The Nippon Foundation and Governing the Malacca Strait

Another article that is a part of the forthcoming special issue Who Governs and How? Non-State Actors and Transnational Governance in Southeast Asia, edited by Helen E. S. Nesadurai and Shaun Breslin, has been published.

Governing the Safety and Security of the Malacca Strait: The Nippon Foundation between States and Industry” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1407956) is authored by Alice D. Ba of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware.

The abstract states:

Despite long-standing sovereignty sensitivities, the Malacca and Singapore Straits have been the site of co-operative governance and regime building. Of note is the 2007 Co-operative Mechanism of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, characterised as a milestone achievement in regional co-operation towards improved safety and security in the Straits. Yet, well before the Co-operative Mechanism were also earlier instances of co-operation dating to the 1970s – specifically between the Straits’ littoral states under a tripartite framework and Japanese actors through the Malacca Strait Council. In addition to providing a template for the Co-operative Mechanism, these arrangements offer alternative models of governance and regime building that challenge conventional characterisations of “regional governance” – what it looks like, as well as its driving actors. This article considers the significance of these early efforts, with attention to the ways that the region’s developmental context bears on the actors, structures and processes of governance in Southeast Asia. Not only does this historical process of co-operation give expression to alternative governing arrangements composed of mixed actors and obligations, but an unconventional governance agent – the Nippon Foundation – has played an especially defining role in bringing actors to the table and substantiating the co-operative process.

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Islamic Capital Markets and Economic Governance

Lena Rethel is with the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Her article, “Economic Governance Beyond State and Market: Islamic Capital Markets in Southeast Asia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1404119), has just been published at the JCA website.

This article is a part of the forthcoming special issue Who Governs and How? Non-State Actors and Transnational Governance in Southeast Asia, edited by Helen E. S. Nesadurai and Shaun Breslin.

The abstract states:

Islamic finance has become an integral part of the financial systems of the Muslim-majority countries of Southeast Asia. At the same time, Southeast Asia has witnessed the emergence of new capital market governance practices and arrangements that are both multi-scalar and multi-sited. This article suggests that rather than only looking at the scale and rescaling of capital market governance in the region, more attention needs to be paid to the shifting balances between regulatory expertise, market practice and societal expectations. Indeed, for governance practices to be considered effective, they have to straddle at times competing demands of authority and legitimacy. This dynamic is nowhere as visible as in the case of Islamic finance, which explicitly involves Shariah experts, trained in Islamic law, in its governance structures. This article explores the novel forms of governance to which this new market has given rise. It argues that Islamic finance – rather than the product of privately held beliefs – has become increasingly bound up with the state apparatus. This facilitates the embedding of Islamic financial principles and ethical concerns throughout capital markets in the region. Yet, Islamic finance has also become increasingly submerged within national development and competitiveness agendas.

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Colonial and post-colonial Kolkata

JCA editor-in-chief Kevin Hewison has reviewed a new book published by Amsterdam University Press, Colonizing, Decolonizing, and Globalizing Kolkata. From a Colonial to a Post-Marxist City (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1402505).

Authored by Siddhartha Sen, the book is lavishly illustrated, unfortunately only in black and white. Sen’s work is an essentially chronological account of architecture and urban planning and design in Kolkata. It takes the reader from the period when the Nawab of Bengal granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, through its colonial experience to its current incarnation as another “globalized city.”

Sen contextualises architecture, planning and urban design in a broader political economy,
delineating the ways in which colonialism, wealth and power are reflected in and
imposed by physical forms that themselves reflect social and political control. The theoretical lens is something post-structural.

Hewison concludes that “Sen’s book is a useful contribution to the literature on Kolkata’s history, adding a perspective from architecture and planning.” He adds that a:

puzzling aspect is Sen’s avowed radicalism but an analysis that isn’t particularly radical. The author notes this “paradox” and seeks to explain it by referring to the disjuncture between Marxism as theory and Marxist-inspired government…. There’s something to this, although there’s not much that is radical in post-structural and post-colonial approaches.

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Why Indonesian Deforestation Persists and Conservation Fails

Bernice Maxton-Lee is a nearly submitted PhD student in the Department of Asian & International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. Her first academic article is published by JCA, titled “Material Realities: Why Indonesian Deforestation Persists and Conservation Fails” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1402204).

The abstract states:

Indonesia’s deforestation is a crisis of global proportions. Its causes are highly complex, spanning local social and community dynamics to national political hierarchies and global corporate politics, current and historic. Development plays a key role, with global neo-liberal imperatives leveraged, resisted and competing with myriad multi-level agendas and actors. Gramscian analysis of logics and ideology, which combine to construct a global and local “common sense,” helps to explain the mixed messages of policy and conservation, which themselves make Indonesian deforestation and its solutions so complicated. Solutions to forest destruction, presented in the form of payment for ecosystem services, multi-stakeholder initiatives, improved governance and transparency within a neo-liberal market framework, have had limited success. The reason for this limited success lies in the notion, encouraged by multilateral and development thinking, that commodification of communities and nature will also conserve forests. Drawing on fieldwork in Indonesia and the United States, this article argues that discrepancies in development and economic policy, which lead to ecologically destructive outcomes like tropical deforestation, cannot be patched up by innovative market tools. Rather, they reflect irreconcilable flaws in contemporary political economy.

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US bases and Korea

Bases That Leave: Consequences of US Base Closures and Realignments in South Korea” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1397728) is a new article at JCA’s site with our publisher.
Author Claudia J. Kim is a PhD student with the Department of Political Science at Boston University in the United States.

With the current tensions on the Korean peninsula, this article is a timely reminder of the social, environmental and economic costs associated with US bases there.

The abstract for the paper states:

Contrary to ample attention on American military base closures at home, the consequences of base closures abroad remain under-examined even as the American military continues to adjust its global force posture. South Korea, the third biggest host of US military bases overseas, is an under-investigated case despite offering useful insights applicable to other US base hosts. This article examines short-term local-level consequences of US base departures in South Korea, with a focus on environmental and redevelopment challenges that shape the political and economic fate of former base sites. Detailed analyses and interviews on the oft-overlooked fate of multiple post-military sites draw a rather unsettling picture: Most sites remain empty, temporarily deserted and heavily contaminated spaces plagued by redevelopment difficulties. When overseas American bases are closed, they leave problems behind and those problems persist long after base sites return to host communities.

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Domestic workers, migration and regulation

Governing Domestic Worker Migration in Southeast Asia: Public–Private Partnerships, Regulatory Grey Zones and the Household” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1392586) is a new article at the JCA publisher’s website.

Authored by Juanita Elias of the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, this article is a part of a special issue – Who Governs and How? Non-State Actors and Transnational Governance in Southeast Asia – edited by Helen E. S. Nesadurai and Shaun Breslin.

The abstract states:

Focussing on the example of domestic worker migration, this article seeks to explore the regulatory regimes that control the flow of migrants across Southeast Asia. Although at first glance this appears to be a deeply statist regime, the aim of this article is to complicate this picture and to look at the role that private power and authority places in shaping migration governance. The article focusses on three interrelated issues: (i) how states have increasingly come to regulate migration via partnership arrangements with private sector actors; (ii) how these partnership arrangements are emblematic of broader processes of state transformation that take shape within the complex governance practices surrounding domestic worker migration in Southeast Asia; (iii) how a focus on the micro-processes of domestic worker governance (that is, how migrant worker bodies are constructed and disciplined) also highlights the significance of private actors in this aspect of governance.

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Hewison on Civil Society

Readers may be interested in a post at New Mandala, authored by JCA editor-in-chief Kevin Hewison. The article is titled “Rethinking Southeast Asian civil society.”


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