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A Cultural Challenge to Liberal Democracy in Southeast Asia? IHS Political Science Series No. 53, February 1998

Seifert, Franz (1998) A Cultural Challenge to Liberal Democracy in Southeast Asia? IHS Political Science Series No. 53, February 1998. [Working Paper]

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    This paper pleas for adopting a differentiated perspective on the current controversy over “Asian Values” and democracy. It presents a comparative analysis of the political systems of Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and depicts these polities as structurally similar cooptative systems which are undemocratic since they keep the given power structure in place by preventing opposition parties from ever being elected. In the light of their particular context, however, a more ambivalent picture emerges. Considering the contingent set of historic, ethnic and socioeconomic circumstances at work in the evolution of these systems, their performance in safeguarding public order and in providing economic prosperity has to be recognized. While an institutional analysis of the “Asian values” discourse can demonstrate the political character of cultural definition and distinction and can likewise avoid an essentialist interpretation, a tentative discussion of the prospects for democratization with emphasis on the emerging middle-classes draws a pessimistic picture for future democratization.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Singapore; Indonesia; Malaysia.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Asia-general > East and Southeast Asia
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Institute for Advanced Studies (Vienna), Department of Political Science > IHS Political Science Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2011 15:21
    Number of Pages: 52
    Last Modified: 14 Sep 2011 15:21

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