Backlash against Rohingya refugees in Malaysia during COVID-19

Event details

PSC Seminar Series

Date & time

Tuesday 09 November 2021




Dr Ruji Auethavornpipat


Maxine McArthur

Norm scholarship in International Relations (IR) tends to investigate the contestation of actors operating at the peak of governance. It therefore overlooks the perspective of ordinary citizens who are directly affected by international norms and institutions. To address such shortcomings, Dr Ruji Auethavornpipat examines backlash against Rohingya refugees among grassroots actors in Malaysia.

In this presentation, Ruji captures backlash as a distinct and radicalized form of contestation. Backlashers do not merely target the validity of specific norms. They engage in normative re-ordering with a larger goal of dismantling existing societal fabric. He seeks to advance the norm literature by making two contributions. First, he integrates insights from backlash politics into IR norm research. Second, he surveys online hate speech to capture the reality of stakeholder engagement during COVID-19.

Dr Ruji Auethavornpipat is a Research Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, the Australian National University. His research examines norm contestation and migrant protection in Southeast Asia.

Details of his activities and recent work can be found here:

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