translation that covered in the preceding section, chose to focus on key English language terms – i.e. the language of security in regional perspective.[35] In contrast, this study has focused on surveying the languages of security internally, from the perspectives of the societies and groups involved in regional crises and conflicts.

The key methodological questions to be addressed surround our selection of terms to be included in the sub-lexicons, and the process through which their meaning is defined. With regards to the first of these challenges, the method pursued is predicated on the previously articulated dual pragmatic approach, emphasising concept and interpretation generation. Consequently, the terms selected comprise on the one hand a set of common concepts, interpretations of which are incorporated into the sub-lexicons on the basis of relevance and distinctiveness. For example, the concept of deterrence has little role within Burmese society, and consequently is not incorporated, while Indian/Hindi conceptions are included due to both their prominence and distinctiveness vis-à-vis Western perspectives. The second sets of terms within each lexicon are those that have no clear parallel or relevance in other security or cultural context. Like the terms selected from the common pool, the defining factor in their selection is the unique perspectives conveyed, and their relevance to key conflicts and crises.

With regards to the second of these methodological challenges, the construction of definitions, this research is open about the subjective quality of the meanings and analysis presented. As with the selection of the terms themselves, definition is clearly contingent upon the judgement of the author. As we have made clear in asserting the pragmatic approach to this research, the purpose here is not to assert a privileged status to these selections and definitions, which we acknowledge to be contestable. We emphasize again the inherently internal and implicit knowledge of the specifics of a culture, society and language needed to comprehend fully the meaning as use of a term or concept. Consequently, the subject and area specialists who have contributed to this project provide a valuable set of perspectives on topics that would otherwise prove inaccessible to readers. As a check on the selections and definitions crafted, all lexicon entries have passed through an intensive process of evaluation, in the form of a series of workshops convened to include a range of regional and sub-regional experts. The result is that the chapters all have undergone a high-degree of peer analysis and review. Nonetheless, we do not assert infallibility in this matter, nor could we. Interpretations and definitions can be challenged, and the relevance of specific terms will rise and fall with the currents of politics and culture within the region, and with academic and intellectual tides. Indeed:

The cultural problems which move men form themselves ever anew and in different colors, and the boundaries of that area in the infinite stream of concrete events which acquires meaning and significance for us, i.e., which becomes an “historical individual,” are constantly subject to change. The intellectual contexts from which it is viewed and scientifically analysed shift… A systematic science of culture, even only in the sense of a definitive, objectively valid, systematic fixation of the problems which it should treat, would be senseless in itself.[36]

Consequently, we anticipate a research agenda that advances constantly with both the academic debate and the practical evolution of the security and social realities of the Asia-Pacific.


Key Themes and Highlights from the Research

A survey of the various lexicons serves to highlight the diversity of interpretations of key concepts across regional linguistic and cultural groups, as well as a range of their unique contributions to the literature on security terms. These can be explored according to the four-fold typology of security terms outlined above, namely a) concepts regarding security and insecurity, b) the referents of security, c) threats to security, and d) strategies for dealing with threats.

Across the expanse of ideas relating to threats, power, and conflict, clearly no concept could be more fundamental than that of ‘security’ itself. In the sub-lexicons, one notable theme is the emphasis on broad definitions of security that extend beyond traditional conceptions. This was notable not only in the context of societies such as Australia, whose perspective on national security has expanded alongside a shifting political focus on terrorism, transnational crime, and environmental disasters, but also in the understandings of, for instance, Lawng hom lom (literally “all sides fully covered”) in Shan areas of Burma, Keselamatan in Malaysia (which evokes an idea of moral, even spiritual security) and Ānquán (“entire peace/harmony”) in China. The latter also emphasises a second theme, which was that security is interwoven with a conception of order and hierarchy. Maintaining the status quo is paramount in many of the region’s societies. This is perhaps epitomised by the Thai term, Khwam mankhong (“Something that is strong, durable and unchanging”), in which defending the existing nature of Thai social and political life against pressures of change on key institutions, such as religion and the monarchy, is the primary understanding of security.

This emphasis also points to the continuing resonance of the concept of ‘stability’ with regards to security in Asia-Pacific societies. This is a value that carries particular resonance internally to societies, especially those in which heterogeneity is seen a potential source of political challenges. As Syed Khairudin Aljunied notes with regards to Malaysia, the idea of Kestabilan (“firmly established”) holds a central role in political discourse as a consequence of use as perennial political motif in a country where order has been a central tenet justifying social majoritarian approaches. Similarly, Chinese perspectives on Āndìng and wěndìng (“peace and stability”) highlight an ideological and cultural conception of stability that is internal orientated as a means of advocating adherence to the state and especially the Chinese Communist Party. Stability, indeed, appears as the ultimate political value. This internal focus contrasts with the Australian conception of stability. While equally concerned with the preservation of the status quo, Australian perspectives on stability tend to be orientated externally, firstly towards its immediate neighbourhood in the Southwest Pacific (the infamous ‘arc of instability’), but also north, towards the major powers of East Asia and especially China, whose impact on the international balance of power is seen to be a key determinant of strategic stability.

Throughout the lexicons, stability frequently possesses a connotation of harmony, putting it in unexpected contrast to various conceptions of peace. As Peter Hendriks and Sheryn Lee have noted, this linkage is perhaps most nuanced in the Japanese terms Heiwa, meaning “stability, harmony and warm feelings,” and Kyoowa, implying “cooperation.” In effect, these terms elevate stability, defined in terms of the absence of a technical state of war or conflict, to the highest priority of societal concerns; indeed, the implication is that ‘peace’ can persist even if society is undergoing significant upheaval, so long as a core element of intra-societal and interstate stability obtains. Consequently, peace is seen as something so valuable that the idea of war in its contemporary form is anathema, and consequently something to be defended through non-violent means. Andrei Lankov notes that a similar understanding is carried within the South Korean term p’yong hwa, whereby peace “refers to the absence of military conflict.” It is possible to have instability, while still essentially having peace – even to the brink of war – so long as the there are no underlying drivers to sustained conflict or rivalry.

According to I-Ling Tseng, these elements of stability and conflict are reconciled somewhat differently in the Chinese understanding of Hépíng (“a stable political situation without wars, a status without war; being moderate, mild, harmonious and not violent”) With its contemporary usage grounded in the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Beijing has taken the attitude that harmony and peace need to be interwoven – though there are exceptions, for instance in the case of the various ‘cold peace’ across the Taiwan Strait. Similarly, Burmese and Shan definitions emphasize the need for tranquillity and happiness (see for example nyēin chān yēi, “peaceful, calm or untroubled”; eī chan tha ya yēi, “peace and tranquillity” (Burma) and lawng gad yen, “peaceful, happy, free from outward troubles” (Shan)). Likewise, Malay conceptions of keamanan (“peace”) are significant grounded in an emphasis on internal stability and harmony.

A focus on peace internal to society, as well as external to it, can be seen as related to wider concepts of security, such as human security. In theory, these concepts embrace the interests of communities and individual needs alongside of those of the political grouping. Nonetheless, there is a general sense across the lexicons that due to its internal focus, authorities frequently harness this concept for broader political purposes. For example, in the Burmese context Curt Lambrecht and Seng Nu Pan identify the relevant term as sā wu tnēi yēi lon chon hmū (translated as eat-wear-shelter-safe-enveloped as in a blanket”), which often comes across in the context of ‘sufficiency’. However, they note that while authorities stress the need for stability in order to address human security concerns, individuals and sub-state actors frequently feel that the efforts of the state are directed at entrenching itself, and feel their security threatened by the state itself. Indeed, in Paul Keenan’s contribution it is argued that the Karen term Bwa Gay Wor Dta Bee Dta Ber (“people security”) primarily refers to the interests of people in escaping the attacks of the Burmese military, and the need to protect the essentials of life from predation.

Attitudes towards the term have also been mixed on the basis of its perceived external roots. Amrih Widodo’s contribution highlights that keamanan manusia (“human security”), a relatively new term within Indonesia, has received a varied domestic reception, with support and engagement from some activists balanced against conservative rejection on the basis of perceived colonial or secular connotations with Western values. Similarly, Chintana Sandilands notes that while the Thai term khwaam mankhong khong manut (“human security”) has gained ground within the bureaucracy and NGO community, it has been largely ignored by wider societies on the basis that its Western conceptual roots allegedly make little sense in the context of Thai political life. Finally, in contrast to the domestic, internal orientation of other interpretations, the Japanese phrase ningen no anzen hoshoo (“human security guarantee”) demonstrates an exclusively external outlook, which captures Japan’s non-violent, non-interventionist, aid-driven approach to assisting in economic development and the promotion of social rights.

There is an equally impressive diversity of interpretation of key referents of security across the region. Perhaps the most fruitful and important focus has been the concept of sovereignty. One of the central narratives present in many lexicons has been the implicit historical concern regarding colonialism and imperialism that still colour the idea of national sovereignty and autonomy today. For example, the Chinese term Zhǔquán (which contains the characters for “Master, owner; right, authority”) traditionally evoked the power of a king, and the relationship between the centre and the periphery of Chinese civilization. Contemporary understandings, however, are deeply influenced by Japanese-sourced Western political philosophy, carrying with it the connotations of the government’s absolute right to act independently domestically and internationally. Salient in all of this is a colonial experience and bitterness regarding the historical inequities China has perceived itself as suffering – and consequently a concern never to compromise on core state issues of territorial integrity. The Korean term chu’kwon shares identical roots, being derived from Zhǔquán. As a contemporary concept, it is, however, more internally conflicted. The divided status of Korean peninsula contributes to Seoul’s awkward political and linguistic balancing act, between claiming sovereignty over the whole of the peninsula, and its recognition of the practical reality of DPRK control north of the Demilitarized Zone.

Concerns regarding sovereignty and the lingering impact of colonial powers similarly animate Southeast Asia societies. The Burmese term Achokacha ana (“supreme governance authority”) is closely tied in government discourse to conceptions of the motherland, the nation, and independence. Flowing through it is a constant fear of disintegration, of competition between the centre and sub-state claimants, which the Burmese leadership frequently ascribe to neo-colonialists influences. As Brian McCartan argues, from the perspective of groups such as the Shan, there are actually gradations of sovereignty, from Ah Na Soong Sut (“the highest power”) to Ah na jik jawm (“the top-most power”), implying varying positions within a hierarchy, with significant autonomy. On this basis, they dispute the claims to sovereignty of the central Burmese government, particularly given their perceived illegitimate enforcement at the point of a gun. Similarly, some states still see their sovereignty through the lens of resistance to colonialism. In Thai discourse, Athipatai (“sovereignty”) is deeply imbued with the memory of having successfully resisted Western colonialism, an action which has become a symbol of entire national identity.

Implicit in modern conceptions of sovereignty is the concept of territorial integrity, bringing political and strategic salience to borders between political entities. The specific perspectives vary significantly according to culture and geography. At one extreme lies the Australian conception. As Brendan Taylor suggests, the idea of border in Australia is deeply shaped by its maritime isolation, and its historical concerns regarding the rest of the region. In contemporary parlance, the focus has tended to be on the non-traditional threats to security, including transnational crime, people smuggling and particularly, terrorism. Implied in this is the idea that ‘borders’ in Australia represents a more fundamental, inviolable concern than in mainland Asia. By way of contrast we can see a more fluid concept has indeed informed Burmese perceptions. The term Ne sat, which has the connotation of a “jurisdiction or territory that adjoins or is adjacent to” represents the historically weaker role that formal boundaries have played in regional political dynamics. The Burmese state has sought to challenge this conception in modern times, by attempting to exert control over other ethnic groups within its borders. However, this has invoked conflict against those groups that see to resurrect pre-colonial understandings of their own political status. For example, the Shan term Lenlin, “boundary land”, reflects an understanding of borders as areas, rather than lines on a map. Attempts to exert territorial control by states – both Burmese and Thai – have provided an ongoing challenge to the attempts of these groups to maintain their autonomy.

On a wider scale, the idea of a region as a whole is open to significant debate. Australia’s own perspective is split, as a state that, as Samuel Huntington noted, is implicitly a “torn” nation.[37] (Australia). On the one hand, as Brendan Taylor notes in his contribution to this volume, Australians generally see a special interest and responsibility at play in the South-West Pacific, often defined as “our neighbourhood”. Yet unlike New Zealand, for whom this sub-regional context provides a buffer through which it can feel comfortable engaging with Asia as a whole, Australia’s perception of its position in Asia is significantly coloured by a sense of fear, with the potential for exclusion from opportunities combined with the uncertain implications of rising regional powers. In contrast, the dominant narrative for countries that is geographically within the region centres on managing cultural commonalities. Peter Hendriks and Sheryn Lee argue that for Japan, the use of the term Chiiki to signify “region” is deliberately preferred for the absence of any specific sense that the countries that make up the region have anything in common but geographic proximity. It is non-China centric and thus neutral. This is in contrast to the term bunkaken, which in conveying the sense of a “culture sphere”, carries not only the connotations of Japan’s expansionist past, but also the centrality of Chinese influences within the region. Andrei Lankov identifies similar roots for the South Korean term munhwakwŏn, emphasising cultural and civilizational commonalities. However, in this case there is less concern regarding whether it appears overtly China-centric, perhaps because South Korean society has a higher tolerance for implicit acknowledgement of cultural links with China as a defining characteristic of Northeast Asia.

Like culture, race and ethnicity are important defining elements within Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. Perhaps most intriguingly, these identities have a strong tendency to blur with ideational factors such as religion. As Curt Lambrecht and Seng Nu Pan argue in their contribution, Burmese terms such as Amyō (“race, lineage”), lu myō, (“race, ethnicity, nationality”) and lu myō than sin hmu (“racial purity”) have their basis in the concerns of ethnic Burmans regarding South Asian immigration under British rule, and remain expressed in strong pressures against inter-marriage. The terms also blur the lines surrounding race, evoking not only attributes of ethnicity but also citizenship and even religion. Likewise, Paul Keenan’s contribution suggests that Karen terms like Dta maplaw mashel gwi Bwa kalu (“clear nation”) make reference to their own concerns over racial purity and inward migration by Burmans and Muslims, again blurring the line between ethnicity and religion. Similarly, the idea of Malay and Muslim are blurred and overlap in Malaysian discourses, with the combined elements forming a crucial part of societal differentiation, de-marking Malays both ethnically and religious from ‘others’, giving them the stamp of legitimacy. Such identities are consequently perceived as threatened by religious shifts, especially in the context of conversion away from Islam, which is also argued as stripping away ‘Malayness.’ On a related note, Thai conceptions of Kwaam pen Thai (“Thai-ness”) give a sense of perpetual external threat to the various aspects of Thai identity, which centres not only on the ethnic nation, but also Buddhism, and the institution of the royal family.

The equivalent referent to race in Northeast Asia is the nation. Tatiana Gabroussenko’s chapter suggests that in the context of North Korean ideology and propaganda, Minjok (“nation”) and minjoksŏng (“racial/ ethnic entity, national essence”) are constituents of North Korean identity. The Hermit Kingdom consequently identifies itself as possessing and defending the essence of a pure Korean ethnicity and national cultural, giving it the responsibility to maintain it untainted that can only be fulfilled through isolation from corrupting external influences. By contrast, while Japanese conceptions of cultural uniqueness as strong, the idea of nation remains a powerful but hazily defined referent. Kokka (“Family, Nation, home”) gives a weak sense of this, but the challenge lies in the fact that previously while the loyalty of the Japanese people was directed at the Emperor, post-World War II a gulf has emerged in what the referent of the nation should be.

The third category of threats is perhaps best summed up in the sheer diversity of the various entries for ‘threat’ itself. From an Australian perspective, it is argued that threat occupies a prominent place at the centre of the national imagination, a consequence of being a small, culturally distinctive population adjacent to Asia. As with much of the region, however, threats are seen to be balanced along a spectrum, from continued concern with threats emanating from major power, towards an increasing focus on wider transnational threats i.e. terrorism, pandemic disease, illegal activities, and natural disasters. Beyond this, particularly threats do demonstrate the unique perspectives of various cultures. For example, the DPRK continues to place significant importance on the challenge of chegukjuŭi (“Imperialism”), primarily referring to the US but also Japan. Seen as directly opposed to socialism, and the embodiment of all things evil, it is represented in various invidious strategies such as globalization, the infiltration of bourgeois ideology and culture, which require North Koreans to be constantly on their guard against external influences. By way of contrast, sub-state actors such as the Shan are primarily focused on the day-to-day threats posed by suppression and intimidation by a dominant power. The phrase Karn Lawk Ngeud (“threat”) is thus primarily applied to the largest security threat – that of the Burmese army, and its use of violence from beating to expulsion and execution. Fear lies at the centre of this conception.

Likewise, fear cannot be separated from the concept of terrorism, perhaps the defining threat narrative of the past decade. In Australia in particular, the conception of terrorism has gained cultural resonance after the September 11 attacks on the United States, and the Bali Bombings that killed over eighty Australian tourists. As Brendan Taylor notes, within the national political discourse, the term has an abiding connotation with evil, and has been leveraged for effect to promote significant domestic legislative programs, as well as foreign interventions, in Afghanistan and Iraq. More problematically, it also has a close association in the public consciousness with Islam, albeit in its more radical forms.  This has implications for Australia’s relationships with majority Muslim countries in the region, such as Indonesia. Indeed, in Indonesia the concept of Teroris (“terrorist”) is a contested term, deeply linked to conflict over relations between its Muslim identity and the western world. Indeed, as the sub-lexicon entry attests, depending on their orientation, a minority of Muslim clerics seek to embrace the concept of terrorism and a badge of pride, while others portray the US as a terrorist instead. In Malaysia, the label of terrorism has similarly become a tool to criticise US and other western governments, and to bolster Malaysia’s political elite external reputation as defenders of Islam. Internally, however, the term pengganas (“someone who is bent on committing serious acts of violence with the intent of instilling fear and to bring about instability which will eventually lead to a change in political regime”) has a long history as a critique of internal subversives from the Communists of Malaysia’s early years through to today. A similar internal mobilisation of the term can be seen in the Chinese phrase kǒngbù zhǔyì, “someone using violence against, or using violence to threaten, unarmed personnel in a systematic manner, with the purpose of meeting a specific political end.” As I-Ling Tseng argues, Beijing’s primary interest in the discourse of terrorism is to craft a strong pejorative link between terrorism, separatism, and extremism – the so-called ‘Three Forces’ – which it sees as clear challenge to its sovereign defence of China’s territorial integrity. In the Thai context, Chintana Sandilands notes that Kan korkanrai (“evildoers”) are portrayed as the focus on insurgency in the southern provinces, rising against the government. Across the border in Burma, terrorists are discribed Akyān hpet thamā, “a person of proficiency who embraces or throws crudeness or violence”, a phrase mobilised primarily to de-legitimise and attack internal challengers to the Burmese government by painting them as stooges to foreign neo-colonialism. Naturally, the converse perspective is held by the Shan, who use the descriptor kon luk puen (“people who revolt, rebel, or fight against the government”), not in the context of ‘freedom fighter’, but rather focusing on the practical rather than ideological aspect of a conflict.

Beyond the dynamics of terrorism, traditional power concerns continue to occupy the states of the region. Most prominent amongst these has been the perceived economic and strategic ramifications of China’s emergence as a global power, summed up in the phrase  “the rise of China.” From China’s own perspective, Zhōngguó de juéqǐ (“China’s rise/ development/ spring upwards”) is viewed with a contradictory mix of inevitability and self-consciousness. The Chinese people are taking pride in their achievement, but also acknowledge divergent international perceptions, particularly the potential for Beijing’s rising power to be seen to pose a “China Threat” to regional stability. Conversely, there is the concern, that China’s spectacular rise is built on faulty foundation that will lead to a “Collapse of China”, with negative regional implications. One state that is particularly concerned with the implications of China’s rise is Japan.  The Japanese phrases chuugoku no taitoo (“the Rise of China”) and chuugoku no kyooi (“the rise of China as a potential threat”) sum up duelling perceptions. On the one hand, China is now perceived as the number one risk both to Japan’s security, but also to its self-image as Asia’s most developed state. On the other hand it represents a vast economic market and potential opportunity for Tokyo. This sense of opportunity is even more exaggerated in some states. In Burma, for example, the “Rise of China” is seen positively by state elites as the emergence of a powerful and valuable ally capable of shielding the government from external criticism. Nonetheless, at the domestic level concerns persist about the sub-state impact of China, particularly the ramifications of Chinese immigration, Chinese support for the junta, and China’s growing economic and cultural influence in Burma.

In responding to the diversity of regional challenges, actors have adopted a range of strategies that reflect local priorities, capabilities and historical experiences. Inevitably, the central concept is frequently defence, in its various interpretations. As I-Ling Tseng attests, in China, the terms guófáng (“National defence) and fángyù (“defence”) are very much focused on external threats to sovereignty and internal threats to territorial integrity. Operationally, the emphasis remains on ‘active defence’, though in this, the boundaries with offense are somewhat blurred. Indeed, with regards to India and Vietnam in previous decades, and perhaps Taiwan in the future, there is the distinct possibility that Beijing’s idea of defence can stretch to encompass pre-emptive war. Similar principles apply at the sub-state level. According to Brian McCartan, the Shan idea of Karn Ket Kae (“action to thwart and save from harm/evil”) is an inherently reactive concept strategically. Nonetheless, it may incorporate aggressive action at the tactical level. Frequently, defence is utilized to justify the power of the existing political hierarchy. For example, the Burmese phrase for defence khuhkan kakweyēi implies benevolent actions that are primarily focused on maintaining the status quo, while often legitimating aggressive actions by the Tatmadaw as the referent and provider of security. Defence can also have a wider conception, incorporating more than external defence or internal repression.  In the Indonesian context, Ketahanan (“National resilience”) and pertahanan (“defence”) provide a joint undersanding of defence and security that unites both the internal and external. This conception has evolved over time, from external realist conceptions of security to embrace over concepts, such as human and energy security. Similarly, the Karen phrase ta daw tha deh (“Shield; umbrella material”) carries the connotation of the nation, moral and familial bonds, evoking an individual duty to those closest that extends to the nation as a whole.

Another key concept of relevance to regional security responses is that deterrence. In the context of Chinese thought, wēishè’ (“to make an opponent believe that the cost or risk of his attempted action against a target might outweigh the gains, and therefore discourage him from taking the action contemplated”) has very specific connotations of terrorising with military force. This psychological impact underscores Beijing’s attitude towards the use of nuclear weapons, but also the strategy it has taken towards Taiwan, where coercion has become a routine backdrop to attempts to coax the island into a closer political relationship with Beijing. Such militarised perceptions are not widely accepted across the region, however. For example, the Japanese term yokushi, meaning repress, push, shove; stop halt”, has particularly negative connotations, due to pejorative associations with nuclear weapons. As Amrih Widodo notes with regards to Indonesia, penangkalan (“talisman / to ward off) and penggentaran (“made afraid”) carry the connotation of deterrence, even as the military aspects of the concept are downplayed as inappropriate in the context of the ‘ASEAN Way’.

A strategy that perhaps has broader play within the region relates to the diverse uses of apology. The Chinese term Dàoqiàn (“to express or show apology, excuse, or regret, to admit mistakes or faults, to apologize”) is frequently evoked either when a country violates Beijing’s perceived national interests, or in general when the feelings of either the Chinese government or people are hurt. This need for apology once again points to the deeper historical drivers of Chinese perceptions of international relations, particularly the shame over insults inflicted by foreigners during the past two centuries. Given the significance of ‘apology’ within the region, its deployment must be carefully managed. This is the context Peter Hendriks and Sheryn Lee argue, into which the Japanese phrase ikan (“regret remains”) fits. It invokes a sense of deep regret and is used by ministers issuing war apologies, by politicians when caught in compromised circumstances, and even by China in reaction to a submarine incursion Its importance lies in its utility as a defusing mechanism, since it does not include a formal acceptance of responsibility, and allows the preservation of face on the part of all parties. This sensitivity to the wider reputational impact of apology is also present in the Thai phrase kham kho-thot (“apology / excuse”).  By invoking considerations of reputation, face, and dignity, a full apology is a serious social act. Political leaders will generally only be willing to apologise should core national institutions be threatened i.e. the nation, religion or the monarchy. As Chitana Sandilands’ contribution to the lexicon attests, this has implications for international and domestic tensions, particularly with regards to Laos and Cambodia.

A final measure that appears frequently across the lexicons pertains to confidence building. As the Chinese sub-lexicon notes, this concept originated out of European ideas in the 1970s. Nonetheless, the Chinese phrase jiànlì xìnrèn cuòshī (“Confidence building measures”) suggests a link to Beijing’s own approaches to foreign policy, in the form of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”. Building trust in China’s intentions is a priority for Beijing, given concern regarding its emerging political and military clout. As with so many other concepts, there is a tendency for confidence building to acquire a negative connotation through political manipulation. In the Burmese context, yon kyi hmu te hsauk chin (“confidence / trust building”) is perceived to be often disingenuously leveraged by the government when dealing with sub-state actors such as the National League for Democracy, as a means of stalling, and encouraging the opposition to take the steps to de-fang itself pre-emptively. Equally, it can be seen as riven with cultural divisions. In Indonesia, the term kepercayaan (“confidence / trust”) implies privacy, confidence, trust and faith. This is contrasted with Western interpretations that often emphasis transparency. As such, this cultural and attitudinal divide can exacerbate responses to crises and security cooperation.



The paper has attempted to survey the various dimensions of the intersection of language and security, with the intention of framing the research that follows from the perspective of the broader literature, the key challenges of approach and methodology that the Languages of Security Project has confronted, and the key themes within the chapters. As a consequence, it is hoped that readers will have a greater appreciation for the deep methodological currents that flow through the sub-lexicons, as well as the subtleties that animate the local and particular deployment of language in the context of regional security dynamics.

The two key dynamics through which particular understandings of security are formulated via language – concept generation and interpretation generation – lend themselves to different disciplinary approaches. While the positivist assumptions of security studies tend the discipline towards concept generation, the subjective slant of Asian studies lends itself towards a focus on interpretation generation. Reconciling these two dynamics requires a reconciliation of the underlying epistemologies of the two disciplines. We argue that this can be achieved through an inter-subjective epistemology that attempts to link general abstract conceptualisation to the particulars of concrete local usages. Such an approach is integrated into a methodology that articulates dual criteria for the selection of key terms, and argues in defence of the inherent subjectivity of the definitions crafted.

The definitions surveyed have been chosen so as to give a reader an awareness of the scope and diversity of the security terms covered in this research. It is important to state again clearly that this research does not have any aspiration towards providing a comprehensive analysis of the various intersections of language, culture and security. Rather, it seeks to lay the foundation for further debate, which it is hoped will then stimulate a broader research agenda that delves ever deeper into the cultural and linguistic subtleties of regional security dynamics.




[1] Irving J. Lee, ‘On Language and General Semantics,’ General Semantics Bulletin, No. 22-23 (1958), quoted in Kenneth G. Johnson, General Semantics: An Outline Survey (3rd Edition Revised) (Fort Worth, TX: Institute for General Semantics, 2004).

[2] Sourced from Desmond Ball, Anthony Milner & Diana Hooton (eds.), Security Discourse in the Asia Pacific Region: A Lexicon of Terms (Draft version, 4 April 2009), p.6.

[3] From a Western perspective, see Harold Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets What, When, How (New York: Meridian Publishing, 1958), Chapter Two; Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion (2nd ed.) (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992), Chapter 4.

[4] See Diane Riskedahl, ‘A Sign of War: The Strategic Use of Violent Imagery in Contemporary Lebanese Political Rhetoric’, Language and Communication, 27 (2007), pp.307-319.

[5] See for example Kristina Spohr Readman, ‘National Interests and the Power of ‘Language’: West German Diplomacy and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1972-1975’, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol.29, no.6 (December 2006), pp.1117-1119.

[6] See for example: ‘Highlights from the Language and National Security Briefing’, Foreign Language Annals, vol.35, no.2 (March/April 2002), pp.262-263.

[7] See for example: Galina Yavorska, ‘The Impact of Ideologies on the Standardization of Modern Ukrainian’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, vol.201 (2010), pp.163-197; Jose del Valle and Laura Villa, ‘Spanish in Brazil: Language Policy, Business, and Cultural Propaganda’, Language Policy 5 (2006), pp.369-392; Linda Cardinal, Anne-Andrée Denaut and Natalie Riendeau, ‘Bilingualism and the Politics of Language Planning and Policy-making in Wales’, Language Problems & Language Planning, vol.31, no.3 (2007), pp.211-234.

[8] See for example: L. Oladipo Salami, ‘’Other Tongue’ Policy and Ethnic Nationalism in Nigeria’, Language Policy 3 (2004), pp. 271-287.

[9] See for example: Tim McNamara, ‘21st Century Shibboleth: Language Tests, Identity and Intergroup Conflict’, Language Policy 4 (2005), pp. 351-370.

[10] Abiodun Goke-Pariola, ‘Language and Symbolic Power: Bourdieu and the Legacy of Euro-American Colonialism in an African Society’, Language and Communication, vol.13, no.3 (1993), pp.219-234.

[11] Robert A. Dahl, Modern Political Analysis, 4th Edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1984)

[12] Max Weber, ‘”Objectivity” in Social Science’, in Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch (trs. and eds.), Max Weber on The Methodology of the Social Sciences (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1949), p.77.

[13] See for example the critique leveled from the perspective of Political Science in Robert H. Bates, ‘Area Studies and the Discipline: A Useful Controversy?’, PS: Political Science and Politics, vol.30, no.2 (June 1997), pp.166-169.

[14] Jackson,  ‘Foregrounding Ontology’, pp.132-133

[15] Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams, ‘Broadening the Agenda of Security Studies: Politics and Methods’, Mershon International Studies Review, vol.40, no.2 (October 1996), pp.231-233.

[16] Baldwin, ‘The Concept of Security’, pp.9-10.

[17] Peter J. Katzenstein and Rudra Sil, ‘Rethinking Asian security: a case for analytical eclecticism’, in Peter J. Katzenstein, Rethinking Japanese Security: Internal and External Dimensions (New York: Routledge, 2008), p.250

[18] See Seng Tan, ‘Rescuing Constructivism from the Constructivists: A critical Reading of Constructivists in Southeast Asian Security’, The Pacific Review, vol.19, no.2, (2006), p.241.

[19] John A. Ferejohn, ‘Rationality and Interpretation: Parliamentary Elections in Early Stuart England,’ in Kristen Renwick Monroe (ed.), The Economic Approach to Politics (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p.281; Baldwin, ‘The Concept of Security’, p.8.

[20] David A. Baldwin, ‘The Concept of Security’, Review of International Studies (23), 1997, pp. 6-7

[21] Paul H. Kratoska, Remco Raben, and Henk Schulte Nordholt, ‘Locating Southeast Asia’, in Paul H. Kratoska, Remco Raben & Henk Schulte Nordholt (eds.), Locating Southeast Asia: Geographies of Knowledge and Politics of Space (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005), p.6.

[22] Frank G. Verges, ‘Rorty and the New Hermeneutics’, Philosophy, vol.62, no.241 (July 1987), p. 322.

[23] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p.46e, p.68e

[24] Max Weber, ‘”Objectivity” in Social Science’, in Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch (trs. and eds.), Max Weber on The Methodology of the Social Sciences (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1949), pp.105-106.

[25] Wendell Johnson, Your Most Enchanted Listener (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1956),

[26] Qi Xu, ‘On the Way to Knowledge: Making a Discourse at Quality’, Organization, vol.7, no.3 (2000), p.428

[27] Bates, ‘Area Studies and the Discipline’, pp.168-169

[28] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 2nd Ed. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971), p.115.

[29] Peter Winch, The Idea of a Social Science 2nd Edition (London: Routledge, 1990) p.86-88.

[30] Birgit Renzl, ‘Language as a Vehicle of Knowing: the Role of Language and Meaning in Constructing Knowledge’, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, vol.5 (2007), p.45.

[31] Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, p.404

[32] Nigel Peasants, Wittgenstein and the Idea of a Critical Social Theory: A Critique of Giddens, Habermas, and Bhaskar (London: Routledge, 1999), pp.37-38.

[33] Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, Basic Books, 1973), p.29.

[34] David Capie and Paul Evans, The Asia-Pacific Security Lexicon (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2002)

[35] Ibid, p.2

[36] Weber, ‘”Objectivity” in Social Science’, p.84.

[37] Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996), pp. 151-154