Social Movements, Land Rights and Politics in Pakistan

The Ethics of Staying: Social Movements and Land Rights Politics in Pakistan is a book by Mubbashir A. Rizvi and published by Stanford University Press in 2019. The book is reviewed by JCA by Kenneth Bo Nielsen of the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo , Norway.

Nielsen welcomes the book, which places Pakistan at the centre of global debates on land rights and dispossession, making its a valuable contribution to discussions of land conflicts and politics in South Asia.

According to the reviewer, The Ethics of Staying is a useful, historically informed account of the Anjuman Mazarin Punjab (Punjab Tenants Association), formed in 2000 by tenants of the military farms in Punjab’s Okara district. It protested the replacement of “the century-old practice of rent-in-kind sharecropping with a cash-based land lease program…”. It was the largest mobilisation of peasants in rural Punjab since Partition.

The reviewer concludes that Rizvi’s account of a reasonably successful movement and “mobilisation for rights to land and livelihood also offers a glimmer of hope at a conjuncture where both Pakistan and India are turning increasingly authoritarian and display ever-decreasing tolerance for the rights-based claims of subaltern movements.”

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Post-Personalism in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

After Personalism: Rethinking Power Transfers in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan” (DOI: 10.1080/ 00472336.2020.1772853) is a new article by Luca Anceschi of Central & East European Studies at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

The abstract states:

What happens to elites when the personalistic leader they supported for so long suddenly dies? This article tackles comparatively transitions out of first presidencies in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, presenting an analytical framework that seeks to explain why these transitions unfolded in relatively smooth fashion. The overall stability defining power transfer processes instigated by the non-violent death of personalistic rulers in both contexts is explained here through the intersection of three key factors: the regimes’ resort to succession practices consolidated in the Soviet era, the emergence of temporary forms of collective decision-making in both transitional contexts, and the implementation of de-personalisation strategies pursuing the obliteration of specific pockets of cadres but stopping short of wider regime re-organisation. The findings of this article contribute to broader debates on the politics of de-personalisation, while putting forward a comprehensive framework to analyse transitions out of personalism in and beyond post-Soviet Eurasia.

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50 Years of JCA: Virtual Special Issues

In addition to the virtual special issue “Articles from Current and Former Editors,” as a part of the journal’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, two additional virtual special issues are now available, each with 10-15 papers from the journal over 5 decades. All of these papers are available for free download.

These virtual special issues are: Imperialism and Capitalism in Asia and Class, Capital and Labour in Asia.

These three virtual special issues remain available until the end of 2020.

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Legacies of the Cold War in Asia – free download

The introduction for the special issue on Legacies of the Cold War in Asia is now available for free download.

Legacies of the Cold War in East and Southeast Asia: An Introduction” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1758955) is authored by Eva Hansson, Kevin Hewison and Jim Glassman.

The special issue will be published as Issue 4 for 2020.

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Capital Accumulation, Industry and Politics in Malaysia

Jeff Tan of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at the Aga Khan University in London has a new article available. It is “Cycles of Accumulation and Industrial Slowdown in Malaysia: Rents, Social Forces and the Political Settlement” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1766098).

The abstract for the paper follows:

This article seeks to explain the failure of industrial upgrading in Malaysia in terms of the state’s capacity to allocate and manage rents to promote learning and accumulation, and to withdraw rents associated with political accommodation. It introduces the cycle of accumulation as a framework to examine evidence of how the allocation of rents affects the pattern of accumulation and emerging social forces. These social forces in turn influence the political settlement and subsequent allocation of rents. In contrast to a focus on elites and elite motivation, this article argues that state capacity is affected by the state’s connections with both elites and non-elite social classes and groups.

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Dodgy journals

A couple of weeks ago, The Economist had a useful article on “Bogus academia.” The article is worth reading. We trust that the newspaper agrees with us that it deserves to be reproduced here, in full:

Garbage in
How to spot dodgy academic journals
Missing back issues and speedy promised publication times are red flags

    • A vast number of dubious academic journals have launched since 2010

AS COVID-19 spreads, scientists are racing to study it. Although journals have tried to speed up peer review, many authors bypass it altogether by uploading working papers to preprint sites. Flimsy findings can then travel as fast as the virus.

Most scholars who share preprints are doing their best to make vital discoveries. However, some authors seek to pad thin résumés by publishing underwhelming, repetitive or fake research. As safeguards are relaxed, journalists and governments need to be on high alert to spot such studies.

These articles mostly appear in “predatory” journals, which make use of the popular “open-access” model—charging fees to authors, rather than to readers—to publish any old tosh for money. According to Cabells, a firm that maintains a blacklist of such journals in English, some 1,000 existed in 2010. Today there are at least 13,000.

Some scammers are careless. Mike Daube, a professor of public health, got his dog onto seven journals’ boards. Cabells uses 65 criteria to spot wilier frauds. “Severe” infractions, such as missing back issues, lead straight to blacklisting. Lesser ones, like poor spelling or offers of speedy publication, set off further investigation.

Journals’ fields offer few clues. The mix of topics is similar on Cabells’ whitelist, of 16,000 reliable journals, and its blacklist. On both, a third of titles relate to health.

Geography is more revealing. Cabells lists only a few reliable Nigerian journals, but 1,100 predatory ones. India’s figures are 300 and 4,400. Another 5,800 blacklisted titles claim to be based in Europe or North America but do not provide evidence, such as a valid address. The authors of these papers are often from developing countries, but Western academics have been caught red-handed as well. Many scholars claim to have been duped into using such journals.

The average predatory journal publishes about 50 articles a year, less than half the output of a reliable title, according to Bo-Christer Björk of the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. And 60% of papers in such journals receive no future citations, compared with 10% of those in credible ones. Still, that leaves 250,000 questionable articles per year that do get cited.

Cabells’ guidelines will only start to catch dodgy studies on covid-19 once they appear in predatory journals. But the fact that so many “scholars” use such outlets means that working papers on the disease should face extra-thorough scrutiny. ■

Source: Cabells

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Kraisak Choonhavan

Kraisak Choonhavan passed away on June 11 after a long fight with cancer. He was 72.

From the mid-1970s, Kraisak had a relationship with the Journal of Contemporary Asia, as an author, using a pseudonym, including on the special issue on Thailand in 1978 that responded to the events of 1976.

Kraisak (2007), from the Bangkok Post.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kraisak was a special friend to the journal and especially to then editor Peter Limqueco and future editor Kevin Hewison. His support for the journal went beyond comradeship, even providing the journal with a Bangkok home in some of those years. Dinners at his home in the family compound on Soi Rajakhru saw all kinds of Thai and foreign leftists collected for conversation. The military and police guards along the street seemed to get used to such events and to the later establishment of NGO shopfronts in some of the compound’s buildings.

In those days, in a haze of cigarette smoke, there were inevitably disagreements about politics, strategy and events, but always lubricated by beer and whisky and accompanied by basic and delicious Thai dishes.

Kraisak’s engagement with the institutions of Thailand’s politics deepened after he served as one of the Ban Pitsanulok advisers during his father’s term as prime minister. When Chatichai’s government was thrown out in the 1991 coup, Kraisak fled the country.

He returned and reignited his political career, becoming an elected senator in 2000. In this position he often clashed with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on free trade, investment, the murderous war on drugs, transparency and more.

These clashes became highly personalised and Kraisak came to abhor Thaksin, feeling he had derailed parliamentary democracy. This inevitably led to support for the People’s Alliance for Democracy. When that movement became deeply royalist, rightist and called on the military to seize the state, Kraisak stayed with it, adopting political positions that aligned with royalists and promoted their cause.

While this position put him at odds with the journal’s editors, his appreciation of the journal’s articles on Thailand, environment and people’s movements and his hospitality were undiminished. His commitment to the arts, environment and minorities continued until his passing.

He will be greatly missed.

While the journal will soon publish a longer obituary, in the meantime, obituaries have appeared here and here.

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Globalisation, Inequality and Institutions in Colonial Indonesia

Globalisation, Inequality and Institutions in West Sumatra and West Java, 1800–1940” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1765189) is a new, open access article by Pim de Zwart of the Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands.

The abstract for the article is:

How did globalisation affect living standards and inequality in colonies relying on exports? This question is investigated through a comparison of social and economic developments in two regions of the Dutch East Indies (colonial Indonesia): Minangkabau in West Sumatra and Priangan in West Java, looking at the period between 1800 and 1940. These two regions were remarkably similar in terms of export crops grown and factor endowments and the Dutch colonial government implemented a comparable system of forced coffee cultivation in both these areas in the nineteenth century. Outcomes in terms of levels of income and economic inequality in these areas differed markedly, mainly as a result of different indigenous property rights regarding land and the power of local elites. This article highlights the interaction between indigenous and colonial institutions and the importance of this interaction for social and economic development in an age of rising global trade.

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Issue 3 for 2020 published

Issue number 3 of Volume 50 of the journal has gone to print and is available electronically at the publisher’s site. This issue is the third of the Journal’s 50th year anniversary.

It has been available for about two weeks, but we held off announcing it as the publisher needed to correct errors in the presentation of the papers online. This hasn’t yet happened, but our presentation below is correct. Hopefully the publisher corrects this soon.

The articles in the issue are divided into a feature section and regular articles and book reviews:

Feature Section: China in Comparative Perspective

Vietnam’s and China’s Diverging Industrial Relations Systems: Cases of Path Dependency by Anita Chan

Work and Family Life among Migrant Factory Workers in China and Vietnam by Kaxton Siu and Jonathan Unger

“Land Grabbing” in an Autocracy and a Multi-Party Democracy: China and India Compared by Lynette H. Ong

Drivers of China’s Regional Infrastructure Diplomacy: The Case of the Sino-Thai Railway Project by Laurids S. Lauridsen

Other Research Articles:

Is Irrigationalism a Dominant Ideology in Securing Hydrotopia in Mekong Nation States? by David J. H. Blake

Chaebol and the Turn to Services: The Rise of a Korean Service Economy and the Dynamics of Self-Employment and Wage Work by Solee I. Shin & Lanu Kim

Comparing Brokers in India: Informal Networks and Access to Public Services in Bihar and Gujarat by Ward Berenschot & Sarthak Bagchi

Book Reviews:

The Nagasaki Peace Discourse: City Hall and the Quest for a Nuclear Free World
reviewed by Richard Tanter

China’s Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans and the End of the Chinese Miracle reviewed by Kosmas Tsokhas

China’s State Enterprises: Changing Role in a Rapidly Transforming Economy reviewed by Richard W. Carney

China’s Pathway towards Maritime Civilisation reviewed by Xiaolong Zou

Development with Global Value Chains: Upgrading and Innovation in Asia reviewed by Yvette To

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UP CIDS Publications

The University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) is a policy research unit that connects disciplines and scholars across the several units of the UP System.

The Center’s Director is JCA author Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem.

UP CIDS is mandated to encourage collaborative and rigorous research addressing issues of national significance by supporting scholars and securing funding, enabling them to produce outputs and recommendations for public policy.

Its publications are available for free download. Get them here.

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