Mathew Davies

My current research examines the intersection of regional order building, human rights and governance in Southeast Asia, paying particular regard to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). I examine Southeast Asia through the lens of socialisation, investigating how ASEAN is both a driver of, and arena for, those efforts to diffuse standards.

I am interested in the stories of rights socialisation efforts that have emerged, the success and failure of those efforts and how we can use those stories to better understand what ASEAN is. 

I am involved in a project that takes this interest and examines "the new politics of human rights in Southeast Asia”. In this project, spanning multiple articles and a single-authored manuscript, I explain both why ASEAN came to adopt human rights standards and why it has done so in the way that it has.

This project expands my focus on ASEAN to encompass the history of the regional project and the cross over between human and traditional security agendas. The work also interrogates existing accounts of how agents in institutionalised environments change their beliefs in response to normative contestation.

My teaching covers both UG and PG options, including courses on, human rights and regions, conceptual skill-building, human rights and International Relations Theory. 

I have extensive experience in designing and running professional training courses. In 2011, I led an AusAID funded course training African Diplomats as part of the Australia Awards for Africa program. In 2012 and again in 2015 I co-ran a course for DFAT graduates.  

You can follow me on twitter at and find out more about my work at


Research Interest

Human rights, socialisation, ASEAN, regionalism, norm diffusion, international relations theory.