Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia  book cover
4th Edition

Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia

ISBN 9780415625326
Published December 11, 2014 by Routledge
444 Pages

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Book Description

The past two decades since the end of the Cold War have been years of remarkable change and transformation for Southeast Asia. Long seen as an arena for superpower rivalry, Southeast Asia is increasingly coming into its own by locating itself at the forefront of regional integration initiatives that involve not only the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but major external powers such as the United States, China, India, Japan, and Australia as well. At the same time, the past two decades has seen the revival of old animosities as well as the emergence of new security challenges confronting the region. Old animosities include unresolved territorial disputes, while new challenges range from regional and global financial crises, terrorism, and pandemics. Significant changes within the ten Southeast Asian countries covered in this book have also transpired that have affected not only the complexion of domestic politics, but have also impacted regional diplomacy as well, such as the creation of potentially the eleventh "Southeast Asian" country – Timor Leste.

Extensively updated and revised in light of these changes and developments, this fourth edition of Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia contains profiles of each Southeast Asian country. Following this, it provides more than 450 alphabetically arranged individual entries providing detailed accounts and analyses on major episodes and treaties, political parties and institutions, civil society movements, and regional and international organizations. Biographies of significant political leaders and personalities, both past and present, are also provided. Entries are comprehensively cross-referenced, and an index by country directs readers to all entries concerning a particular country. The Dictionary also includes an extensive bibliography that serves as a guide to further reading.

It is an essential reference tool for all scholars and students of Asian politics and international affairs, and a vital resource for journalists, diplomats, policy-makers, and others with an interest in the region.

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Joseph Chinyong Liow is Dean and Professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Joseph concurrently holds the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Brookings Institution, Washington D.C., USA. He is the author of The Politics of Indonesia-Malaysia Relations (2005) and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies (2010, with Sumit Ganguly and Andrew Schobell), Islam in Southeast Asia: Histories, Cultures, and Identities, IV Vols (2009, with Nadirsyah Hosen) and Order and Security in Southeast Asia: Essays in Memory of Michael Leifer (2005, with Ralf Emmers), all published by Routledge.


A worthy successor to the previous editions by the late Michael Leifer, this book will be indispensable for anyone interested in the sometimes byzantine politics of this complex and important region.

Duncan McCargo, University of Leeds, UK.


This 4th edition of the Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia by Joseph Liow builds impressively on previous editions by the late Michael Leifer. With hundreds of new entries and substantial revisions of the old, Liow has taken the art of dictionary writing to new heights: it continues to be a critical resource and reference work for those interested in the modern politics of Southeast Asia. Scholars of the region will also find the dictionary indispensable as they try to make sense of the events, personalities, and institutions of one of the world’s most vibrant, but not untroubled, regions.

Yuen Foong Khong, University of Oxford, UK.


Congratulations to Joseph Liow and Routledge for continuing the late Michael Leifer’s valuable contribution to Southeast Asian Studies. The updated Dictionary is a concise and excellent introduction to individual Southeast Asian countries as well as relevant regional topics. It is an important reference for all students and researchers of Southeast Asia. The Dictionary is a must have collection for all those interested in the region.

Muthiah Alagappa, Non-resident Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., USA.


The dictionary has an extensive reading list, both recommendations for general works onSoutheast Asia as well as those focused on individual countries. This dictionary might best be used in conjunction with the recent Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics, which contains more thematic entries, such as populism, patronage, perceptions of American power and oligarchy. The dictionary is recommended for all institutions with political science scholars.

Kellian Clink,  Minnesota State University, USA.


The Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia is a concise, and enlightening resource that captures the breadth and depth of the dynamics of Southeast Asian politics in modern era. It should be a valuable reading for anyone interested in the history of political history of Southeast Asian countries. It also deserves a place within the larger literature on Southeast Asian contemporary history. Readers should feel that there is much to learn.

Kai Chen, School of International Relations, Xiamen University, China