Movements, mining and anti-corporate activism in Bangladesh

Contested Resource Extraction, Anti-Corporate Protests and the Politics of Movement Alliance in Bangladesh” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1506043) is a new article by M. Omar Faruque of the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Canada.

The abstract states:

Why do activist groups form alliances and why do some alliances later fall apart? This article asks these questions in the context of a popular mobilisation against resource extraction in Bangladesh. It focuses on the dynamics of a strategic alliance between a locally organised community mobilisation against a British mining company and an urban radical activist group, known for its anti-capitalist activism, to explore the subsequent collapse of the alliance and the demobilisation of one group. Based on the qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with activists and organisational documents, the article probes the underlying causes of rupture. Although several individual and organisational factors are identified, it is argued that Bangladesh’s confrontational political culture and its authoritarian party system played a critical role, with local activists vulnerable to co-optation or being silenced by powerful political actors. The article contributes to social movement scholarship by emphasising that specific political cultures can undermine efforts to build strategic alliances between diverse social movement organisations.

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State, chaebol and the privatisation of aid

Dangerous Liaisons? State-Chaebol Co-operation and the Global Privatisation of Development” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1501806) is a new article at the publisher’s website, authored by Juliette Schwak of the Institute for International Strategy, Tokyo International University, Japan.

The abstract states:

This article analyses the relationships between private and public sectors in shaping the South Korean development assistance agenda. Since 2008, subsequent Korean administrations have made development assistance a keystone of their foreign policy. Fast growing middle-income countries seem to be favourite development partners for these administrations and the parallel increase in the overseas expansion of Korean chaebol in these developing partner markets suggests that interactions between private economic interests and development assistance exigencies have been numerous. Based upon fieldwork on Korean development assistance, this article shows that Korean conglomerates are both informally and structurally included in decision-making processes as a result of the specific governance architecture inherited from the developmental state era. But recently, since its accession to the Development Assistance Committee in 2010, Korea has also been institutionalising private actors’ inclusion in official development assistance delivery mechanisms. This should be understood as part of a global agenda that has increasingly privatised development formulation and delivery. The inclusion of chaebol in official development assistance through institutional mechanisms might actually be more aligned with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development norms than the existing literature suggests.

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Thinking about the State and Party in Laos

The introduction for a collection of articles on Laos being guest edited by Simon Creak and Keith Barney (Party-State Governance and Rule in Laos) has been published. The article should be free to download in about a week.

Simon Creak

Conceptualising Party-State Governance and Rule in Laos” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1494849) is authored by the guest editors Simon Creak of the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Keith Barney of the Resources Environment and Development Group, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

The abstract states:

Keith Barney

This article develops a framework for conceptualising authoritarian governance and rule in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. After introducing the national and academic context, which go a significant way towards understanding the paucity of comparative political work on Laos, we propose an approach to studying post-socialist authoritarian and single-party rule that highlights the key political-institutional, cultural-historical and spatial-environmental sources of party-state power and authority. In adopting this approach, we seek to redirect attention to the centralising structures of rule under the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, illustrating how authoritarian institutions of the “party-state” operate in and through multiple scales, from the central to the local level. At a time when the country is garnering greater attention than at any time since the Vietnam War, we argue that this examination of critical transitions in Laos under conditions of resource-intensive development, intensifying regional and global integration, and durable one-party authoritarian rule, establishes a framework for future research on the party-state system in Laos, and for understanding and contextualising the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party regime in regional comparative perspective.

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2018 Google Scholar Metrics

A couple of weeks ago we posted on the release of Web of Science impact factors for listed journals in 2017. Last week, Google released its 2018 Scholar Metrics.

In the listing of the top 20 publications in the category Asian Studies and History, the Journal of Contemporary Asia is ranked 3rd.

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Issue 4 for 2018 published

Issue number 4 for Volume 48 (2018) of the journal has gone to print and is available electronically at the publisher’s site.

This number of the journal is a special issue. It also features one additional research article, a commentary and two book reviews.

The special issue, titled Crisis, Populism and Right-wing Politics in Asia, is edited by Priya Chacko of Adelaide University and Kanishka Jayasuriya of Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre.

This special includes the following articles:Free download

Asia’s Conservative Moment: Understanding the Rise of the Right by Priya Chacko and Kanishka Jayasuriya

The Right Turn in India: Authoritarianism, Populism and Neoliberalisation by Priya Chacko

Imagine All the People? Mobilising Islamic Populism for Right-Wing Politics in Indonesia by Vedi R. Hadiz

Authoritarian Statism and the New Right in Asia’s Conservative Democracies by Kanishka Jayasuriya

Limited Pluralism in a Liberal Democracy: Party Law and Political Incorporation in South Korea by Erik Mobrand

The Australian Right in the “Asian Century”: Inequality and Implications for Social Democracy by Carol Johnson

The additional research article is:

Creating Surplus Labour: Neo-Liberal Transformations and the Development of Relative Surplus Population in Indonesia by Muhtar Habibi and Benny Hari Juliawan

The commentary is:

Excessive Use of Deadly Force by Police in the Philippines Before Duterte by Peter Kreuzer

The book reviews are:

Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in Twenty-First Century India, reviewed by Kenneth Bo Nielsen

Citizenship in Myanmar: Ways of Being In and From Burma, reviewed by Gerry van Klinken

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Australia and Indonesia

In Australia, the relationship with Indonesia has loomed large since the days of  Indonesian National Revolution. Academic and popular accounts of the state of the relationship have regularly appeared. The most recent of these is a big book of almost 500 pages and 25 chapters.

Strangers Next Door? Indonesia and Australia in the Asian Century edited by Tim Lindsey and Dave McRae was published in 2018 by Hart Publishing. It is reviewed for JCA by Richard Robison.

Almost a Handbook, Robison says that being a big book means it covers a “vast range of topics. We can find assessments of political, economic and military relations between Australia and Indonesia and insights into specific areas of collaboration in policing, military, youth, women and justice.” This also means that  the book “can include authors from a wide range of backgrounds, spreading beyond the usual academic suspects to business people, former diplomats, lawyers, journalists and individuals from non-governmental organisations and the arts.”

As with many collections, Robison notes that the strengths of size and scope “also have costs.” He notes an “unevenness between the chapters,” that range from the descriptive to the analytical. There are several different approaches within the collection. In the end, Robison concludes:

… the different interpretations tend to overwhelm the basic proposition of the book.
It might have been better to reflect this in a title that highlights the contested nature of the issue, maybe: Strangers Next Door: How Much Does it Matter?

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Families, Caring and Filipina Migrants

In a new book review at the JCA publisher’s site, Jan-Jan Soon of the School of Economics, Finance & Banking at Universiti Utara Malaysia considers The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age.

Authored by Valerie Francisco-Menchavez and published by the University of Illinois Press in 2018, the book seeks to understand how migrants and their families reciprocate care for each other affectively when separated by thousands of kilometres.

Soon argues that the contributions made by Francisco-Menchavez are in:

developing the multi-directional care model that takes into account different forms and directions of care work, recasting how children left behind actually contribute in caring for their migrant mothers, analysing care work by incorporating the roles of extended/fictive kin and immigrant social networks, and pushing the boundaries of ethnographic research methods through her use of longitudinal multi-sited ethnography and a participatory action research approach to capture the dynamics of care work.

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