Over the past two decades, book-length analyses of politics in Southeast Asia, like those addressing other parts of the developing world, have focused closely on democratic change, election events, and institution building. But recently, democracy’s fortunes have ebbed in the region. In the Philippines, the progenitor of ‘people power’, democracy has been diminished by electoral cheating and gross human rights violations. In Thailand, though the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, scored successive electoral victories, he so committed executive abuses that he served up the pretext by which royalist elements in the military might mount a coup, one that even gained favour with the new middle class. And in Indonesia, lauded today as the region’s only democracy still standing, the government’s writ over the security forces has remained weak, with military commanders nestling in unaccountable domains, there to conduct their shadowy business dealings. Elsewhere, dominant single parties persist in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, while a military junta perpetuates its brutal control over Burma.
This volume, the first to bring together a series of country cases and comparative narratives about the recent revival of authoritarian rule in Southeast Asia, identifies the structural and voluntarist dynamics that underlie this trend and the institutional patterns that are taking shape.
This book was published as a special issue of The Pacific Review.
"[T]his is a useful volume for scholars of South East Asian politics who want to keep abreast of current developments in the region. It is especially useful for those scholars of comparative authoritarianism for whom the field's recent shift to structure and institutions is analytically unsatisfying…The chapters are empirically rich and conceptually nuanced…This makes the volume one that is important reading for scholars of contemporary South East Asian politics." - Dr Thomas B Pepinsky, South East Asia Research, Vol 18. No 4 (December 2010)
1. Low-Quality Democracy and Varied Authoritarianism: Politics in Southeast Asia Today William Case Part 1: Military Governments and Leninist Systems 2. Setting the Rules for Survival: Why the Burmese Military Regime Survives in an Age of Democratization Kyaw Ying Hlaing 3. Vietnam and the Making of Market Leninism Jonathan London Part 2: Electoral Authoritarianism 4. Malaysia: Trajectory Shift William Case IPart 3: Democratic Reversal 5. Liberalism, Authoritarianism and the Politics of Decisionism in Thailand Michael Connors PART 4: New Democracies with Authoritarian Residues 6. Elections, Repression and Authoritarian Survival in Post-Transition Indonesia and the Philippines Vince Boudreau 7. Dilemmas of Democratic Consolidation in Indonesia Jamie Seth Davidson 8. The Philippines: Predatory Regime, Growing Authoritarian Features Nathan Quimpo Part 4: Conclusions 9. Regime Types and Resilience in Thailand and Malaysia William Case