Thailand’s Orange Wave: Progressives, Conservatives, and Monarchy

Editor Kevin Hewison has an opinion piece on the aftermath of of Thailand’s 15 May election.

Thailand’s Orange Wave: Progressives, Conservatives, and Monarchy

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Parcelled State: Intra-State Crisis in Turkey

The Parcelled State: A Political and Historical Framework for the Current Intra-State Crisis in Turkey” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2205863) is a new and timely article by Ahmet Bekmen of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of Political Sciences, Istanbul University, Turkey.

The abstract for the paper states:

This article puts Turkey’s current state crisis into a historical perspective. During the transition to neo-liberalism after the hegemony crisis of the late 1970s, a critical objective for those in the high echelons of bureaucracy and ruling politicians was to ensure the security of state apparatuses. However, the policies implemented to achieve this led to fragmentation in both the state and the political spheres. Thus, during the second half of the 1990s and during the 2000s, the state became a field for open warfare between power networks that had established direct links between state apparatuses, political society, and civil society. These fragmentations – that is the parcellation of state apparatuses – triggered an intra-state crisis. Regarding the formation of the state and the political spheres in the neo-liberal era, this article shows that Turkey is a unique case in the debate on variegated forms of authoritarian statism.

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Voting in Thailand (From The Nation)

There are elections in Turkey and Thailand this week.

JCA makes two related articles available for  free download for a month. They are:

Thai Youth Liberation as a Politico-Economic Force: A Critique of Hierarchical Capitalism and the Authoritarian State by Chyatat Supachalasai

The Turkish Variety of State-Permeated Capitalism and Mutually Dependent State-Business Relations by Mustafa Yagci

Other free articles on the two countries include:

Moving Beyond European and Latin American Typologies: The Peculiarities of AKP’s Populism in Turkey by Yaprak Gürsoy

Lineages of the Authoritarian State in Thailand: Military Dictatorship, Lazy Capitalism and the Cold War Past as Post-Cold War Prologue by Jim Glassman

Introduction: Thailand and the “good coup” by Michael K. Connors and Kevin Hewison

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Vegetarianism, Meat and Modernity in India

Vegetarianism, Meat and Modernity in India is a new book by By Johan Fischer, published by Routledge. It is reviewed for JCA by editorial board member Kenneth Bo Nielsen of the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

Nielsen points out that “food matters in Indian society,” noting that “extraordinarily complex dietary rules that vary across castes, regions, and religions govern everyday social interaction.” When it is beef, “dietary preferences and food practices assume additional political significance, not least at the current conjuncture” where “mobilisation against beef eating has been used as a potent tool by groups within the broader Hindu nationalist movement that seek to forge majoritarian Hindu unity through xenophobic attacks on the country’s minorities.” The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have played a role.

All this makes Vegetarianism, Meat and Modernity in India an important book, covering the changing consumer landscape, the role of the middle classes, the role of green aesthetics, ideology, and discourses, changing cold chains, and India’s “meat modernity and its booming market for meat products.”

The reviewer observes that the book “reminds us that the ways in which people think about and relate to those things in the world that we call ‘food’ are not easily rendered intelligible through straightforward binaries, either in India or elsewhere.” The book also “offers crucial pushback against an aggressive form of Hindu nationalism that polices everyday food practices while also seeking to render particular ‘Hindu food habits’ a pre-condition for full citizenship.”

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“Projectment Economy” and China’s Market Socialist Economy

The (New) Projectment Economy as a Higher Stage of Development of the Chinese Market Socialist Economy” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2201825) is an article for the feature section on socialist China due out later this year. The article is authored by Elias Jabbour and Alexis Dantas, both of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carlos Espíndola of the Department of Geosciences, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil, and Júlio Vellozo of the School of Law, Mackenzie Presbiterian College, São Paulo, Brazil.

The abstract for the paper states:

The purpose of this article is to shed light on the reasons why Brazilian economist Ignacio Rangel’s concept of “Projectment Economy” holds great possibilities for research into China’s economic development. The article reworks the concept, offering new means of determination and validation criteria to understand Chinese socialism. Issues addressed include surmounting “Keynesian uncertainty,” “creative destruction” planning, monetary sovereignty, and the “tacit adhesion pact.” These are taken up as categories offering empirical support for the New Projectment Economy concept. The article concludes that the New Projectment Economy is a higher stage of development of the mode of production dominant in the new socio-economic formation that has emerged in China as a result of the economic reforms begun in 1978.

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Partnership to Rivalry: China and the USA

From Partnership to Rivalry: China and the USA in the Early Twenty-First Century” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336. 2023.2199760) is a new article by Walden Bello of the  Department of Sociology, Binghamton University, USA and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.

This is one of a series of articles that will appear in a feature section guest edited by Richard Westra.

The abstract for the paper is:

Two unconnected crises in the 1970s, a crisis of profitability of global capitalism and a deep crisis of political legitimacy in China, led to creation of a formidable alliance between corporate/financial-led US capital and the Chinese state that sought to resolve both crises by opening China for corporate exploitation. The solution, however, masked different objectives. Transnational corporations moved to China in search of cheap labour to counter falling profits and Beijing sought to use foreign capital to develop the Chinese economy and gain access to technology. Over time China’s interests and those of the USA diverged, as US deindustrialisation became the obverse of China’s dynamic industrialisation. Factions within the US elite began to promote a different approach towards China than that of alliance and accommodation and were able to grab the upper hand during Donald Trump’s presidency, advocating an aggressive approach towards China. This posture consolidated under the Biden administration. These developments set up a struggle for hegemony to which China and the USA bring differing advantages and disadvantages. While a hegemonic transition is one possible outcome of this conflict, the possibility of a hegemonic stalemate or hegemonic vacuum cannot be discounted.

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Issue 3 for 2023 published

Issue 3 of 2023’s volume 53 has been published. It includes and obituary, seven research articles, a commentary, and four book reviews.

The obituary is for a former editor of the Journal by current editor Kevin Hewison:

Bruce McFarlane (1936–2022)

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Tanaka and High Modernism in Japan

Taro Tsuda is with the School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. His new article for JCA is: “High Modernism and Populism in Post-War Japan: Tanaka Kakuei’s Plan for Remodelling the Japanese Archipelago” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2193820).

The abstract for the paper states:

A sweeping proposal to re-orient development from Japan’s metropolitan core to its peripheries, Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei’s 1972 “Plan to Remodel the Japanese Archipelago” was published as a bestselling book and helped propel Tanaka to the premiership. This article argues that the Plan was part of an innovative style of politics that defies a standard dichotomy of technocracy and populism in scholarship on Japanese politics. Tanaka’s plan and its genesis are informative on three levels: (i) individual biography, represented by the remarkable political figure of Tanaka; (ii) domestic politics and Japan’s trajectory of regional development; and (iii) the international environment, as it was deeply informed by global forces in the early 1970s. As an embodiment of “high modernism,” the Plan had major potential and pitfalls and shaped the fabric of Japanese life well after Tanaka’s years in office.

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Village Funds and Class Dynamics in Indonesia

Fajar Sidik

Muchtar Habibi

Fajar Sidik of the Department of Education Policy, Faculty of Science Education, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Muchtar Habibi of the Department of Management and Public Policy, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia have a new JCA article.

The article is: “A Prize for the Village Ruling Class: “Village Funds” and Class Dynamics in Rural Indonesia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2193968). The abstract for the article states:

The Village Fund in Indonesia has been praised as a breakthrough policy in eradicating rural poverty. This article, based on a study of a “best practice village” in central Java, however, reveals that the Village Fund has simply facilitated the triumph of the village ruling class. Though village political institutions have adopted good governance measures (participation, transparency, accountability, and so on), the poor remain largely powerless and are unable to gain a significant share of the Village Fund. In contrast to existing “elite capture” literature which has often highlighted local elite domination, this article moves beyond this limited view. By looking at the economic bases of the powerful actors occupying village political positions and institutions, this article shows how members of the village ruling class are primarily capitalist farmers whose power lies in land ownership and agricultural commodity production. As a result, development projects in rural areas continue to be the “prize” for the village ruling class when there is no re-organisation in the structure of land ownership and production relations in the countryside.

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China’s COVID-19 Politics

Yida Zhai is from the School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and the author of a new JCA article.

The timely article is titled: “The Politics of COVID-19: The Political Logic of China’s Zero-COVID Policy” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2194322). The abstract for the paper states:

From the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan in late 2019 until December 2022, China implemented stringent infection prevention and control measures known as the Zero-COVID policy. Western observers and some Chinese intellectuals have questioned this rigid policy, but few studies offer a comprehensive overview of the political reasonings behind it. This article positions the Zero-COVID policy in a broader historical context of the Chinese Communist Party’s regime maintenance, revolutionary legacies, and political mobilisation. It analyses the political reasonings behind this policy from three dimensions: system, actors, and approach, and provides accounts of the politics of the pandemic. The results reveal that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party was caught in a dilemma. The Zero-COVID policy is used to bolster legitimacy of the regime; however, it also set traps in which the Chinese government risked losing the public’s trust. The negative outcomes of the policy were underestimated by the Chinese leadership, which believed in its ability to balance the cost and benefit of this policy for the sake of maintenance of its rule. The politics of COVID-19 mirrors China’s authoritarian politics in general.

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