Everyday Violence in Sri Lanka

Another new article has been published at the JCA’s publisher’s website. “Acute and Everyday Violence in Sri Lanka” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1336783) is authored by Vidura Munasinghe of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Danielle Celermajer of the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Old Teachers College, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.

Both are associated with the Enhancing Human Rights Protections in Security Contexts at Sydney. The abstract for the paper states:

Police torture in Sri Lanka has been subject to extensive investigation and condemnation but remains a widespread and seemingly entrenched practice. Seeking to understand the resistance of such practices to existing interventions, this article locates the police’s use of torture within a broader geography of social violence in Sri Lanka. We discuss the findings of extensive fieldwork conducted in the north-west of Sri Lanka where we examined not only police behaviour and interactions between police and the broader community but also the social dynamics relationships more generally. One significant finding was that violence against certain types of people, including police use of torture against such people, is generally accepted, even as the police are broadly criticised in the community for their unethical and ineffective behaviour. Another significant finding was that the society is riven with social hierarchies and that patterns of domination are embedded in social, political and symbolic systems. We conclude that police torture needs to be understood against the background of broader cultural practices whereby social subjects are disciplined and policed to produce appropriate citizens and punish social boundary violations.

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Free access: Capitalism and Indonesia’s Islamic Militia

This article is currently available for free download.

Interest in the rise of Islamic movements of all kinds has attracted considerable attention. In the country with the world’s largest Islamic population, movements, militia and gangs have long had an influence on politics, from colonial times to the present.

In “Islamic Militias and Capitalist Development in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia” (DOI: 0.1080/00472336.2017.1336564), Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir of LabSosio, Sociological Research Centre, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia and the Department of Sociology, State University of Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia, traces some of this history. He seeks to present a way of looking at Islamic militia in the context of post-authoritarian and capitalist Indonesia.

His abstract states:

This article examines the emergence of Islamic militias that are often involved in political gangsterism in post-authoritarian Indonesia. It is argued that these groups are an outcome of the complex structural changes accompanying state formation in the context of capitalist development, instead of the product of a weak state or because of decentralisation of power and authority in the democratic context. Their existence is intricately related to the way the state organises institutions of coercion according to specific exigencies. In addition, these militias are an element of the rise of Islamic identity politics following the fall of Soeharto. The approach advanced here contrasts with two dominant approaches: an institutionalist approach that emphasises a lack of state capacity and the anthropology of the state approach that draws on Migdal’s state-in-society approach, which underlines the fragmentation of authority as the condition for the emergence of militias. It is shown that such groups could exist in a “weak” state and in a “strong” state, and in decentralised and centralised settings.

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Free articles by Fukuoka Prize winners

JCA’s publisher has joined in congratulating Fukuoka Prize winners Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker. The publisher has made three JCA articles by them available for free download.

The articles are:

The co-authored “Thaksin’s populism“, which appeared in Vol. 38, No. 1.

Chris Baker, “The 2014 Thai Coup and Some Roots of Authoritarianism,” from Vol. 46, No. 3.

Pasuk Phongpaichit, “Inequality, Wealth and Thailand’s Politics,” also in Vol. 46, No. 3.

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China and Nationalism

In a new article available at the publisher’s website, Qin Pang of the School of International Relations at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong, China and Nicholas Thomas of the Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong, examine some Chinese attitudes regarding nationalism and other nations.

Chinese Nationalism and Trust in East Asia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1322627) is an original contribution, based on surveys of university students.

The abstract states:

China’s rise has been accompanied by a rise in nationalism. But what are the characteristics of this nationalism now being witnessed? Does it support China’s constructive engagement with the international order, or does it seek to assert China’s supremacy? These questions lie at the hub of a rapidly expanding secondary literature on the emergence of nationalism in China and its impact on China’s foreign relations. What is, however, absent from the academic discourse is the voice of the Chinese people themselves. What are their perceptions of the nation-state, and how do these beliefs shape their views of China’s relationship with East Asia? To address this gap, we conducted a series of large-scale surveys in Beijing between 2011 and 2013 on the twinned topics of domestic nationalism and international relations. Our findings, as reported below, represent an initial attempt to answer this final and, arguably, most critical set of questions.

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JCA Authors Receive Major Award

JCA authors Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker have been awarded the Grand Prize for 2017 by the Fukuoka Prize Committee.

The award citation is available here. The brief on the award states:

Prof. Pasuk Phongpaichit and Dr. Chris Baker are the worthy recipients of the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Prize, because of their multidisciplinary and comprehensive analysis of the social changes which Thailand has experienced since the period of rapid economic growth in the 1980s, an analysis based on a combination of Western and Eastern intellectual approaches, and of methodologies from the social sciences and the humanities, which has added breadth and depth to academic research, in both subject-matter and methodology, in a fresh and distinctively Asian way; and also because of their active contributions to society.

Their most recent contributions to JCA appeared in the special issue titled “Military, Monarchy and Repression: Assessing Thailand’s Authoritarian Turn,” in Vol. 46, No. 3.

The journal’s editors heartily congratulate Pasuk and Chris on this well-deserved recognition.

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Demystifying the Park Chung-Hee Myth

In “Demystifying the Park Chung-Hee Myth: Land Reform in the Evolution of Korea’s Developmental State” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1334221), Jong-Sung You of the Australian National University’s Department of Political & Social Change, seeks to unravel some of the underpinnings of claims regarding South Korea’s developmental state.

His article is now available at the publisher’s website for those with subscriptions.

The abstract of the paper states:

The developmental state literature emphasises the importance of state autonomy and capacity, with a particular focus on a Weberian type of meritocratic bureaucracy. Existing studies of South Korea’s economic development generally credit Park Chung-hee for establishing such a state. This article questions this assessment with careful process tracing of the development of a meritocratic bureaucracy in the country. The findings suggest that the contrast between the predatory Rhee regime (1948–1960) and the developmental Park regime (1961–1979) has been exaggerated. Meritocracy in South Korea’s bureaucratic recruitment and promotion systems developed gradually over several decades, including during Rhee’s regime as well as the short democratic episode (1960–1961). What then explains the evolution of a developmental state in Korea? This article suggests that land reform contributed to not only creating social structural conditions favourable to state autonomy but also promoting the development of a meritocratic bureaucracy by propelling rapid expansion of education and by mitigating the extent of political clientelism.

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Malaysia and the Diversity of Southeast Asian Capitalisms

Diversity of Southeast Asian Capitalisms: Evolving State-Business Relations in Malaysia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1322629) is by Edmund Terence Gomez of the Department of Administrative Studies and Politics, Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and Elsa Lafaye De Micheaux of the Centre for Southeast Asia Studies (CASE), CNRS, Paris and the Department of Economics and Administrative Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Rennes 2 University in France.

This article is now available. It is the third of the articles in a special issue that honours the late Professor Lee Poh Ping. The abstract states:

Empirical gaps exist in the literature about diverse forms of capitalism. The first is thematic, involving the incomplete institutional and political account of how the state can, through a series of policies, shape the development of domestic enterprises. The second gap is regional in nature: this literature does not deal with the historical development of firms that have played a central role in industrialising Southeast Asia. One reason for this is that since most existing theories are based on Western contexts, they are theoretically ill-equipped to deal with the concepts of power and state-business nexuses when the political system is not democratic in nature. But state-business ties, where politicians in power distribute government-generated rents on a selective basis, have resulted in diverse business systems such as highly diversified conglomerates, state-owned companies and small- and medium-scale enterprises. This article deals with these theoretical and empirical gaps. To better understand the nature and implications of evolving state-business ties in Southeast Asia, this topic is examined through the lens of regulation theory. To appreciate the complexity and implications of state-business configurations on the political system and forms of enterprise development, a case study of Malaysia is provided.

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