Associate Professor Marco Buente

Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations

Telephone No: +603 5514 6261
Fax No: + 603 5514 6365
Room No: 2-6-17

QualificationsPhD (University of Muenster)M.A. (University of Muenster) 

BiographyDr. Marco Bünte is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations. He is Deputy Head of School (Research) and heading the School’s Research Strength “Social Transformation in Southeast Asia”. He is also Associate Fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, one of the most renowned Area Studies Centers in Europe.

Previously, he has taught at the Universities of Helsinki, Münster, Hamburg and Kiel. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Curtin Institute of Technology in Perth, the Indonesian Institute of Science (Lipi) in Jakarta and Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Dr. Marco Bünte is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs and serves on the editorial board of the German Journal of Asian Studies.

He holds a PHD in Political Science and a MA Degree in Politics, History and English Literature  from the University of Muenster (Germany).

Dr. Bünte has also advised government agencies and civil society groups from a wide range of countries including Australia, Cambodia, China, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and New Zealand. He regularly appears in international media, outlets have included BBC World Service, Financial Times, Deutsche Welle World.

Research InterestsMy research revolves around questions of democratization, authoritarian resilience and external factors of regime change. Specifically, I have worked on democratic governance, constitutional politics and design, decentralization, civil-society and civil-military relations. I am further interested in various topics of international relations such as human rights, sanctions, democracy promotion, transnational movements and non-traditional security issues (migration, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism, piracy). My particular area of expertise is the Asia-Pacific, especially Southeast Asia.

I am currently working on two research projects:
One is a project on Myanmar’s political liberalization, its’ causes, contours and consequences. Combining insights from the latest research on authoritarianism and democratization, the project attempts to bring light into the driving forces of Myanmar’s transition, its’ trajectory and outcome.

The second one is a research project on Southeast Asia’s evolving constitutionalism. The project looks at constitutional politics in Southeast Asia from the perspective of contestation in the distinct fields of constitutional design and human rights. It looks at the role of the military and the growing role of courts in the Southeast Asian region.


  • Bünte, Marco and Björn Dressel: Politics and Constitutions in Southeast Asia, Routledge 2017.
  • Bünte, Marco and Aurel Croissant: The crisis of democratic governance in Southeast Asia, Basingstoke: Palgrave 2010.
  • Bünte, Marco and Andreas Ufen: Democratization in Post-Suharto Indonesia, London: Routledge 2009.
  • Bünte, Marco: Regionale Autonomie in Indonesien [Regional Autonomy in Indonesia], Hamburg: Institute of Asian Studies 2003.
  • Bünte, Marco: Probleme der demokratischen Konsolidierung in Thailand [Problems of Democratic Consolidation in Thailand], Hamburg: Institute of Asian Studies 2000

Journal Articles

  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar's Protracted Transition: Arenas, Actors, and Outcomes, in: Asian Survey 56/2 (2016), 369-391.
  • Bünte, Marco and Jörn Dosch: Myanmar: Political Reforms and the Recalibration of Foreign Relations, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 34/2 (2015), 3-19.
  • Bünte, Marco: Burma's Transition from Military Rule: From Rulers to Guardians? Armed Forces&Society, 40/4(2014), 742-764
  • Bünte, Marco: Constitutional Politics in Southeast Asia: From Contestation to Constitutionalism?, in: Contemporay Southeast Asia, 1/2014, pp. 1-22 (with Björn Dressel)
  • Bünte, Marco: Piraterie in Südostasien: Organisierte Kriminalität auf See, (Piracy in Southeast Asia: Organised Crime at High Sea], Welttrends, 91, July 2013
  • Bünte, Marco, Primus inter Pares: Indonesiens globale und regionale Initiativen [Primus Inter Pares: Indonesia’s global and regional foreign policy initiatives], in: Internationale Politik, 2/2012, pp. 18-24.
  • Bünte, Marco and Aurel Croissant: Democracy in Southeast Asia – An Assessment of Practices, Problems and Prospects, in: Panorama, 1/2011, pp. 19-41.
  • Bünte, Marco: Demokratie in Südostasien auf dem Rückzug? [Demoracy in retreat in Southeast Asia?], in: The German Journal of Asian Studies, 3/2010, 40-63.
  • Bünte, Marco: Autoritäre Regime in Südostasien [Authoritarian Regimes in Southeast Asia], in: Der Bürger im Staat, 1/2010, pp. 44-52.
  • Bünte, Marco: Piraterie in Südostasien: Neuere Entwicklungen und Perspektiven [Piracy in Southeast Asia: Newest trends and developments], in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Vol. 28,No. 2, 87-99. (download: (
  • Bünte, Marco: The politics of refugees inside and outside Myanmar, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2/2009, pp. 1-6.
  • Bünte, Marco: Kampf der Giganten. Der Konflikt in Thailand ist ein Konflikt der Eliten [Conflict in Thailand: A clash of elites], in: Internationale Politik, 1/2009
  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar und die Frage der externen Intervention: Von der „responsibility to protect“ zum humanitären Dialog, [Myanmar and the question of external intervention] in: Journal of Peace and International Organization, pp. 1/2009, pp. 125-143.
  • Bünte, Marco: Dezentralisierung und Demokratie in Südostasien, in: Journal of Political Science, 1/2008, S. 25-50.
  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar: Autoritarismus im Wandel, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2/2008, pp. 75-89.
  • Bünte, Marco: Problemstaat Myanmar: Stabiles Regime, Soziale Krise und das Dilemma der internationalen Gemeinschaft, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 6/2007, 31-49
  • Bünte, Marco: Die Wiedergeburt der Demokratiebewegung in Thailand: Thaksins Populismus in der Krise, Südostasien aktuell, Nr. 5,2006, 3-11.

Book Chapters

  • Bünte, Marco: Military Guardianship in Myanmar: The Trajectory to Military Control and Recent Reforms, in: Paul Chambers and Napisa Waitoolkat (ed), Khaki Capital: The Political Economy of the Military in Southeast Asia, Copenhagen: NIAS 2017 (forthcoming)
  • Bünte, Marco: Contesting Constitutionalism: Constitutional Politics in Southeast Asia, London: Routledge, pp.3-23
  • Bünte, Marco: Human Rights in Southeast Asia: From Contestation to Compliance?, in: Marco Bünte and Björn Dressel: Politics and Constitutions in Southeast Asia, London: Routledge, pp. 163-186.  
  • Bünte, Marco: China’s rise in Southeast Asia and its effect on regional institution-building: who is leading whom? in: Howard Loewen/Anja Zorob: Regional Integration in Comparative Perspective, Heidelberg, Springer: United Nations Series on Regionalism (forthcoming)
  • Bünte, Marco: Turning Material Capabilities to Leadership: China’s Rise in Southeast Asia, in: Xiaoming Huang/Robert Patman: China and the International System: Becoming a world Power, London: Routledge, 108-125 (with Dirk Nabers)
  • Bünte, Marco: Autoritäre Regime in Südostasien [Authoritarian Regimes in Southeast Asia], in: Holger Albrecht, Rolf Frankenberger, Siegfried Frech (eds): Autoritäre Regime, Wochenschau Verlag 2011, pp. 133-156.
  • Marco Bünte: Decentralization and Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia, in: Marco Bünte/Aurel Croissant (eds.): The Crisis of Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia, Basingstoke, Palgrave 2009, pp. 131-150.
  • Bünte, Marco: Der Kampf gegen Terrorismus und Piraterie in Südostasien [The Fight against Terrorism and Piracy in Southeast Asia], in: Hanns Maull/ Martin Wagener: Ostasien in der Globalisierung, Nomos 2009.
  • Bünte, Marco and Andreas Ufen: The New Order and its legacy: Reflections on Democratization in Post-Suharto Indonesia, in: Marco Bünte/Andreas Ufen (Democratization in Post Suharto Indonesia), London: Routledge 2009, pp. 3-31.
  • Bünte, Marco: Indonesia’s protracted decentralization and its unintended consequences, in: Marco Bünte and Andreas Ufen: Democratization in Post-Suharto Indonesia, London 2009: Routledge, pp.102-123.
  • Bünte, Marco: Gewalt im Süden Thailands: Vom ethnischen zum religiösen Konflikt? [Violence in Southern Thailand: From ethnic to religious conflict?] in: F. Schulze/ H. Warnk (Hrsg.): Muslime und Nichtmuslime. Islam und Identität in Südostasien, Frankfurt: Harrassowitz, 2006,pp.161-185.
  • Bünte, Marco: „Japans Rolle in Südostasien“ [Japan and Southeast Asia], in: Mark Thompson, Verena Blechinger (eds): Politik in Japan. Frankfurt: Campus, 2006, S. 209-22.
  • Bünte, Marco: Hybride Regime in Südostasien [Hybrid Regimes in Southeast Asia], in: Hans-Joachim Lauth/Wolfgang Pickel: Demokratisierungsprozesse in Vergleichender Perspektive, Frankfurt: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2006, pp. 173-195.
  • Bünte, Marco: Country chapter „Cambodia“, in: Jochen Bellers (Hrsg.): Handwörterbuch Autoritäre und transitorischer Regime, Münster 2006: Lit-Verlag, pp.270-278.
  • Bünte, Marco: Formen und Formenwandel politischer Gewalt in Südostasien – ein Überblick“ [Political Violence in Southeast Asia: Forms, actors], in: Matthias Basedau et al (Hrsg.): Multiple Unsicherheit. Befunde aus Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika, Hamburg2005 : DUI, S. 33-57
  • Bünte, Marco: Europa und Ostasien: Partner einer multilateralen Ordnungspolitik? [Europe and East Asia: Partner in Global Governance?], in: Johannes Varwick/Wilhelm Knelangen (Hrsg.): Fragezeichen Europa, Opladen, 2004, S. 385-403.
  • Bünte, Marco: “Indonesia’s Big Bang Revisited”, in: Michael Nelson: Thai Politics, Global and Local Perspectives, Bangkok: KPI Yearbook No. 2, White Lotus 2004, pp. 283-333.
  • Bünte, Marco: Consolidating Thai Democracy, in: Michael Nelson: Thailand’s New Politics, KPI Yearbook 2001, Bangkok: White Lotus 2002, pp. 177-219.
  • Bünte, Marco: Thailands defekte Demokratie-Auf dem Weg der Stabilisierung? [Thailand’s defective Democracy – on the road to consolidation?], in: Christiane Frantz/Norbert Konegen (ed.): Entwicklungsperspektiven in Asien und Arika, Münster, Lit-Verlag, S. 263-287.

Book Reviews

  • Jürgen Rüland et al: Parliaments and Political Change, in: Internationales Asienforum, 4/2010, 347-348.
  • Duncan Mc Cargo: Tearing Apart the Land. Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand, in: Asien 112-113, 2009, 180-182.
  • Paul Handley: The King never smiles, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 1/2007, pp. 119-122.
  • Missbach, Antje: Freiheitskämpfer oder Geschäftemacher: Der Unabhängigkeitskampf der GAM, Berlin Logos, in: Südostasien aktuell, 2/2006, 81-83.
  • Aurel Croissant/Beate Martin: Between Consolidation and Crisis. Elections and Democracy in Southeast Asia, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 6/2006, S. 88-91.
  • Muno, Wolfgang: Die Reformpolitik in jungen Demokratien, Politikblockaden, Vetospieler in Argentinien, Uruguay und Thailand, Wiesbaden, in: Lateinamerika Informationen, S. 161-163.
  • Thailands Politik nach der Finanzkrise: Review of: Pasuk Pongpaichit/Chris Baker: Thaksin – the Business of Politics, Copenhagen; Duncan McCargo/ Ukrist Pathmanand: The Thaksinization in Thailand, in: Asien, 5/2005, S.90 –96.

Reports and Working Papers (Selection)

  • Bünte, Marco: The End of Myanmar's Military-Guided Electoral Authoritarianism: The 2015 Elections, Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University Hong Kong, Working Paper No. 176.
  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar’s Political Liberalization: On the Road to Democracy?, in: Asia Policy Brief, Bertelsmann-Foundation, 1/2014, www.
  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar, Bertelsmann-Foundation, Transformation-Index 2014 (forthcoming)
  • Bünte, Marco: “Myanmar: Political Economy Analysis”, Bonn: German Ministry of Economic Development Cooperation 2013 (unpublished), 25 p.
  • Bünte, Marco: Evaluation of the Country Programme Thailand, Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, Bangkok: Konrad Adenauer Foundation 2012, 75 p.(
  • Bünte, Marco: Burma’s transition to disciplined democracy: Abdication or Institutionalization of Military Rule, GIGA-Working Paper, No. 177, 2011.
  • Bünte, Marco: Myanmar: Political Economy Analysis 2011, Bonn: Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, 2012, (unpublished), 27pp.
  • Bünte, Marco and Margot Schüller: China in Southeast Asia: An Analysis of China’s Engagement in Southeast Asia and Opportunities for Trilateral Development Cooperation, Hamburg 2011, 160 pages, [unpublished, report commissioned by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development]
  • Bünte, Marco: Authoritarian Regimes: Elites, Cohesion and Stability, Hamburg 2011, unpublished Manuscript 27 pp.
  • Bünte, Marco: Burma: Political Economy Analysis, Bonn: Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, Bonn: unpublished, 2010.
  • The Big Bang Revisited – Indonesia’s Decentralization after Crisis, Working Paper, GTZ-Support for Decentralization Measures, 20 pages, Jakarta 2002.
  • Bünte, Marco: chapter “Thailand”, in: Wirtschaftshandbuch Asien-Pazifik, yearly publication since 2003.


International Grant

1) Title : The Crisis of Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia

Investigators : Aurel Croissant/ Marco Bünte

Funding (Start & End Year) : 2011

Funding Body/Organisation : Thyssen Foundation

Funding Amount : 29.800 Euro 

2) Title : China’s Rise and Regionalism

Investigators : Marco Bünte/Margot Schüller

Funding (Start & End Year) : 2010 - 2011

Funding Body/Organisation : German Ministry of Development Cooperation

Funding Amount : 107.000 Euro

Membership in Academic Editorial Committees

  • Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Co-Editor (since 2016)
  • Nottingham University Malaysia, Program External Assessor for BA International Relations (since 2016)

Member of Professional Bodies

  • German Association of Asian Studies, Speaker, Southeast Asia Group (2014 - 2019)
  • German Association of Asian Studies, Board Member (2008 - 2013)
  • Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI), Member of the Research Group (2013 - 2015)
  • American Political Science Association, Member (since 2010)
  • International Studies Association, Member (since 2010)
  • European Association of Asian Studies (EUROSEAS), Member (since 2010)

Local Presentation

  • Myanmar’s Democratization, Pechakucha Talk Monash University, 27 October 2015
  • The value of Cross-Cultural Experiences ASEM-International Seminar on Balanced Mobility (organized by the Asia-Europe Meeting and the Malaysian Ministry of Education) Kuala Lumpur, University of Malaya, Asia-Europe Institute, 25.August 2014
  • Transition towards what? Myanmar’s Democratization in Perspective Myanmar: The Road Ahead, Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, 24. June 2014

International Presentation

  • Perilious or Stabilizing? Presidentialism in Myanmar's Uncertain TransitionEuroseas 2015, European Association of Asian Studies, University of Vienna, Austria, 11-14 August 2015
  • Democracy Promotion in China's Backyard: Authoritarian Dynamics in Cambodia and BurmaISA Annual Conference Toronto 2014: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization, Toronto, Canada, 24 February to 30 March 2014
  • Myanmar’s Reforms and the Recalibration of Foreign Relations Myanmar and Great Powers University Rostock, Rostock, Germany, 11-12 November 2014
  • Constitutionalism in SEA: Patterns, Actors Outcomes Euroseas 2013 - European Association of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Lisbon, 2-5 July 2013
  • Promoting Autocracy: China’s Charm Offensive in Southeast AsiaAAS-ICAS Joint Conference, Honulu, Hawaii, 3-5 April 2011
  • China’s Charm Offensive in Southeast Asia45th Foreign Policy School: China’s Ascent: New Superpower or New Global System? Otago, Dunedin: Salmond College, New Zealand, 26 June 2010

Social Commentaries

  • With presidential vote looming, Myamar stares at unchartered waters, The Diplomat, 2 March 2016
  • The State of Myanmar’s Reforms on the Eve of the 2015 Elections,Election Dossier, Heinrich Boell Foundation, 2 November 2015
  • Der Putsch ist der letzte Schrittt (Thailand: The coup is the last step), Der Spiegel 26 May 2014
  • Visiting Fellowship, Science Po, Paris,  2016, Crises in Southeast Asia
  • Visiting Fellowship, Southeast Asian Research Centre (SEARC), University of Hong Kong 2016, Democratization in Myanmar
  • Visiting Fellowship, Curtin University, Perth, 2008, Sanctions and Myanmar