Critical Asian Studies

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 1467-2715
In September 1995 relations between the United States, Japan, and Okinawa were transformed when three U.S. servicemen brutally gang-raped a twelve-year-old schoolgirl. Okinawan feminists called public attention to the rape, but it wasn't long before the media and political leaders shifted their focus to concerns about Okinawa's colonial history and its postwar occupation by the United States. A crisis of sovereignty replaced the crisis for women and a particular girl, which gradually faded from view, as did the agenda of feminist activists. Through an examination of Okinawa's contentious identity politics, the author traces the political trajectories of Okinawa's component groups and asks why this particular crime, in a long list of crimes against Okinawans by U.S. personnel since 1945, resonates so strongly both in Okinawa and in mainland Japan. The author argues that the rape has been enlisted for its powerful symbolic capacity: Okinawa as sacrificed schoolgirl/daughter. As such it is emblematic of past, prior narratives of Okinawan victimhood, most notably the Himeyuri students in the Battle of Okinawa. Feminists' cooperation in a patriarchal language that posits Okinawa as daughter within a national Japanese family is problematic but necessary as a strategy in the fight for women's human rights.
Table of fertilizer usage and yields  
All is not well with agriculture in Southeast Asia. The productivity gains of the Green Revolution have slowed and even reversed and environmental problems and shortages of water and land are evident. At the same time changing world markets are shifting the dynamics of national agricultural economies. But from the point of view of farmers themselves, it is their season-to-season economic survival that is at stake. Bali is in some ways typical of other agricultural areas in the region, but it is also a special case because of its distinctive economic and cultural environment dominated by tourism. In this environment, farmers are doubly marginalized. At the same time the island offers them unique market opportunities for premium and organic produce. This article examines the ways in which these opportunities have been approached and describes their varying degrees of success. It focuses especially on one project that has been successful in reducing production costs by conversion to organic production, but less so in marketing its produce. It argues finally for the need for integrated studies of the entire rice production/marketing complex, especially from the bottom-up point of view of farmers.
Spatial network of the households in Bajhangi Tole. 
In Nepal, international labor migration to India and overseas, as well as internal migration to the rural Nepalese lowlands, is of high socioeconomic significance. Scholarly debates about migration in Nepal have gradually shifted from an economic to a more holistic perspective, also incorporating social dimensions. However, little evidence has been generated about internal migration to urban destinations and the potential linkages between international and internal migration. This article draws on Bourdieu's “Theory of Practice” and sees migration as a social practice. Accordingly, migration practice is regarded as a strategy social agents apply to increase or transfer capitals and ultimately secure or improve their social position. Evidence for this argument is based on a qualitative case study of rural to urban migrants in Far West Nepal conducted in July and August 2009. The study at hand addresses linkages between internal and international migration practices and provides insight about a social stratum that is often neglected in migration research: the middle class and, more precisely, government employees. The authors show that social relations are crucial for channeling internal migration to a specific destination. Furthermore, they unveil how internal migration is connected to the international labor migration of former generations. Finally, the authors examine how migration strategies adopted over generations create multi-local social networks rooted in the family's place of origin.
In September 2000 the Australian government declassified thousands of pages of documents concerning the Indonesian invasion and annexation of East Timor in 1975. Some 68,000 pages of documents were released. About 2,600 pages of diplomatic documents were withheld, along with Cabinet papers, intelligence materials, and Defence Department records. The documents cover only the period from early 1974 to mid-1976 and do not document the Indonesian war and its human costs. What they do document is the process whereby Australia acquiesced in the Indonesian annexation of East Timor. Above all, they show that secret briefings by the Indonesians kept the Australian government closely informed of Indonesian intentions and operations at every step. In the light of these secret briefings and related documents, it is clear that Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's claim that he wanted to see a "genuine act of self-determination" by the East Timorese is and always was hollow. This was a fig leaf covering his desire to see East Timor incorporated into Indonesia as West Papua had been in the 1960s. Its patina of moral responsibility and legal respectability were his alibi or, as Richard Woolcott put it in late 1974, "escape clause," if and when Indonesian actions led to accusations of Australian complicity with Jakarta. Mr. Whitlam was complicit. The record is clear.
Translators' Preface: The dialogue below is a translation of a conversation between South Korean novelist Hwang Suk-young and Vietnamese novelist Bao Ninh, who met in Seoul on 4 June 2000. Held a few days before the historic summit meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, the Hwang Suk-young/Bao Ninh meeting is probably the first such encounter between two major novelists of the Vietnam War from South Korea and Vietnam. The conversation first appeared in the South Korean weekly news journal Hangyoreh 21 on 22 June 2000. The translators would like to thank the editors of Hangyoreh 21 for their kind permission to reproduce the article here.
In Southeast Asia the Philippines holds the distinction of reporting the highest number of murdered journalists between 1992 and 2012. This record makes the Philippines closer to countries in other parts of the world characterized as “transitional” democracies. These countries enjoy near full press freedom, but their institutional setting allows the perpetrators of crimes to evade accountability. The authors of this article argue that explaining these murders as due to state repression of progressive journalists in the Philippines ignores the complexity of these killings. This article shows that journalists murdered for their occupation (classified as “motive confirmed”) did not threaten the interests of the state as state but rather the interests of local power-holders. Thus, the killings of mass media practitioners need to be understood in the context of local-level contestations over positions and resources sanctioned by the state framework, particularly following the decentralization since 1991. Preliminary data analysis of journalist deaths from 1998 to 2012 and selected case studies suggest that these killings are primarily local events, mostly in provincial towns and cities.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzð's nuclear renaissance involves downplaying risks, restarting reactors, building new ones, and exporting reactor technology and equipment. Polls in Japan indicate that the public remains overwhelmingly opposed to Abe's nuclear agenda, but in various national and local elections since late 2012 antinuclear candidates have not fared well. This article examines the disjuncture between public preferences and electoral outcomes and why is it likely that Japan will restart reactors despite widespread concerns about safety, the high costs of nuclear energy, and the lack of a site for permanent disposal of nuclear waste. The safety myth is being recalibrated, but the author argues that it remains based on rosy assumptions in a nation especially prone to massive seismic disasters. The reinstatement of nuclear energy in the 2014 national energy policy marks a victory for the nuclear village, a remarkable example of institutional resilience in the face of extremely adverse developments since the massive earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011 that precipitated three reactor meltdowns in Fukushima. Despite extensive revelations about shoddy safety practices in the nuclear industry and collusive relations between regulators and those they regulate, Abe has successfully promoted a nuclear revival that few would have thought possible before his election in 2012. Reactor restarts face a number of hurdles, but the pronuclear lobby now finds it has a policy opening. The summer of 2014 has been a nuclear-free one, but in all likelihood it will be Japan's last for decades to come.
Sambas, a regency in Indonesia's West Kalimantan Province, on the border with Sarawak (Malaysia), provides a distinctive borderlands perspective from which to evaluate the economic and social transformations that accompany Indonesian women's labor mobility. Drawing on village surveys and case studies about women's cross-border activities in Sambas, this article examines the complex intersection between women's working lives and economic sectors, including those conventionally labeled formal, informal, subsistence, and capitalist. The increasing involvement of young Indonesian Malay women in labor migration has also fostered new marital and familial patterns, which may in turn generate further shifts within the organization of cross-border work and family in the future. These changes illuminate issues of agency and precedence that arise out of local economic histories and family patterns of labor and labor migration. This analysis of both continuities and transformations in women's cross-border labor leads us to attend to women's creative engagement with the opportunities and constraints they face in reaching their personal and economic aspirations. One opportunity, this study shows, was women's proximity to an international border. This location they turned into an economic asset, one that harnessed the productive power of the border.
In Novermber 1990 Goh Chok Tong became Singapore's second prime minister since self-government was instituted in 1959, with the former leader, Lee Kuan Yew, assuming the post of senior minister in the new cabinet. Conducted with remarkable precision and order, this leadership transition has been completed under economic and social conditions that pose new challenges to the People's Action Party (PAP) objective of retaining absolute political supremacy. This has resulted in a number of significant modifications in the political process in Singapore, though it does not necessarily mean a decisive shift away from authoritarian rule. Rather, while Singapore's younger leaders have actively promoted new outlets for political participation and dissent, these have tended to take a pseudocorporatist form wherein the PAP enjoys a significant capacity to define the limits of debate. At the same time, the new leadership has tried to enforce the closure of genuine political pluralism through a series of repressive measures. The bulk of this paper is dedicated to outlining this two-pronged strategy as a way of understanding the significance of the leadership transition for the prospects of political liberalization in Singapore.
Research in many countries shows that where voters and campaign workers are motivated by material rewards, the brokerage networks delivering those rewards can be highly unstable. Brokers often exercise considerable autonomy, shifting between candidates, disobeying their directives, or stealing the cash or goods they are supposed to pass on to voters. What determines whether brokers betray their ca ndidates in such ways? This article answers this question by focusing on elections in Indonesia, where candidates construct ad-hoc “success teams” to organize brokers and mobilize voters. In proposing a model to explain broker behavior, the author proposes the division of team members into three categories: activist brokers, who support a candidate based on a political, ethnic, religious, or other commitment; clientelist brokers, who desire long-term relations with the candidate or with more senior brokers, with the goal of receiving future rewards; and opportunist brokers, who seek short-term material gains during the course of a campaign. Two problems of broker loyalty are then discussed, specifically: predation, where brokers misappropriate resources intended for voters or lower-level team members, and defection, where they desert one candidate in favor of another. Explaining the incidence of these phenomena, the author examines two key factors: the material endowments of candidates and broker evaluations of their prospects of electoral victory. Well-resourced candidates with poor prospects are most likely to experience predation, whereas less materially endowed candidates will experience defection. The article concludes by addressing the implications for studies of clientelism and brokerage.
Media coverage diverged from initial sympathy for tsunami victims and salutary coverage of the Japanese people's response and quickly turned toward a narrative of death, destruction, and nuclear threat. (Source: Office of Global Communications 2012)
Nuclear metaphors in the foreign press vacillated from "China Syndrome" meltdowns to nuclear explosions, which is sadly ironic given that the Japanese word for people exposed to the fallout from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs is "Hibakusha," literally, "explosion-affected people." (Sources: CNN 2011 [left]; 2011 [right])
The trifecta of disasters in Japan that unfolded on 11 March 2011 strains credibility: a 9.0-level earthquake (the largest ever recorded in Japan), a thousandyear tsunami that devastated a 300-kilometer stretch of coastline in northeastern Japan, and three nuclear reactors in meltdown, exposing significant portions of Japan to potentially dangerous levels of radiation. In the aftermath of these unprecedented disasters, the meaning and significance of this disaster have evolved. As Japanese government authorities and the general public alike have come to understand the nuclear disaster in more nuanced terms, retrospective evaluations now cast this crisis in its historical context and are coming to calibrate the level of significance in more consistent terms than was the case in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. This article analyzes how media and government authorities assessed the Fukushima nuclear disaster from its onset and considers how cultural frames of reference came into play, leading to selective perceptions about the nature of the accident and its presumed effects. The author discusses the nuclear disaster as a “moral panic,” as the media constructed a narrative arch that amplified perceptions of risk in often melodramatic terms, filtering information that shaped public perception and influenced the action of decision-making elites. In addition to discussing how the nuclear disaster affected Japanese domestic politics, the article addresses the impact of the nuclear disaster on international alliances and its implications for the nuclear industry.
Since the Asian economic crisis in 1997-98, the Singapore government has embraced neoliberal globalization to a degree not matched elsewhere in East or Southeast Asia. Yet the consolidation and expansion of Singapore's state companies are also integral to this strategy. These companies are increasingly the objects of critical attention from elements of international capital that are seeking to make inroads into various sectors of the Singapore economy. This includes pressures to reform governance systems from which state companies derive competitive advantages. This article examines the nature and political strength of these challenges, the responses to them by the Singapore government, and the implications of this for the future of the authoritarian regime. The article also analyzes the changing geopolitical context within which such disputes are being played out. Security concerns by the U.S. government in particular, it is argued, are mediating conflict over state companies and presenting new opportunities for the authoritarian regime to consolidate.
Arbitrated Labor Disputes in China, 1996–2012
The proletarianization of rural migrants is distinctive to contemporary China's development model, in which the state has fostered the growth of a “semi-proletariat” numbering more than 200 million to fuel labor-intensive industries and urbanization. Drawing on fieldwork in Guangdong and Sichuan provinces between 2010 and 2014, supplemented with scholarly studies and government surveys, the authors analyze the precarity and the individual and collective struggles of a new generation of rural migrant workers. They present an analysis of high and growing levels of labor conflict at a time when the previous domination of state enterprises has given way to the predominance of migrant workers as the core of an expanding industrial labor force. In particular, the authors assess the significance of the growing number of legal and extra-legal actions taken by workers within a framework that highlights the deep contradictions among labor, capital, and the Chinese state. They also discuss the impact of demographic changes and geographic shifts of population and production on the growth of working-class power in the workplace and the marketplace.
This article considers the impact of China's insertion into the global political economy on the nature of political power in China. It argues that for most of the period of the transition from socialism, state leaders attempted to protect domestic interests where possible from the perceived detrimental impacts of globalization. However, China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) marked a key shift in this strategy. Through the creation of an international coalition for reform, key state leaders used WTO entry as a tool to enforce change on reluctant domestic constituents, rather than the earlier strategy of protecting them from competition and change. While domestic reform efforts have been responsible for many of the changes to the Chinese regime, external actors and interests have also played an important role in altering the fundamentals of politics in the People's Republic of China, and in particular, changing the raison d'tre of Communist Party rule.
China's “Olympic Year” (2007–2008) was a watershed moment for the country and its ruling Chinese Communist Party. In this article, the author draws on her fieldwork experience as one of the few foreigners living in rural Tibetan regions during the Tibetan unrest in spring 2008 to consider the implications of the Olympic year from the margins of the state. Taking inspiration from recent anthropological debates about the nature of humanitarianism and sovereignty in neo-liberal and post-socialist states, the author considers the Tibetan unrest and the Sichuan earthquake that occurred just three weeks later on 12 May as particularly emblematic disastrous events linked by a new biopolitics of “charity” or “compassion” (Ch. aixin) in the context of state-led disaster relief. To get at the contested nature of morality and sovereignty in practice, the author focuses on nationally televised post-quake death rituals in which statist abstract compassion for lost Chinese citizens confronted the universalized compassion of embattled Tibetan Buddhist monastic communities.
Far right, from top to bottom: " Defend the National Culture! " Far left, from top to bottom: " Banish the Culture of Whores! " 38cm x 54cm. PB0169: 15 May 1948. (Digital image courtesy of the Ðhara Institute for Social Research, Tokyo.)  
Trash bin (far right): " Reactionary Erotic/Grotesque Culture. " Far left (beside large masculine figure): " These maggots hinder[ed] Japan's democratic culture! " Katð Etsurð, Dðmei nyþzu mangahan dai nijþ ban, 36cm x 26cm, PB0806: 20 July 1948. (Digital image courtesy of the Ðhara Institute for Social Research, Tokyo.)  
Bottom right: " Erotic Dawn; Erotic Dusk: [this is the] Cultural Nation (bunka kokka). " Bottom left: " Ashida; Yoshida — only the letters (kanji) are different. " Katð Etsurð. Dðmei nyþzu mangahan dai nijþgo ban. 36cm x 26cm. PB0812: 1 August 1948. (Digital image courtesy of the Ðhara Institute for Social Research, Tokyo.)  
Text beneath the park bench: " This here [Ashida] is my danna (husband); you're my lover! " Text between prostitute and younger man: " Just who is this whore (pan-pan yakko) jacking off. " Katð Etsurð. Dðmei nyþzu mangahan dai nijþkyþ ban. 36cm x 26cm. PB0814: 20 August 1948. (Digital image courtesy of the Ðhara Institute for Social Research, Tokyo.)  
" Come on and dance and sing the boogie woogie / The boogie is [your] husband's/patron's dance / and your husband/patron won't frown when you dance the boogie . " Katð Etsurð. Dðmei nyþzu mangahan dai nijþkyþ ban. 36cm x 26cm. PB0816: 20 August 1948. (Digital image courtesy of the Ðhara Institute for Social Research, Tokyo.)  
This essay engages the colonial legacy of postwar Japan by arguing that the political cartoons produced as part of the postwar Japanese labor movement's critique of U.S. cultural hegemony illustrate how gendered discourses underpinned, and sometimes undermined, the ideologies formally represented by visual artists and the organizations that funded them. A significant component of organized labor's propaganda rested on a corpus of visual media that depicted women as icons of Japanese national culture. Japan's most militant labor unions were propagating anti-imperialist discourses that invoked an engendered/endangered nation that accentuated the importance of union roles for men by subordinating, then eliminating, union roles for women.
This article examines political exile as a particular form of migration, with reference to Indonesians living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) when the military regime came to power in their homeland. With the rise in Jakarta of the New Order under Major-General Suharto after 1 October 1965, thousands of Indonesians in socialist and communist states abroad were effectively isolated. Faced with detention or execution if they returned home, Indonesian leftists and other dissidents who were scattered across some dozen states spanning the Sino-Soviet divide became unwilling exiles. Several thousand Indonesians were then studying in the USSR, where they were one of the largest foreign nationalities in Soviet universities and military academies. Many spent nearly half a century as exiles, struggling to survive first the vicissitudes of the cold war and then the global transformations that came with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. The most influential grouping of Indonesians who remained in the USSR after 1965 was known as the Overseas Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party. In China, a separate party leadership emerged, known as the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party. Mirroring Sino-Soviet rivalries, the Delegation urged Indonesian leftists in the USSR to join them in China. Hundreds did so. These rival factions were separated by mutual distrust until they each disbanded toward the close of the cold war. This article analyzes the changing fate of Indonesians caught in the contradictory relationship between New Order Indonesia and the USSR and in the tensions between the USSR and China as these unwilling exiles were buffeted by geopolitical transformations well beyond their influence.
Japan continues to be in the vanguard of human–robot communication and, since 2007, the state has actively promoted the virtues of a robot-dependent society and lifestyle. Nationwide surveys suggest that Japanese citizens are more comfortable sharing living and working environments with robots than with foreign caretakers and migrant workers. As their population continues to shrink and age faster than in other postindustrial nation-states, Japanese are banking on the robotics industry to reinvigorate the economy and to preserve the country's alleged ethnic homogeneity. These initiatives are paralleled by a growing support among some roboticists and politicians to confer citizenship on robots. The Japanese state has a problematic record on human rights, especially toward ethnic minorities and non-Japanese residents who have lived and worked in Japan for many generations. The possibility of robots acquiring civil status ahead of flesh-and-blood humans raises profound questions about the nature of citizenship and human rights. Already the idea of robots having evolved beyond consideration as “property” and acquiring legal status as sentient beings with “rights” is shaping developments in artificial intelligence and robotics outside of Japan, including in the United States. What does the pursuit in Japan of interdependence between humans and robots forecast about new approaches to and configurations of civil society and attendant rights there and in other technologically advanced postindustrial societies?
Kim Il Sung's death in 1994 was a critical event in modern North Korea. This article examines how the North Korean state has struggled to reinvent itself since the death event; in particular, how it has faced the challenging task of turning the country's founding hero and supreme leader into a physically absent yet spiritually omnipresent ancestral figure. The article focuses on the norms of commemoration and ideas of kinship that have emerged in the process of national bereavement, partly in relation to the existing characterization of the North Korean polity as a family or neo-Confucian state.
The triple disasters of 11 March 2011 in northeastern Japan have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and created new ones all over the Tohoku region. In Fukushima, the fear of radiation has been compounded by the perception of the state's failure to provide timely and relevant information to local residents. This lack of information has particularly affected one of the most vulnerable segments of the population, young mothers with children, forcing many to make impossible choices between supporting the economic rebuilding of their communities and protecting their children from the threat of radiation. Based on detailed ethnography and interviews conducted from just weeks after the disaster, this article discusses the ongoing struggle of women to find a place of safety and a voice of protest in the face of local and national efforts to silence their fears. The women in this area, I do not think that they really want to get organized. Especially the younger women, they do not have the background or independence that we used to. They are more timid. They need to fight harder if they want real change.—A labor organizer from Fukushima, female, late sixtiesSometimes I look up to Fukushima, all of those people pushed off their land by radiation, and especially the mothers with babies, and I think, “If this does not make them active, nothing will.” I mean, it is only so long we can keep marching down here if they do not join us.—An organizer of the protests in Tokyo, male, late twenties Critical Asian Studies
In political systems with a powerful chief executive, such as in the Philippines, an essential element in the analysis of politics is a clear understanding of the impact of presidential politics. Two analytical theories have tried to understand this phenomenon: (1) a voluntarist, actor-centered, presidential-style approach, and (2) a structuralist, patronage-based approach. This article shows that neither approach provides a satisfactory account of the country's presidency. A more useful approach, the author argues, is the relational one developed by U.S. political scientist Stephen Skowronek to analyze the presidency in the United States. Skowronek studies whether presidents attempt to govern in accordance with, or in opposition to, an existing presidential regime—a prevailing set of ideas, interests, and institutional arrangements. This approach allows for the assessment of the choices presidents make within structural constraints while differentiating the performance of presidents from their role as patron-in-chief. In order to apply this theory to the Philippine presidency, however, it must be modified to take into account campaign narratives, strategic groups, and institutional instability. Post- Marcos presidents, the author concludes, can best be evaluated based on how close their association was, or is, with the dominant reformist regime, which employs a narrative of good governance and democratization.
Taiwan has dramatically improved its response to domestic violence within the last fifteen years, becoming the first East Asian country to pass major legislation criminalizing domestic violence. Ethnographic research on the origins, development, and operations of the domestic violence prevention movement shows how individuals from diverse backgrounds acted collectively to achieve this social reversal. Activists have profited from feminist social networks, the growing economic and political power of women, domestic violence models from other countries, a unified vision of creating new legislation, and an atmosphere open to change. Their efforts were catalyzed by three widely publicized cases regarding violence against women and culminated in the passage of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Act in 1998. The domestic violence prevention movement in Taiwan provides a valuable case study of social change and a model for other East Asian countries interested in passing similar legislation.
This article examines a confrontation at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 between the Tokugawa shogunate and the domain of Satsuma. The confrontation was provoked by the latter, which used its control over the Ryukyu Islands, the services of a minor Franco-Belgian nobleman, and the opportunity of the international exhibition to demonstrate its independence from and equality to the shogunate. The episode was incidental to the collapse of the Tokugawa state later that year, but is a useful microcosm through which to understand the relationship between domestic considerations and international relations in the constitution of the modern state. Most accounts of modern Japan tend to be premised on the normative status of the latter, both as a natural container within which the early modern elements of the archipelago could be alchemized and as a soon-to-be sovereign actor on the international stage. This article argues, however, that this assumption is problematic. By the 1860s the order was clearly inadequate to the demands of the international system. The Meiji state, however, remained vulnerable to these, in ways the events in Paris suggest. The shogunate's difficulties underline the effort necessary to create the appearance of sovereignty, but also the extent to which its assertion and recognition is subject less to professed norms of equality and independence than the consequences of interest, industry, and empire. As such, it becomes clear that sovereignty can disrupt as much as it can clarify, undermining the order it seems to promise.
This article reads the text of the pembelaan (defense speech) written by Ida Irianti, a female union leader, to reflect on the twin issues of factory employment and female workers' activism during the authoritarian regime in Indonesia in the 1980s. The pembelaan describes the factual conditions of workers toiling under the regime's antilabor policy of exclusionary corporatism and reveals how the Indonesian working class embodies the narrative of class in their demands for social justice. More than just a conventional pembelaan—a document used for legal defense purposes in criminal courts—Ida Irianti's pembelaan stands apart as a fine example of working-class literature in the context of the rapid industrialization Indonesia was then experiencing. Thus the document is comparable to other forms of writing by women workers in East Asia that were produced under repressive authoritarian regimes. Based on this reading, this article suggests the importance of Ida Irianti's pembelaan as a social reference, with its micro-level perspective helping to deepen our understanding of Indonesian labor politics during the 1980s.
Peter Gowan's brilliant analysis of U.S. primacy provokes this discussion on the role of the Third World since the 1940s. One cannot think of the cold war epoch without the constant pressure from the Third World on the two major camps, and one cannot conceive of the post-cold war alignment by sections of the Third World without a class assessment of the regimes and programs in the darker nations. This essay attempts to supplement Gowan's framework with the addition of the Third World, at the same time as it offers a synoptic study of India's relationship with the United States as an example.
The South Asian security landscape is increasingly dominated by a complex four-way dynamic between India, Pakistan, China, and the United States. The stresses and strains of the relationships between these states directly affect the prospects for peace and prosperity for almost half of humanity. This article describes some of the military contours of this landscape, with a focus on strategic postures, weapon acquisitions, and the role of nuclear weapons. It maps the India–Pakistan arms race over the past decade, the economic constraints on the two states, the role of China and the United States as weapons suppliers, and the risk and consequences for nuclear war. The authors then look at India's relationship with China, which is marked by both cooperation and competition, and the rise of China as a close military, political, and economic ally of Pakistan. While the United States has had long-standing cooperative relationships with both India and Pakistan, these relationships have been undergoing major shifts over the last two decades. U.S. concerns about China's increasing military and economic power have also intensified over this period as well. Of particular significance has been the effort to create a U.S.–India strategic partnership to balance and contain a rising China, which may become a central feature of the emerging global order. This article also offers a brief overview of what is publicly known about the nuclear arsenals of the four countries, ongoing production of weapons-usable fissile materials in Pakistan and India, as well as the race to build longer-range missiles.
Vietnam's economic reforms have generated much praise for the country's rapid “opening” of its markets, as if the Vietnamese nation had previously existed in a state of isolation, closed to broader global influences and exchanges. Such discourses overlook the importance of transnational circulations of people, goods, technologies, and expertise during the socialist era that were vital to Vietnam's postwar national reconstruction and continue to play a role in post-socialist economic transformation today. This article traces the socialist pathways of labor migration between Vietnam and the former Soviet Bloc (specifically, East Germany) in the 1980s, mobilities that are generally absent in studies of contemporary export labor industries. Based on multi-sited ethnographic and archival research, the author follows Vietnamese workers first to the East German factories where they labored as “contract workers,” and then through their subsequent return and reintegration into Vietnamese society after the collapse of the Soviet Union. These mobilities bespeak of an alternative history and formation of diasporic communities that are little acknowledged or addressed in literature on labor migrations, and yet are important to understanding emerging forms of stratification today in Vietnam. Moreover, an analysis of early non-capitalist experiences with overseas labor regimes in the 1980s provides insights into contemporary Vietnamese governance practices that promote—rather uncritically, similar to other “emerging countries” —export labor as a nation-building strategy to reduce endemic poverty and develop a late socialist country.
This article examines issues of migrancy and socioeconomic disadvantage in present-day China with references to two cases involving the celebritization of migrant beggars and buskers. The first concerns Cheng Guorong, a 34-year-old vagrant beggar with mental health issues who became an international fashion icon known as “Brother Sharp” in 2010 after an amateur photographer posted candid photographs of him walking down a street on an internet forum. The second case involves two migrant buskers in Beijing who performed to an audience of around 1 billion viewers worldwide on China Central Television Station's annual Spring Festival Gala in 2011, after a friend posted a mobile phone video clip of them singing on his microblog. These cases show how the mediated contexts provided by the World Wide Web, combined with the corollary growth of a young digital-technology–savvy population, are generating new entertainment-orientated communities and celeb-rity-making practices in China. It also shows how these seemingly apolitical entertainment practices are refashioning public debates about the politics of prosperity and equality.
Cleavages and Approximate Party Positioning (with 1999 Seat Shares) 
Political blocs and cleavages do not emerge and endure unless political parties construct and cultivate them. When Indonesia democratized in the late 1990s, it appeared that party competition would be characterized by two primary cleavages that had been incubated under Suharto's “New Order”: a regime cleavage pitting reformist opponents of the fallen dictatorship against its holdovers, and a religious cleavage distinguishing parties by their views on the proper political role for Islam. Some fifteen years after Suharto's departure, neither a reformist nor a religious bloc exists in Indonesian politics. This is not because reformist and religious themes lack resonance among voters, but because party elites have effectively abandoned cleavage politics by promiscuously sharing power in an all-encompassing party cartel. Party leaders have behaved as if they are more accountable to each other than to their presumptive support blocs, leaving reformist and religious social forces without reliable party champions in national politics. This article traces the origins of Indonesia's “accountability deficit” to the elite deal making that accompanied the formation of the country's first democratic governing coalitions in 1999 and 2001. By promiscuously sharing power across cleavage lines, party leaders fostered voter de-alignment in the 2004 and 2009 elections. This de-alignment has left Indonesian democracy vulnerable to the highly unpredictable politics of individuals rather than the more predictable politics of institutions as the 2014 elections approach, ominously opening the door to populist and anti-system challengers striving to rebuild the political blocs that party elites have recently unbuilt.
Desiring to “engender” the written history of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the movements it led or initiated, the author looks at the first generation of middle-class women who became communists in colonial Bengal in the period 1939 to 1948. Judging that much of the available printed and archival source material inadequately describes the role of women in the CPI, the author interviewed many of the surviving women CPI recruits and studied their printed memoirs. She examines in particular two organizations that were established in the late 1930s and early 1940s, namely, the Chhatri Sangha (Girl Students' Association) and the Mahila Atma Raksha Samity (Women's Self-Defense Association). The author contends that the recruiting and mobilizing strategies of the CPI—while focused primarily on class—also had important consequences for gender relations: many middle-class women found themselves transgressing the narrowly constructed norms of propriety and mixing with women of lower classes and working in public spaces together with men in ways the existing nationalist feminisms/nationalist conceptions of women's public activism had not made available. The author concludes that these revelations show the need to rethink stereotypes about the communist women, stereotypes built from the experiences of new generations of feminists in the 1960s and 1970s, but which seem not to have been as rigidly created or enforced in the 1940s as they were later on.
Thailand's monastic politics are in turmoil. No longer can the sangha be written off as a political force and viewed simply as a fount of legitimacy for the nation and the monarchy. The role played by a few hundred pro-Thaksin “redshirt” monks in the March to May 2010 mass demonstrations testified to growing unease within the rank-and-file monkhood, which is drawn from the same regions and segments of society as the redshirt movement more generally. But beyond these overt displays of dissatisfaction, the sangha faces a range of serious challenges. While long-standing tensions between the rival Thammayut and Mahanikai orders have apparently declined, a dearth of moral and administrative leadership has paralyzed the Thai monkhood and rendered it seemingly incapable of reforming itself. Competing power groups linked to secular politics are vying for influence within the Supreme Sangha Council, while there is no widely supported successor ready to replace the current supreme patriarch, himself nearly a hundred years old. In many respects, the political paralysis of the monkhood mirrors the wider crisis confronting the body politic of the Thai nation itself.
This article examines the reputational management strategies of national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in peace-building work in Sri Lanka between 2006 and 2007, a transitional period when the cease-fire was unraveling and the NGO sector was facing a “crisis of legitimacy.” It traces the structural and proximate causes of the crisis and analyzes some of the ways in which NGOs were able to counteract the negative impacts that this criticism had on their legitimacy. This analysis challenges the mainstream view of NGO legitimacy as stable, unidimensional, and capacity-based by emphasizing the contested, highly politicized, and politically symbolic nature of NGO legitimacy in the Sri Lankan context. It also highlights the way in which national NGOs reframed and adapted peace-building agendas of international actors, challenging the popular view that liberal peace building functions hegemonically and that NGOs are compelled to follow the strategies of their international funders.
The global value chain concept has become one of the most influential frameworks used in the study of globalization. The paradigm, however, is deficient in explicating the exploitative nature of global value chain governance. Based on a study of soccer ball production in China and Pakistan, this article analyzes global production from three perspectives: the role of the state in shaping the host countries' mode of production and legal framework, the issue of how surplus value is created and distributed, and the use of child labor or prison labor to remain competitive in the chain. The article shows, in the case of Pakistan, how a country using a lower-labor-costs strategy to retain a place in a global value chain allows its workers to be exploited and pauperizes its people.
This article links motorbike use with the work and living conditions of young migrant women in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to highlight an example of the social and economic consequences of migration-assisted economic development in Southeast Asia. It traces a woman's life from her teenage years in the market of a small seaside town in Vietnam to her purchase of a motorbike, migration to HCMC, move into a rooming house, and work in a major department store as a cosmetics saleswoman. The reflections on urban life by the woman and her roommates lead the author to consider the notion that the condition of the unregistered and temporary migrant is like that of the unrequited wandering ghosts (co hon), which are said to invisibly roam the city's streets. While the author details the political economy of marginalization that situates the migrant saleswoman, he also shows how she struggles within it to constitute herself over time rather than in the present and to free herself from abstraction-producing social categories, both old and new.
When Asia was conceptualized as Europe's “other,” it was also cast as a temporally delimited concept: once capitalist modernity—assumed to operate evenly across the globe by conservatives, liberals, and the left—spread to eastern Eurasia, the differences between two unequal halves of the continent were expected to evaporate. The persistence of differences long after “Asia” was incorporated into the capitalist world-economy has led to a cartographic definition of the continent. Such definitions do not allow for historical processes that reshape relations between peoples, forging new links and severing old ones. This article traces the changing imaginaries of Asia historically. Since there are no indigenous conceptions of the continent, the author argues that the changing imaginaries of Asia are linked to wider geopolitical processes. When eastern Eurasia was subordinated to the drives of the capitalist world-economy, existing linkages were severed and territories were linked to, or through, colonial metropoles. After a brief period of autarkic development after decolonization, states along the Pacific coasts were increasingly integrated through production and procurement networks leading to a new imaginary of Asia. Since the end of the cold war and the emergence of independent states with large hydrocarbon resources in Central Asia, countries that were once excluded from cold war imaginaries of Asia—as well as India—are being integrated through newer imaginaries that reflect the greater prominence of China and India today as well as the rise of Islamic militancy and new ethnic conflicts.
Considered by many as the founding moment of Muslim separatism in Mindanao, the Jabidah massacre, which took place on Corregidor Island, involved the killing of Muslim trainees who were being prepared by the Philippine military in 1967 and 1968 to infiltrate and sabotage neighboring Sabah. This article analyzes the ways by which memories of this iconic event have in the past four decades been recorded, remembered, mythicized, appropriated, or simply consumed for their own purposes by political elites, civil society actors, and ordinary people in the Philippines. Our angle of vision is directed toward what we term “contentious vectors” —news media, novels, films, and blogs—to analyze the processes by which memories are recast. The ways by which the Jabidah massacre is remembered and appropriated reflect the contestations between civil society and the government in the Philippines, as well as the intense rivalry among the political elites both within and between the Christian-elite–dominated Filipino polity and Muslim communities. The struggle to influence the shape of memories of Jabidah is part and parcel of an ongoing struggle to create competing nations-of-intent amidst the persistent tensions between the state and its dissenters.
The study of migration in the countryside, particularly in Southeast Asian developing countries, has been heavily focused on one-way out-migration of people with smallholder farming backgrounds to work in cities or even abroad. Recently, however, with improvements in infrastructure that allow intensified flows of commodities and information, as well as enhanced personal mobility, rural migration processes have become increasingly complex and dynamic. A particularly intriguing phenomenon is the migration of urban middle-class residents away from the city. Such newcomers bring with them different lifestyles, values, and expectations about the countryside, both in terms of its landscape and its social relations. This article will explore an example in the peri-urban zone around Chiang Mai, Thailand. The author argues that the arrival of newcomers in rural settings has created a new set of class relations, rooted more in culture than in relations of production. This argument is illustrated through an analysis of everyday encounters based on ethnographic observations in a village where the author lived from 2007 to 2009.
Top-cited authors
Ben Kiernan
  • Yale University
Jagannath Adhikari
Merlyna Lim
  • Carleton University
Edward Aspinall
  • Australian National University
Leela Fernandes