The fourth article to appear in a special issue that remembers the late Professor Lee Poh Ping is by Miao Zhang, Rajah Rasiah and John Lee Kean Yew, all of the University of Malaya. They have authored “Navigating a Highly Protected Market: China’s Chery Automobile in Malaysia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1345000).
The abstract for the paper states:
The economies of Malaysia and China have become increasingly integrated through trading and investment linkages. This article focuses on one aspect of this relationship, examining Chery, a Chinese car maker, and its internationalisation strategy and its localisation efforts in Malaysia. It does this by analysing Chery’s interaction with the host government, local partners and suppliers. Using an in-depth case study, it was found that Chery’s experience in navigating a set of complex state–society relations in Malaysia resulted from an adaptation of its business strategy to address protectionist and institutional constraints found in Malaysia. However, while relations between Chery, the local partner and government agencies have grown strongly, few interactions have evolved between Chery and local suppliers and national research and development facilities, limiting collective learning processes and production collaboration in Malaysia. The evidence also suggests that Chery’s present conundrum of low sales in the country could be solved through negotiations with the Malaysian government so as to evolve mutually beneficial partnerships with national automotive makers. The Malaysian government may also consider easing its protectionist measures to allow more foreign participation into the auto sector to stimulate growth and competitiveness.
In a new review at JCA, long-time Editorial Board member Alec Gordon reviews Jan Breman’s Mobilizing Labour for the Global Coffee Market: Profits from an Unfree Work Regime in Colonial Java, published by the Amsterdam University Press in 2015.
The book deals largely with the “mysterious” time of a century and a half of the highly profitable colonial forced coffee cultivation in the Priangan mountains of West Java from the early 18th century.
Gordon compliments Amsterdam University Press, say it has “has done a superb job in having translated from Dutch and published this big hard-backed book, wonderfully illustrated from contemporary paintings and drawings. The book is an excellent account and analysis.” He adds that the book is encyclopedic: “Practically everything about the almost unknown Dutch colonial coffee exploitation in West Java is in this book.”
Breman gives not just a chronology of this production system, “together with some data but these are placed within a coherent set of investigations that analyse this ‘system that is arbitrary, vicious and secretive’ (256) in the words of an unusual official report of 1870.”
Gordon’s only “complaint is that the book ends too soon.”
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.
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.
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.
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.