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Back to Old Habits : Isolationism or the Self-Preservation of Burma’s Military Regime

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ISBN: 9782956447061 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.498 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Abstract

This book argues that the Burmese military regime has always favoured an isolationist-type policy that finds its grassroots in Ne Win’s autarchic and xenophobic era as well as in Burma’s royal traditions, but without being completely cut off from the outside world. This policy approach is well suited to the Burmese authoritarian state which boasts an important strategic position in the region. In the past decade, the politics of “isolationism without isolation” has been skilfully developed by Burma’s military elite in order to preserve itself from both internal and external threats. Since the Depayin crackdown in May 2003, every step the Burmese junta has taken indicates that it has been consciously defining both its foreign policy and its internal political agenda according to these isolationist tendencies, as the recent fallbacks that followed the “Saffron Revolution” (September 2007) and the Cyclone Nargis (May 2008) illustrate. Not only does the military regime tend to strategically withdraw itself from the regional scene, by choosing only a few but crucial diplomatic and commercial partners like China, India, Singapore, Russia or Thailand, but it also gradually isolates itself from the rest of the Burmese society, by opting for a strategic and nationalist entrenchment which was perfectly highlighted by the purge of the pragmatic Military Intelligence Services (2004), the transfer of the capital to Naypyidaw (2005) and the strict control over the transitional process initiated by its own “Road Map towards a disciplined democracy” and undisrupted by the recent crises.

Keywords

democracy --- freedom --- Civil Society --- army --- junta --- autarchy

Vietnam: One-Party State and the Mimicry of the Civil Society

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ISBN: 9782355960161 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.1026 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Are the issues of civil society, “good governance”, and the role of NGOs in Vietnam part of a discursive discourse that is linked to a growing development industry in which development studies and economics dominate? Kleinen questions these issues based upon longitudinal research in Vietnam since the early 1990s. In this study, an effort is made to explain the concrete interactions between authorities of the Vietnamese one-party state and its citizens by introducing an attitude of participants to conceal their real intentions with the intent to disguise their actions in order to obtain benefits for their own. Using the concept of mimicry the author tries to grasp what it means to live in a society where political and economic life is dominated by elite groups and were social change is coming from different directions. Two case studies are presented here: one in which local stakeholders of home stay tourism achieve their goals to develop an acceptable form of co-habitation with ethnic minorities without questioning the state. Another case study focuses upon the rapid urbanization of the periphery of Hanoi where land grabbing and private economic gains of outsiders are at loggerheads with local experiences and perceptions of state-village relationships. The question remains what it means for Vietnam's modernization and the prospects of a civil society.

Keywords

media --- politics --- Civil Society --- Press --- governance --- rights --- development --- ngo --- freedoms

The Politics of Silence : Myanmar NGOs' Ethnic, Religious and Political Agenda

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ISBN: 9782355960055 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.868 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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The political regime in Myanmar used to be a seemingly monopolistic structure where power was exclusively in the Army’s hands. A marginal external influence was exercised by businessmen with close ties to the regime while the country is also exposed to the influence of powerful regional states. Since the General Elections in November 2010, the establishment of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar with a parliamentary democracy (which remains under some control of the Army, but with notable civilian representation) is the most noticeable change in Myanmar politics for decades as it may shift the state away from the Army monopoly, although concrete changes remain to be demonstrated.

Negotiating Women’s Veiling : Politics & Sexuality in Contemporary Indonesia

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ISBN: 9782355960109 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.981 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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This study will focus on the Indonesian jilbab, an ubiquitous piece of cloth that covers the hair and neck of women tightly, leaving no skin unconcealed. Achievement and role of jilbab after the authoritarian regime of Soeharto in 1998 is hardly known. The author examines women perception but also the Sharia Ordinances and the narratives of censorship. Voices of both women and sexual minorities (transgenders, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and queers) finally demonstrate awareness of the politics of representation in contemporary Indonesia, highlighting the links between religion, politics and identity.

Keywords

politics --- gender --- democracy --- sexuality --- Civil Society --- Women --- rights --- Indonesia --- freedoms

Health Care and Government Policy

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ISBN: 9791036534553 DOI: 10.4000/books.cidehus.8271 Language: English
Publisher: Publicações do Cidehus
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:27
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Government policy refers primarily to the actions planned and implemented by the executive branch of a state to meet its society’s needs. One of the most demanding areas both for policy makers and in terms of people’s expectations is health, which social analysts and historians place among the most dynamic sectors over the last century. This is the focus of this book. It includes examinations of two of the most pressing issues facing national healthcare services today – ‘Health systems at the stage of complexity: the need for collaborative intelligence’ by Constantino Sakellarides et al. and ‘Longer and better lives: the European fountain of youth’ by Patrice Bourdelais – alongside historical analyses covering both earlier periods – ‘Not just one countryside: life chances in pre-industrial Sweden’ by Jan Sundin and ‘Health care and poor relief in Portugal: an historical perspective’ by Laurinda Abreu – and more recent times – ‘The roots of the health reform in Spain’ by Enrique Perdiguero-Gil e Josep M. Comelles. As the authors in this volume show in detail, population growth and increased quality of life have been among the greatest achievements of the second half of the twentieth century, but they should not be taken for granted. The fragility of these gains has been demonstrated statistically. The state has to invest in the public policies that best protect its citizens, particularly at times of low economic growth such as we are now experiencing, and take preventive action to preclude major social and economic costs. Civil society plays no less important a role in protecting the greater good of social cohesion. In short, both state and civil society need to consider future health policy in such a way as to overcome the inefficiencies of the past and make full use of the opportunities offered by science and technology to improve people’s quality of life.

State and Media in Thailand During Political Transition : Proceedings of the Symposium organized by the French Embassy, the German Embassy, the National Press Council of Thailand and Irasec at the Thai Journalist Association Building on May 2007, 23rd

Authors: ---
ISBN: 9782956447016 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.354 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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The emergence of public opinion in Thailand through media was a sign of the development of modernity in the Kingdom. Growing influence of the public opinion raised a double question to local authorities: Media tended to spread western concepts, such as “democracy” or “freedom”; which could be integrated to the local traditions; they could also set the bases of a modern state. By law or ownership concentration authorities have regularly attempted to grip on independent media. Nowadays debates on press freedom in Thailand are a new development of this long lasting antagonism. On the initiative of the French and German Embassies in Thailand, Irasec with the National Press Council of Thailand organized on May 23rd, 2007 a seminar on the relationship between State and Media in Thailand at the Thai Journalist Association. This seminar occurred at a very specific time in Thai modern politics. Since the beginning of the political crisis late 2005 and especially after the Coup d'Etat on September 2006, Thailand has committed to a long process of reforms and political reconstruction which is supposed to be followed by the approval of a new constitution by referendum. This should be the 18th Constitution since the founding of the modern State in 1932. However interrogations and worries remain over the whole process. During this political transition the role of media is particularly sensitive. The current situation in Thailand emphasizes concerns for press freedom. State censorship, self-censorship, media ownerships and ethics are of highest interest and worriment, and widely discussed in the frame of the Constitution drafting. Despite a high degree of freedom, notably in print media - a more worrisome situation is looming regarding radios, TV and especially internet, uncertainty and retrograde reforms could further damage the reliability of Thai media.

Buddhism and Politics in Thailand

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ISBN: 9782355960468 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.2951 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Despite the often-repeated assertion that Buddhism and politics are, or at least must be, separate matters, Buddhism has been closely intertwined with politics one way or another since the Buddha’s time. In Thailand, Buddhism has been used since the end of the 19th century as a tool to legitimate state power. In the following decades, it has been progressively centralized under a national hierarchy, which is still existing today. This scheme was not altered after the change of the country’s political framework in 1932 and political tensions with the sangha came to the fore during the political troubles of the 1970s. The emergence of an increasing political divide in Thailand since the mid-2000s, around two broad groups which have been dubbed the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts, has engulfed the monastic community, leading to a growing activism by some Buddhist groups, some temples and some monks. Numerous monks mingled with Red Shirts demonstrators in April-May 2010, and some were on the front-line when the military gave the assault on the Red Shirts’ camp in downtown Bangkok. In the most recent years, these tensions have coalesced around the controversial Dhammakaya temple and have impacted the choice of the leader of the Thai monastic community. Although, tensions within the sangha are nothing new, they have weakened the ability of Buddhism – one of the national pillars of the Thai national ideology – to be a focal point as the country is going through a difficult transition with the end of seven-decades prestigious reign and political uncertainties clouding the horizon.

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