Pigeons in Indonesia

In an unusual report on Indonesia, the NPR program on All Things Considered has a story called “The Pigeon Racers Of Indonesia.”

In the written version of this article, a paper from JCA is cited. It is “The Wheels of Misfortune: The Street and Cycles of Displacement in Surabaya, Indonesia,” by Robbie Peters, published in 2010.

To assist readers of the NPR story, the Peters article is available for free download until the end of this month.

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Public Lecture: Post-Democratic Regimes and the Businessification of the State and Civil Society

Listen to Kevin Hewison, Editor-in-chief, Journal of Contemporary Asia, speak on “Post-Democratic Regimes and the Businessification of the State and Civil Society”; Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 10 am; UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman).

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Peace Processes and Hybrid Governance in Myanmar

Ashley South‘s latest article is available at the publisher’s website. In his “Hybrid Governance” and the Politics of Legitimacy in the Myanmar Peace Process (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1387280), Ashley examines the process of accommodating existing governance arrangements in ethnic areas that often engaged the Myanmar military regimes of the past in new arrangements.

Based at the Centre for Ethnic Studies and Development, Chiang Mai University, he has completed this paper based on months and years of independent research in Myanmar.

The article abstract states:

This article examines competing claims to political legitimacy and sovereignty in Myanmar’s conflict-affected areas of “limited statehood.” In the context of ceasefires and an emerging peace process since 2012, non-state-controlled “liberated zones” and areas of mixed insurgent and government authority constitute new political spaces, where multiple state and para-state actors demonstrate governance authority, extract resources and provide services to local communities. This article explores the dynamics and implications of these developments with reference to the emerging literatures on “rebel rulers” and “hybrid governance,” and examines the practices of donors and aid agencies operating in these areas. I argue that external actors seeking to “think and work politically” should move beyond standard peace-building and development packages based on strengthening the state, and adopt more conflict and context-sensitive approaches. Effective state building should take account of governance structures and service delivery functions established by ethnic armed organisations, which although under-resourced enjoy significant political legitimacy.

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States, Governance and Palm Oil in Southeast Asia

In the first of the articles for 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 first article is by Helen Nesadurai of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. Her paper is titled “New Constellations of Social Power: States and Transnational Private Governance of Palm Oil Sustainability in Southeast Asia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1390145) and examines the important topic of the management of palm oil production in Southeast Asia.

The abstract for the article states:

This article considers whether private sustainability standards can lead to lasting change in corporate and state agricultural practices implicated in the environmental damage and social conflicts caused by oil palm cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia by examining in detail the social processes through which non-state actors engage in governance. Sceptics of private regulation point to the powerful state–business patronage networks in these countries as structural impediments to reforming this sector. Drawing on the literature on global production networks, I show how producers deeply embedded within such supportive local political economies nevertheless choose to comply with stringent global private standards to reduce risks to their global operations. It was the renewed emphasis on supply chain “traceability” to demonstrate responsible corporate behaviour to investors, buyers and consumers that served to embed globally-oriented palm oil plantation firms and their upstream suppliers into emerging ethical supply chains. Embedding occurs through three social processes – surveillance, normalising judgement and knowledge transfer. The private regulatory developments analysed in this article, though relatively recent, are supported by a diverse transnational coalition of principled and instrumental interests and have created significant openings for a new, or at least, parallel, and more progressive, private regulatory order in Malaysia and Indonesia.

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History of Ayutthaya

In a new book review, Robert H. Taylor of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute writes for JCA about A History of Ayutthaya: Siam in the Early Modern Period, by Fukuoka Prize awardees Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit.

Published by Cambridge University Press, Taylor observes that this is not only an excellent account of early modern Siam, but that the authors, as “gifted historians and translators,” provide a book that “opens new perspectives on the history not only of central mainland Southeast Asia, but the larger Asian world. The volume opens readers’ eyes to the sweep of Asian history from the late thirteenth century to the final quarter of the eighteenth century.” He says that the period “comes alive in Baker and Pasuk’s volume as in no other.”

He concludes his review:

Making sense of the past, not only the past of kings, but of institutions, Asia-wide trading patterns, religious and linguistic change and social transformation, is rarely achieved in a single volume. This and more is to be found in this book. For those who see the history of Thailand as the history of peasants and Bangkok, this book will open their eyes to another Siam, richer and more complex than ever imagined. For those who want to understand the evolution of states and societies on mainland Southeast Asia over a longer period than the myopia induced by nationalism, this book is a must.

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Now Free: Neo-liberal managerialism in Japan

Nana Okura Gagne of the Department of Japanese Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong has a new article available with JCA, available at the publisher’s website.

“Correcting Capitalism”: Changing Metrics and Meanings of Work among Japanese Employees (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1381984)  looks at how Japanese business has accommodated itself to notions of neo-liberal governance.

This article is currently available for free download.

The article’s abstract states:

What have been the processes of economic restructuring occurring inside many Japanese corporations, and what neo-liberal techniques have been used on the ground since the 2000s? By placing Japanese neo-liberalism within the broader historical and socio-cultural dynamics of the ideology of “companyism” since the end of World War II, this article analyses the specific deployment of neo-liberal techniques in the Japanese workplace, and the evolving responses by both employees and management. It argues that while profit margins and efficiency were clear targets for neo-liberal reformers, the human cost of neo-liberal economising was more difficult to calculate and triggered unforeseen frictions and tensions in the workplace. As a result, corporate reforms have been mediated by the challenges emerging from various structural reforms. This article shows how both employees and management became more self-reflexive and new permutations of neo-liberal governance have emerged, highlighting both the continuities and changes in the meaning of work under the global permeation of neo-liberalism.

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Free access to Journal of Peasant Studies

Some time ago, the Journal of Peasant Studies marked its 40th anniversary with some free articles.

A couple of months ago, celebrating a large impact factor score for 2016, it made 25  articles available for free download.

They are worth looking at.

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