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Asia General


UNWANTED VISIONARIES: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War. Oxford Studies in International History. By Sergey Radchenko. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xi, 383 pp. US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-993877-3.

In this remarkable book, Sergey Radchenko, a native of Sakhalin Island who now teaches in the UK, presents an even-handed and richly detailed account of Soviet policy in Asia from 1982 to 1991. His concern is the rise and fall of Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision for Asia. He argues that while the last Soviet leader is known for the rapprochement with the West that brought a peaceful end to the Cold War, Gorbachev initially focused on the East. His aim was to improve relations with India and China and maintain relations with longtime clients like Vietnam and North Korea in order to strengthen the Soviet position in the global struggle with the United States. His vision failed for lack of followers, as the leaders he believed he could woo were not, in the end, enticed by what Moscow had to offer. Nonetheless, Radchenko argues, Gorbachev’s unrealized dreams have lived on in the imaginations of post-1991 Russian leaders, nurturing visions of a grand comeback.

Radchenko bases this account on prodigious research. His main source is Russian archives, particularly the Gorbachev Foundation, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Sakhalin State Archive, and Soviet documents held in the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, the Library of Congress, and the National Security Archive in Washington, DC. He supplements these records with holdings of East German, Hungarian and Mongolian archives, the Shanghai Municipal Archive, the Archive of the International Olympic Committee (for South Korea), the Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, and the Archive of the United Nations. He skillfully integrates this broad documentary base with newspaper and memoir accounts, as well as numerous interviews with policymakers. Balancing detail with the larger context, writing with wit and grace, Radchenko provides by far the most detailed and insightful account yet published of the Soviet Union’s involvement in Asia during the Gorbachev years.

He begins with China policy, charting how despite deep mutual mistrust, the small steps Moscow and Beijing took between 1982 and 1985—exchange of visits and increased trade—“helped to build up a certain reserve of trust that made further movement toward normalization possible”(50). He moves next to Japan, recounting how between 1982 and 1987, important players on both sides seriously considered coming to a compromise on the territorial issue. Despite moments of real opportunity, however, Moscow and Tokyo backed out of agreements because of the higher priority they placed on relations with the United States.

Turning to South Asia, Radchenko discusses the key role India played in Gorbachev’s vision for a new global order. As Sino-Soviet relations improved, Gorbachev hoped to create a strategic triangle that would unite the three Asian powers under his leadership. However, to pursue this goal Moscow had to withdraw from Afghanistan, which necessitated greater cooperation from Pakistan just as Rajiv Gandhi sought greater Soviet aid to prevail over Islamabad. Moreover, as Gorbachev increasingly turned to the West beginning in 1989, he lost interest in India while domestic chaos within the Soviet Union left Moscow unable to capitalize on the anti-American sentiment brought by the 1991 Gulf War.

A chapter on Southeast Asia recounts how Gorbachev sought to secure Vietnam’s withdrawal from Cambodia, a precondition of improved Sino-Soviet relations. Radchenko then examines, in particularly rich detail, the single lasting success of Gorbachev’s Asia policy: normalization of relations with China. He argues that the key factor in this success was the view held by Gorbachev and his inner circle that relations with Beijing would have to be on the basis of equality and respect for China’s place as a great power. By the time of the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, Chinese leaders sympathized with Soviet hardliners. The gains of the previous years could have been lost had Yeltsin turned against Beijing for its suppression of democracy. However, “Beijing and Moscow jointly set out on a road toward strategic partnership informed by a shared sense of resentment of the United States, which, in Gorbachev’s words, had wished them both ill” (197).

Radchenko’s account of the tortured process of establishing diplomatic relations with Seoul is particularly groundbreaking, presenting much more evidence of the policy debates and confusion in Moscow than previously seen. He argues that Gorbachev was reluctant to sacrifice Soviet ties with North Korea, for fear of loss of credibility in the Third World, and therefore failed to respond quickly enough to overtures from Seoul. It was only the collapse of his grand strategic vision in the late 1980s coupled with Moscow’s acute need for money that prompted the Soviet leader finally to jettison Pyongyang in favour of Seoul. In Radchenko’s view, Gorbachev’s foot-dragging on the issue cost the Soviet Union a profitable economic relationship with South Korea and left Moscow with little leverage in Seoul, even as tensions on the Korean Peninsula remained high.

Radchenko concludes with two chapters examining Soviet-Japanese relations from 1988-1991. Even though Moscow entertained grand hopes of foreign investment in the Soviet Far East, Gorbachev was offended by Tokyo’s blatant attempts to use economic leverage to force a favourable settlement on the “northern territories.” Moreover, as Radchenko documents, decentralization of political power in the Soviet Union brought a new factor: the strong opposition to concessions by nationalists in Sakhalin and elsewhere. Thus, as Japan floated proposals in 1990 and 1991 to buy the islands for a considerable sum of money, Gorbachev was unable politically to accept such a resolution.

With the depth and breadth of evidence Radchenko presents and the subtlety and balance of his analysis, this book is a milestone in scholarship on the international history of Asia in the last years of the Cold War. It will be essential reading for political scientists, area studies specialists, historians of foreign relations, and policy analysts seeking to understand the antecedents of the region’s contemporary international affairs.

Kathryn Weathersby, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA                                

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CONSTRUCTING EAST ASIA: Technology, Ideology, and Empire in Japan’s Wartime Era, 1931-1945. By Aaron Stephen Moore. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xii, 314 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8539-6.

There was, until not too long ago, a curious gap in the conventional narrative of technology in Japan’s modern era. While we were often told that technological developments were central to both Japan’s emergence as an imperial power in the Meiji period and its rise as an economic giant in the postwar years, we tended to hear much less about the role that technology played in the intervening decades. Aaron Stephen Moore’s Constructing East Asia is one of several recent important studies that offer a corrective by revealing just how fundamental technology was to the shaping of interwar and wartime Japan.

Specific to Moore’s analysis is his concept of the “technological imaginary”—a discursive framework in which this one term “technology” (gijutsu) came to represent various key social and political ideas for different groups of people. Moore demonstrates that Japanese elites across the spectrum, from leftist intellectuals to state planners, saw in technology and its associated ideals of rationality and efficiency foundational principles for the remaking of society in the midst of the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s. His examination extends, however, beyond just the ideological. In following the construction of a number of large-scale infrastructural projects across the Japanese empire, Moore also shows how the technological imaginary was realized on the ground—a process not without contestation or compromise. The result is a wide-ranging account that invites us to rethink the workings of technology and power in imperial Japan.

Moore begins by exploring how technology was conceptualized by two contrasting groups: leftist intellectuals, represented by Marxist theorist Aikawa Haruki, and state engineers, represented by technology bureaucrat Miyamoto Takenosuke. He traces how Aikawa’s understanding of technology shifted from a materialist manifestation of the means of production to an integrated assemblage of political, economic and cultural parts geared towards not only revolutionary transformation but also wartime mobilization. If leftists like Aikawa came to see technology as encompassing all areas of life, engineers, in Moore’s telling, viewed it as a social and technical field in which they claimed exclusive expertise. Both these groups would be implicated in Japan’s imperial enterprise. Aikawa’s theoretical realignment coincided with the outbreak of the war with China in 1937. Moore suggests that Aikawa may have been motivated by the idea that this conflict would help sweep away the feudal remnants holding Japan back from a socialist revolution. He ended up producing a handful of studies on technology and the management of colonial industry that resonated with the goals of the expansionist state. Similarly, engineers such as Miyamoto too perceived potential in empire and war. Continental expansion provided them with opportunities to introduce “comprehensive technology”—large technological systems serving multiple functions—that would in turn generate employment for the beleaguered engineering class. Drawn into planning agencies within the colonial administration, engineers became embroiled in pan-Asianist developmentalist visions and the exploitation they engendered.

The manifold efforts to turn the technological imaginary into material reality form the next part of the book. Moore takes us to different parts of the Japanese empire to survey an array of infrastructural projects, from river conservancy and urban redevelopment to port construction and, most notably, dam building. While many scholars have pointed out that empire often served as a laboratory for the social and economic experiments of technocratic planners, Moore goes a step further by looking at how exactly some of these experts formulated and implemented their plans. The picture he presents is not one of neat, mechanistic efficacy so frequently attributed to technocracy, but of contingency and messiness arising from the many competing interests within the colonial context. This is, in my opinion, the strongest contribution of the book. The examples of the Fengman and Sup’ung Dams illustrate the complex constellation of factors—including land ownership, labour management, and the forces of nature—that technocrats struggled to master in their bid to build. If they met with any success, this was not merely a product of well-crafted plans, but just as much—if not more—a result of the mobilized might of the colonial state.

In the last part of the book, Moore turns to the reform bureaucrats who promoted the establishment of a “managed economy”—an integrated economic system characterized by a high degree of state intervention—in order to save Japan from the crisis of capitalism and prepare it for total war. Focusing on their chief ideologue Mōri Hideoto, he describes how technology entered the thought and ideology of this group of policy makers. It was not only about industrial development and the production of advanced armaments, but also about an elaborate and extensive mechanism of social control that Moore identifies as a new mode of fascist power. He ends with an epilogue that suggests that the wartime technological imaginary and its undemocratic impulses have persisted into Japan’s postwar era, reflecting and reinforcing contradictions underlying efforts at national reconstruction at home and at development assistance abroad.

Moore goes to great lengths to argue that technology constituted a kind of power that was just as much about the mobilization of human creativity and freedom as it was about the exercise of technocratic repression and violence. What is to be gained by emphasizing the former, though, when it was, even in his account, the latter that ultimately defined the colonial encounter? To what extent did articulations about technology serve rhetorical as opposed to purely ideological functions? In what ways did the large-scale infrastructural projects in the colonies shape the contours of technological development back in the metropole? This book raises as many questions as it sets out to answer. However, it is among the few truly innovative studies on the Japanese empire to come out in recent years. It is, for one, an excellent example of how one might integrate intellectual history with histories of empire, technology and political economy. Constructing East Asia should be of much interest not only to historians of modern Japan and East Asia, but also to those interested in the politics of technology and the intellectual foundations of sociotechnical regimes.

Victor Seow, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

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EAST ASIAN DEVELOPMENT: Foundations and Strategies. The Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures. By Dwight H. Perkins. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2013. 213 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0674-72530-0.

Expanded from the Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures given in 2009 at Harvard, the book offers a comprehensive overview of policies and institutions that have contributed to national economic growth and income inequality in postwar Northeast and Southeast Asia. Continuing in the best traditions of development economics and comparative institutional analysis, Perkins takes aggregate output growth as the top priority of development, intrinsically beneficial for the society, and responsive to appropriate national policies and institutions that improve the productivity of key factors of capital, labour and natural resources. One might point out that the notion of development in this traditional sense does not adequately account for major externalities such as environmental costs and human development and social justice trends. Furthermore, it does not venture to discuss how political-institutional development (e.g., democratic transition or intra-regime reforms in authoritarian states) and approaches to social justice (e.g., redistribution and anti-corruption) may condition economic growth except in a general, cross-country comparison of political commitment to effective government interventions. It would also be easy to criticize the book as being dated given the strong doubts of development economics by mainstream economists, advances in data analysis and the ever increasing sophistication of various measures of efficiency, market integration and innovation, and an expanding literature of local and non-Western diagnoses of economic problems in these countries.

I would urge readers to set aside these facile prejudices, and instead reflect on the book’s overarching analytical framework that offers an open architecture to build deeper, country- and issue-specific understandings. Within his clearly defined parameters, Perkins is eclectic and liberal in his perspective, constantly showing attention to new and updated interdisciplinary explanations—such as in his pointed critique of the influential book Why Nations Fail, by Darin Acemoglu and James Robinson (55).

The book is structured around country case studies (chapters 3 and 4) and economic systemic transitions (chapters 5 and 6). The general argument is that strategic government interventions, building on monopolistic resources of select state-owned enterprises and national resources in entrepreneurial culture and the educational system, have brought about high growth rates in Northeast Asia. Southeast Asia, hampered by the colonial legacy as well as weaker initial human resource and organizational endowments, has struggled with reform policies that could transcend the rent-seeking demands of powerful social interests. As Perkins has argued elsewhere, there is no common Asian model of growth, but there is a fundamental logic of growth that underpins both success and failure. In the following analysis, I discuss five issues emerging from his causal reasoning.

Perkins adopts Alwyn Young’s focus on total factor productivity (TFP) in assessing Asia’s growth rates. However, he departs from Young and Paul Krugman—who famously critiqued the East Asian miracle as “based on perspiration rather than inspiration” (Krugman, “The Myth of Asia’s Miracle,” Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 1994)—in three insightful ways. First, while Young and Krugman point to low and stagnant TFP in Asian tigers’ heydays of rapid growth as a result of the national developmental policies, Perkins argues that variations in the TFP of Asian countries, in particular in terms of human capital, have stemmed from deep cultural legacies and historical political choices made in postcolonial nation-building. These factors have supported sustained household investment in higher education in Korea and Taiwan, and inflicted discriminatory and inefficient social welfare allocative decisions in Malaysia and Indonesia. These differences in turn shape the effectiveness of national development policies.

Second, Perkins makes a key distinction within the “extensive” growth of the Asian countries: between those implementing rational, disciplined and limited industrial policies, and those trapped in private rent-seeking industrial favouritism and trade protectionism. The distinction contributes to the earlier theories of the critical transition from import-substitution industrialization to export-oriented development, but is not limited to that linear viewpoint. Perkins sees national politics in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia as pernicious to any sustained effort at industrial policy making, regardless of specific policy choices made to accommodate local endowments and legacies.

Third, Perkins makes a strong case for the inevitable deceleration after the high-growth periods. While he is mainly concerned with anticipating reforms to help usher in China’s “soft landing,” it would be additionally instructive to consider the current difficulties in structural reform of the previously successful Northeast Asian economies. While South Korea has been characterized as a successful example of IMF intervention in 1998, Japan and Taiwan have witnessed a further decline of manufacturing sectors, structural unemployment as university graduates could only find basic service jobs, service sectors lacking in international competitiveness, and asset bubbles. Overall, Asian growth since the late 1990s has neither resolved weak domestic consumption and widening income gaps and digital divides, nor sustained innovation and industrial upgrading. Consequently, Asia has suffered lower capital productivity leading up to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, and since the global financial crisis in 2007.

Generally speaking, Perkins is flexible in relating key explanatory variables in his case studies. In addressing Robert J. Barro’s growth equation in chapter 2, he is quick to point out that crucial political institutional and policy variables are inadequately represented and related in conventional econometrics analyses (53). It would be useful to incorporate theoretical developments in the literature on Varieties of Capitalism (Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, 2001), and its emphasis on “system coordination” and the idea of “institutional complementarities.” This perspective could build on Perkins’ basic diagnosis to critically evaluate how Beijing has propped up the profitability of oligopolistic state-controlled corporations, provided liquidity for the housing construction boom and transport network expansion, and debated the path toward Renminbi internationalization—three current issues that necessitate major reforms of domestic financial institutions. Credit misallocation is arguably the greatest source of inefficiency and inequality in China.

Lastly, one is tempted to ask the author: “Is output growth going to be the big question in ten years?” It is possible to argue that the current interest in the more developed countries in Asia is not growth per se, but the quality of growth and the prospect for more sustainable and equitable engines of growth. The middle-income trap argument has often come up, as well as new growth accounting methods that take externalities into consideration. How would the initial advantages of the Northeast Asian population and governments contribute to facing the new challenges of the protracted downturn in Western markets? Can Asian leaders maintain the flexibility to engage in reform, given the prevalent political crisis and stagnation in most countries?

This accessible volume of distilled personal and scholarly knowledge from Professor Perkins is highly recommended to undergraduates, postgraduates and the informed general public seeking an enduring perspective on the vast changes in Asia over the past half century.

Kun-chin Lin, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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NEW CHALLENGES FOR MATURING DEMOCRACIES IN KOREA AND TAIWAN. Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. Edited by Larry Diamond and Gi-Wook Shin. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xxii, 383 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-8918-9.

Many transitologists tell us that the establishment of a new democratic regime through a free and fair election is only the beginning of democratization. Democratization is a long journey. Many obstacles have to be overcome for the “consolidation” and “deepening” of new democracies to take effect. New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan, edited by Diamond and Shin, deals with various obstacles that new democracies are encountering after their democratic transitions, especially in the era of globalization. This volume highlights that Korea and Taiwan, new democracies in East Asia well known for their successful democratic consolidation, have maintained high economic growth and human well-being after democratization, but have experienced notable socio-economic, cultural and political challenges. It is certain that such challenges are not peculiar to Korea and Taiwan, but pervasive in most new democracies. That is why this book may help to identify problems and solutions for maturing democracies not only in these two East Asian countries, but also in most new democracies around the world.

This volume consists of 11 chapters. Chapter 1 examines the changes in the public support for democracy in Korea and Taiwan in terms of values, norms and institutions, following David Easton and Pippa Norris who have articulated multiple dimensions of regime support. It argues that citizens in those two countries are less supportive of the liberal idea of limited government, and that they have very low trust in representative institutions of democracy. It also shows that their preference for democracy and their trust in democratic institutions were eroded by economic crises.

Chapter 2 explains how the identity politics has emerged after the initial dominance of party politics based on regional animosities in Korea. It claims that the “Sunshine Policy” during the Kim Dae-jung administration initiated a new “identity politics” by drawing a line between the progressives advocating pro-North Korean policies with anti-American sentiments and conservatives supporting the pro-United States policies with strong animosity toward North Korea. It also claims that identity politics was a main cause of Roh Moo-hyun’s victory in the 2002 presidential election and remains a powerful determinant of party affiliation in Korea. Chapter 3 shows that party politics in Taiwan has also been strongly influenced by identity politics. The Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) advocated reunification with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and independence, respectively. Although the unification/independence issue became a valence issue in the middle of the 1990s, electoral competition between them is still dominated by the issue of engagement and integration with the PRC (129-130). Similar to Korea, the national identity cleavage and the identity politics made it difficult to resolve domestic problems by shifting “pragmatic policy decisions” into “ideological battles” (131).

Chapters 4 and 5 examine how digital media has transformed politics in those two East Asian countries. Digital media not only enabled the emergence of alternative sources of political information, a new kind of political participation, and public deliberation, but also increased online censorship by the government in Korea (chapter 4). The way digital media reshaped politics in Taiwan was very similar to that in Korea. The Internet was widely utilized by political parties and social movements, and facilitated the “daily-life campaign” by exposing every part of a politician’s personal life to the masses, and the “professionalization of campaigns and the weakening of political parties” due to the increasing role of experts, including film producers and music composers, portraying candidates attractively online. In addition, the Internet allows those who spend much time for the creation of postings on line to have more influence in an election campaign and in social movements, and makes it easy to delegitimize political figures in cyberspace in Taiwan(181-183).

Chapters 6 and 7 examine the socioeconomic transformation that took place after democratization in Korea and Taiwan. In Korea, large corporations successfully adapted to the global market, but Korean workers had to face critical polarization, and electoral competition around social welfare policies was intensified after the economic crisis of 1997 (chapter 6). In Taiwan, economic liberalization and economic integration with China has been successful in achieving continuous growth and moderate unemployment since the late 1980s (chapter 7). Similar to the situation in Korea, however, the neoliberal reform intensified income disparities and raised the distributional issue. Chapters 8 and 9 investigate changes in healthcare policies in Korea and social welfare policies for the elderly in Taiwan. Chapter 10 examines China’s intention toward the two Koreas with a focus on the issue of repatriating North Korean defectors back to the DPRK and suggests China take the “balancing act” of providing political and economic support for North Korea and unequivocal chastisement of its aggressive actions, and of protecting China’s north east border and the safety of North Korean border crossers for maintaining peace in the Korean Peninsula. Chapter 11 discusses the growth in China’s power and domestic conditions for the success of Taiwan’s mixed strategy, including the “engagement and reassurance” of “rewarding the PRC for what it assumes are limited goals and doing nothing that might lead Beijing to take risks” and “external balancing” of “reliance on the United States to its aid in the event that engagement fails” (345). It also evaluates the idea of Finlandization and presents its implications for Taiwan.

This book is an excellent reference for those who are eager to understand what Korea and Taiwan are struggling with as they “deepen” of their democratic regimes in the era of globalization. A number of prior studies have utilized the cases of Korea and Taiwan due to their similar experiences, including their rapid economic growth under authoritarian regimes and their paths toward democratic regimes. This volume successfully extends the temporal scope of the research strand to the era of democratic consolidation and of globalization. Although this book does not provide sufficient solutions to every issue discussed here, it is certain that, at least, it may provide important clues to the distinctive post-democratization politics with neoliberal reforms in new democracies.

Byong-Kuen Jhee, Chosun University, Gwangju, South Korea   

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THE POLITICS OF MARKETISING ASIA. Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy. Edited by Toby Carroll and Darryl S.L. Jarvis. Basingstoke, UK; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xx, 313 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$105, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-00166-5.

The role of the state in economic development and industrial adjustment has been an ongoing debate since the early twentieth century. On one hand, the idea that the state should play a leading role in economic development was central to early development economics. The neoliberal idea of the state, on the other hand, focused on promoting economic liberalization and minimizing the state’s role in regulating and securing freedom for capital. This edited volume contributes to this debate by analyzing cases of the politics and risks of marketization in Asia, and how it transformed the state’s reach, form and function in recent years.

Several factors in Asia have combined to make it an interesting case to study. Scholars have long argued that government interventions have been the most divisive factors contributing to dynamic economic growth across the region (Alice Amsden, Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization, Oxford University Press, 1989; Chang Ha-Joon, The Political Economy of Industrial Policy, St. Martin’s Press, 1994; Robert Wade, Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization, Princeton University Press, 1990). Meanwhile, economic and institutional circumstances have evolved rapidly and rising inequality in incomes and access to social opportunities have started to threaten social stability and challenge economic growth in the region. This leads us back, then, to the question of the role of the state.

Carroll and Jarvis’s edited volume provides a timely examination of the developmental policies and state-society relations in contemporary Asia, in particular by dealing with the impacts of neoliberalism. They look at how policies now being adopted to promote private sector participation, restructure state entities, and reduce the presence of the state in the provision of public goods and services, are tied to transformations in the notions of state and development in Asia. The global cast of contributors—from the diverse fields of political economy, international relations, sociology and public policy—offer 12 academic chapters illustrating how neoliberalism has transformed the role of the state and created new forms of socioeconomic risk and vulnerability in Asia.

The book is organized into three parts. Part 1 rationalizes the political economy approach used by the contributors to this volume by bringing back politics into understandings of the economic realities in Asia. From an historical context, Carroll and Jarvis revisit Asia’s developmental narratives and juxtapose neoliberal and statist perspectives on the region’s era of rapid growth. What’s more important, Carroll and Jarvis caution that a deepening of neoliberalism has gained greater momentum across a spate of sectors in Asia and highlight the challenges brought by its ideational evolution. They present a vigorous argument for the need to understand the growing intersection between the globalization of neoliberalism and the region in the post 1997–1998 crisis era.

Part 2 (chapters 2 through 7) takes a deeper view of the current form of neoliberalism and potential forms of risks associated with it. In chapter 2, Cammack starts by identifying key trends within the shifting neoliberal development agenda, including redefining the state’s role as regulatory, emphasizing market building and risk management, and the attempt to construct a global market economy. Drawing on a diverse selection of case studies, ranging from the World Bank’s mining regimes in Laos, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to AusAid’s policies and procedures for managing risks, this part consists of detailed analyses of the latest manifestations of increasingly dominant neoliberal development agendas that aim to roll back the state in the name of market building. Despite their differences in focus, all the authors believe that these neoliberal agendas have detracted from a genuine focus on development, while potentially fostering conflicting social relations and vulnerability.

The third part of the book (chapters 8 to 12) presents an assorted collection of articles, which take slightly different angles and offer somewhat contradictory views to the previous chapters — they assume that neoliberal reforms could be preferable and beneficial in promoting growth and development in some circumstances. In chapter 8, for example, Simpson argues that for countries such as Myanmar, the added value of a neoliberal agenda, particularly in the form of social and environmental safeguards and alternative sources of capital, is preferable to its absence. Chapter 10 presents a quantitative analysis of the benefits of market building in Asia. It proves that the total number and values of M&A deals are positively related to features of the institutional environment promoted by neoliberal agendas, including protection of property rights, the enforcement of contracts and the stability of governance structures.

Overall, this book represents a valuable addition to the expanding literature on the dynamics of neoliberalism and its impact on state society relations in Asia. It draws attention to the increasingly dominant neoliberal agenda and illustrates how it has threatened the “developmental state” that has historically driven Asia’s rapid economic growth.

However, the book might have benefitted from bringing out the highly uneven and complex nature of institutional circumstances and industrialization stages in the region that, to a certain extent, predetermine the range of options faced by the governments and the role that the state should play in the economy. In other words, the neoliberal approach towards the forms and function of the state should not be regarded as a universally proper role for the state. Rather, there is a need to match the capacities and functions of the state to the tasks posed by specific problems of a particular era. MITI’s evolving role in Japan’s economy, for example, is not just a response to pressures from external neoliberal agendas, but also the result of structure changes in Japan’s domestic institutional circumstances. Likewise, certain governmental industrial policies in China, which historically enabled the development of particular sectors, have now become a hindrance for achieving further efficiency and equity, leading to readjustment of the role of government and its policies.

In addition, the book focuses predominately on the state’s influence from the top-down. The huge capability building at the grassroots level and the coordination between the top and grassroots levels in Asian countries should be taken into account. The small and medium enterprises in Taiwan, for instance, played an essential role in driving economic growth through investment in fixed assets, generating exports, and promoting technology assimilation. Undoubtedly, together with a coordinating state, these enterprises have contributed to the success of the Asian stories.

Wei Li, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia                                                                           

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MAKERS OF MODERN ASIA. Edited by Ramachandra Guha. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. 385 pp. US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-36541-4.

This 11-essay collection is testimony to the remarkable industry of Ramachandra Guha, one of India’s most spirited and widely read writers. The book grows out of Guha’s long interest in biography and his quiet campaign to redress the fact that “for many years, the biographical method was disparaged by academic historians” (10). One aim of the book is to highlight the value of “biography as history” and the “superb showcase” that twentieth-century Asia provides to demonstrate such potential (10).

People love lists, and the book invites browsers to think about who ranks as a “maker of modern Asia.” Here is Guha’s line-up (with the name of each essay’s author in parentheses):

  • K. Gandhi (Ramachandra Guha)
  • Chiang Kai-shek (Jay Taylor)
  • Ho Chi Minh (Sophie Quinn-Judge)
  • Mao Zedong (Rana Mitter)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (Ramachandra Guha)
  • Zhou En-lai (Chen Jian)
  • Sukarno (James R. Rush)
  • Deng Xiaoping (Odd Arne Westad)
  • Indira Gandhi (Srinath Raghavan)
  • Lee Kuan Yew (Michael D. Barr)
  • A. Bhutto (Farzana Shaikh)

That means four from China, four from South Asia and three from Southeast Asia. The absence of a Japanese figure is explained by the argument that “it is hard, if not impossible, to name even one major Japanese politician who has provided an autonomously developed idea of his country’s place in the world” (13). But what about Emperor Hirohito? Not a politician or thinker, but what a symbol and survivor! How did such a life unfold in the tortured times of modern Japan? “Modern Asia” cannot be imagined without Japan. The office of emperor, which Hirohito occupied from 1926 to 1989, provided the symbolic glue that enabled Japan to carve its remarkable path—industrializing, terrorizing, crumbling, rebuilding.

I would have had two others on my list. Jose Rizal of the Philippines probably missed out because he died in 1896, executed by the Spanish. But Rizal was a forerunner of all the others in attacking European imperialism with intellectual weapons of Europe combined with deep connection to his own culture. The other figure who would be on my list is Bhim Rao Ambedkar, activist, writer and today, patron saint of 180 million “ex”-untouchables in India. An “untouchable” himself, Ambedkar contended with appalling prejudice, yet left a legacy that inspires, and is fought over, throughout India today.

Guha begins the book with Mahatma Gandhi—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—and calls the essay “Gandhi, India and the World.” Implicit in the positioning as the first essay, and explicit in the title, is the fact that of the eleven leaders in the book, only Gandhi advanced a program that claimed global applicability and that still attracts millions of sympathizers. (To be sure, there are “Maoists” to be found elsewhere, not least in India, but admiration for Mao is small in comparison to the global esteem of the Gandhi legend).

Guha is writing a big biography of Gandhi, the first volume of which was published in 2013 (Gandhi before India). As an admirable archival historian, he is able to draw on details that knit this short essay to the “Asian” fabric of the book. He points out that during Gandhi’s first major civil disobedience campaign in South Africa, some of his most ardent backers were more than a thousand Chinese, who also suffered from the discrimination of the British regime. And he points out that Liu Xiabao, the imprisoned Chinese Nobel Laureate, has often referred to Gandhi in his writing.

The longest essay in the book deals with the leader of least significance: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the disastrous Pakistani prime minister and president of the 1970s, who was executed by the general he had appointed commander-in-chief. Farzana Shaikh makes an able and engaging attempt to convince readers that Bhutto was a political visionary “in pursuit of an Asian Pakistan.” But Bhutto comes across more as a well-heeled dilettante capable of picking up catchwords and repeating them resoundingly. His legacy appears to have been to leave Pakistan with both an entrenched military dictatorship and a family political dynasty of the kind common in South Asia (not to say elsewhere).

Three other representatives of dynasties are treated in the book: Jawaharlal Nehru, who didn’t mean to leave a dynasty (Guha assures readers); his daughter, Indira Gandhi, who did; and Lee Kuan Yew, who certainly did (given the ideas about genetics and race attributed to him by author Michael Barr) (246-7, 249, 262). For me, Barr’s essay on LKY and Srinath Raghavan’s on Indira Gandhi are two highlights of the book. Barr’s provocative essay profits from the fact that Lee Kuan Yew and the city-state of Singapore are bound together uniquely. Because Singapore is so small and the People’s Action Party so all-pervasive, there is no part of the Singapore pie in which LKY has not had a finger. Barr is not impressed: “I realize that Singaporeans could have done much worse, but personally, I think they deserved better” (266).

Raghavan’s essay surprised me. I expected to be a bit bored by a story I thought I knew well. But Raghavan, like Guha, works in the archives like a beaver in a forest. And he too writes well. He provides as insightful and fast-moving account of India from the 1960s to the 1980s as one will find.

The other essay that especially appealed to me was the shortest: Deng Xiaoping by Odd Arne Westad. Deng’s Hakka/southern China background (like Lee Kuan Yew), the seven years in France from the age of 16 and the long experience as a guerrilla and administrator from the 1930s (plus the ups and downs experienced in Mao’s China) make the life of Deng worthy of a soap opera.

This book will appeal to varied audiences. Curious travellers in Asia will find it a friendly and invaluable introduction to countries they visit and names they encounter. Scholars will relish the invitation to measure their judgements against those of Guha’s expert authors and to muse over Guha’s arguments about the importance of biography as “history.” And teachers will find tight, well-written essays that may entice students into questions about what “making modern Asia” may mean.

Robin Jeffrey, Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore                                                     

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CATCH UP: Developing Countries in the World Economy. By Deepak Nayyar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. xiv, 221 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$52.50, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-965298-3.

Since the last fifty years, first with the rise of East Asia, and now the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, economic power is gradually shifting to the South, as living standards of some of the developing world slowly but steadily catch up with those of the advanced market economies. But were countries in the South always behind the countries in the North in living standards? If not, when did the divergence between the North and the South begin? How extended is the convergence of the South with the North in recent years—which countries have caught up and which countries still lag behind? What explains the catch up of developing countries with the richer countries of the West? Is it trade, capital flows or migration?

In an ambitious and far-reaching book, Deepak Nayyar puts together a fascinating treatise of economic history that is painstakingly researched and elegantly argued. Starting with the onset of the second millennium, in chapter 2, Nayyar notes the overwhelming significance of the South in world incomes and populations, with Asia, Africa and South America taken together accounting for 82 percent of world population and 83 percent of world income in the year 1000. The relative importance of the South remained more or less unchanged for the next five hundred years. Then, beginning in 1500, and then more sharply, after 1820, the relative importance of what Nayyar calls the Rest, comprising Asia, Africa and Latin America, fell steadily. In 1820, the Rest’s share in world income was 63 percent. By 1950, it was a mere 27 percent. The drop in relative income was particularly sharp for Asia: its average GDP per capita was 48 percent of Western Europe and Western Offshoots (which includes the USSR and Eastern Europe) in 1820, and had declined to 10 percent in 1950. What explains this phenomenon, which Nayyar calls the Great Divergence? In chapter 3, Nayyar argues that this was primarily due to colonial policies and the politics of imperialism, and the mercantile expansion of trade, underpinned by the state and naval powers of the colonizers, that hastened the process of de-industrialization in Asia.

However, in chapter 4, Nayyar documents a reversal of fortunes “from 1950 onwards, and especially from 1980, when the share of developing countries in world GDP stopped its relative decline in 1962 when it was one-fourth, to increase rapidly after 1980, so that it was almost half by 2008” (73). In chapter 5, Nayyar documents a similar upsurge in the engagement of developing countries with the world economy. Since 1980, their share in world trade also increased rapidly, and so did their shares in stocks and flows of inward and outward foreign direct investment in the world economy. There was also a significant increase in international migration flows from developing to developed countries, with new forms of mobility driven by markets and globalization. Similarly, in chapter 6, Nayyar observes a sharp increase in the share of developing countries in world industrial production.

However, in chapters 7 and 8, Nayyar notes that the process of catch up of developing countries with developed countries has not been even among regions and also between countries in the same region. Among emerging economies, Nayyar finds that Asian countries had brought an end to divergence and saw a convergence. On the other hand, the Latin American emerging economies stayed roughly where they were, while the two African countries that Nayyar looks at—Egypt and South Africa—experienced a continuing divergence. Nayyar attributes this to initial conditions, enabling institutions and the role of governments as catalysts or leaders. Nayyar also finds that there was an exclusion of regions within the emerging economies in the catch-up process, that inequality between countries persists, and that the increase in standards of living in the developing world has not done away with extreme poverty in many developing countries. Nayyar concludes in chapter 9 with some reflections on the “prospects, in terms of possibilities and constraints, for countries that have led this process of catch-up so far and for those that might follow in their footsteps” (173).

A weakness of the book is that the explanations that Nayyar offers for both the initial divergence and the more recent convergence of developing countries are not compelling. Nayyar argues that the initial divergence was due to the mercantilist policies followed by European colonizers and that the later catch up was due to the specific set of import-substituting policies followed by East Asian countries that enabled them to industrialize rapidly, in spite of being late-comers to industrialization. While these explanations have some weight, it is surprising that Nayyar does not give sufficient consideration to the role of institutions in explaining the process of divergence in the nineteenth century (Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, Profile Books, 2012) and the positive effect of “re-globalization” in the catch-up of Asia with the developed countries in the late twentieth century (Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke, Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Milennium, Princeton University Press, 2007). In spite of this limitation, Catch Up is an important contribution to world economic history and to development studies. It is provocative and illuminating at the same time, and should become essential reading for those interested in understanding the process of economic development in historical terms.

Kunal Sen, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK  

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OUT OF THE SHADOWS: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education. International Perspectives on Education and Society, v. 22. Edited by Janice Aurini, Scott Davies, Julian Dierkes. Bingley, UK: Emerald Books, 2013. xxiv, 263 pp. (Tables, figures.) £62.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78190-816-7.

Supplementary or “shadow” education has generally been associated with education in the Asian region. The buxiban in China and the juku in Japan come to mind, as do their counterparts in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and much of Southeast and South Asia. However, Aurini, Davies and Dierkes, in their highly informative edited book Out of the Shadows, remind us that this extra educational effort is a global phenomenon. Their book does include chapters on Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea, but there are also chapters on Turkey, Brazil, Canada, Australia, the United States and Germany as well as an interesting concluding chapter utilizing data from a 17-nation study on variations in family capital and how it impacts the use of supplementary education.

The editors organize what they call “this monster of an industry” around an interesting typology of: countries with high-intensity forms of supplementary education (Japan, Turkey, China, Brazil and Vietnam); countries with low-intensity forms of supplementary education (Canada, Australia, the United States and Germany); and a comparison of high- and low-intensity forms of supplementary education (the United States and Korea; and a 17-nation study focused on family capital). Much of the justification for this organizational model has to do with their broad definition of what constitutes supplementary education: “academic instruction that takes place during nonschool time including after school, on the weekends or during summer vacation” (xv). This allows the editors and the authors of the individual chapters to roam around the variety of settings of this industry, which includes such diverse locales as conventional schools, business office buildings, individual homes, libraries, religious organizations and so on.

The authors are further guided by a set of “key questions” that the editors pose and which are related to the typology and focus on intensity, impact and pedagogical authority of supplementary education. Finally, it is important to note the methodological diversity of the chapters, which includes both qualitative and quantitative, as well as mixed methods.

The richness of the data and arguments in the individual chapters varies but in general it is possible to say that they all contribute to the literature on supplementary education. In part 1, (high-intensity forms of supplementary education), the chapter on Japan makes the important point that despite the general negative impression of juku and yobiko they have often contributed to and complemented the formal school system, and have been in some respects engines of innovation. As the further corporatization of Japanese education proceeds, these alternative educational institutions will likely gain more acceptability as smaller “shadow schools” disappear.

It is surprising to learn that Turkey has a fifty-year tradition of supplementary schools but it is not surprising to learn that the primary motivation for this is the presence of high-stakes national and central examinations. That, along with the increased demand for tertiary education, has fueled this industry. There is also great diversity in supplementary education, ranging from one-on-one individualized teaching models to those that resemble formal schools. The latter are gradually being transformed into “learning centres.” Although the private sector plays a predominant role in supplementary schools, national regulatory policies include equity requirements for low-income families.

In the China and Vietnam chapters we learn much about “how” to do supplementary research in those particular settings. In these mixed methods studies the authors place the data collection process in the cultural, social and political contexts. This is an uncommon approach and one that tells us a great deal about not only the process of researching sensitive areas such as supplementary education (buxiban in China) but about the schools themselves. Unlike the case of Turkey, China’s growth and increase in income attract mainstream teachers to these schools. And the Vietnam chapter is rich in data and highlights the tutoring function of supplementary education.

The rapidly growing supplementary market of Brazil is the last chapter in the high-intensity section. The data provided by the authors raise serious and interesting questions about the implications of supplementary education on learning and instruction as well as social equity. Given that little has been published about supplementary education in that nation this chapter marks a significant contribution to the literature.

In part 2, low-intensity forms of supplementary education are captured in Canada, Australia, the United States and Germany. What seems to link them together with the possible exception of Germany, is the peripheral nature of supplementary education vis-à-vis the formal system. While the practice is growing in Canada and the US, it appears to fail to penetrate the formal system in the manner detailed in the part 1 countries. And in Australia, the data show that attending such schools does not necessarily enhance the main goal of supplementary education, that is, increased access to higher education. However, in Germany, a perceived insecurity among parents and students has produced a strong push factor toward attendance in these schools such that about 30 percent of students in the cohort attend with the primary goal of compensating for what is perceived as a weak formal school system. Nevertheless, supplementary education has found a market even in the low-intensity systems and has adapted to changing motivation factors.

Part 3 concludes with two chapters that are comparative in scope and provide useful data on the distinctions between the formal and nonformal educational sectors, the power of the market even in vastly different contexts, and the process of social reproduction as one important outcome of supplementary education (a 17-nation comparative study).

The book is clearly a strong addition to the literature on this “shadowy” educational phenomenon and will likely spur others to broaden the research base for an increasingly important force in education and national development.

John N. Hawkins, University of California, Los Angeles, USA  

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SLANTING I, IMAGINING WE: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s. TransCanada Series. By Larissa Lai. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014. xii, 260 pp. C$42.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-77112-041-8.

Larissa Lai is a still-all-too-rare being: an Asian Canadian artist, activist and academic. The author of two novels and several poetry collections, a committed long-time activist, particularly for anti-racist, feminist and queer causes, and an academic whose first critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We, has recently been published, Lai occupies a fairly unique position from which to assess Asian Canadian literary production of the 1980s and 1990s. As she states in the introduction, “the purpose of this book is to interrogate the ways in which the term ‘Asian Canadian’ has been imagined, produced and put to work between approximately 1985 and 2000, and to consider its implications and possibilities in the new millennium” (24). With the success of the Japanese Canadian Redress Movement and the passage of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act in 1988, along with the emergence of writers and artists of colour and Indigenous writers and artists during this period, there was an optimism about belonging to the Canadian nation, sustained debate about the possibilities and terms of such belonging at events like The Appropriate Voice conference of 1992 and the Writing Thru Race conference of 1994, and a growing pessimism with the triumphant rise of the neoliberal state. Lai, who lived through, participated in, and helped to shape much of this cultural history, is especially well placed to write about and assess it. She joins a fairly exclusive group that includes the likes of Roy Miki, Fred Wah and Richard Fung.

In the course of examining the meanings, parameters, usefulness and history of “Asian Canadian,” Lai provides one of the richest, most nuanced discussions of this umbrella term to date, entering into close conversation with Roy Miki’s recent In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing (NeWest Press, 2011). Her depth of knowledge and detailed consideration of multiple sides of various issues, ranging from the role of autobiography as a liberatory genre through the value of special journal issues and “ethnic” anthologies to the politics of avant garde poetry, make for compelling arguments. In a move reminiscent of Kandice Chuh’s claim that the term “Asian American” must be approached as a subjectless discourse, a “conceptual tool [that] points to the need to manufacture ‘Asian American’ situationally” (Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique, Duke UP, 2003, 10), Lai states boldly that “the designation ‘Asian Canadian’ is a porous one. It is genealogically produced [in the Foucauldian sense] and deeply relational. The power of the term comes not from a particular essence as such, but from the coalitional work it does” (5). Emphasizing the relational and coalitional dimensions of “Asian Canadian” allows Lai to track the changing valances of this emergent “identity,” and its complex imbrication with other “identities,” especially Indigeneity, queerness and feminism. Her treatment of Asian Canadian in relation to Indigeneity is especially innovative and illuminating. Her candour in revealing her doubts and uncertainties, her revisions to earlier commitments, is refreshing and still quite rare in academic scholarship.

Lai raises the very important question—one that has plagued academic activists for quite some time—of whether texts that reside under terms like “Asian Canadian” can “retain their liberatory possibility” when they leave the racialized communities in which they were formed and enter the academy, where they may “become a new type of ethnography” (59). She worries that these texts become legitimized because their writers are considered native informants who are mobilized as proof of the arrival of the multicultural nation. This route leads to commodification via institutionalization. Throughout this discussion, however, Lai tends to treat racialized/minoritized communities as if they are always in alignment or agreement with the artists and activists who emerge from them and often speak on their behalf. A binary emerges between supportive racialized/minoritized communities and incorporating institutions (especially universities, but also government agencies) that act on behalf of state multiculturalism. Despite sharing Lai’s concerns, I consider this division to be less clear: as Viet Nguyen observes in Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford UP, 2002), racialized communities can harbour significant reactionary views that are often opposed to those of their artists, while universities have often championed the work of racialized writers and activists, bringing it to wider audiences, as problematic as that incorporation may be.

One of the great strengths of the study is to draw out texts that do not focus primarily on traumatic pasts which induce perpetually melancholic presents, but rather gesture to possible, different futures that can assist in reinterpreting the past and the present. Lai explores different ways of carving out a positive future, questioning the obsessive focus on trauma as well as interrogating the issue of poststructuralist approaches to language as they affect identity politics, and insisting that “There is imaginative possibility here—if we can read the past for that which is hopeful, then we can produce the present in terms that allow for those productivities that Roy Miki has called ‘asiancy’ or ‘ethics’” (211). Writing in “the contemporary context of global capital and unjust war” (210) that mark the ascendancy of neoliberalism, Lai still manages to find idealist hope in the feminist, anti-racist, queer work of such writers as Hiromi Goto, jam ismail, Rita Wong and Dionne Brand. Her readings of individual texts by these writers are always informative and often brilliant.

For all her stress on critiquing nationalist belonging and valorizing relationality as a way of understanding “Asian Canadian,” Lai surprisingly limits herself primarily to a nationalist paradigm and to globalization as nationalism’s other. She doesn’t consider in a truly sustained way how “Asian Canadian” relates to “Asian American” (reciprocal? imperializing?) or to “Asian North American” or to continental American (as in “the Americas”). Nor does she give full consideration to a diasporic or transpacific paradigm, even though diasporas are themselves always already imbricated with the national in complicated ways. This is even more surprising given that Lai the novelist has consciously taken diasporic and continental positions in her fiction, to great effect. She certainly attempts to revisit and revise concepts of the nation, but she is reluctant to imagine outside or beyond it here, perhaps because neoliberal global capitalism sets such a horrific example of what is possible “beyond.” In the end, Lai refrains from offering a plan of action on which to pin the hope she has carefully nourished so that, despite her admirable ability to straddle the positions of academic, activist and artist, the book as a whole stops short of sustaining this balancing act, rather cleaving more to the academic than the other perspectives. Despite this, Slanting I, Imagining We is a compelling and challenging study, certainly among the best to date on Asian Canadian literature.

 Donald C. Goellnicht, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

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COMPARING INSTITUTION-BUILDING IN EAST ASIA: Power Politics, Governance, and Critical Junctures. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific Series. By Hidetaka Yoshimatsu. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xi, 231 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$100.00. cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-37054-9.

This is a well-designed, well-organized and well-written scholarly work, which provides a systematic and comprehensive analysis of regional institution-building in East Asia, an interesting and important topic in the study of East Asian regionalism. The book clearly makes a useful contribution to the study on regionalism in East Asia.

In pursuing this important topic of regionalism in East Asia, the author thoughtfully proposes a comprehensive analytical framework, which combines some important factors at all of Kenneth Waltz’s three levels of analysis, including power politics, nation-states’ pursuit of national interests, policymakers’ preferences, the role of non-state actors and historical juncture. A major theme of the work is that while regional relations among nation-states are in the first place defined by power politics and a nation-state’s pursuit of national interests, specific policies are largely influenced by various domestic factors, including political institutions, interests groups and others.

From the power politics perspective, the author argues that regional cooperation and institution-building in specific policy areas in East Asia is primarily dominated, influenced and determined by two regional powers, China and Japan. While the regional institutions were mostly initiated by Japan as the old regional power in East Asia, they are now increasingly relying on China for their further development as a result of the rise of Chinese power and influence and the decline of Japanese power and influence.

Within the neorealist parameters of power politics at the systemic level, the author then focuses on how regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia in specific policy areas are influenced by policymakers’ preferences, non-state actors and historical juncture. According to the author, in the East Asian domestic political context, policymakers’ perceptions and preferences have significant influence on a nation-state’s foreign policy in general and policy toward regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia in particular. This is because policymakers of East Asian states, due to the history of statism and cultural tradition in East Asia, have long been able to independently pursue policies that would best promote national interests without being subjected to the influence of various domestic social interest groups. Of non-state actors, the author focuses on research institutes as crucial actors influencing regional institution-building in East Asia, as policymakers have to rely heavily on their research, knowledge and expertise for decision making in specific policy areas. The critical juncture is a pivotal turning point in history, as reflected in a crisis or a critical event, which the author argues would significantly influence the path of regional institution-building in East Asia (for example, the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98). The author then applies this synthetic framework to the explanation of regional institution-building in East Asia in five important policy areas, i.e., trade, finance, food security, energy and environment.

This synthetic approach seems to work quite well in explaining regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia and helping readers acquire a better understanding of East Asian regional institution-building in the five policy areas in question.

While the strengths of this scholarly work are most evident, however, there are several issues for which the author fails to provide a clear explanation. The first such issue is whether some of the regional cooperative projects and institutions that involve countries that are beyond East Asia (for example, the East Asian Summit) can still be called “East Asian regional institution.” This issue is particularly important because, as the author is aware, Japan is trying to bring more non-East Asian powers into various regional institution-building initiatives, while China insists that regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia should be confined to East Asian states only.

A second issue that needs some clearer clarification is the role of ASEAN in regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia. As the author aptly notes, ASEAN has been playing a leading role in many of the regional initiatives and institutions (for example, ARF, ASEM, ASEAN+3, ASEAN+1, etc.). But the author provides no explanation of why ASEAN can play such a leading role that is not in proportion to its true power. The conventional wisdom is that regional cooperation and institution-building has to be led by a major regional power or powers, as is true with the European Union. Such a leading role for ASEAN in regional institution-building in East Asia is also in conflict with the major theme of the work, which, based on the neorealist power politics perspective, argues that regional cooperation and institution-building in East Asia is dominated, influenced and determined by two regional powers, China and Japan. Obviously, there must be some important factors that allow ASEAN to play such a “leading” role, which is supposed to be taken by regional powers. These important factors are clearly related to geopolitics in East Asia, which is particularly reflected in the rivalry between two regional powers, China and Japan. This reveals a third issue of the work, that is, weak discussion of geopolitical competition between two regional powers, China and Japan, as a crucial factor behind the process of regional institution-building in East Asia.

On the whole, this is an informative and insightful work, which makes an important contribution to the literature on regionalism in East Asia in general and regional institution-building in East Asia in particular.

Kevin G. Cai, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada   

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ARCHITECTURALIZED ASIA: Mapping a Continent through History. Spatial Habitus. Edited by Vimalin Rujivacharakul, H. Hazel Hahn, Ken Tadashi Oshima, Peter Christensen. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2014, c2013. xv, 301 pp., [24 pp.] col. plates (Figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3952-9.

Architecturalized Asia is an ambitious volume of visionary scholarship that both demonstrates architectural history’s important place in the study of Asia and makes it accessible as a method of analysis to those of us outside the discipline. “Architecturalized,” which Yuming He handily describes as to be “designed, codified, and structured” (67), is a productive motif that underscores the making of “Asia” through thought and practice, and that seeks to interrogate that process of construction. It also refers to the object of study: “Asia” is to be examined through its “architecture”—here writ large to encompass not only individual buildings, but also the built environment and its representations in cartography. Underscoring the particular power that physical structures and their representations possess, the essays in this volume use them as lenses to investigate how Asia has taken shape over time.

This collection is motivated by a desire to emancipate the study of architecture in Asia from its domination by “a dialectical relationship between Europe and Asia” (8). While each of the essays gives due credit to the important role that Europe and European regimes of knowledge have played in the emergence and study of Asian architecture, they also identify a need to give an account of Asian architecture that neither reduces it to that relationship, nor always returns to it in the final analytical instance. The essays successfully offer different ways out of this bind, whether by demonstrating how, as Caroline Herbelin does, architects both local and foreign actively broke away from Orientalist conceptualizations of Asia to pursue architectural styles more appropriate to local conditions, or when Ken Tadashi Oshima shows that imaginations of Asia outside of Asia offered refreshing new ways to think about the region that departed from Orientalism’s desire to exoticize and subjugate. The emancipatory impulse is also at work in more elemental ways, as in David Efurd’s contribution, which offers a correction to misunderstandings that have resulted from reading South Asian Buddhist architecture through the lens of European religious architecture.

The attempt to interrogate the dominance of the nation state and national styles as frames for examining Asian architecture is another theme that runs through the volume, and is especially marked in its first section on the medieval and early modern period. Vimalin Rujivacharakul’s examination of how architecture became linked to geographical and geopolitical space within the field of world architecture (Rujivacharakul identifies the emergence of “architectural narration” as a key moment in this process) sets the tone for the volume as a whole. By emphasizing a dynamic exchange of ideas, influences and practices that transcended national borders, many of the essays not only illustrate the limitations of national frames for understanding the emergence of “Asian architecture” historically, they also—as in Imran bin Tajudeen’s essay on the inability of extant categories of Asian architecture to adequately account for Javanese architectural forms—highlight how national frames are in some cases unable even to produce accurate knowledge. At the same time, these interrogations of national frameworks stands in interesting tension with essays in the last section of the volume that examine architecture’s contribution to regional identity formation, which suggests that despite their limits as ways of ordering knowledge, architectural styles as representations of group identity are still politically powerful and useful.

The volume’s emphasis on the dynamic transmission of ideas across cultural, geographical and temporal (as Seng Kuan demonstrates in his essay on the continuities between Japanese plans for their prewar colony in Manchuria and postwar Tokyo Bay) space prompts rethinking about the relationship between knowledge regimes, especially if the transmission takes places within asymmetrical power relations. Many of the essays illustrate the permeability between dualities like colonizer/colonized, West/non-West, or Asia/non-Asia and ask us to consider the multiple directionalities through which power and knowledge flowed. In so doing, an important question emerges: what happens to the political valences that accompanied these ideas in their “original” form—the Orientalist dimensions of imaginations of Asia formed during the age of high imperialism; the centralized power of the Soviet state implicit in Soviet-style functionalism; the colonial dimensions of Japan’s urban planning in Manchuria—when they are transmitted across space and time? Do these political significances, so crucial to their emergence, continue to inhere in the ideas or are they neutralized or transformed in some way through their transmission?

Among this volume’s successes is its offer of a refreshingly inclusive idea of “Asia” in time (from the medieval period to the present) and space (encompassing East, Southeast and South Asia, but also the Pacific Rim, Central Asia and Iran). This not only decentres the region away from its conventional geographical centres and raises the question of where Asia “is,” it also opens up the possibility of imagining other configurations of and within Asia itself. Peter Christensen’s tracing of Eurasia’s short-lived career as a “hitherto unimagined cultural contiguity” (105) illustrates this expansive geographical imagination especially powerfully. The fact that a region was—even if only for a moment—conceptualized in such a way that transcended national boundaries and national agendas is an intriguing prospect for our own, highly fragmented present in which political issues between individual countries threaten to exacerbate the fragmentation of Asia even further.

Tze M. Loo, University of Richmond, Richmond, USA                  

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BRIDGING TROUBLED WATERS: China, Japan, and Maritime Order in the East China Sea. By James Manicom. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. xii, 266 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$54.95, cloth, 978-1-62616-102-3; US$32.95, paper, 978-1-62616-035-4; US$32.95, ebook, 978-1-62616-036-1.

The Sino-Japanese relationship has become increasingly tense in recent years, and some even worry that war is looming. Disputes over historical memory, disputed territory and maritime space are sometimes interpreted as mere flashpoints in an ongoing power shift, but they are also crucial in their own right. Bridging Troubled Waters by James Manicom contributes a fresh perspective on the latter two bones of contention. In a nutshell, the book establishes its raison d´être by asking why and how Sino-Japanese cooperation has been achieved, and how can it be achieved in the future, despite lingering tensions. Manicom rightly argues that the East China Sea dispute should be considered a “least likely” case study in bilateral cooperation, and that it might “shed light on similar disputes” (5).

To address his research problem, Manicom stipulates that the value of disputed space has an impact on cooperative efforts between rival states. He constructs a 2X2 “Maritime Value Matrix” (MVM), where one axis represents the alleged dichotomy between “tangible” and “intangible” values, whereas the other one embodies a distinction between mutually salient issues and those that are salient only to one actor. Manicom hypothesizes that cooperation will be most reciprocal, enforceable and lasting over tangible issues that concern both parties, while cooperation over issues that are important to just one party—tangible and intangible—will be weaker and more short-lived. However, he hypothesizes that intangible issues will be pursued reciprocally and tangible ones coercively.

These hypotheses are then confirmed in four cases: the islands conflict per se (since the 1970s), fishery cooperation (1997–2000), marine research activities (2000–2001), and resource development (2005–2008). Manicom finds that cooperation is easier and more durable over tangible matters that both parties have an interest in—fisheries is the case in point. In contrast, as soon as tangible issues are more important to just one party—for example maritime research—cooperation becomes more coercive, informal and short-lived. And when issues are intangible but concerns are shared, as with the territorial dispute, cooperation is reciprocal and informal, but also fragile. Resource development, finally, is a mixed case. Since only China would be able to use the resources effectively the issue has been more crucial to China in material terms. For Japan, in contrast, the issue becomes enmeshed in the allegedly more symbolic islands dispute.

The book not only contributes by demonstrating that Japan and China have been able to cooperate regarding the disputed islands and adjacent maritime space. Based on this understanding it also presents a roadmap for how to break up vicious circles and how to forge more virtuous ones. Manicom asserts that “cooperation will endure” (5), at least “[a]s long as states continue to reciprocate” (26). More concretely, he suggests that Japan could agree to abrogate the consensus on resource exploration from June 2008 “in exchange for an agreement on sharing jurisdiction in the contested area of the East China Sea” (188).

While this book makes significant theoretical, empirical and even policy contributions, I think some matters might be further discussed. First, the MVM distinguishes between tangible and intangible issues, but Manicom later concludes that the two are “nearly impossible to separate, in a political sense” (185). I agree with the afterthought, because even seemingly pure material matters acquire their meaning through symbols, ideas and discourses. Fisheries and fish, for instance, surely mean different things to a country where fish is an important part of the food culture, such as Japan, and a country where meat or vegetables are more prevalent. Likewise, the territorial dispute is classified here as an intangible issue, although, ironically, territory is often treated as the single-most material aspect of nation-states. Manicom argues that the conflation between symbolic and material aspects of contested space “militates against cooperation” in these particular cases (167), but such conflation is arguably inevitable.

Second, symbolic matters recur as a separate variable in the notion that leaders can reason and operate outside of the nationalist discourses and practices, which repeatedly aggravate the Sino-Japanese relationship over contested maritime space. Indeed, although Manicom provides a largely constructivist understanding of identity and refers to the “‘social construction’ of the world oceans” (7), his analysis is framed in the language of rational choice theory, where only costs and benefits seem to motivate the important actors: the strategizing leaders. This is not only inconsistent with social construction, but also quite unrealistic.

Third, Manicom’s belief in the possibility of Sino-Japanese cooperation is firm, but the picture that emerges from his own analysis is actually quite contradictory. He writes both that “the recent phase of tensions in the East China Sea seems to belie the cooperative track record presented in this book” (185), and that “[t]he cooperative track record between China and Japan in the East China Sea belies the expectation that the two countries are teetering on the brink of war over their disputed maritime space” (200). Yet one cannot have it both ways. Although the book demonstrates that cooperation is possible, it also shows that it is often fragile and short-lived. Indeed, this seems to be the gist of two of the hypotheses. Moreover, with the alleged importance of “coercive cooperation,” one needs to consider that coercion for the sake of cooperation is just as likely to have pacific outcomes as war for the sake of peace. Hence, with increasing confrontations at sea, and with mutually more exclusionary and antagonistic identity discourses in both countries, the prospects for cooperation actually seem quite dim.

These small objections notwithstanding, Manicom’s timely book contributes greatly to the understanding of one of the most pressing issues in Sino-Japanese relations, and is a must-read for serious students of East Asian international politics and maritime security alike.

Linus Hagström, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden            

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COPRODUCING ASIA: Locating Japanese-Chinese Regional Film and Media. By Stephanie DeBoer. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 244 pp. (Illus.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8949-1; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8950-7.

Transnational and transregional film coproduction has been a remarkable trend in postwar world cinema, and has become increasingly phenomenal since the 1990s with booming cultural industries in Asia, and in China in particular. Coproducing Asia is a welcome endeavour that explores film collaborations between the two largest Asian powers, Japan and China.

Echoing the opinion that pan-Asian regional film and media coproductions are central to the possibilities of a rising “new Asia”, the book argues for the importance of understanding coproduction as a production technology that could better address the regional cultural geography that is in the making. The book views coproduction more as a site of negotiation than a site of transformation, and interrogates the ways in which regional coproductions become arenas of negotiated meaning and uneven assemblages among a competing range of media geographies, production practices, imaginaries, and technologies. The author claims that Coproducing Asia is not a history and contemporary account of all coproductions among the media capitals of Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and mainland China up to the current moments. Rather, the book aims to “provide a set of contexts and framings that enable us to interrogate the Asian coproduction and its locations, both material and imaginary, as a simultaneously critical and particular dynamic of transnational film and media” (15). To achieve this end, the author employs a genealogical method to highlight particular moments in which Asian coproductions are engaged in regional media projects.

Addressing three postwar moments of Asia, the book is divided into five chapters. The first two chapters examine regional film and media relationships during the late 1950s and 1970s when Japanese colonial and imperialist legacy was juxtaposed with Eastern Asia’s regional desire for technomodernity. The first chapter addresses the specters of Japan’s imperial occupation of the region and its postwar media development linked to romance coproductions ranging from Night in Hong Kong to Night in Bangkok. The second chapter discusses Hong Kong-Japan coproductions made from the 1950s to the 1970s, and interrogates Hong Kong’s “copying” of new film technologies, rationalized production methods, genres and styles linked to Japan. Chapter 3 analyzes Sino-Japanese friendship coproductions following Japan’s reengagement with the PRC in the early 1970s, by focusing on the NHK-CCTV television documentary series The Silk Road and TV series A Son of the Good Earth. Chapter 4 explores the context and practices of Japanese cultural industry projects by placing Tokyo as the central media capital of Asia from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chapter 5 investigates the importance of emerging mainland China’s media market and rich resources by examining coproductions like Battle of Wits, Tea Fight and The Longest Night in Shanghai, in order to facilitate an understanding of mainland China as a geography through which the possibilities of new Asian cultural production are imagined and practiced.

The book’s strength is its effort to theorize the phenomenon of coproduction by placing coproduction in historical contexts and viewing it from a cultural specific perspective. In the author’s view, coproduction is a technology and a mode of production that potentiates new forms of encounter and cultural expression. Coproduction is also a site for the negotiation of meaning and identity. Moreover, coproduction is a battling ground on which Cold War structures have been repeatedly reconfigured and a progress-driven capitalist modernity is articulated. The second strength of the book is its engagement with current literature in the field of Asian cinema and Asian cultural studies. The author does a good job of integrating the main arguments of Asian cultural studies literature into her analysis of coproductions. Specifically, the author employs Michael Curtin’s well-known thesis of “media capital,” and attempts to use the coproduction locales of Tokyo, Hong Kong and mainland China to display the development and current formations of Asian media capital.

While Coproducing Asia is a welcome exploration of transnational cinema, the book would have benefited from the following: First, while the author tends to view Japan as a central place of Asian media capital, it may have been better if the author had devoted more space to examining other major media coproduction centres, especially Hong Kong, to expand the width and depth of the analysis of Asian coproductions. Similarly, coproductions between Japan and Taiwan are almost missing from the discussion. Considering Taiwan’s half-century of colonial experience under Japanese imperial rule, Japanese-Taiwanese coproduction should have been a major focus and could have provided more valuable examples for considering coproduction as a site for the negotiation of meaning and identity.

Second, as the author states, coproduction technologies are entwined with discourses, ideologies and practices. When discussing the “copying” practices of Hong Kong’s film industry and martial arts cinema in particular, the book could have engaged in a more thorough discussion of the genre, style and “oriental” flavour of Hong Kong-based coproductions. This thorough discussion can facilitate the audience’s understanding of Hong Kong’s crucial appreciation of Japanese technology and the integration with Chinese cultural elements, so that the audience can get a better idea of the changing dynamics of transnational media and the shifting power of Asian media capital.

Third, it remains unclear what might constitute a “Japanese-Chinese coproduction” in terms of co-investing, co-directing, co-screenplay-writing, or co-starring. Also, the book needs a rationale for the range of movies that the author selects as main objects of analysis. For example, for the coproductions of the 1950s and 1960s, why is Night in Hong Kong selected for analysis but not many other Hong Kong movies in which Japanese actors and actresses starred. For the coproductions of the 1970s and the 1980s, why are The Silk Road and A Son of the Good Earth selected, but not the very influential movie The Go Masters? For recent movies after 2000, why aren’t those popular coproductions selected for analysis, such as Last Love First Love, Shanghai, East Wind Rain, About Love and Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles? The book would have benefited from a clear explanation of selection, as well as more primary or secondary sources and interviews.

Wendy Su, University of California, Riverside, USA

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RETURN: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia. Xiang Biao, Brenda S.A. Yeoh, and Mika Toyota, eds. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. vii, 208 pp. (Figures.) US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5531-1.

Often when considering migration, we focus on the outward journey, or the landed experience: getting there, or being there. Seldom do we focus on the return. Yet return is an important feature of migration in the transnational world, and especially in Asia, which, as D.H. Seol and J. Skrentny (International Labor Migration Review, vol. 43 (3):578-620, Fall 2009) have argued, is much more likely to host temporary migration flows than Europe. As Xiang Biao himself notes, “transnational circulation in Asia serves as a (national) method of migration regulation” (3). He and his co-editors, Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Mika Toyota, have put together a collection of exceptionally well-written essays on return migration in Asia, examining it as a goal of the state, as well as part of the imaginary of migrants themselves. Forced returns after financial crises, compulsory returns of labour migrants, returns of refugees or trafficked people, reverse flows of professionals are all considered. These chapters illustrate how the notion of return changes over history, in the minds of the migrants as well as in the projects of the state.

The first three chapters take up historical migrations. Koji Sasaki writes on the question of return since 1990 for Japanese who had migrated to Brazil from 1908, Mariko Tamanoi discusses the staggered and delayed return of Japanese soldiers and POWs after World War II, and Wang Cangbai relates the differential receptions in the People’s Republic of China of overseas-born Chinese (“Guiquiao”) from the 1950s to the late 1970s. We can feel the reverberations of Asian nations’ entwined histories throughout these accounts. For the Japanese Brazilians, emigration that began in the early 1900s as Japan pushed out excess population, ended up in reverse temporary migration of over 300,000 in the 1990s as Nikkei-Brazilians were beckoned back as labour migrants. This scheme then soured with the 2008 financial crisis. Sasaki’s finely detailed chapter, based on archival accounts, reminds us of changing meanings of mobility for Nikkei Brazilians while underlining the role of the nation in facilitating and regulating this mobility over history. In Wang’s fascinating account, we can sympathize with the guiqiao as they return to mainland China full of the anticipation of nation-building, but become increasingly disillusioned through government campaigns that render them as class enemies. Wang reports that in the decade after China re-opened its borders, some 250,000 returnees migrated to Macao and Hong Kong, partly so that their descendents would not suffer from class discrimination.

The remaining five chapters focus on return migration in current globalization. In chapter 4, Xiang Biao examines compulsory return as evidenced in migrant labour schemes of Singapore, Korea and Japan. Recruitment agents, employers and states create systems of temporary labour through bilateral agreements. The return of the workers is enforced legally through visa regulations but also illegally by the policing actions of informal employer networks. Ultimately, even if the state does not institutionalize draconian measures of surveillance, the system is set up such that employers and agents impose constraints on workers to assure that they will return at contract’s end. Hence, systems of temporary labour facilitate human rights violations. Interestingly Xiang points out that the fear of overstayers has meant that a primary goal of the whole system of temporary migration has become one of co-opting that possibility. Xiang does not suggest a way out of this mess.

In chapter 5, Sylvia Cowan tells the story of Cambodian refugees who left for the US from the 1970s. Some of the younger generation committed crimes and were deported “back” to a Cambodia of which they remembered next to nothing. Initially displaced because of US military actions in Indochina, and again displaced by the US justice system, she notes, they are expelled as aliens essentially for circumstances that were the result of US government policy that relocated them in marginal urban neighbourhoods. Cowen points out that the Iraq war has spawned a new group of poor and displaced refugees. Her query of whether these people’s children will be the next cohort to suffer expulsion rings in our ears.

Johan Lindquist analyzes Indonesians and return in chapter 6 through the lens of three projects: a deportee program, a documentary film on trafficking, and a counter-trafficking program. We can easily see how governments and NGOs alike focus on organized deportation or rescue and return, but as long as the underlying conditions that propel people to migrate are not ameliorated, return is hardly a solution. Lindquist clearly points out the absurdity of these processes. The author’s last comment in the chapter demands our attention as he points to the necessity of looking beyond the “trafficked victim” to ask ultimately about freedom of mobility and labour rights.

The return from the West of Bangalore’s hi-tech migrants is the topic of Carol Upahdya’s chapter. Facilitated by strong state policy that beckons these professionals back, as well as by the desire on the part of the migrants to contribute to India’s further development, it is a highly orchestrated sort of return, with the migrants expecting to make their contributions to the homeland while enjoying the lifestyle of affluent global cosmopolitans. Upahdya discusses some of the attempts of returnees to bring social remittances such as “modes of respectable living and civil life” from the West. Whether India will become the nation of their imaginations—that hybrid of global comforts with an Indian flare—remains a question.

In the final chapter, M.C. Lu and Shin HJ discuss the case of ethnic Korean return to South Korea, arguing that there was a divide in state policy between ethnic Koreans in developing countries and developed countries, a kind of “Hierarchical Nationhood”(170). In the post-1997 financial crisis, many Chinese of Korean ethnicity were deported to China and repatriated, but eventually, through protest movements, their return was ensured. They note, “The notion of return has to remain ambiguous in order to accommodate the contradictions between ethno-nationalism, civic nationalism, and economic rationality”(175).

In sum, this volume offers highly readable, provocative critical analyses of return migration that force us to consider how it is regulated, and at what costs. It will be valuable for anyone interested in the complexities of return migration in Asia.

Glenda S. Roberts, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan      

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CONFRONTING MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR II: European and Asian Legacies. Jackson School Publications in International Studies. Edited by Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel Sneider. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. ix, 330 pp. (Tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99346-1.  

In this volume, ten experts of Europe and East Asia discuss how countries in both regions have dealt with the legacies of their problematic pasts. Half of the essays are dedicated exclusively to European experiences. But the essays’ focus on the process and not just the result of national memory making generates insights that are directly relevant to Asia as well. In this way the book manages to link the two regions without falling into the common trap of obsessively comparing the current situation in both areas, which only results in superficial moralizing of the history issue. Secondly, the contributions in this volume are refreshingly evenhanded. Even the possibly provocative thesis by Gilbert Rozman that not Japanese but Chinese historical revisionism has been driving the history gap in the past decade is very well argued.

There are several themes in this book. The main one in my view is succinctly summarized by Gi-Wook Shin when he writes: “No nation is immune from the charge that it has formed a less than complete view of the past” (158). Indeed, reading the ten essays will inevitably lead to the realization that every country—European or Asian, victim or perpetrator—has engaged in national myth-making and the reinterpretation of its past history. The authors discuss the various factors that account for this in each state. But the volume also succeeds in calling attention to the greater link that exists between memory politics, national identity and nation-state building. Julian Jackson makes this connection explicit when he quotes “forgetting, even historical error, are a necessary factor in the creation of a nation” and argues that “finding a balance between history and myth, denigration and celebration, is very difficult” (151). This has been indeed the case for Japan, China and South Korea as Sneider and Rozman demonstrate in their essays. But we find similar problems in Europe. For decades many European nations harped on their legacies of resistance and victimhood while ignoring the often more salient histories of collaboration and cooperation in the murder of European Jewry (see the chapters by Julian Jackson, Thomas Berger, Frances Gouda, Roger Peterson and Daniel Chirot). Some of this was probably necessary. As Fania Oz-Salzberger’s essay suggests, raw facts of history have the capacity to tear apart the fabric of its societies, especially after an intense period of conflict. The argument implied in Oz-Salzberger’s essay, however, also puts the Korean and Chinese unwillingness to investigate their history of collaboration into a more sympathetic light. After all, their communities were as damaged by the past as those of postwar Europe. That being said, one also needs to distinguish between the necessity to boost one’s national identity after an intense collective trauma and an outright nationalist revisionism that prevents reconciliation 70 years later. Rozman argues that the current history politics of China errs on the side of the latter.

Another major theme of this book is Japan. Specifically, several authors set out to provide a more proper contextualization of the country’s role in East Asia’s memory politics. Chirot makes the compelling case that Japan’s less than sanguine approach to its past legacies is common amongst nation-states. Germany is the real exception. Yet Berger speculates that even the Federal Republic might have taken a similar path had it not been subject to a much larger pressure from the international community. Berger also informs us that on the level of collective memory, the Japanese were more pertinent than Germans in early postwar decades. This finding falls in line with Sneider’s article, which disavows the myth of Japanese memory having been monolithic and dominated by right-wing conservatism. The larger point of these essays is a simple one. Vilifying Japan and subjecting it to over-simplistic comparisons with Germany will not provide any solutions for the history problem in East Asia.

The authors, however, do recognize Japan’s central role in this issue and the shortcomings of its politics. Rozman rightly points out that Japan’s own haughtiness caused it to miss the opportunity to seek deeper reconciliation when it could have in the 1980s. He is also correct in asserting that Japan’s obsession with its neighbours’ use of the “history card” has prevented it from recognizing its own offensive historical revisionism. And one cannot find much fault with Gi-Wook Shin’s argument that Japan has apologized plenty, but that these apologies have sounded hollow to Asians because of its domestic political conduct. In short, the message of these authors is that there is nothing wrong with pushing Japan to assume greater responsibilities for its past transgressions and contrasting it to Germany for that reason. But one needs to do so sensibly and in a historically defensible manner. Naturally, this conclusion is commonsensical. Except that in this work we find plenty of examples of how to do so properly.

Last but not least, the book offers an interesting proposition on how to move forward in East Asia. Gi-Wook Shin argues that this can be done only with the more active involvement of the United States—a country that has apparently been co-responsible for the creation of Asia’s history problem from the start. Shin suggests that were the United States to fully acknowledge and apologize for the atrocities committed on Japan during World War Two, Japan might do the same in regards to its neighbours. This is certainly an idea worth pondering. But one should also add that China and Korea will have to be ready to compromise themselves—something Shin seems to take for granted.

There are many other interesting arguments as well as criticisms that deserve mention but cannot be treated here. In closing it suffices to say that despite any quibbles one might have with one or another essay, the overall quality of the contributions is very high. Reading them will make one rethink what we know about memory politics in East Asia, Europe and the comparison thereof. Even those who have studied these issues extensively will find new ideas in this publication.

Ivo Plsek, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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HOW FINANCE IS SHAPING THE ECONOMIES OF CHINA, JAPAN, AND KOREA. Edited by Yung Chul Park and Hugh Patrick with Larry Meissner. New York: Columbia Business School Publishing (an imprint of Columbia University Press), 2013. xii, 364 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16526-6.

This book consists of 4 chapters written by scholars from China, South Korea (Korea hereafter) and the US on the recent developments of financial and other institutional changes and implications in China, Japan and Korea. The book also contains an editors’ introduction. The three contributing chapters each discuss the economies of China, Japan and Korea and the last chapter discusses the role of banks in these countries. The five chapters of the book are as follows: chapter 1, “An introductory overview,” by Hugh Patrick”; chapter 2, “Financial reform in China: progress and challenges,” by Yiping Huang, Xun Wang, Bijun Wang and Nian Lin; chapter 3, “Ongoing financial deregulation, structural change, and performance, 1990-2010,” by Edward J. Lincoln; chapter 4, “Financial development and liberalization in Korea: 1980-2011,” by Yung Chul Park; and chapter 5, “Banking, capital flows, and financial cycles: Common threads in the 2007-2009 crisis,” by Young-Hwa Scok and Hyun Song Shin.

While China, Japan and Korea are all part of Asia, their economies are at different stages of development. Furthermore, these countries have distinct histories, institutions, political systems and societal characteristics. This gives an interesting setting in which to study how differently these countries have reacted to international economic shocks of a financial nature, such as the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, and the United States-generated global financial crisis of 2007-2009, called the “Lehman shock of September 2008.” Another financial shock that only Japan experienced is its financial bubble of the late 1980s which burst in December 1990. The Asian financial crisis prompted serious financial reforms in Korea, while Japan’s financial bubble burst forced Japan to introduce many reform measures in its financial and corporate governance systems. The Lehman shock adversely affected the economies of these three countries as well as many others in the world.

Specific country chapters discuss how each of the three countries responded to these and other economic shocks using their financial policies. In chapter 2, Yiping Huang et al. emphasize the Chinese government’s insistence on retaining substantial financial repression instead of implementing full liberalization in dealing with the shocks during China’s reform period. In particular, low (depressed) interests and exchange rates are used by the Chinese government, essentially, as subsidies to investors and exporters. These repressive policies have also allowed the government to use the financial sector as a means for supporting economic policy (120). The authors show that the impact of such financial repression policies on economic growth was positive until the 1990s but became negative in the 2000s. The authors suggest the government undertake some level of liberalization in their financial policies to mitigate the negative effects of the current repressive policies.

Chapter 3 by Lincoln discusses Japan’s financial deregulation activities during the 1990-2010 period. Given Japan’s significant financial reforms (called the Big Bang reform) and their stated objectives in the 1990s after the bubble burst, expectations then were that the Japanese economy moved away from their bank-centred system to adopt a more market-oriented financial system and that Tokyo would become an active international financial centre. Neither has happened fully. While financially strong firms are able to issue bonds and other market-oriented debt instruments, weak firms continue to depend on bank finance. Japanese banks, many of which were nationalized in the 1990s, went through many mergers and acquisitions. Large banks were consolidated into three bank-holding companies, with significantly more monopoly power than before.

At the same time return on assets and return on equity remain considerably lower than in the United States. Corporate governance practices in Japan are not necessarily set up to facilitate corporations to maximize their profit either. For these and other reasons international firms may gradually shift activities away from Tokyo (Japan). Lincoln explains Japan’s somewhat inward-looking financial sector using Japanese financial firms’ poor English-language ability, high expat living costs in Tokyo, risk aversion, and group decision-making dynamics. This chapter also discusses the comparative advantages of a bank-centred system versus a market-based system which relies, for example, more on bonds and equity. It concludes that Japan will continue relying on the current bank-centred system for the near future.

Chapter 4, by Park, provides details of the four waves of financial reforms, 1980-2007, and their implications in Korea. Termed as one of the most repressive financial systems, many aspects of Korea’s financial system were strictly controlled by the government (e.g., regulations on banks, non-bank financial institutions, interest rates, foreign exchange rates). The most serious external shock was the 1997 Asian crisis, which in the end forced Korea with no foreign reserve left to accept the liberalization measures required by the International Monetary Fund in return for their rescue funding.

The IMF-originated liberalization measures, combined with further liberalization measures introduced by the Korean government in 2007 as well as the 2009 Capital Market Consolidation Act, prompted Korea’s financial system to become one of the more liberalized, open regimes in the emerging world (231). Korea’s experiences of these financial-system reform measures are summarized in chapter 4 as follows: benefits including economic efficiency gains arising from the financial liberalization are hard to find, so far. Park attributes this to the fact that there is a limit to which a small emerging economy could open its financial sector. Once opened, the financial market can become a playground for international investors, international banks and non-banks. One possible reason for this might be that Korea was not properly equipped to accept foreign investors at the time of financial liberalization periods. But now Korea cannot go back to the pre-liberalization model.

The main theme of chapter 5 by Seok and Shin is the role of financial intermediaries (particularly banks) in the 2007 Lehman crisis in China, Japan, Korea, the EU, and also the US. They conclude that, during the 2007 Lehman crisis, the mechanics of the boom-bust cycle played out even more potently in the capital markets of the advanced countries than in the emerging countries. How about the benefits of financial globalization and the belief that capital inflows from overseas supplement domestic savings in financing investment, lowering the cost of capital, and boosting growth? The evidence seems mixed at best. Capital inflows may fuel permissive domestic liquidity conditions that fuel housing booms and consumption. Asset bubbles may be attributed to the excessive growth of assets funded with short-term debt, with substantial part being denominated in a foreign currency.

The editors’ preface states that the purpose of this book is to make definitive contributions to the financial histories of China, Japan and Korea available to a wide audience. The editors have succeeded in their task.

Masao Nakamura, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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ARCHITECTS OF GROWTH?: Sub-national Governments and Industrialization in Asia. Edited by Francis E. Hutchinson. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xxv, 399 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$49.90, paper. ISBN 978-9-814414-53-1.

Architects of Growth is essentially a collection of ten case studies on the nature and role of provincial or state governments in growing and nurturing electronics hardware manufacturing across a range of countries in Southeast Asia. The region is well known as a hub for high technology manufacturing and within it the electronics industry.

In fact the sector has been very important for the catch-up of these industrializing countries. Three of these countries—namely China, Korea and Taiwan—have indeed become world leaders in the design, manufacture and sale of various electronics products such as telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and notebook and tablet computers. It is also well documented that the governments of these countries did play an important part in shaping the trajectory of this technology-intensive industry, which is prone to various sorts of market failures. In fact even in advanced countries such as in the United States and Japan, the state had an important role in promoting the growth of the electronics industry. However in the literature the role of the state is very often equated with the central or national government. But in more ways than one the sub-national governments, especially at the level of states or provinces, also do have a strong and important role to play. The role manifests itself in two broad ways. First the state itself directly embarks on the manufacture of these products by setting up state-owned undertakings and second, the state providing the necessary incentives, usually fiscal, for the product to be manufactured by the private sector. It is this multifaceted role of the state that is sought to be analyzed by the collection of case studies in the book and given the fact that the role of sub-national entities is very rarely discussed or understood, the book under review is a welcome addition to the literature on decentralization, which so far has been preoccupied mainly with governance issues and not commodity producing ones.

The book is structured into 13 chapters of which ten are case studies that constitute the core of the book. The case studies are grouped into three categories, namely: on the basis of geographical location of the countries, size of the economies and according to the degree of industrialization in a mutually exclusive fashion. In fact the use of multiple criteria to situate the cases limits to some extent the comparative picture that the cases are supposed to throw light on. The first set of cases is four Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, all in different stages of development as far as electronics manufacturing is concerned. The second set focuses on two large countries: China and India, and the third set consists of four cases of industrialized countries: Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands. Here the inclusion of both Singapore and the Netherlands is likely to raise some eyebrows. The concept of sub-nationalism may not at all apply to Singapore and the Netherlands is not an Asian country and hence one does not find sufficient justification for its inclusion especially given the fact that the book focuses on the role of sub-national governments in promoting industrialization through the diffusion of the electronics industry in Asia. Although the case that the author discusses, North Brabant province, is important for high technology development within the Netherlands, the role of the national government too was equally relevant. As important is the location of a leading electronics MNC in that region which would have spawned in any case a cluster of electronic component suppliers. The cases do not adopt a common theoretical framework and hence the results of the individual cases are not easily comparable despite the heroic attempt made in the concluding chapter to draw out lessons from their role in promoting industrialization. This is because the chapters are edited versions of a conference organized in 2011. The absence of a common framework does indeed limit the usefulness of this otherwise laudable project on an underexplored but important theme. However without any doubt the book places on the table the growing importance of sub-national entities at a time when all economies are globalizing and even the importance of national-level policies for industrialization has come under some strain.

The most refreshing aspect of the book is the central question that the editor raises, namely the extent to which sub-national governments design and implement policies to address needs regarding their industrial sectors. The ten case studies do provide enough evidence to the effect that they do and in that process earn the title of being architects of growth. This central question is then followed by three sub-questions: (1) when do sub-national governments take on the role of architects?; (2) to what extent they can become the prime drivers of industrialization; and (3) which of the strategies and policy measures that are available to them are productive and under what conditions? These are then answered through the case studies although there is considerable variation in the clarity with which these are dealt with in the successive case studies.

An important but interesting issue that is under-explored in the case studies is the extent to which the sub-national entities across the range of country cases have actually used fiscal incentives of various sorts (notably tax concessions) to attract FDI and through that process industrialization. In fact this incentive-induced industrialization has led to a competition of sorts between the sub-national entities to attract large FDI projects. The belief was that this would accentuate the creation of additional employment in the local economy. The fact that almost all these countries have experienced “jobless growth” (defined as rate of growth of industrial employment being at a much slower rate than the rate of growth of GDP) has diminished one’s faith in this type of industrialization. There are, of course, well-known exceptions to this where provincial governments have successfully used policies to raise both employment growth in tandem with overall rate of growth of GDP.It is in this context that one can appreciate the North Brabant case, although commentators familiar with the Netherlands may consider the province of Limburg to be a better case of transformation. Although there are discussions of linkages (horizontal and vertical), the discussion of it is rather skimpy across the cases.

That said the book is stimulating and readable and a systematic appreciation of it can lead to the emergence of research on the welfare implications of incentive-induced industrialization at the sub-national level.

Sunil Mani, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, India                                                          

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BROTHERS IN ARMS: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979. By Andrew Mertha. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014. xv, 175 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5265-9.

This well-organized book assesses China’s military, infrastructure and commercial assistance to its ally, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime of Democratic Kampuchea (DK). Chapter 1 offers a succinct overview of China’s relations with DK. Chapter 2 describes in detail the Khmer Rouge bureaucracy, informing the reader that authority relations in DK were constantly in flux and that specific responsibilities of an individual or office were based on the trust of the system’s top members: Pol Pot or his chief lieutenants. We also learn that, while commercial functions were controlled from top-down, the Kampong Som petroleum refinery project was a decentralized policy area which came under the purview of the local zone commander. Chapter 3 explains the bureaucratic structure and process of Chinese assistance to DK, giving the Kampong Som case as illustration.

The book’s central argument, that China’s aid provision bought it little influence in DK due to bureaucratic fragmentation in China combined with an institutional matrix in Cambodia either strong enough or too weak to resist Chinese demands, are expanded upon in chapters 4, 5 and 6. Chapter 4 deals with Chinese military assistance to DK, the argument here being Chinese influence was curtailed due to the strength of the DK military. Chapter 5 addresses the Kampong Som project, in which it is maintained that Chinese investments brought even smaller returns because of the fragmentation of Chinese bureaucracies. Chapter 6 takes up the issue of Chinese assistance to DK’s international trade and commerce. The seventh and last chapter attempts to extend the study to present-day policy making by Chinese bureaucracies.

The author refers to the military airfield complex of Krang Leav as an unqualified success of Chinese infrastructure aid to DK. As such, it is all the more curious for Mertha to assert that, “even if China wanted to, it was unable to influence DK in implementation of policy” (97). More likely, by not insisting that radar stations or the military airfield be sited near the coast or the Thai border, China had given way to DK’s military concerns and priorities, particularly in helping to construct Krang Leav near the border with Vietnam, although the Chinese had initial qualms about appearing provocative to the Vietnamese (84-85). Of the three cases, only Kampong Som could really be considered a failure. Although Mertha argued that a major problem was that the Chinese institutions involved were fragmented into overlapping jurisdictions and organizational mandates, and incapable of effective planning and coordination with numerous contracting and subcontracting parties and agencies, he stressed no less that the mass killing of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge authorities and its fratricidal purges largely deprived the country of skilled personnel to handle the tasks assigned to them by the Chinese. In the case of trade, while the Chinese bureaucracies were said to have clear functional delineations of responsibility without the need to rely on “a constellation of subordinate units” (125), the DK Ministry of Commerce was described as “institutionally complex and fragmented” (120), yet had enough influence with the top leadership to function as a trading unit.

The central question of the book is: “Why was a powerful state like China unable to influence its far weaker and ostensibly dependent client state” (3)? Mertha refers to Sophie Richardson’s China, Cambodia and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009) in which she argued that Beijing subordinated its own interests to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and their domestic priorities, but then brushed her argument aside. Perhaps Mertha could have entertained the notion that China was not so much unable but rather unwilling to assert influence over Cambodia, particularly on issues that were not the priorities of the leadership of either China or Cambodia. While defense and trade were vital to the survival of DK as China’s client state, “the Chinese-retrofitted Kampong Som oil refinery would have made DK reliant on crude oil from China” (99), and the Pol Pot leadership was obsessed with achieving self-sufficiency.

The period that the Khmer Rouge was in power, from April 1975 to the end of 1978, witnessed tumultuous changes in Chinese politics, with the purge of Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping, death of Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Mao Zedong, arrest of the leftist “Gang of Four” faction, succession by Hua Guofeng to Mao’s position, and the return to power of Deng and his setting aside of Mao’s autarkic economic policy in favour of reform and opening. As such, the analysis should have been extended from the bureaucratic fragmentation hypothesis to investigate whether changes or instabilities in the leaderships of the various ministries, bureaus, institutes or agencies on the Chinese side might have affected their relationships with the DK authorities or their operations in Cambodia.

The author’s use of bureaucratic fragmentation in a previous work to shed light on the politics and policy making of hydroelectric dam constructions in China—where energy bureaucracies are jealous guardians of their own turfs—may be more straightforward than its application for this study, which deals with more than just one country or one issue. Furthermore, the bureaucratic fragmentation argument was never explicitly made for the Cambodian side regarding the failure of Chinese aid projects, although patron-client networks of zone commanders in DK were cited as central to cadres’ decision making (12). Elsewhere, Mertha mentioned the youth of (often teenage) project managers and the political purges in Cambodia (69), and the technical and administrative shortcomings of Cambodian personnel and institutions (57). These were certainly hindrances to the projects, but hardly attributable to institutional failures of fragmented bureaucracies.

The author’s thesis thus leaves much room for debate, particularly since it relies on three case findings that only partially confirm it. Nonetheless, the study is a product of painstaking field work, thorough research and plausible theoretical inference. This reviewer recommends the book to both experts and laymen alike for its insights on Sino-Cambodian relations and China’s aid to developing countries.

Chien-peng Chung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong SAR, China                                                             

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RED STAMPS AND GOLD STARS: Fieldwork Dilemmas in Upland Socialist Asia. Edited by Sarah Turner. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. x, 295 pp. (Figures.) US$37.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2494-1.

 Until recently, very few foreign researchers had succeeded in getting long-term access to the field in China, Vietnam and Laos. The situation began to improve after the three socialist countries started to open up to foreign investors, tourists and, to a lesser extent, NGOs, in the wake of “economic liberalization” (first in China in the early 1980s, followed by Vietnam and Laos in the late 1980s). Nevertheless, bureaucratic obstacles and political surveillance are still very much prevalent in these centralized authoritarian regimes. Access to the field is furthermore complicated by the fact that all the contributors in this volume have conducted research with ethnic minority groups inhabiting the upland areas of China, Vietnam and Laos, where government concerns for “national security” and suspicion towards foreign researchers are especially heightened. This rich collection of essays offers insightful and candid accounts of these anthropologists’ and geographers’ fieldwork challenges and dilemmas, as experienced to varying degrees and in various ways prior to their access to, and during their sojourns in, “the field” in upland socialist Asia.

Sarah Turner articulates in her introduction the core themes that traverse the analyses of each contribution, reflecting on the researcher’s positionality and reflexivity, and gatekeepers that provide (or hinder) access to key resources, as well as on ethical dilemmas that unavoidably arise in such controlled, yet shifting, environments. In chapter 2, Jean Michaud provides a useful timeline and background to the communist ideology and national priorities (i.e., integration in the mainstream/majority culture and society) that have driven state policy regarding ethnic minorities in the three socialist countries.

The twelve subsequent chapters engage with a wide array of experiences relating to long-term and repeated fieldwork. An experience commonly shared by several authors was their convoluted path to getting fieldwork research permits (i.e., “red stamps”) and their tangled interactions with state bureaucracy and Party officials (chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13). Their pre-field preparations were at times remarkably informal in such a top-down and seemingly rigid system: they might involve a good measure of (mandatory) sociability (e.g., dinner parties and drinking sessions), unplanned expenses (small “gifts” and other “fees”), and compromises (through self-censorship and “revised” research proposals). Jennifer Sowerwine and Pierre Petit, in their essays (chapters 6 and 8), offer a frank description of these awkward situations. Petit saw in these multi-tier dealings and multiple interactions with officials in Laos an opportunity to study the state in “its daily practices” (162). This allowed him to demystify the image of the state as a separate entity shadowing the society and to establish relationships based on trust with state and Party officials embedded in the “real life” of the state beyond ideology.

It is trust that convinces some gatekeepers (at every administrative level) to facilitate the researcher’s access to, and prolonged visits to, his/her field site. For a few authors, equally crucial to the issuance of “red stamps” was the support of a powerful patron (Petit, chapter 8; Sturgeon, chapter 10; Henrion-Dourcy, chapter 11). Social skills and networks, cultural sensitivity and patience may not be sufficient, though; some amount of luck as well can be a determining factor in improving one’s fieldwork research prospects (McAllister, chapter 9; Salemink, chapter 13). Strategies to gain access to the field were therefore diverse and often had to contend with a fair amount of unpredictability that the researchers tried to mitigate with their own aptitude for flexibility and resilience.

Several contributors in the volume also reflect on their positionality in the field (though male contributors seem relatively less reflective about their gender). Candice Cornet, who carries out her PhD field research in a village in southwest China, first as a pregnant woman, then as a mother, is refreshingly open about her anxieties, doubts and shortcomings, but also the unforeseen possibilities (chapter 5). Jennifer Sowerwine was deeply conscious of her identity as an American citizen, which influenced her conduct in her field site in Vietnam. Magnus Fiskejö with humour and insight recounts his endeavours to lessen the Wa villagers’ perception of himself as a Grax,or “the Other” (chapter 4). This was achieved through humility, respect, improved language skills and participant observation (including “participant intoxication”). Cultural immersion creates complicity and a sense of shared solidarity with the local people towards external actors (especially the state and the Party), as finely analyzed by Stéphane Gros in his interactions with the Drung people in the Drung valley in Yunnan province (chapter 3) and experienced by Christine Bonnin with Hmong women in Sa Pa in Northern Vietnam (chapter 7). Bonnin in her contribution raises the important issues of emotions (i.e., anger in her case) and engagement in the field.

Oscar Salemink, Steven Harrell and Li Xingxing tackle head-on these issues in the third and final section of the book; having carried out their research fieldwork many years ago, they willingly share their experiences of engaged anthropology (Salemink) and emotional attachment (Harrell and Li). Their remembrances in a way work in counterpoint to the reflections of their younger colleagues. Will the latter be as intimate and bracingly honest (as Harrell’s confessional narrative) in remembering their fieldwork in a few decades’ time with the benefit of hindsight? In spite of (or because of) the manifold obstacles, their narratives are all success stories; they have overcome adversity. Yet, there is room for reflection on unsuccessful, or less rewarding, fieldwork experiences that could shed a more intense light on a even messier reality. The interviews of Vic and Chloe, two research assistants (to Christine Bonnin and Candice Cornet, respectively), by Sarah Turner in chapter 12 provide glimpses of this. Nevertheless, Red Stamps and Gold Stars should be read by students in anthropology and of socialism in Southeast Asia, as well as anyone who is planning to embark on challenging research fieldwork. This volume will help guide their conduct in “the field” and inspire them to persevere.

Vatthana Pholsena, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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ENCOUNTERING MODERNITY: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America. Edited by Albert L. Park and David K. Yoo. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. viii, 342 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3947-5.

If there were a law against misleading advertising in book titles, Albert L. Park and David K. Yoo would be in serious trouble. The collection of eleven interesting and enlightening articles they brought together under the title “Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America” should have been sub-titled “Protestant Christianity in East Asia and Asian America.” You would not know from the authors in this volume that there are approximately as many Catholics in Japan as there are Protestants, or that the fastest growing religious community in Korea is the Roman Catholic community. And the existence of over 20 million Catholics in China is hardly mentioned at all. This is a book about Protestant Christianity in China, Korea and Japan, as well as among Koreans and Taiwanese in North America, and should have described itself as such.

Moreover, even though there is much a reader can learn about Protestant Christianity in modern East Asian history from the chapters collected here, this volume suffers from a fault shared by many such collections of chapters by different scholars: the authors do not appear to be talking to each other or even to be addressing the same issues.

For example, there is only one article about Taiwan. In Carolyn Chen’s discussion of Taiwanese who have become Protestant Christians after they immigrated to the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, we learn that they became Christians because churches replace the extended families they left behind in Taiwan. However, neither in this or the other ten chapters is there any discussion of Christianity in Taiwan itself.

The only other chapter on Asian Americans is David Yoo’s account of Koreans in the US in the first half of the twentieth century, when Korea was under Japanese rule. He persuasively argues for a close connection between Protestant Christianity and nationalism for that small group of overseas Koreans. However, not only do Chen and Yoo deal with totally different time periods, no other chapters provide any help for readers who would like to place pre-World War II Koreans and post-World War II Taiwanese into the broader context of religion among Asian immigrant groups in North America in the twentieth century. No attention is paid to Japanese-American Christians, for example, or to Christianity among Chinese-Americans who are not from Taiwan (except for a brief discussion by David Ownby of Chinese Christians in the US trying to promote Christianity back in China).

Of the remaining nine chapters, four focus on Korea, three on Japan, and two on China. Three of the Korea chapters deal with Korea just before and during Japanese colonial rule, though none of those chapters specifically address the relationship between Korean Christians in Korea and Korean Christians in the US at that time. All three of those chapters specifically deal with the relationship between Protestant Christianity and the modernization of Korea. Yunjae Park relates the early history of Severance Hospital, the first major institution of Western medicine in Korea. In her chapter, Koreans are mostly absent since she focuses on the contributions of Western missionaries to Korea’s transformation. Albert Park and Kyusik Chang, on the other hand, focus on Korean Christians and their attempts to create a modern Korean economy and society via Christian institutions. Park shows how Western missionaries worked with their Korean counterparts to train young Koreans in the technical skills needed for a modern industrial economy. Chang explains how Cho Man-sik used the YMCA in P’yŏngyang as well as the Korean Production Movement to carve out space for Korean autonomy under Japanese colonial rule.

The fourth chapter on Korea has an entirely different subject. Eun Young Lee Easly jumps into a Korea free from Japanese rule with an analysis of two generations of Korean mega-churches, arguing that they both promise to show believers how to become prosperous, but the older emphasize prayer as the way to do so while the newer mega-churches recommend hard work.

The chapters on Japan are quite different from the chapters on Korea. Two of the three chapters on Japan share the common theme of Japanese trying to remain both fully Japanese and fully Christian at the same time. Gregory Vanderbilt tells us about Japanese Christian nationalists in the 1930s who supported Japan’s imperial expansion. Garrett L. Washington focuses on three Japanese pastors in the first decades of the twentieth century who could also be called Christian nationalists, since they argued that Christianity makes Japanese believers more loyal Japanese. The other chapter, by Mark R. Mullins, takes another tack. He introduces us to Kagawa Toyohiko, a practitioner of the social gospel who, according to Mullims, was more concerned about serving the poor and needy of Japan than with dealing with questions of Japanese Christian identity.

The two chapters on China have little in common with the other chapters. Joseph Tse-Hei Lee traces how Christianity has grown in southern China through personal connections and family ties. David Ownby is more interested in the relationship between churches and the state, particularly the relationship between the state-regulated church and the much larger underground church, and how that underground church has nonetheless tried to make Christianity look authentically Chinese.

With such a diverse range of subjects selected from the history of Christianity in modern East Asia, this is a book few scholars will sit down and read from cover to cover. It provides enough new information that it belongs in the library of every scholarly institution with an interest in global Christianity or modern East Asian history. However, I recommend that it be made available as an e-book for libraries so that researchers could easily access individual chapters they find useful or instructors could ask their students to read individual chapters in it, since it is unlikely the entire book would be relevant to any one research or class project.

Don Baker, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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China and Inner Asia


MODERNITY WITH A COLD WAR FACE: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 360. By Xiaojue Wang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xiii, 359 pp. US$39.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-674-72672-7.

Wang Xiaojue presents six chapters in this book, each devoted to a modern writer in Chinese whose life illustrates the various courses that vocation brought during the Cold War. They are Shen Congwen (1902-1988), who gave up literature for museum work after political denunciation, and died in Beijing before he could receive the widely expected Nobel Prize; Ding Ling (1904-1986), the electrifying feminist writer of the pre-1949 period and then winner of the second Stalin Prize for literature in 1951, after which she suffered brutal torture at the hands of the Communist authorities, being rehabilitated, a shadow of her former self, only in 1978; Wu Zhuoliu (1900-1976), a leading Taiwanese novelist, in particular of the period of Japanese rule; Feng Zhi (1905-1993), greatly influenced by German literature, on which he was an expert, who navigated the political tides of his times with considerable success; and finally Eileen Chang (1920-1965), a great writer but also a tragic expatriate, who spent her life after 1949 dividing her time between Hong Kong and the United States.

The essays are largely successful and informative, though unlike much writing on the subject, they say little about the role of official compulsion in the careers of the three who lived their lives in China. The book’s subtitle, “Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide,” however, suggests greater ambition than simply a well-chosen set of biographical vignettes. By attempting to de-emphasize the Cold War, Wang seeks to unify her subjects under a national rubric that somehow transcends ideology. Neither her introduction nor conclusion, which present her larger arguments pointing to “a De-Cold War Criticism,” quite achieve the evidently hoped-for purpose of making the book more than the sum of its parts.

For one thing, the Cold War has effectively been over since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—twelve years before the publication of the book. Since then the strange confrontation has not so much been re-evaluated as disappeared: a visit to Moscow discloses few symbolic traces of the Communist past, while even in China, vestiges of the period of Maoism (1949-1976) are increasingly difficult to find. It is as if the very different waters of pre-Communist and now effectively post-Communist (but still authoritarian) China are closing over the 24 years of Mao’s rule which, it turns out, did not so much transform the nation’s development as delay it until the great man was dead. Furthermore, like it or not, while it lasted the Cold War did split the Chinese-language world into fragments, some of which communicated a bit, others not at all. So the whole premise of the book seems a bit archaic: that we must somehow wrestle with a once-real “divide” now largely forgotten and well on the way to closing.

A never-resolved ambiguity about the actual history of the period plagues the book. Thus, an ordinary observer might think that Ding Ling, having been a daring and untrammeled author until Communism, subsequently encountered (after a brief celebrity) exile, mental torture, and so forth that effectively broke her spirit. She was, after all, an emotionally delicate woman of literary genius, but so traumatized that at the end of her life, visiting America, she had scarcely anything of interest to say. We know, after all, from a plethora of sources, how brutal were the Chinese Communist authorities, how many great talents were killed or died or broke down. Like Ding Ling they had no choice: they could not opt out of the then pervasive and coercive politicization of art and all else in China. It was obligatory and forcibly imposed

We also know that the whole process of harnessing art to political goals began with Mao Zedong’s “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art” (1942) which had the full support of the new (since 1935) secret police of Kang Sheng, trained by the KGB in the USSR. Only in a footnote does Wang acknowledge that “Mao’s notion of spiritual and physical hygiene was implemented during various political campaigns targeted at intellectuals, of which the 1942 rectification campaign was only the beginning” (118, note 20). Yet rather than exploring what Mao said (and did) to Ding Ling, Wang devotes effectively all of her attention to a putative “self-transformation” by which Ding Ling attempted to change herself into a new kind of writer, as indeed she may have, before perhaps crumbling.

Likewise striking is the ease with which Wang slides over the terrible tragedy of Shen Congwen’s turn away from literary brilliance to museum curatorship. Even her lack of curiosity about Feng Zhi’s passage into Communism “without a strenuous process of assimilation” (242) is puzzling. Perhaps his ability to write in 1958, no less, that only under socialism would “freedom and law, the individual and the collective” be realized, suggests something about his gift for overlooking the obvious oppression in China (243)? As for Wu and Chang, they would fit only if the topic and structure of the book were more intellectually rigorous and better articulated.

One simply cannot erase at will divisions within a world of writing which, in China, saw the final manuscript of Ding Ling’s Sun Shines Over the Sangan River (1948) delayed a year until approved by Mao himself (114), while in contemporaneous Taiwan creative writing was certainly restricted, though Chiang Kai-shek, a far less ambitious dictator than Mao, had little desire to transform human souls, and finally the free world of Hong Kong and beyond. Instead of attempting the impossible by placing the Chinese police state in the background while seeking to rub away hard boundaries, Wang’s deep scholarship might have been better used confronting the indubitable realities of the rapidly receding world of which she writes.

Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

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ON THE FRINGES OF THE HARMONIOUS SOCIETY: Tibetans and Uyghurs in Socialist China. NIAS Studies in Asian Topics. Edited by Trine Brox, Ildikó Bellér-Hann. Copenhagen: NIAS Press; Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press [distributor], 2014. xvi, 320 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-142-0.                 

“On the Fringes of the Harmonious Society” is a collection of papers from a workshop held at the University of Copenhagen. The editors have drawn together academics working on Tibet and Xinjiang, situating their works in the context of China’s development strategy. The title “harmonious society” is drawn from Hu Jintao’s motto during his presidency. Hu was intimately connected to Tibet as the CCP’s first secretary. During his presidency of China, he launched the “Western Development Program,” which sought to promote an aggressive development strategy for the poor regions on the periphery within the mainstream of China’s economy. In the introduction, the editors hope to “make better sense, of the complex interconnectedness between culture, ethnic, and development policies in China” (1). The introduction also quotes Steven Harrell’s description of the regions as the “most resistant to the Centre’s civilizing efforts”(3). Despite similarities, the two regions are treated as separate regions with differing milieus, Buddhist Tibet and Islam in Xinjiang.

The collection consists of twelve contributions, with six papers dealing with Tibet and five papers devoted to Uighurs. Only the paper by Andrew Fischer (29-68) provides systemic comparative studies of the two regions. Fischer’s paper looks at the “structural foundations” of governance and economic strategies. Fischer places two regions within the context of state-led economic and developmental models. The paper shows economic growth rates in Tibet and Xinjiang exceed the national average between 2000 and 2010 (35). The rapid growth was seen as a success from the government’s point of view, but, as Fischer’s paper shows, it was not without its problems. Both Tibet and Xinjiang saw the growth generated by the expansion of state administration and infrastructure construction. Fischer’s paper focuses primarily on the labour transition resulting from the state’s development strategies. Both regions saw the privileging of the urban sector over the rural economy; economic development also led to the exclusion and marginalization of Tibetans and Uighurs from major sources of employment. Fischer makes extensive use of official statistics compiled by provincial governments and by the central government. These provide fruitful data for comparative studies of the regions; the data demonstrates growing marginalization of “minorities” in the labour market (65-66).

The rest of the contributions focus on region-specific issues; however, there are thematic similarities both in subject matter and issues highlighted in the papers. The contributions from Henryk Szadziewski (69-97), Tashi Nyima (127-158) and Elisa Cenecetti (159-182) all deal with the effects of the “Open the West Campaign” (xibu da kaifa) in differing ways. All the papers present similar findings in the development campaign that is aimed at closing the economic disparity between Western regions, which make up 71 percent percent of China’s landmass, yet it accounts for less than 28 percent of GDP (72). As noted in Fischer’s contribution the emphasis was on promoted material development without taking into account ethnic disparities in employment and income disparities. An interesting comparative point made in the book is that economic transformation was more disruptive in Tibetan areas, as the changes involved the destruction of a pastoral economy.

Chris Hann (183-208) and Francoise Robin’s (209-234) contributions look at language issues in Tibet and Xinjiang. Language issues facing the Tibetans and Uighurs are similar to the extent that the promotion of Chinese as the national language through state administration and education has disadvantaged indigenous languages. Both languages are seen as markers of identity and religion, and any decline in the use of the languages is associated with the stripping away of identity. The chapter by Emily Yeh (235-262) deals with of the environmental movement in China and points out that the Tibetan areas were the “point of origin” of China’s environmental activism (237). This would have presented a possibility of convergence of interested parties, beyond ethnicity and locality. Yeh shows that the Green Movement brought Tibet from the periphery to the mainstream of the Chinese nation. However, this presented a problem since it meant mobilizing the local Tibetans, and the Han environmentalists were far more sympathetic to local practices and mobilizing religious leaders to their sides. This led to the emergence of Tibetan environmentalists to create “a space for cultural assertion” (258) viewed by the authorities as detrimental to the state-led campaign of ethnic harmony by accentuating ethnic identity.

The papers by Joanne Finley (263-292), Rachael Harris (293-217) and Eric Schluessel (318-346) deal with social and cultural contestation in Xinjiang. Finley’s paper focuses on the reception of a popular television soap opera (Xinjiang Girl) and the debates it generated regarding inter-ethnic marriage. However, as the paper shows, inter-ethnic marriage remains taboo and marriage is seen as a site of maintaining Uyghur identity and resisting assimilation. Rachael Harris’s paper is the only one dealing with religion and gender issues, a subject that has received little to no attention in the context of Tibet or Xinjiang. The women’s ritual practices are seen as outside Uyghur Islamic society and the state views these practices as “discordant” with the state modernization goal, resulting in the double marginalization of Uyghur women. Eric Schluessel examines the positions and articulations by Uyghur public intellectuals. The situation described by Schuessel is very similar to the position of Tibetan intellectuals. Uyghur and Tibetan intellectuals face the problem of critiquing internal social problems without seeming to endorse the colonial power’s accusations of backwardness.

The book makes valuable contributions to the study of Tibetans and Ugyhurs in contemporary China. By providing well-researched and ethnographically rich details of Tibet and Xinjiang, the book moves the subject beyond treating the people merely as “minorities” who are recipients of state benevolence.

Tsering Shakya, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                  

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CHINA FROM EMPIRE TO NATION-STATE. By Wang Hui; translated by Michael Gibbs Hill. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. xiv, 179 pp. US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-04695-5.

This book is the translation of the introduction to Wang Hui’s four-volume Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, published in Chinese in 2004 and as yet not translated. Wang is a preeminent new-left public intellectual in China, well known for his political and scholarly writings as well as for his editing of Dushu, one of China’s best-known intellectual journals. More of his work is available in English translation than is the case for most contemporary Chinese intellectuals, and this volume is a welcome addition to those interested in Wang in particular and in current intellectual trends in China in general.

Wang’s ambitious goal is to rethink the meanings of “China,” “modernity” and “modern China.” The context for his inquiry is essentially sinological and historical discourse on China as practiced in Japan, the United States and Europe over the past few decades (the introduction suggests that Wang pays less attention to his Chinese colleagues, which may be one reason that he is not universally appreciated there). His discipline is intellectual history, meaning both that he has read broadly and deeply in the writings of Chinese thinkers since the Song dynasty, and that he understands sinological and historical writing as a part of intellectual history. Wang’s approach is post-modern; it could hardly be otherwise, given the nature of his project. Happily, he avoids the sneering “holier than thou” tone of some post-modern writings. He also avoids “bashing the West” and “valourizing China,” although he does want us to rethink many of the central narratives of Chinese historical studies, both in China and elsewhere.

As the title of the volume suggests, most of these central narratives are related to notions concerning “empire” and “nation-state” in China and elsewhere. Relentlessly iconoclastic, Wang attempts to illustrate the extent to which these concepts, central to various narratives of modernity, are in fact much more complex than one might think from reading textbook accounts of Chinese history (or history elsewhere). In the first section of the book, “Two Narratives of China and Their Derivative Forms,” Wang argues that the common binary employed in most historical studies which discuss China’s evolution from premodern empire to modern nation are more teleological than fact-based, and ignore much of the complexity of the historical interactions between capitalism, imperialism and colonialism. In the second section, “The Empire/Nation-State Binary and European ‘World History,'” Wang similarly argues that much of the complexity—and intelligence —of policy discussion and implementation under the Qing has been swept under the rug by dismissive Western images of the Manchus as incompetent Keystone Kops (or by Chinese nationalist images of the Qing as racial enemies). In the third section, “Heavenly Principle/Universal Principle and History,” Wang examines the neo-Confucian notion of heavenly principle, its unfolding over the late dynastic period, and its confrontation with “universal principle” (broadly, science and rationality as introduced by the West in the late nineteenth century). Unlike Joseph Levenson, Wang does not see these two principles as mutually exclusive. Although based on a reading of China’s ancient civilization (rites and music), heavenly principle as conceived by Zhu Xi and others in the Song also contained an understanding of history and flexibility, and remains a resource for present-day Chinese intellectuals. In section 4, “China’s Modern Identity and the Transformation of Empire,” Wang seems to argue against the impact of print capitalism and Benedict Anderson’s idea of an “imagined community” in the rise of China’s modern identity, and for greater attention to the idea of economic empire under globalization.

As this brief summary suggests, this is heady stuff. Wang is clearly serious, erudite and, I think, judicious in what he is trying to do. It is a pleasure to read a Chinese scholar who takes Western and Japanese sinology seriously on its own terms, and who seeks to bend postmodernism to his own ends. At the very least, Wang asks interesting questions in interesting ways, and illustrates helpfully just how silly the (already much decried) notion of “changeless China” really is. At the same time, it is hard to tell the extent to which Wang is “successful.” The project exists at a very high level of abstraction, and given that Wang is hoping to interrogate just what we mean by “China” and “modern,” much of what he says is necessarily highly tentative. It does not help that Wang’s prose is rather dense; a typical paragraph might be a page long, and many are much longer (kudos to the translator, however, who seems to have done a marvelous job). Some passages were fascinating, and made me want to check out the larger four-volume work. Others were nothing short of exasperating, and made me put the book down. I suppose that in a study like this, much of the artistry consists in just getting the balls in the air. Juggling is appreciated for its own sake and there is no immediate larger goal.

Wang wants to do more than juggle, though, and I wish that he had tried harder to communicate his insights in declarative sentences. The final sentence of the volume reads: “Because the process of writing this book stretched out over ten years, I am already unable to sketch out the complete context of my theoretical considerations and how they have changed—this is something that still needs to be addressed” (145). I admire the honesty, but would still have appreciated a few morsels now.

David Ownby, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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BORN OUT OF PLACE: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor. By Nicole Constable. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xvii, 259 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28202-5.

Nicole Constable has produced another compelling ethnography about gender and migration. Her 1997 classic Maid to Order in Hong Kong explores domination and resistance of foreign domestic workers (FDW). Romance on a Global Stage (2003) examines the landscape of desire and power in women’s and men’s pursuit of cross-border marriage. Born Out of Place is a sequel that weaves the critical threads of her previous studies to look into the experience of Filipina and Indonesian FDWs who became pregnant, gave birth and struggled to mother in Hong Kong.

FDWs in Hong Kong are granted local residency on the condition of a labour contract, and are deprived of the right to family unification. Although they may stay in Hong Kong for as long as decades, they are not entitled to permanent residency, and their Hong Kong-born babies are rarely given the right of abode, either.

Born Out of Place demonstrates a range of experiences: some women chose abortion or gave the baby away for adoption, while others struggled to raise the child by themselves or with their partners. Their migratory status and tactics of survival also vary, from those who sought legal residency through marriage or employment, to those on the less privileged spectrum who filed refugee or torture claims but mostly failed in their applications eventually. During their extended period of stay in Hong Kong, they made ends meet by locating low-paying illegal work, including camping in line for the release of iPhones.

The thousands of migrant babies are numerically limited, compared to the total number of FDWs in Hong Kong (about 300,000 in 2012). Some activists have therefore dismissed this as a “tiny little problem.” And yet, Constable has successfully argued that this small problem can speak to large theoretical questions and reveal wider structural paradoxes.

First, this book poignantly reveals the human costs and social injustice of temporary labour migration. The “guest worker” regime places migrant workers in a condition of what Agamben calls “bare life”: they are denied the needs to fulfill their sexual lives and union with family members. Some migrant women desire children to gain some stability in their transitional life, but their pregnancy paradoxically pushes them into a more precarious condition. Although they are legally entitled to maternal leave, their employers tend to terminate the contract, leaving many jobless and undocumented.

Second, Constable vividly demonstrates that the intimate life hidden in the glamorous global city is shadowed by power inequality and moral ambivalence. Although the book focuses on the experiences of migrant women, Constable made a concerted effort to hear the voice of men. Hong Kong is a meeting place for Western tourists, African traders, and South Asian asylum seekers and undocumented workers. Many of these men, as well as local Chinese residents, become “boyfriends” to the FDWs, a term blurring into “a sort of customer, client, or benefactor relationship” (129). Migrant women seek what they call “Hong Kong happy” to escape the patriarchal constraints at home, but they still aspire to the moral legitimacy of marriage. Some bear the consequence of pregnancy because “not using contraception is associated with trust, hope and intimacy” (133).

Finally, the book shows the bitter reality of family alienation and circular migration as an unfortunate and unexpected consequence of labour migration. Constable revisited these women in Indonesia and found that many had become alienated from their natal family and left their children to work overseas again. She coins the concept “the migratory cycle of atonement” to describe how the moral stigma associated with single motherhood and foreign-born children, coupled with the difficulty of earning sufficient wages back home, tends to push women to reenter the migratory cycle. They hope to redeem themselves by converting their earlier moral failure to a steady flow of remittance, which is nevertheless earned in the face of bare, stripped-down lives.

Constable made a conscious decision to write in an accessible, story-telling manner. She is not shy about her passion and sympathy for these migrant women, or her position as a politically engaged feminist-ethnographer-activist. This helps her to delve into migrant women’s underground lives and unsettled feelings, and also enriches this book with touching life stories with telling details. Such a format, however, leaves academic readers like me hungry for further theoretical analysis. Perhaps the expansion of a concluding chapter can tease out issues such as the circuit between paid and unpaid reproductive labour across multiple spheres, the intersecting inequalities of race, gender and class in multiracial intimacy, and the research implications for policy and activism.

This book is an ideal assignment for courses about gender, migration, citizenship or globalization in anthropology, sociology and Asian studies. It would also interest lay readers who are concerned about the vulnerability of disposable labour and the persistence of humanistic values in an era of global migration.

Pei-chia Lan, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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A LANDSCAPE OF TRAVEL: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. By Jenny Chio. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xxxi, 294 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99366-9.

Over hundreds of years, the mountains of Guangxi have been transformed into terraced rice paddies famous the world over, a textbook example of the human transformation of China’s natural environment. Since the 1980s, Ping’an has become a major tourism destination, though its famous fields are increasingly sown by outside hands hired to keep up appearances. The local labour that maintained these terraces is now devoted to tourism work, including guesthouse management, village beautification, and new ethnic displays created specifically for tourism.

The situation in Ping’an village makes up one of the two comparative cases that Jenny Chio presents in A Landscape of Travel. The other is the village of Upper Jidao, a nine-hour drive across the border into Guizhou, provided you make the right turns. Upper Jidao has no famous landscapes, but like Ping’an it is caught up in a national push to economically and socially develop the countryside. In the 2000s, Upper Jidao village became a provincial target for tourism development. Despite being marginalized by more popular and accessible Miao villages in eastern Guizhou, Upper Jidao carved a piece of the tourism market by playing up its rural ethnicity with ethnic costumes and performances, and disguising modern brickwork behind wooden plank facades.

Chio’s book is an ethnographic account of the mobilities and subjectivities of rural ethnic villagers in China working to become visible, attractive and relevant in a competitive new tourism economy. Chio finds that in both villages, “doing” tourism (gao lüyou, in Mandarin) is not something tourists do, but is a process undertaken by villagers learning how to be ethnic and rural (210). This is not an altogether new insight, yet the book makes an important contribution in covering the intensified pressure placed on rural areas over the past decade to more actively contribute to national economic and social goals. In highlighting the role of migrant subjectivities and labor, Chio has at the same time helped clarify the relationship between migration and tourism in China. The rediscovery of rural and remote China by urban Chinese has been a significant social and political change over the past two decades in China. This is a question that I have pursued in my own work. But mobilities of leisure and labour don’t map cleanly onto the schematic movement of urban tourists to rural China and rural labourers to urban China, and A Landscape of Travel is a valuable study of how closely related these mobilities are.

Stories of Ping’an and Upper Jidao are woven through each chapter, each contributing to Chio’s focus on a broad set of theoretical issues. The introduction explains that instead of focusing on the mobility and the visuality of tourists, the book concentrates on the concrete work rural ethnic villagers do in order to be mobile and be seen. Chapter 1 surveys literature on ethnicity and tourism in China, and provides historical overviews of tourism development in Ping’an and Upper Jidao. Chapter 2 frames tourism in these villages as part of the central state’s New Socialist Countryside campaign, and as commodified through the trope of the nongjiale, the “happy farmer home.” The middle chapters go into more detail regarding the mobilities, appearances and subjectivities behind the work of tourism. Tourist subjectivities sneak into the book in chapter 3, which covers the uneven mobilities generated through tourism development—how rural tourism requires that someone remain in the role of the peasant, and how residents come to see their village and themselves through tourism. Chapter 4 probes the politics of the visual work required for tourism, how villagers make themselves and their landscapes appear rural and ethnic. Chapter 5 covers the local politics of tourism—between residents, developers, and local governments—and the requirement to create distance and difference between rural ethnic villages. The conclusion reprises the major themes of the book through an account of a tour to Ping’an organized by Chio for Upper Jidao officials.

Chio demonstrates sensitivity to the complex relationships and politics of tourism development in these villages. In her close focus on specific villages in a specific period of time, Chio does not slip into making generalizations about all tourism in China. However, there is no explicit discussion about how this might relate to other parts of China: to “non-ethnic” rural villages, for example, to more urbanized (or more remote) ethnic areas, or to China’s “greening,” “ruralizing” cities. And while the book establishes its place in past literature, it makes only tentative steps into new theoretical territory. The central idea of “landscape,” for example, is framed in terms of the visual and phenomenological, rather than the material and political. Geographer Don Mitchell’s book The Lie of the Land, with its take on landscape as labour history, came to mind as I read Chio’s account of how these villages came to appear both rural and ethnic.

A Landscape of Travel is a valuable contribution to the study of tourism and ethnic minorities in contemporary China. It is unique in its attention to the role of rural-to-rural and returnee migrant subjectivities in the making of rural tourism destinations. Chio’s work echoes a number of important book-length studies on ethnicity in southwestern China going back to the 1990s. It provides an updated account of dynamics detailed in the work of scholars such as Tim Oakes, Margaret Swain and Louisa Schein, and it stands out among more recent but less rounded ethnographic books on tourism in China.

Travis Klingberg, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, USA

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BREAKING WITH THE PAST: The Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China. By Hans van de Ven. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xiv, 396 pp. (Figures, tables, graphs.) US$50.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-231-13738-6.

Breaking with the Past: The Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China by Hans van de Ven does indeed break with the past. It breaks with past approaches to modern Chinese history. It breaks with scholarship that neatly compartmentalizes Chinese, British Imperial and Treaty Port history. Instead, it offers an interconnected narrative that addresses the big present-day questions about the origins of China’s new position as a global power. This is answered through a long overdue reinterpretation of the significance of the often overlooked foreign-led state agency, the Chinese Maritime Customs Service (1854-1949).

The book comprises seven chapters, together with an introduction and an epilogue. The introduction explains the significance of the Customs Service as a middle house for Chinese and foreign contact. The author states that the “aim of this study is to write the Customs Service back into the history of modern China and modern globalisation and so, more generally, to bring the foreign back” (5). Its approach to modernity attempts to be alert to its patchwork nature, to its improvisational aspects, and to the fact that what we might see as typically European or Chinese, in reality came about as the two met. He states his argument that the Customs Service was a chameleon because of the hybrid quality personnel it employed. As a “frontier regime” it gave commercial opportunities for advancement not just to reputable merchants, but also to adventurers, arms dealers, speculators, mercenaries and sailors.

This book does really break with the past. This break is most noticeable in the author’s treatment of John King Fairbank’s notion of “synarchy.” While acknowledging Fairbank’s status in the historiography of this period, van de Ven does nonetheless revise the overly Orientalist and imperialist perspective that Fairbank had on Chinese history. He writes, “Fairbank was naïve about the political context in which the Customs Service operated and did not do what is an imperative for historians: follow the money. He failed to pay sufficient attention to conflicts among foreigners as well as between Chinese officials and Manchu aristocrats. Nor was he sufficiently alert to China’s long history of commercialisation and overseas trade, or of the fact that its officials and merchants often collaborated or that the weak, too, often have some sort of power” (8).

Chapter 1 assesses Prince Gong and his cosmopolitan efforts to use the British and French as a counterweight to the Taiping. It combines that assessment with a study of the activities of Horatio Lay as first inspector general, whose more forceful approach tested Prince Gong’s willingness to accommodate British demands. Lay’s dismissal and the appointment of Robert Hart signalled a clear change in philosophy for the Customs Service, from being an instrument of British informal empire to one that was “more a Chinese institution” (63). This separation between trade and governance is today regarded as one of the modern principles of free trade. Chapter 2 discusses the contribution of Robert Hart to the consolidation of the Customs Service, not least by the construction of a network of lighthouses. Hart’s “panopticon,” then, was built as a centralized and disciplined administration that inhabited a space between the Qing and Western powers that was to become a modern and established bureaucracy on the Chinese coast. That space was, perhaps more accurately, a locum for interdependence, that is, the mutual need, commercial and otherwise, of the foreign for China and China for the foreign. This moment marks the start of economic globalization as we now know it and the place of China in the world economy.

Chapter 3 examines the ever-difficult relationship between China and Japan through the lens of the London office of the Maritime Customs Service. In the period between the Taiping Rebellion and the First Sino-Japanese War, China went from being the leading East Asian naval power to second fiddle to Japan as the terms of trade changed in the bilateral relationship: China exported agricultural and other primary goods to Japan while it imported industrial goods from Japan. Despite the best efforts of the London office to revitalize the Customs Service, the Japanese pressure proved too much and led to the collapse of Chinese rule in the seas and markets of East Asia.

Chapter 4 provides insight into the involvement of the Customs Service in the fiscal affairs of the country. As a lender of last resort, it underwrote loan bonds to pay dues to Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War and guaranteed the Boxer Indemnity. Chapter 5 examines the role played by Francis Aglen at the helm of the Customs Service. His commitment to fiscal prudence ultimately paved the way for the Nationalist takeover of the country and his replacement by Frederick Maze. The Nationalists, in turn, used the Customs Service as a cash cow, a raiser of revenue with which to fund their revolutionary activities.

Chapter 6 traces the formation of the modern Chinese state through the development of a consistent tariff policy under the direction of the Customs Service. This administration provided a ready template for accountability, which would later prove useful for the governance of the Chinese polity. Chapter 7 outlines the collapse of the Customs Service under pressure from the horrors of the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Communist revolution. This was a time of great confusion that even saw the parallel appointment of two rival inspectors general, the Japanese-backed Kishimoto Hirokichi and the American Lester K. Little. The Korean War and the paranoia of “enemies within” was the final nail in the coffin for the Customs Service.

Once again, van de Ven wants—indeed, he needs—to write “about the Service largely as a way to bring the foreign back into China’s modern history” (309). He succeeds. He does so with the support of a relentless archival study that took him all over China and beyond, from Nanjing and its Second Historical Archives to Kew and the British National Archives. His admirable focus on the big picture combined with detailed archival analysis is underwritten with rigour, in telling the broader narratives from Old China to Young China to Nationalist China to Communist China to China today as the largest economy of the world. And out of this narrative, the colour green of Customs Service flags and ensigns triumphantly appears in postal services everywhere in Greater China as a visual reminder of the historical legacy of this great agency of the Chinese state, fittingly, in the green of Hart’s Ireland, not the vermilion red of China.

Stephanie Villalta Puig, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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SEEING TRANSNATIONALLY: How Chinese Migrants Make Their Dreams Come True. Global Migration and China. By Li Minghuan. Leuven (Belgium): Leuven University Press; HangZhou (China): Zhejiang University Press; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press [distributor], 2013. xiii, 317 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$79.50, cloth. ISBN 978-90-5867-901-7.

This book consists of a collection of papers that were all previously published in English during the author’s more than twenty years of studying transnational migration from China since1986. Not all the original publications, particularly those consisting of conference papers or research reports, are easily accessible and a pulling together of a lifetime’s work on the theme is perhaps warranted. Several of the papers have been lightly edited since their original publication or updated through return visits to the field. The book is divided into three main parts, together with a short introduction and concluding remarks.

Part 1, with six chapters, covers empirical studies in places of origin of migration. These focus on the author’s main areas of fieldwork in Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province, and in several parts of Fujian Province. However, in two chapters, the author also examines the evolution of the relatively recent migration to Israel and the process of labour recruiting in southern China. This section concludes with a discussion of an agricultural village established in Fujian Province to settle Chinese migrants from Southeast Asia from the 1950s. Part 2, also comprised of six chapters, deals with destinations of migration, and focuses primarily on Europe, concentrating heavily on the Netherlands. Migrant associations, the evolution of migration to Europe, and students and scholars are the specific themes examined. Somewhat out-of-place is a short chapter on refugee determination in British Columbia, Canada. The third part consists of three chapters, two of which are based upon cemetery archives from nineteenth-century Batavia, which are today held in the Netherlands and which generate much useful information on the Chinese in Indonesia. The first chapter in this third part consists of reflections on the Dutch language, landscape painting and the nature of Dutch culture to argue the case that the Dutch are the Chinese of Europe based upon a common entrepreneurial capability.

Such a wide range of topics certainly provides insight into the great diversity of Chinese transnational migration. However, it also leads to two weaknesses. First, there are no common themes running through the chapters of the book that might hold the book together, and one might have wished for a greater degree of editorial attention and updating to try to bring about a greater consistency. For example, chapter 8, a short entry that reviews Chinese migration to Europe, could very easily have been incorporated into chapter 12, where the same issues are introduced using more recent data (183-185). At the very least, cross-referencing between the two chapters to try to reconcile the different estimates given for the numbers of Chinese in Europe would have helped the reader. The author gives an estimate of some 2.5 million Chinese in Europe around 2008 (183), whereas recent United Nations estimates place the number of migrants from China in Europe at just over one million in 2013, although many of the one million other migrants from Southeast Asia would also have been ethnic Chinese. Readers would have benefited from a much fuller discussion of the differences between numbers of migrants from China and numbers of people of Chinese ethnicity. One might also have expected the revisions to the papers to have incorporated information from an important source such as Lynn Pann’s The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas (Singapore, Archipelago Press, 1998, second edition, 2006). Unfortunately, the author could not have had access to Elizabeth Sinn’s recent meticulous work on labour recruitment and migration from southern China, in Pacific Crossing (Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, 2013).

The second weakness inherent in the breadth and range of topics in the chapters is that it has led to a lack of depth of analysis on particular topics. For example, one wondered whether there was any relationship between the emigrant villages (qiaoxiang) in Wenzhou and the some two million (9) immigrants from other rural parts of China who appeared to have moved into Wenzhou. The village of Lishan seemed to be depopulating but was this typical of qiaoxiang areas, of which there were many? What was happening to vacant housing and unused land? Was there evidence of land consolidation? Or of houses being rented out to immigrants, elsewhere if not in Lishan? We are never told. Again, in the case of Songping, the village created for migrants from Southeast Asia is presented as typical. However, how do we know that it is representative? Much more information needed to be presented to justify the case. A third example is that it is never made clear upon which basis asylum seekers were awarded refugee status in Canada. That is, what would seem to be interesting follow-up questions are never examined in the various chapters.

The strength of this book is also its weakness: the great range of topics covered. Some of these topics have received relatively little attention in the literature, such as the Chinese migration to Israel or the villages established for ethnic migrants from Indonesia. However, once introduced, the reader is often left frustrated that the research was never pushed to a greater depth. Li Minghuan has done great service over almost a quarter of a century in pioneering different approaches to the topic of Chinese transnational migration. It is a pity that a greater effort was not made in the editing and updating of the papers presented in this book to take into account both more recent research and a fuller interpretation of her own empirical data.

Ronald Skeldon, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

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GUANGDONG AND CHINESE DIASPORA: The Changing Landscape of Qiaoxiang. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 94. By Yow Cheun Hoe. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xxi, 231 pp. (Maps, tables, illus.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-64222-4.

This book sets out to challenge what author Yow Cheun Hoe describes as an enduring “myth that the Chinese diaspora’s relations with China is something natural and primordial, and that regardless of their base outside China and their generation of migration, the Chinese diaspora are inclined to participate enthusiastically in China’s social and economic agendas” (1). On the contrary, Chinese overseas have in general been distancing themselves from their ancestral homeland for more than six decades since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the rise of postcolonial nation-states in Southeast Asia, and the abrogation of anti-Chinese exclusionary policies in the former white settler colonies of North America and Australasia. Moreover, Yow argues, “not all Chinese diasporic communities are the same in terms of mentality and orientation” (1) and the degree of their attachment and connections to China often varies greatly from one community to another. In fact, Yow maintains, affective ties as a whole are less important than other considerations when it comes to determining diasporic investments in today’s China. During the reform era in China since 1978, emigrants’ ties to their ancestral villages, primordial sentiments and feelings of patriotism toward China “have not necessarily enhanced the degree of involvement of the Chinese diaspora in the economic arena of China” (2). Instead, Yow argues, it is primarily “business calculation and economic rationale” that has determined the “destination and magnitude of diasporic engagement” (2). In order to prove his thesis, the author has painstakingly assembled evidence from a wide array of written and oral sources, including local newspapers and magazines, government documents, personal interviews, questionnaires and extended periods of fieldwork in China and Southeast Asia.

The core of the book consists of a series of detailed case studies that examine the shifting familial, cultural and economic ties between two major qiaoxiang (emigrant districts) in China’s Guangdong province (Panyu and Xinyi) and Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaysia, Hong Kong and North America. These case studies are further augmented by the research findings of scholars who have studied diasporic ties in Guangdong’s other qiaoxiang. The result is an empirically rich and evidence-driven analysis that also makes a significant theoretical contribution. Yow shows that the current economic disparity among Guangdong’s qiaoxiang is something that has emerged most clearly in the past three decades since the onset of the reform period. Qiaoxiang that have been successful in attracting diasporic donations and foreign investment have been transformed and revitalized, while those that have not have become quiet backwaters and relics of an earlier time. The author demonstrates convincingly that the key determinant of qiaoxiang success in attracting investment capital is not diasporic connections per se, but rather economic location and, specifically, proximity to Hong Kong. The only partial exceptions to this pattern are qiaoxiang such as Kaiping and Taishan. As a result of their relatively remote location outside the main Pearl River Delta region, Kaiping and Taishan have received far less in the way of diasporic business investments in recent decades. However, both have managed to compensate for their disadvantaged economic location by becoming the recipients of considerable charitable donations and social welfare investments, thanks to their historic links with Chinese in North America.

The short summary above does not do justice to the breadth and depth of topics explored by Yow. The book is comprised of eight chapters including an introduction and conclusion. After setting the stage with a broad overview of the Chinese diaspora and a critical review of recent literature on qiaoxiang ties and transnational business networks, chapter 2 provides a detailed and nuanced discussion of historic patterns of out-migration from Guangdong and the formation and subsequent development of the province’s distinctive qiaoxiang areas from the early part of the twentieth century to the present. Chapter 3 describes the “waning ancestral ties” (38) of Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese with their ancestral villages in Panyu and Xinyi and their “deepening commitment” to their countries of residence over the past half century. The next four chapters, which constitute the heart of the book, examine the fluctuating fortunes of Panyu and Xinyi before and after 1978. The former profited handsomely from its strategic location in the Pearl River Delta, becoming a major magnate for Hong Kong investment capital, while the latter, located in the mountainous interior of the province, continued to languish economically as it had for much of the twentieth century.

Yow’s book is written in the same spirit as earlier studies by Madeline Hsu and Adam McKeown that challenge migration scholars to rethink entrenched assumptions and basic categories of conceptualization and approach, in the process leading us toward new avenues of research and understanding. Guangdong and Chinese Diaspora provides a useful corrective to a clutch of earlier studies that rushed to proclaim and celebrate the reinvigoration of diasporic ties to China after 1978 without engaging in very much research to support their effusive claims. Empirically rich and theoretically engaged, this book will be of interest not only for historians and social scientists who specialize in Chinese migration, but for all scholars who are interested in human diasporas and how they change and evolve over time.

Glen Peterson, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                       

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A CONTINUOUS REVOLUTION: Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 343. By Barbara Mittler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2012. xvi, 486 pp. (Illus.) US$59.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06581-9.

A Continuous Revolution is a strongly argued book and given its sweeping nature is bound to be the subject of controversy in the field. Continuity is the theme that Mittler hammers away at repeatedly. Her subject is cultural production during the Chinese Cultural Revolution over the officially defined time period of 1966-76. By continuity, Mittler means cultural continuity from the late Qing period to the present day. In every chapter she places the output of the Cultural Revolution period in music, visual arts and literature into the continuum of modern Chinese cultural history.

The book is carefully organized to bring out this central argument. The introduction deals with broad questions defining cultural production as propaganda, education and form of art. She ties the roots of modern Chinese culture to the May 4th Movement of 1919 as the first Cultural Revolution. The two revolutions must not be analyzed strictly in terms of their place in the art or literary history of China. A broader lens is necessary to understand fully the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 and its impact on the targeted audience, i.e., the Chinese masses. Mittler’s assertions about the Cultural Revolution are based on a comprehensive reading, listening and viewing of the material products of the period from Mao buttons, to poster art, to well-known revolutionary operas and ballets, to editions of the Little Red Book, and the mass singing of revolutionary classics like the Internationale. Examples of the above are housed in special collections at Heidelberg University where Mittler is the senior China scholar. Besides these primary sources, she draws heavily upon interviews (names kept anonymous) with countless individuals who experienced the Cultural Revolution and its cultural production as adults (the majority are intellectuals).

Mittler then proceeds to show in chapter 1, from “ Mozart to Mao to Mozart,” how music of the period fit into a long tradition, rooted in this case in the popular music of the 1920s and 1930s. She argues that Cultural Revolution operas, ballets and the efforts of Mei Lanfang in particular were neither xenophobic nor a negation of tradition. They had in fact strong connections to various Western styles and traditions while echoing Chinese traditional musical forms. Chapter 2 dwells on music, orchestrations and songs sung in mass or individually. She goes to quite some length to examine the work of the popular rock star Cui Jian and the connection of his music to the Cultural Revolution (even when he is mocking it). Chapter 3 is an analysis of the written words or scriptures of the Cultural Revolution period, boldly refuting as a myth the idea that the Cultural Revolution attacked and destroyed traditional philosophical and canonical works (like that of Confucius). To demonstrate this point in chapters 3 and 4, she provides an elaborate analysis of the divergent versions of the Sanzijing or three-character classics that were produced between 1966-76. She also argues that the story of the Foolish Old Man Who Moves Mountains and the Little Red Book have deep roots in China’s past (and survive today in post-1979 PRC). Chapters 5 and 6 examine the visual arts: paintings (especially portraiture), posters, comic strips. Here she emphasizes the variety of cultural production and the difference between the earlier period from 1966 to 1972 and the later period from 1972 to 1976.

Throughout the book, Mittler takes issue with most established scholars who have written on the culture of the Cultural Revolution: Julia Andrews, Paul Clark, Colin MacKerras, Orville Schell and Mary Ann Farquhar. In the conclusion she insists that the Cultural Revolution was not a period of cultural stagnation and shallow propaganda models, out of step with the rest of modern Chinese cultural history. Cultural production of the period was neither xenophobic nor iconoclastic. Like the products of the May 4th period, the art, music and literary output of the 1966-76 period represent a tapestry, rich in its diversity and connections to both earlier Chinese traditions and foreign influences. She ends the book by calling for a reevaluation of the Cultural Revolution period as a complicated, contradictory time culturally speaking that has been overly stereotyped and dismissed as unworthy of serious scholarly examination.

Mittler’s book is bold in its insistence on the continuity and relevance of Cultural Revolution art to understanding present-day China. To achieve this, she avoids the politics of the Cultural Revolution. Hardly mentioned is Jiang Qing, who is usually thought of as a sort of cultural czar before her downfall in 1976. In other words, Mittler explores the context and precedents for the art and forms of Cultural Revolution propaganda without discussing their political purposes or relevance to the power and ideological struggles of the period. Is it possible understand the cultural production of the 1966-76 period devoid of its political context? Although Soviet influences are mentioned, comparisons are not pursued vis-à-vis Chinese cultural production as part of the communist cultural industry that dominated Eastern-bloc countries during the Cold War.

In contemporary China, the legacy of the Cultural Revolution period in cultural terms is contradictory. On the one hand there is a rejection of Mao-era cultural production by many intellectuals and artists (Wang Hui for example) in favour of returning to traditional norms from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The reverse reaction is also present: the revival of old Maoist slogans and revolutionary songs at mass meetings, led by political figures like Bo Xilai and muscularly nationalist intellectuals. The legacy is clearly complicated and how it fits into Mittler’s argument of continuity is not clear.

Stephen R. MacKinnon, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA

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WALKING A TIGHTROPE: Defending Human Rights in China. Asian Insights, no. 6. By Gert Holmgaard Nielsen. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2014. xxxii, 277 pp. (B&W photos.) £18.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-131-4.

Faced with evidence of human rights abuse, victims and activists typically have two choices. They can shout loud, call out the abusers and demand retribution and redemption. Or, they can work with the system in which the abusers operate to try to persuade, cajole or even force them to repair the wrongs they have committed. The specifics of any one situation dictate which is likely to be the most effective approach, though in reality it is nearly always a combination of the two that yields results. The headlines are usually grabbed by protestors pursuing the first option precisely because they shout loudest, but this cannot be allowed to overshadow, still less diminish, the contributions to change that the latter group make.

It is with the actions and attitudes of a collection of low-key human rights defenders working inside China, and with the Chinese legal system, that this book is concerned. Its documentary style of delivery—comprising extended interview notes and some reflective commentary—makes for captivating reading. There are ten interviewees. They work across a range of human rights matters: migrant workers; women; unregistered (i.e., non-citizen) children; free speech; democracy; the police and court systems. All are refreshingly frank and, with the exception of two lawyers working for a district prosecution service, happy to be named. It is no surprise that the prosecutors use pseudonyms as they have much to lose by speaking out (or laughing nervously, as was their telling response when asked whether they have faith in the Chinese legal system).

It is clear that the reformatory-minded interviewees in the book are as committed to exposing abuse and seeking justice as are those of a more revolutionary bent. It is just that their methods, and often physical locations, differ. Demonstrative revolutionary critics tend to be outsiders—that is, neither Chinese, nor living in China—while these reformers are both. It is they who must walk the tightrope of the book’s title: maintaining the delicate balance between being active, critical and visible, and overdoing it such that they are knocked off their perch (and into jail). It requires tact as well as guile, and a large dollop of bravery.

Gert Holmgaard Nielsen, a journalist who has lived and worked in China for many years (and is fluent in Chinese), is masterful in the way he collects, arranges and presents the material. He clearly empathizes with his subjects, but that said he is no patsy. One of the best features of the book is how he presses interviewees on their motivations and reasoning. When labour activist Wang Kan takes a job with the very government think-tank he had previously criticized, Nielsen pushes him to explain his reasoning (basically, he is playing a long game, gaining experience from both sides), and when Yang Songcai expresses some optimism regarding the situation of defense lawyers, Nielsen repeatedly challenges him in light of apparent evidence to the contrary.

There are two intellectual themes running through the book. One is the determination of the interviewees to promote the rule of law over the rule of man (or guanxi, as politician Wu Quing puts it). Each works through the existing legal system, insisting that laws be enforced as stated rather than at the discretion of those in power (especially the police, the judiciary and government officials), and where the stated law is inadequate, pushing reforms—such as the new Criminal Procedure Law 2012 in which “human rights” are now expressly mentioned, or the successful registration of a school for the children of migrant workers in Beijing. An important feature of many legal cases explored in the book is not that they succeeded (most did not), but that they excited media and public attention that led eventually (and often quietly) to desirable outcomes. Public interest lawyer He Hairen’s exposure of a hidden insurance tax on train travel, (thereby permitting claims to be made where previously they were not thought possible), and the raising of domestic violence as a matter for public debate and policy reform noted by activist Li Yang, are two results achieved in this way.

The second theme concerns claims of Chinese exceptionalism. Many interviewees highlight the differences between China and the West, and stress the importance of the gradual, indirect route towards change. Li Ying refers to the “long, slow haul” towards women’s equality, while Wu Qing says much the same about China’s road to democracy. Scholar Li Buyun accepts that when he protests about the human rights abuses of convicts he must couch the discussion as one about their “legal status” if his voice is to be heard, while lawyer Yang Songcai recognizes that the most persuasive way to teach human rights to the police, prosecutors and judges is to present them as contributing to the achievement of such officially sanctioned goals as a “harmonious” and “inclusive” society.

A number of interviewees gently chide Western critics for being too impatient or unrealistic in their expectations regarding human rights reforms in China, or being blind to the achievements that have been made. Some are also ambivalent (if not a little resentful) of Chinese dissidents feted in the West, referring to AIDS activist Hu Jia, Falun Gong defender Gao Zhisheng, Nobel laureate Liu Xiabo, and blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, among others, as “lone wolves,” or pointing out the broad shoulders of others upon which they have been able to stand. This, of course, is a common (and not unfounded) lament of the unsung about the sung, though the diffidence of the interviewees here might also be a direct result of these individuals’ status as persona non grata in China.

But all that said, rhetorical value is seen in measuring Chinese standards against those of international human rights law. Children’s rights activist Liu Huawen, for example, challenges skeptics to “read the Convention [on the Rights of the Child] and tell me which articles contradict our culture,” and the ingrained culture of police torture, as noted by various interviewees, is not only contrary to Chinese criminal law and the Chinese Constitution, it also violates China’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

The insights this book offers into how human rights advocacy is practiced on the ground and on a daily basis in China are both profound and compelling. These are stories that need to be listened to by those outside China as much as those inside, and so, to that end, we should be very grateful to Nielsen and his subjects for telling them in such an attractive and accessible manner. To reach out and enlighten in this way can only help to build human rights bridges within China, and between China and the rest of the world.

David Kinley, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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CONSUMPTION IN CHINA: How China’s New Consumer Ideology is Shaping the Nation. China Today Series. By LiAnne Yu. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley [distributor], 2014. xi, 207 pp. (Map.) US$22.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-6971-7.

China’s sustained prosperity over the decades has considerably raised household income, and accordingly, improved the amounts, varieties and qualities of consumer goods. However, the World Bank reports that China’s household consumption expenditures only represent 35 percent of GDP in 2012, far below the world’s average of 60 percent. As China is engaged in transforming itself into a more consumption-based economy, LiAnne Yu’s new book Consumption in China: How China’s New Consumer Ideology is Shaping the Nation provides a timely guide to explore the consumerism in contemporary China.

The book aims to unveil “what is global and what is unique about China’s consumer revolution” (27). Yu collected the first-hand information including real-life cases and individual interviews in Beijing and Shanghai from 1990 to 2013 and connected her empirical observations with academic theories. Yu, who received a PhD in anthropology from UC San Diego, is an independent consultant specializing in consumer cultures in emerging markets. She has twenty-year experience in ethnographic research on behalf of global businesses seeking expertise on consumer habits.

The book covers three themes: the transformation of Chinese society, the influence of the one-child policy, and the activism against adverse consequences of consumption. The first theme discusses what modernization is bringing to China: public propaganda areas are giving way to malls and hypermarkets; consumers move seamlessly between virtual and real spaces with the aid of the Internet and digital devices; and social distinctions reemerge as people pursue social superiority through conspicuous consumption. In Chinese society, with keen interests in material possessions, relations with potential spouses and child rearing are increasingly commoditized, which fits in with Fan’s viewpoint that social status is the key in both male-female and intergenerational relationships (C. Simon Fan, Vanity Economics: An Economic Exploration of Sex, Marriage and Family, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014). The second theme addresses how the one-child policy is shaping China’s consumption landscape: while elder generations save every penny to give their kids the very best, young singletons focus on a lifestyle that is self-indulgent and self-fulfilling. The final theme is about how Chinese people express their consumption freedom, with topics spanning from a boycott of Japanese brands, media censorship, moral decay, and environmental degradation to the lack of food safety standards.

Yu’s work contributed to the literature by emphasizing the role of the “state” in Chinese consumerism. In the planned economy era, China’s centralized economic and trade policy led to surly services in state-owned stores, shoddy products and a scarcity of imported commodities. Despite its recent transformation into market economy, the state still employs a heavy hand in restricting foreign corporate access and Internet freedom. More importantly, China’s one-child policy, which has been implemented for over thirty years, has been shaping the consumption experiences of several generations.

One interesting aspect of this book is the identification of some consumption patterns with Chinese characteristics: for example, reusing branded shopping bags to carry lunches and phones, traveling abroad for shopping instead of sightseeing, and sitting in MacDonald’s for leisure time rather than eating fast food. Yu also argued that “consumers in China seek to display their hard work, entrepreneurialism, and potential for upward mobility” (82), which is against the idea of Thorstein Veblen (a 19th century American economist and sociologist) that being idle and wealthy is the most desirable status.

We also find a couple of limitations in this book. First, Yu seemed to attribute the prevailing consumerism to China’s political ideology while ignoring the contributions of market liberalization, technological advances, and cultural traditions. For example, Yu found that “China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest market for luxury goods” (4) but did not probe deeply into the motivation of the massive purchases. In fact, many Chinese buy luxury goods for families and friends, instead of for themselves, probably because the Chinese culture values collectivism more than individualism.

Our other concern is regarding the author’s research methodology. Yu conducted research based on her personal conversations with upper-middle-class residents of Beijing and Shanghai, yet overlooked the huge population (over billions!) in the less rich cities and rural areas. Recording the lifestyles of the elites but not of the ordinary people makes the book’s title appear misleading. Besides, as Kiminori Matsuyama notes, the development of mass consumption societies follows the Flying Geese pattern: as productivity improves, each consumer good becomes affordable to a continually growing number of households (“The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies,” Journal of Political Economy 110[5], 2002: 1035-1070). It is therefore worth investigating the entire spectrum of the Chinese market.

Weaving the vivid human stories and representative voices into a theoretical framework, LiAnne Yu offers us a general understanding of consumerism in China’s cosmopolitan hubs from her perspective as an ethnographic professional. The book also gives a detailed portrait that depicts the universalities and particularities of China’s consumption practices through the eyes of a non-native. Overall, it is an easy-to-understand, up-to-date work which can be recommended to businesspeople who are exploring Chinese consumer behaviors and those who are new to, yet interested in China.

C. Simon Fan, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Yu Pang, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong  China

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CHINA’S FOREIGN POLICY. China Today Series. By Stuart Harris. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press; Hoboken: Wiley [distributor], 2014. xvii, 236 pp. (Maps.) US$22.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-6247-3.

This fine introduction to contemporary China’s foreign policy stands out for its fairness and honesty. Debates outside China about Communist China and the world have ordinarily focused on the concerns of the American-led international community. Written by Stuart Harris, a former Australian government official who has dealt with China and other countries in foreign affairs and trade, the book would disappoint expectations of kindred inclinations, for it explains not only criticisms of Chinese foreign policy but also China’s own diplomatic objectives and the changing methods that the Communist Party and government have chosen to pursue those objectives. Neither China nor America bashers would be pleased.

Among the total eight chapters of the book, chapter 1 is the only one devoted to the impact of history and culture on China’s foreign policy and the main aspects of the Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping eras up to what Harris terms the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy. Instead of privileging Chinese nativism (nationalism)—popular in academic discussion and media communications on post-Deng Chinese foreign relations—Harris pays homage to the many other traditions and cultures, such as cosmopolitanism, quasi-imperialism, Sinocentrism and victimhood, that have played an important and changing role in foreign policy. Chapter 2 looks at who makes foreign policy decisions in China during the last thirty years within formal government organizations and through informal processes. More diffused than ever, both formal power structure and informal dynamics involve a growing degree of collectivism, coalitions, compromises and coordination among a myriad of government offices and other stake-holders.

Chapter 3 turns to the question of how global actors and the international system have shaped Chinese foreign policy. Synthesizing works by other scholars, Harris notes that, apart from the issue of human rights, the People’s Republic of China’s contributions to international law have, on balance, been constructive and sympathetic. However, since its integration with the world order commencing in the 1970s, China has not aligned well with the new directions of international norms and values especially in the fields of human rights, humanitarian intervention, popular representation and intellectual property rights now perceived as key to responsible statehood and the global common good. Sovereignty and non-interference, to which China adheres, represent the traditional norms of the Westphalian system. Five sets of Chinese vulnerability and insecurity are discussed in chapters 4 and 5, i.e., vulnerability of the Communist regime, China’s historical vulnerability about national unity, insecurity on geographic frontiers, and vulnerabilities to the United States and to international military threats. Harris does not resort to the usual quick condemnation of China in the South and East China Seas and on its continental frontiers such as Tibet and Xinjiang. While pointing out China’s legitimate rights under international law, Harris suggests that the increase in China’s attempts to deter other claimants in the South China Sea was a response “to other claimants’ increased activity in fishing and resource exploration,” and that US officials and some Chinese military agencies shared responsibility for stoking the tensions in the region (76-85). Between the lines, readers will find that Harris interjects his judgment with care. For instance, he observes that although “the presence of US nuclear-armed submarines patrolling the Pacific waters, is a persistent affront and a security vulnerability to China” (91), China has not attempted to counter the American military capabilities except in relation to Taiwan. Hence, one still needs to ask “what would motivate a change to expansionist and aggressive Chinese policies” (103-104 and 119).

Chapter 6 examines China’s economic foreign policy through the lens of currency exchange rates, the World Trade Organization, outward direct investment and the use of economic power. Despite their successes and the recognition of their contribution to developing countries, Chinese “going out” policies in Africa and Latin and South Americas have been the subject of complaints, some valid and some not, for their disregard for human rights, local labour conditions and environmental standards. As China under the influence of developed countries adopted many Western norms and values, Harris posits that in the wake of economic interdependence there may have been an influence in the other direction as well, on Western norms and values, although he does not spell out what this may involve. Chapter 7 shifts to China’s complex relationships with its neighbours and beyond, including ASEAN, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Japan and the European Union. Again, these wide-ranging topics are treated with both brevity and sophistication. In the concluding chapter, Harris implies that the US pivot has not made easier the Northeast Asian security situation: the potential for inadvertent clashes between the United States and China at the local level is more immediately worrying than the China “threat.” In the end, what is needed to approach the sovereignty issues in the Asia Pacific is not more military force, but political leadership and diplomatic compromises on all sides.

Readers will find the author’s writing and analysis readable and skillfully effortless. Although one would desire to see more directness and originality as well as coverage of China’s reputation challenge and cultural diplomacy, this book is very much valued as a reliable source of expertise.

Dong Wang, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany

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MOBILE HORIZONS: Dynamics Across the Taiwan Strait. China Research Monographs, 69. Edited by Wen-hsin Yeh. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2013. viii, 335 pp. (Maps, figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-106-6.

The rise of China and the increasing economic interactions between Mainland China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC) since the 1980s have raised a profound question: Will closer economic relations across the Strait eventually lead to the reunification of the two sides? This is exactly the question posed by this book under review, and its answer is “no.”

In the work’s introduction, editor Wen-hsin Yeh clearly lays out the main themes and arguments of the book: despite enhanced communications and intensified activities and economic interactions across the Strait, there has been no promising sign of political integration, but rather growing cultural and identity divergence between the two sides. To be accurate, the subject of cross-Strait relations should not be one of international relations, yet it has largely been treated as such. Cross-Strait relations have become more sophisticated than normal international relations and they call for an interdisciplinary approach in dealing them.

As the title Mobile Horizons indicates, and taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book has gone far beyond the conventional way of studying international relations, which has mainly focused on the role of state and political, military and economic actors, and sets out to explore other structural factors at work along a much broader spectrum, such as immigration, smuggling, investment, media, religion, marriage, identity, education, and historiography. With the exception of chapter one by Yu-shan Wu and Lowell Dittmer, which offers an overview of cross-Strait political relations since the 1990s with a conclusion that “the economy in command” mentality can work both ways—either for or against political integration, and chapter two by Shelley Rigger, which examines the evolution of the defining of “China,” which has shifted from a Taiwanese understanding of China as primarily a domestic issue in the early period to the current notion of China as primarily an external matter, the rest of the book’s chapters are mostly thematic discussions and analyses of nonpolitical issues in cross-Strait relations.

Michael Szonyi analyzes different identity claims that people of Kinmen deployed during different historical phases in order to gain preferential treatment, arguing that the positions regarding the cross-Strait activities and projects “are largely produced locally by people’s perception of their immediate interests” (93), which are not necessarily for or against political integration. Micah S. Muscolino studies the illicit maritime trade across the Strait from the 1970s to the 1990s. Similarly, he finds that the development and consequences of economic activities across the Strait did not parallel with the anticipation and dynamics of political interaction. Although the common culture shared by the Fujian-Taiwanese people and the cessation of hostilities across the Strait and the policy of the PRC in the 1970s–1980s encouraged the revival of direct commerce in the region, the ban by the ROC of all direct exchanges with the mainland, at odds with its political ideology that claims ROC sovereignty over all of China, was manipulated by smugglers for lucrative underground commerce, who also viewed a full-scale integration against their interests.

Robert P. Weller traces the development of religion on both sides of the Strait, from secularization of the early twentieth century to the political intervention and restriction during the Cold War era and then the relaxation of government control since the 1970s. Along with rapidly increased commercialization and wealth after the 1970s, there has been the growth and expansion of Chinese temple religion as well as an increase of religious similarities and contact across the Strait. However, the shared religious heritage and a convergence of religious practice in both places shows no indications of moving toward any sort of unity.

Sara L. Friedman presents an empirical study of the recent wave of cross-Strait marriages. She finds that Taiwan’s gendered policies on marital immigration and citizenship have undergirded feminized domesticity and dependency, which were in direct conflict with the gender ideology embedded in the mind of mainland spouses. The intimate intermingling brought about by marital unions may have hardened perceptions of cross-Strait difference and incompatibility. In the words of Friedman, “Marital unions do not necessarily portend other kinds of unification” (151).

William C. Kirby presents another case study, this of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), coming to a similar conclusion that there has been no automatic connection between cross-Strait economic integration and political partnership. Instead, “the lack of formal political ties and (until recently) direct transportation links have been ‘push’ factors for Taiwan industries to relocate to the mainland, to be nearer their customers and workforces…” (195), while normalization may convince Taiwan’s marquee firms of the need to stay at home enjoying every advantage.

Timothy B. Weston tells the story of Taiwan’s leading newspapers from 1945 to the present and the evolution of the newspaper discourse on the mainland from being censored, propagandistic, and highly negative to being free and commercialized but of a highly partisan nature, despite the fact that Taiwan media enterprises are all busy seeking local business opportunities in the PRC. Thomas B. Gold analyzes the reasons that the Inter-University Fellowship Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) moved from Taiwan to Tsinghua University in Beijing, as well as the significance of “the Taiwan Familiarization Program.” Finally, Wen-hsin Yeh describes the interesting history of writing Taiwan’s history, the means through which to “assert Taiwan’s right place in the world” and construct Taiwan’s “authentic identity,” and how the history of Taiwan was “represented and integrated into the various contesting positions” over the past two decades. Culturally, Yeh concludes, “The two Chinese-speaking societies across the Strait have much to share” (286), but the new historical writings affirm their differences more than their congruities.

In short, this book exposes the role of non-state actors in, and the intercrossed, interwoven, multifaceted and evolving aspects of, cross-Strait relations. It will be a very useful work to graduate students, scholars, diplomats and businessmen studying or engaged in international relations, especially involving cross-Strait relations.

C.X. George Wei, University of Macau, Macau, China

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STRATEGIC REASSURANCE AND RESOLVE: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century. By James Steinberg, Michael E. O’Hanlon. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. ix, 260 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-15951-5.

In an increasingly interdependent and globalized world, relations between the existing and the rising dominant power are of material interest to nations and regions throughout the world. Strategic Reassurance and Resolve not only tackles in sustained depth the contemporary security challenges that the United States and China face, particularly vis-à-vis one another, but also presents a general security framework that is applicable across other bilateral or multilateral international relations debates. Acknowledging but ultimately eschewing the role of economic and political relations in the determination of security, Steinberg and O’Hanlon present a sustained, informed and practical study of military and strategic issues and their potential resolution for the United States and China.

The core intervention by the authors is the concept of strategic reassurance between the United States and China as the only solution in a new world where the United States can no longer maintain its dominant role and China increasingly is an economic, political and military presence. While acknowledging the national security concerns, historical context and strategic culture of each nation, the concept of strategic reassurance requires both countries to compromise. For the US, that means accepting the rise of China as a benign superpower with which it will share the responsibility for global public goods—such as the security of shipping lanes, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, responding to international disasters and cyber theft. For China, it means showing that China’s national security does not come at the expense of others including, but not limited to, allies of the United States. For realists in a zero-sum game, this is a loss for the US and a win for China. For Steinberg and O’Hanlon, this is an opportunity to enhance global peace and security.

There are various means by which strategic reassurance is achieved. Most apparent is the need to avoid “hedging.” When military planners and policy makers envision military buildups on the other side as reducing their own security, the only response is to devote more resources to counteract the effect. This leads to competition and military arms races that produce less security overall. Instead, strategic reassurance serves to communicate the types and goals of military and security deployments. Underlying this is strategic resolve encompassing the clear statement of “red lines” that cannot be crossed without a response, as well as agreeing on global, regional and national order. How much the United States and China can agree on public goods and the status quo in the realm of security is the challenge of contemporary and future eras.

The authors explore the way security scenarios may lead to conflict. They first state in no equivocal terms that “in a major war between the United States and China there would be no winners… [hence] de-escalation and conflict termination should be as high as, if not higher than, the priority for victory” (121). They proceed to examine North Korea, Taiwan and the East and South China Seas as areas of strategic concern for China and in terms of security and open access for the US and its allies. Using the overall framework of global interdependence and multilateralism, North Korea presents the biggest security challenge in its economic and political isolation. Steinberg and O’Hanlon suggest a US-China dialogue—secret, to forestall North Korean paranoia—to discuss how regime change and military occupation by US and Chinese forces will proceed following regime overthrow, though they acknowledge Beijing may be unwilling to explicitly discuss the possibility. While Taiwan, Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and the range of islands claimed by China within the so-called “nine-dash line” are emotional and contentious issues, they involve countries that are all increasingly integrated in the global economy and regional security organizations, such as ASEAN, and so escalation seems less likely, though the scenarios sketched present a chilling picture of what American or Chinese intransigence may entail.

The biggest challenge to future global security, particularly between the United States and China, is cyber. The authors examine nuclear, missile, operations and space threats to mutual or global security and outline measures such as the United States not targeting or contemplating invasion of the Chinese mainland, China continuing to limit warhead development and both banning space weapons. But it is cyber that remains fraught with the most unknowns. It is difficult to argue that intellectual property and trade secrets are national security interests and Beijing does not prioritize ensuring profits to Western multinationals through measures to counter cyber theft. Opposition to companies such as Huawei and Lenovo in Washington does not provide assurance, either, that the United States is committed to an open playing field in cyber terms. Yet by broaching this topic, Steinberg and O’Hanlon have brought the issue to the fore, underscoring how this realm increasingly touches on national and global security.

In the appendix (209-211), there is a list of some 24 concrete measures that both countries should take to achieve strategic reassurance. For a practitioner, this may provide a useful “crib sheet” to think through what specific steps might be palatable in advancing strategic interdependence. Of greater significance, however, is the overall framework that the book presents. While not stated as such, it is a revolution in how the United States and China can collaborate rather than compete to provide global security and public goods. This is a new paradigm for thinking about US-China strategic interactions that will guide policy, inform decision makers, train international relations and foreign policy scholars and even help business leaders. China is a player. Its rise is inevitable. How the US copes with this new reality and how China takes up its leadership role will determine whether or not the next 40 years will continue the mostly harmonious relationship of the past 40 years between the world’s richest and its most populous countries.

Tyler Rooker, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom                  

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REGULATING PROSTITUTION IN CHINA: Gender and Local Statebuilding, 1900-1937. By Elizabeth J. Remick. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xv, 270 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8836-6.

Elizabeth Remick’s Regulating Prostitution in China is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on modern Chinese state building. Similar to the best scholarship in this subfield of study, it offers a complex portrait of state-building initiatives that were developed over the course of the tumultuous first decades of the twentieth century. Building on her earlier work on taxation, public finance and local state building in Republican China, Remick deftly outlines three regulatory models deployed by Chinese cities beginning in the early 1900s, showing how local political histories gave rise to distinct trajectories in the bureaucratic management and regulation of prostitution. Remick’s most important contribution, however, lies in her attention to the ways in which local state building was composed of highly gendered processes with important consequences, as she argues, for the size, function and reach of the local state itself.

The impetus to regulate prostitution initially came from international pressure to address what was perceived to be the low status of Chinese women. But even if it was European powers that pressured the Qing government to do away with “white slavery,” it was not, ultimately, European models of regulation that were implemented. Instead, late Qing and Republican city administrators adapted from Japan’s approach to police reform in three distinct ways as a means of obtaining better public health and social control. Specifically, Remick discusses the emergence of three reform models as they developed locally: the “light” approach, the “revenue intensive” approach, and the “coercive-intensive approach.” The light approach, in which prostitution was lightly taxed and monitored, was adopted by most Chinese provincial capitals in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Focusing on Hangzhou, Remick offers a fascinating portrayal of failed police attempts to crack down on unlicensed prostitution during the mid-1920s, attempts that were followed by an even less successful intervention to phase out prostitution altogether. Remick’s description of the lively and well-attended protests that followed the city’s initiative to ban prostitution via lottery is a compelling account of how “‘big picture’ political commitments ran into trouble when local officials tried to implement them on the ground.”

Prostitutes working in Guangzhou would prove equally unwilling to conform to new forms of regulation. Remick opens her discussion of the revenue-intensive model as it was developed in Guangzhou with a vignette focused on prostitutes instigating a strike. Unlike in Hangzhou, however, where city officials made little off of the services of sex workers, the city of Guangzhou became so dependent on the tax revenue generated by prostitution that it willingly modified the new regulations in order to get the prostitutes back to work. Indeed, Guangzhou’s extraordinary dependence upon the 500,000 yuan that came in annually during the late 1920s and early 1930s exceeded the entire budget for social welfare expenditures. As Remick points out, these funds were not just an important component of the city’s budget but were, in fact, indispensable—a major factor in the resistance of local Guangzhou officials to the abolition movement

The regulation of prostitution in Kunming, where the most extensive development of the “coercion-intensive” model was implemented, would prove to be far more intrusive in the lives of sex workers than it was in much of the rest of China. As managers of a “frontier town” in the late Qing and early Republican era, Kunming’s officials prioritized social order above all else. As a consequence, the highly militarized local government chose to segregate brothels from the rest of society by locating them within walled compounds, or jiyuan. Although the jiyuan system was subject to sharp societal critique and was even shut down for several years during the mid nineteen-teens, the police not only returned to this system but over the decades expanded their bureaucratic and physical control of the lives of sex workers through the implementation of extremely invasive health inspections. As the jiyuan system continued to evolve, prostitutes essentially became state employees complete with personnel files. The surplus revenues made by the jiyuan after 1923, in turn, were used to support social welfare projects, including a women’s social reformatory.

Explicit throughout Remick’s analysis of the local institutionalization of prostitution regulation during the late Qing, Warlord and Republican eras is the centrality of gender to these processes. The shifting political terrain and rapidly changing norms regarding the management of society in general, and the morality of women in particular, therefore not only influenced the regulation of prostitution, but also produced unique institutions such as the jiliangsuo, or prostitute rescue institutions, described by Remick in chapter 5. Indeed, central and local elites, police administrators, social reformers and Confucian scholars debated vigorously over how to best regulate prostitution or, in the case of a number of vocal opponents, to do away with prostitution altogether. As Remick makes clear, these debates were fueled as much by panic over the perceived immorality and public health threat of sex work, as they were about upholding an idealized version of the married, virtuous woman during a time of rapid change. At the same time, the defiance of women sex workers and brothel owners suggests the real limitations of the reform models as they were conceived and implemented. For although local approaches to prostitution regulation and reform engendered new and unexpected forms of state building, these approaches ultimately failed to meet many of their goals (other than generating enormous local revenues, in the case of Guangzhou).

In conclusion, Regulating Prostitution in China offers a unique contribution to the Chinese state-building literature and an important addition to the study of gender in late Qing and Republican China, and will enliven undergraduate and graduate courses focused on early twentieth-century Chinese history and gender and modern China

Kimberley Ens Manning, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada

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CONVERTS TO CIVIL SOCIETY: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong. Studies in World Christianity. By Lida V. Nedilsky. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014. xii, 227 pp. (Tables, B&W photos.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4813-0032-2.

In August 2014, the National People’s Congress in Beijing determined that Hong Kong could have universal suffrage in electing its chief executive in 2017, provided that the candidates were first nominated by an election committee and, after popular vote, appointed by the central government. Needless to say, many Hong Kong citizens were outraged by these limitations on universal suffrage. In what would become known as the Umbrella Movement, citizens joined in several months of protests in front of the Hong Kong government headquarters. As time progressed, a number of news media outlets reported that many of the leaders of the protests were Christians, and that the ranks of protesters included a large percentage of Christians, Buddhists and practitioners of Chinese popular religion.

Hence, the publication of Converts to Civil Society in July 2014 that looks at the relationship between the Christian faith and civil engagement in contemporary Hong Kong is very timely. It focuses on the years 1997 to 2008, immediately following Hong Kong’s reintegration into Chinese sovereignty, and provides rich ethnographic research into the lives of several Hong Kong citizens as they express their Christian faiths through NGOs.

After some introductory material, two chapters engage a key motif discussed throughout this book: conversion. Chapter 2 looks at how conversion to Christianity sets the initial groundwork for engagement with civil society. For many Hong Kong Christians, conversion often runs against one’s parents’ wishes and brings about conflicts in fulfilling one’s filial duties. The choice of conversion is a step away from collectivism and towards individualism. Such a decision is a break from one community (the family unit) to join another community (the local church). Moreover, this choice of conversion can occur multiple times, from one Christian community to another. Chapter 3 continues this theme and looks at how the conversion to Christianity facilitates the conversion to civil society. Events like the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests and the 1997 return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule challenged Hong Kong Christians to consider how to respond to sociopolitical uncertainty. The perceived political apathy of many Christian churches led interviewees to rethink their personal faiths. Christian NGOs were new institutions which addressed the failings of the old institutions of the churches, and provided the Christian with a new expression of individualism.

After these two key chapters, the book follows with three more general discussions about civil society. Chapter 4 provides a survey of the variety of concerns addressed by Christian and non-Christian NGOs in Hong Kong, from economic development and environmental issues, to working with migrant workers and youth. Despite this breadth, the present study focuses on four Christian NGOs that have a primary concern in human rights. Chapter 5 moves on to discuss the longevity of these NGOs and how to pass the fervour of Christian civil engagement to younger generations. The final major chapter, chapter 6, takes the stories and lessons from this single city of Hong Kong and casts an eye upon the much bigger nation of the People’s Republic of China. While post-Mao China’s pursuit of a socialist market economy has resulted in a rising civil society, this is constantly tempered by the heavy hand of the state. Though the chapter speaks of the significant growth of Christianity in mainland China, the author concludes that the potential for Christians on the mainland to engage in the civil society is still quite preliminary and not yet realized.

Two criticisms can be raised against this volume due to its scope. Firstly, while the book focuses on the significance of NGOs in contrast with socially “complacent” institutional churches (76-84, 91), it has a tendency to downplay the important public role that religion has historically played in Hong Kong society. While the Umbrella Movement has brought this point to mind for the broader public, it is worth noting that, in contrast with fledgling NGOs, the long legacy of many Christian denominations has resulted in theological understandings of social engagement (e.g., Catholic social teaching, Anglican social theology, etc.). How has the theological legacy of particular denominations helped to bring shape to Christian NGOs? What about the stories of converts to civil society who engage from within the structures of institutional churches? Recognizing the narrow focus of the book on Hong Kong NGOs, a second criticism can be raised with regards to the widening of focus to include mainland China in chapter 6. Since the 1990s, there has been a vast amount of scholarly literature that has come out debating the notion of a civil society in mainland China. Moreover, there are a large number of faith-based NGOs that exist in China, such as the Protestant Amity Foundation and the Catholic Jinde Charities, as well as the growing number of urban intellectual churches which act like NGOs in their involvement in human rights activism and social concern. This chapter could have been enriched by engaging these topics.

With these quibbles in mind, one must remember that any monograph should be necessarily narrow in its concern in order to be a manageable research project. Lida Nedilsky’s timely and well-written book provides a rich view into the journeys of select individuals as they convert to civil society, expressing their Christian faiths through Hong Kong NGOs. Converts to Civil Society is a focused treatment on an important segment of Hong Kong that cannot be ignored by researchers interested in the public role of religion.

Alexander Chow, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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CHINA’S BATTLE FOR KOREA: The 1951 Spring Offensive. Twentieth-Century Battles. By Xiaobing Li. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xxxviii, 385 pp. (Charts, figures, maps.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-253-01157-2.

Xiaobing Li’s latest book examines the Chinese People’s Volunteer Force (CPVF) in the fifth and final campaign of the Korean War, asking why the Chinese lost this battle and what consequences followed. While there are a number of excellent books on China and the Korean War, most deal with the decision to enter the conflict or the overall conduct of the war. This work is unique in that it concentrates on the Chinese operational experience in what Li sees as the most important campaign of the war, revealing the 1951 “Spring Offensive” as a decisive battle that not only changed the course of the war, but also helped reshape the Chinese military in the years after the Korean War.

The first two chapters offer background on China’s entry to the war and the first four campaigns against United Nations Forces (UNF). In the remaining six chapters, Li analyzes the planning, conduct and aftermath of the fifth campaign. A veteran of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the author of several works on the Korean War and the modern Chinese military, Xiaobing Li draws heavily on government documents, military papers, official histories and the memoirs and recollections of numerous participants. One of the strengths of this book is the way he blends discussion of larger strategic and tactical concerns with the experiences of combat commanders on the ground. His interviews with more than 200 Korean War veterans and close reading of the oral histories of many others yield valuable insights from individuals who commanded troops at multiple levels of the CPVF.

From late April to early June 1951, Chinese and North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) forces totaling more than 700,000 fought against 340,000 UNF soldiers in a battle that some predicted would determine the outcome of the war. Chinese leaders outlined three major goals for the campaign: to prevent the enemy from making an amphibious landing to the north behind Chinese lines, to destroy at least three American divisions and three Republic of Korea (ROK) divisions, and to regain the initiative for a decisive victory and avoid a prolonged conflict. After suffering costly defeats on both the eastern and western fronts, Chinese commanders ordered a withdrawal of all of CPVF forces to the north of the thirty-eighth parallel in what Li calls the “disastrous withdrawal to the north” (181). This final phase of the fifth campaign saw a UNF counter-attack which inflicted 45,000 to 60,000 casualties on the CPVF, the heaviest totals since the start of the war. In the wake of this defeat, Chinese leaders switched to a strategy of positional warfare, defending frontal positions until the armistice agreement in 1953. This featured smaller-scale attacks designed to chip away at UNF strength, which Mao described as “eating sticky candy bit by bit” (216). Rather than deal a decisive blow to the enemy and end the conflict, the CPVF’s fifth campaign ushered in a prolonged period of low-intensity conflict.

In analyzing the defeat, Li points to several factors that limited the effectiveness of the CPVF in the fifth campaign. First, chronic problems of supply made life difficult for Chinese soldiers throughout the campaign. Due to both weaknesses in the logistical system and the effectiveness of American bombing, the lack of adequate food, winter clothing, and ammunition prevented Chinese soldiers from achieving their objectives. Li points out that the logistical system actually improved during the fifth campaign, but it still left many units without necessary arms and materials. Second, the CPVF did not have enough experienced officers and enlisted men to conduct a successful campaign against the UNF. CPVF commander-in-chief Peng Dehuai and his generals rushed to prepare for the attack and pushed their troops into action before they were ready. Many of the soldiers had only recently arrived in Korea, lacked combat experience, and had only a few days to prepare. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Li argues that Chinese commanders proved “excessively inflexible” (110) when it came to tactics, clinging stubbornly to attempts to divide, encircle and annihilate UNF units even as it became clear that while they might divide and encircle, the CPVF could not annihilate enemy units that had such superior firepower. Failure to change tactics contributed to the defeat in the fifth campaign.

As Li clearly demonstrates, the fifth offensive did more than convince Mao Zedong, Peng and the Chinese leadership that they must abandon attempts to destroy the UNF forces and accept a negotiated settlement. It also helped transform the long-term strategy, tactics and military culture of the PLA. The experience of the fifth campaign in particular demonstrated the limits of Chinese military power and influenced Chinese leaders to use their forces more cautiously and realistically. In the next few decades, they restricted them to border conflicts with limited objectives. It also forced them to address the glaring weaknesses in their logistical systems and lack of technology. Increased military budgets after the war allowed for improved training of officers and weapons purchases from the Soviet Union.

China’s Battle for Korea provides a detailed and thorough analysis of the CPVF’s fifth campaign, the reasons for its failure, and the consequences for the Korean War and the Chinese military. It joins Harold Tanner’s The Battle for Manchuria: Siping 1946 (2103), as two recent additions on Chinese military history from the University of Indiana Press’s Twentieth-Century Battles series. This is an encouraging trend as works such as Xiaobing Li’s have much to tell us about the Chinese side of the Korean War.

Peter Worthing, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, USA

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THE COMPELLING IDEAL: Thought Reform and the Prison in China, 1901-1956. By Jan Kiely. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. x, 403 pp. (Maps.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-18594-2.

As an historian who has published extensively on Buddhist print culture in late imperial and modern China, Jan Kiely offers an interesting and archive-informed perspective on various Republican Chinese prison wardens’ attempts to rehabilitate or ganhua 感化their inmates with Buddhist or Confucian moral suasion. At the local level, morally rehabilitated or converted inmates would thereby be less likely to reoffend as recidivists, and at the national level Republican China would prove to the treaty-port foreign powers that they should abolish extraterritoriality in light of China’s modernized and rehabilitative criminal justice system. Part of what made the moral suasion of prisoners such a “compelling ideal” to elites in both China and Japan was that this Western-style emphasis upon rehabilitation instead of old-fashioned corporal punishment apparently contributed to the formal abolition of foreign powers’ extraterritorial privileges in Japan by 1899 and in China by 1943.

However, the reader might well raise some questions about how compelling these ideas about prisoner rehabilitation have truly been—and to whom they may or may not have been compelling. Ganhua is a notoriously slippery term that Kiely variously translates as “reform,” “convert” or “reformation” (40–41). Although the official government accounts that dominate many archival sources may portray rehabilitative “reformation” as effective for prison inmates, would most ex-inmates have necessarily agreed that ganhua was truly compelling to them if asked about it in private after their release from prison surveillance and control? Moreover, by translating ganhua’s supposed Maoist substitute of gaizao 改造identically as “reform” instead of with a more precise rendering such as “remold” or “remake,” Kiely elides the more thoroughly transformational connotations of Maoist gaizao as opposed to Republican-era ganhua (276). Within this sort of terminological blur, ganhua, gaizao and gaige 改革all come to be confusingly lumped together under the identical English label of “reform” in spite of significant distinctions between rehabilitative “conversion” (ganhua), heavy-handed “remolding” (gaizao), and institutional “reform” (gaige), respectively.

One of the most convincing lines of argument in the book can be found in Kiely’s characterization of official pressure on prisoners in many 1930s Guomindang “Self-Examination Institutes” to confess their behavioural and ideological failings as “coercive voluntarism” (201). This imperative of obligatory self-criticism would be ratcheted up higher than ever during the Mao era to require a great many PRC prison inmates to write lengthy life stories accentuating their numerous misdeeds and supposed crimes—and culminating with vows to throw themselves on the mercy of the infallible Communist Party and remold themselves into “New Socialist Persons.” Within civilian life outside of prison, single-party Leninist authoritarian regimes have helped retain their firm control over the public narrative through analogous devices described by political scientists as “administered mass organizations”: nationwide “mass” outfits like the PRC Women’s Federation that appear to represent popular voluntarism while actually being kept firmly in line by a Party committee at their administrative centre.

The book’s scholarly apparatus contains a brief three-page glossary of selected Chinese terms, but sadly no glossary entries for any authors or other key Chinese personages mentioned in the text or endnotes. Furthermore, The Compelling Ideal lacks a proper bibliography or works-cited list of the sort one expects from a scholarly monograph. Instead, Kiely has appended a list of cumbersome source-based abbreviations such as “SXXSGFNSS” (319), in which key information about these sources such as page numbers for journal articles has often been omitted. In order to check a source citation, the reader must constantly flip back and forth between the text, the endnotes section, and the aforementioned list of source-based acronyms, thereby making the book far less accessible to non-specialist readers than the topic warrants. Moreover, Kiely’s presentation of the theory and practice of Maoist thought remolding and remolding through labour is less persuasive and informative than that of some major monographs on the subject that his book ignores, such as Jean-Luc Domenach’s L’archipelago oublié (Paris, 1992) and Hu Ping’s Ren de xunhua, duobi, yu fanpan (Hong Kong, 1999; translated into English in 2012 as The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-state). I would thus recommend The Compelling Ideal with reservations—and only to specialists in either the history of politics or penology in modern China.

Philip F. Williams, Montana State University, Bozeman, USA    

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EXHIBITING THE PAST: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China. By Kirk A. Denton. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. viii, 350 pp. (Figures.) US$59.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3687-0.

In Exhibiting the Past, Kirk Denton, a scholar of Chinese Studies, covers a broad swath of issues relating to how people, events and sites are remembered and commemorated in contemporary China. Denton emphasizes the role of the Chinese state, most notably during the post-Mao era, in the creation and maintenance of these remembrances and commemorations. Chapters are devoted to history, literary, ethnographic and military museums as well as monuments, memorials and red tourism. Themes relating to “exhibitionary culture,” in Denton’s words, and the development of post-Mao narrative histories are clearly articulated. The writing is smooth, and the research effort that went into this book is impressive. There are extensive discussions of the secondary literature, especially as it pertains to remembrance and nationalism in contemporary China.

Denton points to a set of complex cleavages that are managed, in most cases with apparent success, by those who have official responsibility for remembrance in China. The conflicts and accommodations between national and local narratives and between forces of commercial entertainment and high-minded commemorative history making are central to his analysis. Denton argues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) exerts a profound influence over China’s “memoryscape … and to dismiss this state presence as nothing but propaganda is to fail to understand the complexity of the state/people relationship” (4).

Relying on his own research and the research of others, Denton carefully describes exhibits and memorials while skillfully connecting these descriptions to his main themes. The book contains discussions of China’s premier history museums, official remembrance sites devoted to Lu Xun and the Nanjing massacre, and memorials to Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Peng Dehuai. In chapter 2, Denton traces the history of post-Mao exhibits at the Museum of the Chinese Revolution in Beijing, later combined with the Museum of Chinese History to form the National Museum of China, which opened in 2011. In a 1996 exhibit at the then Museum of the Chinese Revolution, Denton finds a new emphasis on China as a nation, although the historical inevitability of CCP success and the socialist path that China followed continued to be prominently displayed. Here, as in so many cases, Denton describes changes in tone or emphasis vis-à-vis earlier exhibits, but the narrative of party dominance, inevitability and success remains front and centre.

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, the creation of the National Museum of China, overseen by the Ministry of Culture, involved a complete transformation of the original building and revised exhibits. In the new museum, which Chinese officials hoped would rival storied institutions like the British Museum and the Louvre, exhibits trace Chinese history “from imperial glory to decline in the face of Western imperialism” leading ultimately to present renewal. Denton points to a decidedly more fluid and less disruptive treatment of Chinese history in which “present revival” is “built on ideals from the classical past” (71-2). We should not be surprised, as Denton was not, to find traumas such as the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Famine ignored or glossed over. This neglect is fully consistent with past museum representations.

Red tourism, which has been avidly promoted in China, is a mix of commerce, rural development, history lesson and patriotic education. Local and national historical narratives often meld at these sites and impose, as Denton notes, “a revolutionary memory on the landscape of China” (215). In his discussion of red tourism and the Hunan memorials to Liu Shaoqi and Peng Dehuai, Denton calls attention to what he describes as the “Confucianization” of Liu and Peng, who were both purged by Mao. Both the Liu and Peng sites were extensively developed in the post-Mao era, and reflect, in Denton’s view, the “neo-traditionalism that has crept into party discourse” (234). The theme of a persistently developing neo-traditionalism, linking Confucian and socialist morality, is a recurrent theme throughout Exhibiting the Past.

On occasion Denton gives us insights into how Chinese visitors view what they are seeing. While travelling with a group of fellow tourists to Liu’s and Peng’s memorials, Denton refers to the irony that the older visitors expressed in the glorification of the once disgraced officials (230). This is a very good book, but readers might wish to see more discussion of audience: who visits and what messages do visitors take away from the memorials and museum exhibits that are at the heart of this book. Studies of museum audiences are notoriously difficult, but one suspects that Denton has more information on his fellow visitors than he has shared in this book. But this is a minor point; scholars of China, museums, and nationalism, will be happy to have this book. Denton offers a richly researched and thoughtful analysis of how officially sanctioned history making and commemoration have fared in post-Mao China.

Rubie S. Watson, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

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WIVES, HUSBANDS, AND LOVERS: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China. Edited by Deborah S. Davis and Sara L. Friedman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xii, 326 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-9184-7.

This book opens the Pandora’s box of marriage issues in China, offering readers a view of the growing anomalies of familial, sexual and marital mores and the complexities engendered by deviancies in the three Chinese societies of Hong Kong, Taiwan and the PRC. These “hidden” by-products, evolved throughout history and transformed by modernity, are disrupting and restructuring the conventional orders of marriage and family relationships in contemporary China. It is at this historical moment that they are captured by this book and presented as an important topic for discussion and debate: the “deinstitutionalization” of marriage in China (3).

The book incorporates multiple perspectives (legal, socio-demographic, gender and culture) of scholars who approached the topic in both qualitative and quantitative ways. It is divided into three parts. Part 1 focuses on the PRC. Davis interprets the revised marriage laws/regulations in the PRC and the driving factors and social implications beyond legal amendments. She argues that the paradoxical role of the state as a “legal referee” that increasingly legitimizes marriage freedom (sexual intimacy and conjugal property) and as a Maoist-style “social engineer” that unwaveringly dictates marital fertility and reproduction constitutes a unique feature of marriage deinstitutionalization in China (54-55).

Farrer examines the changing sexual cultures in China, demonstrated by a growing disjuncture between premarital intimacy and marriage/childbearing. He complicates the notion of (modern) love by deconstructing the “feeling rules” in contexts of commitment, intimacy and passion whereby disloyalty, casual sex and ambiguous relationships are justifiably entangled. It is worth thinking whether that represents a sexual revolution which allows the Chinese to cultivate new cultures of intimacy or is it a demonstration of a moral vacuum among contemporary youths in the PRC?

Yong and Wang explore the underlying forces of the (re)emergence of late marriages in Shanghai. They argue that marriage reinstitution is more of an evolutionary than revolutionary phenomenon because marriage practices, i.e., marital age and birth planning, feature an increasing degree of individual choices and reduced legislative enforcement (107). Their data analysis adds credit to the inference that China will likely follow a similar trajectory to that in its neighbouring countries in East Asia where the conventional marriage institution has been disrupted and remodelled by the younger generation.

Zhang and Sun capture an interesting phenomenon in Shanghai People’s Park, where parents negotiate a marriage suitor for their daughters. They attribute the highlighted anxieties of parents to three main factors: first, the growing economic pressure; second, demographic changes, such as the implementation of the One-Child Policy; and third, parents’ ideological connections to the socialist past. The discussion of shifting intimacy from the private to the public thus exposes essential issues of China in transition.

Part 2 centres on Hong Kong. Ting outlines the continuities and changes in Hong Kong people’s marital experiences from the 1960s to 2010. He analyzes the correlation between marriage quality and demographics, i.e., gender, age and educational level. The data analysis, however, doesn’t closely support the conclusion, which emphasizes the “robust institution” of marriage in Hong Kong in spite of the occurrence of new forms of marital and sexual practice in the society (158). Yet this poses a new question: how do we determine if marriage remains a social institution or is deinstitutionalized in a society?

Ho studies Hong Kong males’ rhetoric on their sexual and marital experiences with local and PRC women. He finds conventional masculinities have been overthrown and redefined by modern Hong Kong men who offer multiple interpretations of being “good” and “responsible”: a self-justified definition which simultaneously reflects their insecurities, pride, desires for recognition, and aspirations for romance and sexual relationships outside of marriage. This echoes the broader sociocultural changes of postcolonial Hong Kong.

Erni examines Hong Kong’s first transgender marriage case, which highlights the prevailing social prejudice against people in the new gender categories and the legal resistance to challenging the marriage institution in the local society. His analysis of the cultural and legal discourses (e.g., the court’s statement) stimulates discussions of the meanings of gender/sex and marriage and the legal rights of people “on the edge.”

Part 3 focuses on Taiwan. Kuo analyzes the transformations of Taiwanese family law in response to the emergence of new types of marriage in recent decades. His discussion of Taiwan’s legal reform in response to the private life “reordering” not only demonstrates the increasing trend of deinstitutionalization of marriage in Taiwan but also alarms governments in other societies to initiate legal actions to manage similar challenges.

Yu and Liu’s survey on the determinants of housework division between husbands and wives shows that patriarchal marriage values persist in Taiwan. They argue that the co-existence of the changes and continuities is an incomplete breakdown of the traditional norms instead of a linear process of reinstitutionalization of marriage in Taiwan. This conclusion adds weight to (re)conceptualizing the “deinstitutionalization of marriage” in the Chinese context.

Shen argues that “split marriages” connected through a gendered division of labour can reinforce conjugal ties. This is because geographic separation enables both husbands and wives to cultivate new spaces of their own. Taiwanese (business)men enjoy the freedom of casual sexual liaisons in China whereas their wives gain autonomy and explore their social circles outside home. Her work taps into the counter-force of deinstitutionalization of marriage as it shows that unconventional marriage practices can strengthen the existing institution of marriage.

In analyzing the relationships between gender, population and sovereignty in cross-Strait marriages, Friedman argues that the regulatory regime in Taiwan, based on a “dependency model” of immigration (290), enhances the unequal status of Chinese marital immigrants as evidenced by their legal and financial reliance on their Taiwanese spouses. She also finds that the state asserts and undergirds its sovereign power through the bureaucratic scrutiny of marriages, a practice that is inseparable from the political contestations across the Strait.

Overall, the chapters are neatly integrated under the theme of “deinstitutionalization of marriage” in China. The book injects new blood to scholarship on the topic of marriage and sexuality and offers alternative ways of thinking and questioning institutions—as symbolized by the cover of the book.

Wang Pan, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia

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MY FIGHT FOR A NEW TAIWAN: One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power. By Lu Hsiu-Lien and Ashley Esarey; foreword by Jerome A. Cohen. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xiii, 314 pp. (Illustrations.) US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-295-99364-5.

Lü Hsiu-lien is East Asia’s first female vice president as well as Taiwan’s grassroots feminist activist. My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power is her English-language autobiographical book. with Ashley Esarey’s introduction and epilogue as well as Jerome A. Cohen’s preface.

An American reporter with Taiwanese experience, Ashley Esarey begins with what Taiwan is and how Taiwan changed from the ancient Chinese feudalist era to the twenty-first century. His epilogue reports almost all the crises Lü Hsiu-lien and Chen Shui-bien faced after they were elected as vice president and president, as well as Lü Hsiu-lien’s life after her retirement. Jerome A. Cohen is not merely Lü Hsiu-lien’s Harvard University law school professor, but also one of the Americans who helped release her from prison. In his foreword, he highlights Lü Hsiu-lien’s exceptional experience moving from prison to Presidential Palace.

This book covers Lü Hsiu-lien’s childhood, teenage years, adulthood, college life, legal training, overseas graduate studies, early career, feminist and political social movements, prison life, political jobs and retirement. In the first chapter, “Dreams Come True,” Lü Hsiu-lien accentuates the ironic contrasts between her experience as a defendant in the courtroom on March 18, 1980 and her status as Taiwan’s vice president on March 18, 2000. Chapters 2 to 10 are Lü Hsiu-lien’s chronological memory of her life stories. Chapter 2, “Taiwanese Daughter,” mentions Lü Hsiu-lien’s Taiwanese self-identity, family and educational background, especially college-level legal training. Chapter 3, “Lifting Half the Sky,” includes Lü Hsiu-lien’s American post-graduate studies of comparative law at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, her cancer, and her Taiwanese women’s movement to promote gender egalitarianism. Chapter 4, “A Moth Flying toward Flame,” delineates Lü Hsiu-lien’s Harvard experience, her friendship with Jerome Cohen, and her return from Harvard University to Taiwanese political movements. The US government’s discontinuation of its official friendship with Taiwan indirectly resulted in the cancellation of the election, in which Lü Hsiu-lien was supposed to participate, and paved the way for her involvement in the Dangwai activists’ Formosa Incident. Chapter 5, “Human Rights Riot,” touches upon how and why Lü Hsiu-lien was arrested. Chapter 6, “Patriotism Imprisoned,” describes Lü Hsiu-lien’s prison experience. Chapter 7, “In Search of Destiny,” shows how Lü Hsiu-lien restarted her political movements after she was released from prison. Chapter 8, “Knocking at the Gate of the UN,” demonstrates Lü Hsiu-lien’s efforts to help Taiwan reenter the United Nations. Lee Tung-hui valued her hard work and invited her to serve as a presidential advisor after his presidential inauguration. Chapter 9, “Political Trash,” starts with Chungli’s trash issues when Lü Hsiu-lien was the Taoyuan County chief executive, and ends with her acceptance of Chen Shui-bien’s offer to run for vice president. Chapter 10, “The Glorious Revolution,” records Lü Hsiu-lien’s triumph in the presidential election as Taiwan’s first female vice president.

Throughout Chinese history, it seems to be a pattern that the male elite felt free to single out women, as if women’s gender issues were their easy scapegoat whenever their political or military failure created crises for the nation-state. For instance, Tang Dynasty women’s second or third marriages were acceptable and frequently seen in princesses’ life stories, but Chinese women’s chastity was singled out and highly emphasized in the Song Dynasty after the male ruling class faced foreign invaders.

Lü Hsiu-lien was one of Taiwan’s local feminist pioneers to overthrow this thousands-year-old pattern. Her women’s and political movements demonstrate that the male elite’s use of women as their easy scapegoat should be terminated. She proved that women like her can do as much as the male elite can to do to help their homeland tackle national crises when foreign countries threaten the nation-state.

Although some non-academic people in English-speaking or other non-Asian areas mistake Taiwan for Thailand, Taiwan’s self-identity is discussed in various English-language academic books, such as William Campbell’s Formosa under the Dutch, Tonio Andrade’s How Taiwan Became Chinese, Melissa Brown’s Is Taiwan Chinese?, Alan M. Watchman’s Taiwan: National Identity and Democratization, Denny Roy’s Taiwan: A Political History, Bruce Herschensohn’s Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy, John Franklin Copper’s Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?, and Murray A. Rubinstein’s Taiwan: A New History. However, English-language academic books focusing on Taiwanese gender issues could probably be counted on one’s fingers. The most influential reason lies in most English-speaking feminists or gender scholars; although they do not mistake Taiwanese gender issues for Thai gender issues, they frequently place Taiwanese gender issues under the huge umbrella of Communist Chinese or PRC women’s studies. In other words, most of them are China-centred and lack Taiwan-oriented feminist voices. This inadvertent “big China bias” hinders a more complete understanding of Taiwanese women’s past, present and future. Shanshan Du, for instance, was so afraid of threats from the PRC government that she requested Murray A. Rubinstein’s chapter about Lü Hsiu-lien be replaced by a chapter about Li Ang and asked me to add my paragraphs about Xie Xuehong, a Taiwanese communist feminist, to it when she and I coedited Women and Gender in Modern Chinese Society: Beyond Han Patriarchy. Exceptions in Harvard University Library’s current online catalogues include Cal Clark, Janet Clark and Bih-er Chou’s Women in Taiwan Politics, Catherine Farris, Murray A. Rubinstein and Anru Lee’s Women in the New Taiwan, Chen Pei-ying’s Acting “Otherwise,” Doris Chang’s Women’s Movements in Twentieth-Century Taiwan, Lydia Kung’s Factory Women in Taiwan, Hans Tao-ming Huang’s Queer Politics and Sexuality Modernity in Taiwan, and some of Ya-chen Chen’s books. However, most English-language academic books that touch upon Taiwanese gender issues do so because they unconsciously regard Taiwanese aspects as nothing but a byproduct when talking about the giant vista of Communist Chinese women’s, gender and queer studies—not because Taiwanese gender issues are their only key points.

While most English-language academic books about Chinese-heritage women sound like an orchestra featuring the “big China,” Lü Hsiu-lien’s English-language autobiographical book adds one more valuable Taiwanese volume to English-language publications.

Ya-chen Chen, Columbia University, New York, USA

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FOLLOWING THE LEADER: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies. By David M. Lampton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xiii, 293 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$31.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-28121-9.

Following the Leader probes the dreams and nightmares of the PRC’s leadership after Mao, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping. Lampton, who appreciates the fragility of the PRC’s success and the enormous challenges lying ahead, attempts to “humanize” China’s extraordinary course of development since Deng Xiaoping’s return to power in 1977. His selective history of PRC challenges reveals the frustrations China’s leaders feel, the sheer scale of the challenges they face and, most illuminatingly, “the nightmares disturbing their sleep.” Lampton’s book emerges at a pivotal point in China’s modern history—we still do not know if China’s rapid-paced development is the basis for a more stable and responsive PRC government or if it signals the appearance of a more unmanageable, pluralized polity and society.

Lampton’s book is based on 558 interviews and group meetings with Chinese leaders between 1971-2013, on “innumerable” documents, and is illustrated with case studies. His inside-out or inductive approach helps us understand and anticipate the behaviour of the PRC. The book moves from macro to micro, first narrating the evolution of the Chinese communist revolution, proceeding to a “wide-angle” view, then to an analysis of leaders’ nightmares from an up-close perspective, and finally to forecasting the implications of China’s supersonic development.

Following the Leaderis beautifully written and dotted with poetic passages unexpected in a book of political analysis. Describing the dilemma hyper growth has brought to the PRC since Deng Xiaoping’s rise, Lampton illuminates the following nightmare:

Like an automobile driving at high speed on a moonless night in the desert, China is undergoing a rate of domestic change so rapid that the country’s forward momentum cannot be stopped or the direction adequately adjusted in the existing zone of illumination—the PRC is driving too fast for the headlights to reveal what dangers lurk ahead . . . and at any moment China might hit a stationary object that was diffuse and unrecognized in the obscurity of the night. (222)

There are many more PRC nightmares for us to contemplate. In fact, China’s nightmares are so numerous Lampton finds the most appropriate simile for PRC governance to be the “whack a mole” arcade game in which one uses a mallet to try to bash multiple pop-up moles back into their holes. China’s nightmare is that one mallet is not and never will be enough to protect its people from harmful consequences such as severe environmental pollution or water problems that could explode into significant instability. It is clear that China’s economic power is key to China’s future and to its national power. Such economic power, however, can also lead to the greatest nightmare of all: that a government unable to protect its people from such deleterious conditions will soon need protection itself.

Unlike American leaders whose nightmares mainly focus on individuals or small groups, the nightmares of Chinese leaders concern huge social groups, some numbering over 800 million people. Lampton reminds us that at the end of 2011, for the first time in China’s history the rural population fell below half of the total population. China is now an urban nation. A PRC official states the nightmare this situation has produced by asking American officials how they would like to have 800 million farmers when the country only needs 200 million? China also needs upwards of 300 million jobs, equal to the entire population of the United States, to solve its periodically erupting unemployment problem. Worker discontent as a result of terrible factory working and pay conditions is frequently expressed in “mass incidents” as well as worker suicides and other violence.

Lampton considers PRC alternative futures that inspire some of the most traumatic nightmares for Chinese leaders. Perhaps the most frightening involves the fate of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). For several years now there has been a “simmering” argument in the Communist Party about whether the PLA should become a “national army” or remain an instrument of a single political party. Some party thinkers have proposed dividing the Communist Party in two by forming one conservative Communist party and one more liberal Communist party. China would thus become a “democratic” multi-party state with the PLA beholden to the PRC government but not to either party. Such a move would avert a 1989 Tiananmen situation in which a domestic conflict or succession struggle leading to a split within the party could result in a PLA alignment with one side or, even worse, both. Some ask the haunting question: might a PLA beholden to the government and not to one particular party choose to take the government into its own hands?

What is in store for China’s long-range international future seems to be much more the stuff of nightmares for United States’ leaders than for China’s. China’s future destiny has never been more closely connected with that of the international community. Unfortunately for Washington, Lampton stresses, China perceives the United States to be the greatest threat to its security future. The United States struggles to develop a shared vision of international security with the PRC and others. Beijing is clearly uncomfortable with a US-led security order founded on bilateral and multilateral alliances that do not include China. This has led to a struggle for the soul of Chinese foreign policy, between the realities of interdependence and impulses of assertive nationalism. China’s still powerful fear of being bullied, its victim mentality, continues to foster its aversion to being drawn into international obligations. While China’s leaders and people feel empowered to be full and equal participants in regional and world affairs, China still, as a rule, strives for balance while maintaining few or no permanent enemies or friends. What is ominous for those who have spent most their lives engaged with the PRC is not a nightmare but a stark, present reality: for several years now, every time China gets into trouble with its neighbours, the United States is always on the other side.

Justin Jon (Ben-Adam) Rudelson, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA

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SPYING FOR THE PEOPLE: Mao’s Secret Agents, 1949-1967. By Michael Schoenhals. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. ix, 266 pp. (Figures.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-60344-8.

Michael Schoenhals’ newest work offers a rich and elegant examination of the surveillance and control apparatus of the People’s Republic of China in the two decades after revolution. Through the compilation of operational training manuals, archival accounts and never-before-seen “garbage materials”—grassroots, gray-market archival materials bought and sold by private peddlers—Schoenhals reconstructs the quotidian texture and day-to-day realities of China’s early surveillance operations. As the functional equivalent of the Soviet KGB, the Central Ministry of Public Security (CMPS) of the Central People’s Government was formally ratified on October 19, 1949, vested with exclusive authority to recruit and deploy agents for domestic operational purposes. How were they identified, trained, deployed and dismissed? How did the scope and influence of this organization change over time? What was the extent of its power and influence in the mid-1950s, at a time when China’s national railroad network alone saw more than ten thousand public security agents serving in a variety of capacities? What ensued in the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, when CCP authorities established their own surveillance textbooks and operational protocols based upon “Chinese characteristics?” What was the system’s fate at the outset of the Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong emphasized what Schoenhals somewhat euphemistically describes as the “widespread outsourcing of investigation, interrogation, and similar tasks to organizations of the revolutionary masses” (71-2). Schoenhals addresses these and many other questions, helping his readers gain a much fuller account of Chinese politics and society in the critical first two decades of the People’s Republic.

Schoenhals’ account is peppered throughout with concise, evocative case studies—too abundant to synthesize here—that humanize and enrich the story. One exemplary line of inquiry in the study pertains to the selection and recruitment of operatives at a time of great sociopolitical flux in the immediate post-revolutionary period. The CMPS was committed from its inception to developing what Schoenhals describes as “specialized and entirely covert operational resources” (52), with recruitment of operatives divided between three pools of candidates: the bad guys, the good guys, and those whose political and socioeconomic statuses were still very much in question at the time. The first group, also referred to as the “black masses,” encompassed those socioeconomic classes deemed hostile to the cause of socialism, and in particular, former Guomindang enemy combatants and surveillance operatives. Like many state-builders before and after it, the CCP was determined to leverage rather than eliminate those enemies who could render intelligence services deemed essential for the state’s protection. One prime recruitment area was within the country’s prison system, wherein detained individuals might be offered probationary status provided they were willing to collaborate. Mass mobilization campaigns constituted another prime recruiting ground, as in the October 1950 Suppression of Counterrevolutionaries campaign wherein service to the new regime was sometimes provided as an “exit strategy” to those who had been corralled. Former enemy combatants with known ties to enemy intelligence services were so valuable to the Communist regime, indeed, that they were at times specifically identified as “off limits” during political mass movements, and “de facto enjoyed protection in the course of every political campaign since 1949” (91).

The second group, or the red masses, encompassed members of the Party itself, as well as the Communist Youth League. Ideologically versed and politically committed to the cause, these individuals were in many ways the ideal candidates. In practical ways, however, they often proved less useful than their “black element” counterparts, standing out conspicuously within precisely those questionable contexts and communities they were charged with infiltrating.

The third group, or “gray masses,” was one of the most promising recruitment grounds for the state. Protestant “elements,” for example, could be utilized to infiltrate the Christian communities, themselves already under suspicion and close watch by the nascent regime. Similarly, those with longstanding connections to China’s foreign and embassy communities could be drawn upon to keep close watch on expatriates and foreign diplomats. There was an acute concern with finding operatives from non-Han Chinese backgrounds, as well, particularly in the southwest where Guomindang cells continued to operate between and along the Sino-Burmese border.

The development of surveillance operations involved not only organizational and logistical challenges, but also political and ideological debates. Was the employment of a covert force compatible with the Party’s self-fashioned identity as a revolutionary force of the people—particularly the use of the “black classes” and questionable elements? Was there a place for this form of covert organization within New China? The answer was a resounding yes, and what is more, the CCP proved unwilling to entrust its security solely with this formal surveillance infrastructure. By as early as 1953, the Party had developed its own parallel operation: the “specialized ideological policing unit,” or the Political Department of the CMPS. Among the most surveilled were CMPS agents themselves.

Spying for the People builds upon, and will undoubtedly contribute greatly to, Schoenhals’ deservedly towering reputation as a penetrating and precise analyst of the People’s Republic.

Thomas S. Mullaney, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

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THE MAKING OF MODERN CHINESE MEDICINE, 1850-1960. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Bridie Andrews. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. xvi, 294 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2433-0.

Chinese medicine may not be what you think it is. Americans may be forgiven for thinking acupuncture the most important part of China’s medical culture, yet in 1820 a popular slogan in China stated that acupuncture was “absolutely inappropriate to all gentlemen.” How then did needling become the representative practice for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? What happened, Bridie Andrews reveals, is that Chinese medicine became modern even as the conspicuous word “traditional” was added to its name.

In this long-awaited synthetic study examining the transformation of Chinese medical culture from a pluralistic and private affair in the mid-nineteenth century to a standardized and state-sponsored dual system by the mid-twentieth, Andrews offers the best account to date of how “Western” medicine (xiyi) and “Chinese” medicine (zhongyi)encountered each other and both became modern. The genius of this study is that it keeps its eye fully on both forms of medicine, rather than one or the other. In nine lean chapters, Andrews examines the transformation of the medical field in China that ranged from herbalists, shamans, bone-setters, midwives, priests and a few medical missionaries, to one in which two forms of medicine competed. There was an increasingly power-hungry xiyi that sought to dominate the medical field, and an increasingly rationalized Chinese medicine that (re-)incorporated acupuncture from Japan. Like other recent works on Chinese medicine, Andrews skewers the nationalist narrative of a TCM that was always, already complete. Likewise, xiyi was also in constant transformation. But this is no Whig history—neither form of medicine progressed according to an inevitable logic of progress—and so the end result is messy: a Chinese health-care field that promoted one form of medicine over another because it was sometimes popular, sometimes effective, and always subject to the politics of nationalism.

Following the introduction, Andrews establishes a baseline for a conversation about medicine and modernity in China. So we discover the complex field of health care in nineteenth-century China when on the street a foreign observer might witness Daoist medical peddlers, exorcists and kung-fu masters, but an astute Chinese writer would observe that many health issues were handled within the household through religious practices and herbal medical prescriptions, but may also consult itinerant “river-and-lake” doctors, street healers, tiger-skin merchants or various female practitioners. There were also official and semi-official physicians, a category that might include military doctors, opium office doctors, and school and Red Cross doctors. But all of the above, for Qiu Jisheng in 1915 Shaoxing, were a separate category from Chinese-style doctors (zhongyi). The knowledge and practice of these specialists in wound treatment, eye and throat diseases, smallpox variolation, childbirth and pediatrics, internal and external medicine was in a discrete class. For the poor, home and religious remedies were usually the only forms of medicine that were affordable, while the wealthy might get second and third opinions from established specialists.

We also see the birth of missionary medicine in China as hundreds of British and Americans physicians attempted to practice medicine as an aid to conversion. But rather than emphasize how different their medicine was, Andrews demonstrates how missionaries tried to reduce the “perception of alterity” by using Chinese drugs, making their clinics and hospitals accommodating to Chinese sensibilities, and taking the pulse at both wrists, as was common practice (55-61). In a fourth chapter, Japan becomes the focus as we see this nation as key to transforming both major forms of medicine. Japan had absorbed anatomically-based Western medicine along with other reforms well before China, and became a model for many modernizers from China due to its geographical and cultural proximity. In Japan, kanpō (Andrews calls this “Sino-Japanese medicine”) was regulated and starved while the government encouraged a vigorously expanding system of domestic medical education promoting anatomically-based medicine. A Chinese physician named Yu Yan, trained in the Japanese system, returned to China and tried to demolish Chinese medical theory through public debate, and then abolish its practice through legislation. But both kanpō in Japan and its counterpart in China survived and experienced resurgence in the 1930s.

Subsequent chapters focus on public health as a key component of state building, examples of medical lives in the unofficial hybrid field of medicine that emerged in the twentieth century, new medical institutions that changed both forms of medicine, and the development of new theories and new practices even as nationalism emphasized the “traditional” aspect of medicine. To illustrate these themes, I focus on acupuncture.

Andrews reveals how acupuncture was transformed into the marquee practice of modern Chinese medicine from its degraded position in the late Qing. The key was the Japanese grafting of acupuncture onto a Western view of the anatomical body. Modern filiform needles replaced previously much larger acupuncture tools. Acupuncture points were reduced and relocated by subsequent Chinese scholars like Cheng Dan’an, who studied both forms of medicine, and argued, “[e]ach acupoint must be elucidated anatomically,” to avoid blood vessels and arteries. And so it is ironic, the author argues, that Westerners now see this Japanese-influenced, anatomically reformed acupuncture as the symbol of a more holistic and ancient form of health now called Traditional Chinese Medicine (197-205).

The author ends her roughly chronological narrative of a long century of modern medicine in China with the official establishment of TCM in the 1950s. Although the analysis is often at its best in the final chapter of conclusions, the narrative becomes thin during the crucial war and early PRC years (1937-1960) as Andrews relies on recent secondary literature. Other readers may find the episodic nature of the chapter on three medical lives to be instructing, if not completely satisfying as the best examples of the trends she describes elsewhere. Yet these can hardly be major critiques of what was designed to be a century-long narrative history arguing that, against received understandings, modern Chinese medicine includes both xiyi practiced in China, and standardized and anatomized Traditional Chinese Medicine.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

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ENGAGING CHINA: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper. UTP Insights. By Paul M. Evans. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xix, 122 pp. US$19.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-4426-1448-2.

Paul Evans has long been a distinguished student of the Canada-China relationship, and his new Engaging China is probably the most important book published about it since Reluctant Adversaries: Canada and the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1970 (University of Toronto Press, 1991), a conference volume he and B. Michael Frolic edited. This brief book is based entirely on English-language materials, but in relating the Canadian side of the relationship Evans makes fairly extensive use of original archival sources.

Most historians will probably come away from this book somewhat disappointed that Evans does not cover in any detail Trudeau’s trip to China in the late 1940s, his subsequent second trip to China in 1960 along with Jacques Hébert during the height of the Great Leap Forward famine (he would later visit China once again in 1973, this time as PM), Trudeau’s lifelong fixation on China, Diefenbaker’s decision to sell wheat to China, and especially Canada’s innovative and influential “takes note” formula regarding the territorial disposition of Taiwan in establishing diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1970.

“Aspirations and tactics from the past offer lessons and cautionary tales,” he writes on page 84, but he does not really elaborate on these lessons and tales very much other than to make the sound observation that “the Canadian approach historically has been the idea that China is not a long-term threat.” This is somewhat disappointing, especially since Evans clearly believes that knowing the past in order to understand the present better is a sound reason for studying history. But Evans is primarily a political scientist, and it would be unfair to criticize his book for being something it is not and does not pretend to be: a full-orbed monograph on the history of Canada-China relations, one drawn from both Canadian and Chinese sources. Indeed, according to Evans, “What we still need are a full-gauged history of Canadian policy making and a systematic account of the Chinese side of the equation” (xix). He draws attention to the ongoing preparation of the long-awaited full treatment of Canada-China relations by B. Michael Frolic (Bernie Frolic).

Engaging China is a brief survey of Canadian China policy since 1970 and, more importantly, a broad policy recommendation or prescription for the terms of the future relationship. The meat of the book is chapter 5, “Engagement Recalibrated,” in which Evans argues that correcting Canada’s somewhat deficient and evolving China policies can be achieved through understanding and acting on four main points: 1) since 1978 and Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, China has changed immensely and continues to do so, and that this is good news for “engagers,” or people who believe that long-term engagement of the West with China will lead to positive change there; 2) the current dispensation of a multicentric world order has changed China’s international behaviour and will continue to do so, and fears of competing visions of world order (Westphalian vs. Sinocentric) are overstated; 3) while Australia, South Korea and the United States have formulated long-term strategic visions for their overall engagement with China, Canada has so far largely failed to think in long-term geopolitical and strategic terms and needs to transcend narrowly “transactional and mercantilist” concerns; and 4) national leaders should take the lead in formulating a coherent long-term vision for China policy.

Evans argues that Canadian trade and investment with China can, if “carefully implemented” (87), eventually improve China’s human rights, social and economic rights, although possibly in ways not readily foreseen today. He suggests that Canadian leaders can gently prod China to abide by the provisions of its own constitution, which explicitly guarantees freedoms of press, speech and assembly, among other things. He has faith in the long-term transformative power of “the traditional Canadian formula of direct criticism and expressions of concern at the highest political level, quiet diplomacy in cases involving individuals, and an incessant effort at two-way dialogue, academic exchange, and capacity building” (88), and he wants as many levels and varieties of exchange and contact with China as possible.

He clearly admires Australia’s comprehensive geostrategic blueprint for future engagement with China and observes that “Australia, Canada’s most natural Asia Pacific comparator, is wrestling with the dilemma of having China as its largest trading partner and the United States as its principal security partner” (96). Although Canada’s largest trading and security partners are one and the same country, his argument that Canada ought to have some sort of coherent vision of China policy is sound, as is his contention that Canada should not focus on trade while largely leaving defence matters to the US and its Pacific allies.

Evans is not content to see Canada-China relations develop on an ad hoc basis, as if Canada were travelling through thick fog and could see what lies ahead only as it is closely approached. Evans insists that the fog can and should be penetrated and a way through it found. This important book, which no student of Canada-China relations should neglect and which belongs in all serious academic libraries, ultimately highlights the inadequacy of the ossified Laurentian and Continentalist duality in Canada’s foreign relations. While Canada’s major foreign relationship will very likely always be with the United States, Canada is now more of a Pacific state than an Atlantic one, even though much of Canada has yet to awaken fully to this adamantine fact. Evans’ book is a clarion call for the awakening, one that will hopefully help make unnecessary a future firebell in the night.

David Curtis Wright, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada                                                   

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LIVING DEAD IN THE PACIFIC: Contested Sovereignty and Racism in Genetic Research on Taiwan Aborigines. By Mark Munsterhjelm. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. 292 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7748-2659-4.  

This book fills an important gap in the literature on international indigenous studies. With a population of more than 550,000, the indigenous peoples of Taiwan are more numerous than the Aborigines of Australia or the San of Southern Africa, yet far less is known about them outside of their own country. A solid addition to Latourian Science and Technology Studies (STS), this book examines how genetics research contributes to the biocolonialism of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, as well as how indigenous peoples resist the use of their genetic material by outsiders without free, prior, informed consent. This issue is especially important in light of Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that indigenous peoples have the right to control and protect their human and genetic resources.

The first chapter provides a history of the political economy of Taiwan. From an indigenous perspective, the most important fact is that Taiwan’s indigenous peoples were incorporated into states and capitalist forms of accumulation—some as late as 1914—as Chinese, British and ultimately Japanese colonial forces sought to extract camphor from the central mountain regions. For readers interested in contemporary geopolitics, this chapter even explores PRC (Peoples Republic of China) claims to Taiwan and their discourse on the island’s “minorities.” By denying them status as indigenous peoples, who have certain rights in international law, the Chinese (especially in the UN) attempt to exclude any recognition of them as peoples with their own sovereignty (15). The same is true of Taiwan’s status. Only if Taiwan maintains its sovereignty vis-à-vis China and its democratic system can indigenous peoples there enjoy what Munsterhjelm calls “graduated sovereignty” (44). This book demonstrates clearly that Taiwan is a settler state like Canada or New Zealand, marked by differential political and economic power between settler and indigenous populations.

In the absence of anthropological field research, Munsterhjelm bases his book on Latourian Actor Network Theory (ANT) and rhetorical analysis of genetics research as narratively organized networks and resistance. He goes beyond Foucauldian discourse analysis by showing how discourses are both constructed and resisted. Chapter 3 examines scientific articles and their media coverage, showing how research on alcoholic “genes” constructs Taiwan’s indigenous people as genetically deficient. Chapter 4 shows how advocates of Taiwanese independence used genetic research to assert that Taiwan is the origin of the Austronesian diaspora and that 85 percent of Taiwanese have indigenous genes. This positions the indigenous peoples as the ancestors of the settlers, making genes “weapons of ontological violence” (120), but indigenous groups (in this case the Kavalan) were able to disrupt the narrative by asserting their own sovereignty (124).

The following two chapters move beyond Taiwan. Chapter 5 examines documentaries about genetic linkages between indigenous peoples of Taiwan and the Maori of New Zealand. This chapter is useful for contrast, as Munsterhjelm reveals how the Maori have successfully contested a discourse of “warrior genes” that can supposedly explain domestic violence in their communities. He concludes that the Maori have a stronger position relative to settlers in New Zealand than Taiwanese indigenous people relative to Taiwanese settlers. The Maori are better organized, even with the Maori Party in politics, and the media are more supportive. New Zealand researchers are more willing to criticize colleagues for violations of indigenous rights, whereas Taiwanese scientists have a “culture of impunity” and are even permitted to publicly criticize indigenous rights (161). Chapter 6 is about attempts to patent indigenous genetic material in Taiwan and the United States, indigenous resistance to the commercialization of their genes, and the ultimate failure of the patent applications. In this chapter, the author reveals his own participation as an advocate for the rights of Taiwanese indigenous peoples in genetics research (192).

STS tends to have a strong moralistic tone, as it portrays “Western” science as a form of Western intellectual hegemony over the rest of the world. This book is no exception, concluding that genetics research constitutes indigenous peoples as belonging to a “state of nature,” while giving researchers exceptional power (210). Taiwan is described as a “semi-sovereign American protectorate” (19), and many of the issues are complicated due to neoliberal assemblages involving American institutions such as Stanford University, Coriell Cell Repositories, and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Munsterhjelm gives the impression that this effect is intentional, as “scientists seek to cancel out or naturalize” (210) the colonial history and continuing hierarchies between settlers and indigenous peoples. In Taiwan, the crux of the issue is that, although Article 21 of the 2005 Indigenous Peoples Basic Law stipulates that academic researchers must gain consent of the peoples involved, there are still no indigenous autonomous governments or band councils who can give such collective consent. By drawing attention to this issue, Munsterhjelm helps promote indigenous rights in Taiwan.

As with any publication with such ambitious goals, there are occasional factual errors and omissions, but these are likely to be noticed only by Taiwan specialists and do not detract from the general argument. The concept of graduated sovereignty allows him to optimistically conclude that indigenous people in democratic states can assert themselves as “self-representing peoples who must be treated with dignity and respect” (223). Due to difficult and often obscure vocabulary, this book will not be useful as an undergraduate textbook. It is, however, an erudite work, making good use of both English- and Chinese-language source materials. It shows the utility of Latourian STS and ANT theories to social scientific analysis. Although not an ethnography, it provides indispensable information for anthropologists working with Taiwan’s indigenous peoples; as well as comparative data for researchers elsewhere. The focus on indigenous rights and on Taiwan as a settler state challenges many state-centric notions in Asian Studies, especially those that see Taiwan as intrinsically related to China. It is thus an important contribution to international indigenous studies and Taiwan studies, as serious reflection on sovereignty is crucial to both areas.

Scott Simon, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

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PARTNERS AND RIVALS: The Uneasy Future of China’s Relationship with the United States. By Wendy Dobson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. vii, 198 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$32.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4426-4752-7.

Wendy Dobson’s book purports to tackle the multi-faceted subject of US-China relations. She identifies as the book’s thesis the unambitious argument that this key relationship “can avoid traditional Great Power competition” (5). She fails to make that case, however, because she largely avoids addressing that competition.

Dobson is an economist, and this shows in her analysis. This book is really an expert explanation of China’s economic situation, followed by a workmanlike introduction to the US-China relationship, and finishing with an amateurish set of policy recommendations that demonstrate under-appreciation of the political and strategic issues that divide Beijing and Washington.

Dobson’s appraisal of China’s economy highlights the incomplete transition from traditional and communist-era practices to the efficiencies demanded by a globalized twenty-first century. She demonstrates that China has left communism far behind. The Chinese economy is now one of the world’s most open, she says, and suffers higher income inequality than the United States or India.

Dobson echoes the argument of many other economists that China is reaching a crossroads: the factors that powered rapid economic growth beginning in the 1980s are reaching a point of diminishing returns. While Beijing has presided over immense reductions in poverty and the long period of rapid economic growth that is the basis of China’s “rise,” the flaws hidden by these successes are becoming more prominent. To maintain a high growth rate, China must re-balance toward less reliance on exports and more on domestic consumption. China’s relatively low rate of domestic consumption is “a consequence of policy choices that favour producers over consumers” (24). Government policies also “penalize the non-state sector, which tends to be more efficient and productive” (25).

The book provides (on 109) a good summary of China’s attitude toward the World Trade Organization, of which China is a somewhat grudging member, and a helpful explanation (138-141) of the overlap and distinctions between the Trans- Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Dobson gives ample advice to the PRC leadership on how to make China’s economy more efficient. Her recommendations, however, are apolitical. Dobson herself recognizes “the Communist Party’s need to legitimize its autocratic rule” (4). No doubt the leaders in Zhongnanhai have heard such recommendations before; the question is why they have not implemented them. An explanation of why the political milieu of the Party makes it difficult for the leaders to carry out particular reforms would be welcome, but Dobson does little of this beyond noting that powerful industries and influential individuals will resist economic restructuring.

Having an economist tell this story becomes increasingly problematic as the subject matter expands from China’s economy to the US-China relationship. In a section titled “The Dangers of Mutual Ignorance and Miscalculation” (97-99), while there is much she might cover, Dobson focuses mostly on the issue of currency manipulation. A major giveaway comes on page 99, when Dobson states her view that in a “`normal’ major power relationship . . . economics trumps military thinking.”

Dobson understates the problem of strategic rivalry between the old great power and the rising challenger. She argues, for example, that “there is little evidence of China’s repudiating or replacing the existing global system” (101). Such a conclusion might be warranted if one focuses solely on international economic issues, but it overlooks China’s alternate-universe claim to ownership over most of the South China Sea, the Chinese government’s massive international cyber theft campaign, Chinese support for pariah states, and Chinese disrespect for a variety of international norms.

In the final three chapters Dobson offers policy recommendations for Washington and Beijing to keep their relationship constructive rather than conflictual. Disappointingly, she invokes the usual shallow platitudes of “transparency, trust, and cooperation” (126). She calls for more meetings and more dialogue. China and the United States, she writes, “both should move to build confidence through deeper understanding of the other’s core interests and accommodating the other’s deepest fears” (100). It is an assumption, and probably an erroneous one, that “deeper understanding” of each other’s objectives would “build confidence.” Would Americans feel more “confident” to more deeply understand that the Chinese want American alliances and military bases to leave the western Pacific? Would frank American talk about antipathy toward the Communist Party increase Chinese confidence in the bilateral relationship?

Dobson asserts that “each government needs to effect change at home to earn and maintain the other’s respect” (131). So China needs to start respecting its citizens’ civil and political rights, end official corruption, and improve its international image to gain America’s respect, while the Americans must solidify their financial situation, control inflation, and end the paralysis in Washington politics. Calling for the solution of massive and deeply rooted domestic problems as a policy recommendation for improving US-China relations is bizarre, even silly.

Dobson’s idea that the two countries should “work out mutually acceptable approaches to fraught issues—such as the futures of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan” (146) seems a throw-away line. “Mutually acceptable approaches” on these and several other important strategic issues do not exist. Up to now Washington supports the Taiwan people’s desire not to be ruled by the CCP, while China insists it has sovereignty over Taiwan, whether or not the Taiwanese agree. With regard to North Korea, China’s view is that regime collapse must be avoided even at the cost of tolerating a DPRK nuclear weapons program, while the US view is that the DPRK must be pressured to de-nuclearize even at the risk of regime collapse.

Dobson implores the rivals to “cooperate on new areas of common interest, such as a global cyber security regime” (146). Again, there is no “common interest.” As the catch-up player, China’s interest is to steal from the developed countries. But Dobson’s recommendation plays into the hands of the Chinese, whose idea of “cooperation” is for the United States and other victims of the PRC government’s massive cyber theft program to stop “groundless accusations” against Beijing.

The first half of the book would be useful for readers with a background in economics who want to learn about China’s economy or for readers interested in the question of China’s current and future place in the global economic system. However, readers interested in the overall US-China relationship, and particularly the bilateral strategic competition, should look elsewhere.

Denny Roy, East-West Center, Honolulu, USA

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CLEARER SKIES OVER CHINA: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals. Edited by Chris P. Nielsen and Mun S. Ho. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013. ix, 433 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-262-01988-0.

With China’s air pollution in the global spotlight, Clear Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals, edited by Chris P. Nielsen and Mun S. Ho, is an informative and timely volume. This book is a follow-up to the similarly structured edited volume Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China, published by the same editors in 2007 (Mun S. Ho and Chris P. Nielsen, Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China, MIT Press, 2007). The new book benefits from the linking of more advanced atmospheric research methods with economic and policy framing, facilitated by higher resolution emissions inventories, as well as a broader policy assessment. It also includes an expanded assessment of benefits to pollution mitigation beyond health to include agricultural productivity.

Part 1 begins with an overview of the atmospheric environment in China, including a review of the existing research, and a discussion of the methods used and the results from the models used to assess the costs and benefits of various emissions control policy options. In this section, the authors review two “past” scenarios, and two “future” scenarios. The “past” scenarios examine the impact of the actual technology mandates for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions control that were part of the 11th Five-Year Plan, as well as a hypothetical economy-wide carbon tax again for the 2006-2010 timeframe. The “future” scenarios run from 2013-2020, spanning the 12th and 13th five-year plan periods, and include an assessment of 4 different future visions of carbon tax implementation.

Part 2 contains 6 different studies that lay out the underlying research that helped to inform the integrated modeling work reviewed in the earlier chapters. These chapters examine topics such as emissions from coal-fired power plants and cement production, emissions inventories and pollution concentrations, and the benefits of pollution reductions for human health and agriculture. Chapter 9, the final chapter of this section, provides a concluding, integrated approach to estimating the costs and benefits of air pollution control policies in order to assess how such policies would affect the broader economy.

Part 3 contains three appendices that provide a more technical overview of the assumptions on which the analysis in the earlier chapters is based. Appendix A details the economic-environmental model of China used to produce the results detailed in the book, including its structure, key variables and parameters, and the data sources used. Appendix B contains the methodology and reasoning behind the valuation of health damages as used in this book, including the mortality and morbidity valuation methodologies. Appendix C reviews the methodology used for emissions estimates for the 2007 model base year in the 2013-2020 policy cases, including a discussion of how some new assumptions were made that differ from the 2005 base year used in the 2006-2010 model.

There are several key contributions of this book that will be of particular interest to students and scholars of energy and environment in China. The book is very data rich, and the authors are careful to provide clear documentation of their varied data sources. The authors provide a nice overview of the limitations of official estimates of emissions in China, and piece together alternative studies to provide more comprehensive inventories than the national statistics provide. The clearly articulated discussion of how emissions estimates from independent researchers differ from those of official sources is very useful.

In addition, the modeling work on which most of the analysis in this volume is based is both intricate and innovative. As the authors discuss, the resolution of emissions inventories “had to advance significantly in both sector and spatial dimensions to link a multisector economic model with a spatial atmospheric one” (23). In addition, the authors explain the basic but often neglected distinction between how scientists measure pollution and how governments measure pollution. While scientists have to characterize sources of pollution more comprehensively in order to assess the effects of changes in emissions on actual atmospheric concentrations, policies tend to be pollutant specific. Since most pollutant species react chemically in the atmosphere, evaluating pollutant quantities in isolation may miss key interactions that affect concentrations.

A key conclusion of the book that will be of particular interest to scholars of environmental policy in China and perhaps surprising to many is that the pollution control policies implemented as part of China’s 11th Five-Year Plan, including the SO2 control policy and the small plant shut down policy, resulted in “a substantial improvement in air quality achieved at modest cost to GDP” (367). As a result, the authors note that while they may not have been the most efficient policies possible, they did provide a substantial net benefit. The authors note that this experience may be useful in the design of policies to control other types of pollutants including NOx and CO2, and suggest that China implement a carbon tax that would start low and gradually increase over time. Finally, the authors note that while reduced carbon dioxide emissions would result in global benefits, their results suggest that it is in China’s own national self-interest to price carbon to encourage energy transitions.

The main limitation of the book is that it is not written to be widely accessible to non-specialist readers. While the first three chapters do a much better job of speaking to a broader audience, chapters 4 through 9, as the editors note, are written primarily for other researchers with significant background in economic modeling, air pollution and China’s energy sector.

Nielsen and Ho’s edited volume is a significant contribution to the literature on air pollution control in China. It will be most useful for specialized scholars and students of atmospheric science, economic valuation, and environmental policy in China.

Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA

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THE CHINA PATH TO ECONOMIC TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT. By Hong Yinxing; translated by Xiao-huang Yin. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2014. 520 pp. RMB ¥89.00, paper. ISBN 978-7-04-039235-7.

The take-off of the Chinese economy beginning at the end of the twentieth century surprised many experts within China and without. It also represents the most serious challenge to the geo-economic order in the Pacific region and beyond since the mid-nineteenth century. Unprecedented in world history in terms of scope and speed, China’s economic transformation from an impoverished country to the world’s second largest economy in a short period of time also challenges the existing theoretical paradigms. As Hong Yinxing points out in the introduction to his The China Path to Economic Transition and Development, old theories about economic development and transition can no longer sufficiently explain the recent changes in China’s economy. Nor could these theories provide guidance for its future growth.

Hong divides his book into two parts. In part 1 (the first six chapters) of the book, he provides the theoretical basis for understanding the “China model” of economic reform and opening. In chapter 1, he notes that China’s pattern of economic development is different from the models prescribed by Western theories of economic transition. In other words, what characterizes China’s transition is its focus on marketization, rather than privatization. He also notes that in conducting its market reform, China sets itself apart from countries like the former Soviet Union, whose goal was to transform itself into a capitalist economy. By comparison, China’s goal is more gradual and more focused on social stability. In chapter 2, he points out that this pattern of development remains socialist in essence and is uniquely Chinese. Hong argues that China’s economic success in the past three decades convincingly shows that the “China model” is a successful one. In chapter 3, he analyzes the deliberate efforts that China made to revamp its economy gradually. Those efforts include non-state elements in the economy and reforming the ownership structure of state-owned enterprises. In the next chapter, Hong discusses the steps that China took in establishing a new market-economy order. He demonstrates the complexities of the creation of this new order by noting that it cannot take place simultaneously with the destruction of the old planned economy system. In chapter 5 he looks into non-economic sectors such as public transportation, education and public health, confronting issues like social security, unemployment and social justice that became more prominent as the economy grew. In the last chapter of the first part of the book, the author reminds us that the two driving forces of the Chinese economy, namely FDI (foreign direct investment) and labour, can no longer give China the competitive advantage that it needs to sustain and continue its economic growth.

In the second part (the last 8 chapters) of the book, Hong explores the “China path” to economic development. China’s rapid economic growth, he notes in chapter 7, is seldom seen in the world. It became the second-largest economy in the world in 2010, the largest country in terms of foreign currency reserves, and the second-largest import country. Now China needs to find a “new driving force” and reorient its economic development. This is because old factors that supported China’s economic take-off are losing steam. For instance, labour is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce. China can no longer rely on investments and exports to sustain its economic development; rather, it must expand domestic consumption and technological and scientific innovation. In other words, China must shift from extensive economic growth to intensive growth, which is the subject of chapter 8. The latter, as Hong notes in chapter 9, will lead to a “new economy,” which is based on knowledge, information, the Internet and digitization. In chapter 10, he explores how China can develop innovation as a way to sustain its economic development. Chapter 11 examines another challenge that the Chinese economy faces: how to obliterate the urban-rural divide, which has become worse in recent decades. The solution, he argues in chapter 12, is the modernization of agriculture, which requires, among other things, the introduction of science and technology to agricultural production. Chapter 13 explores how to use expanded consumption to stimulate economic growth. The last chapter of the book returns to a topic he touched upon earlier: why China’s economic pattern is uniquely Chinese. To answer this question, the author looks at the economic ideas and policies of the Chinese Communist Party.

This is an extremely thoughtful and well-researched book, which demonstrates the author’s profound familiarity not only with the modern theories of economic development and transition but also with China’s recent economic growth. The book is coherently organized around two fundamental and inter-related questions: whether China’s rapid economic take-off in recent decades represents a pattern that is uniquely Chinese and whether China could sustain its growth in the future. He tackles these questions by looking at different aspects of the rapidly expanding Chinese economy and the subsequent socioeconomic issues that accompany China’s economic expansion. His convincing argument that China’s development challenges existing theories of economic development and transition embodies a theoretical innovation. Through his extensive data and nuanced analysis, Hong provides valuable insights into the past, present and future of the Chinese economy, which will benefit economists, policy makers and researchers and students of the Chinese economy. These insights are now made accessible to English readers as well thanks to the faithful and effective translation by Professor Xiao-huang Yin.

Yong Chen, University of California, Irvine, USA

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NEGOTIATING AUTONOMY IN GREATER CHINA: Hong Kong and its Sovereign Before and After 1997. Governance in Asia Series, no. 2. Edited by Ray Yep. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2013. xi, 324 pp. (Tables, figures.) £19.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-120-8.

Negotiating Autonomy in Greater China explores what autonomy means in the context of Hong Kong-China relations before and after the 1997 handover. It examines this question through a very broad lens, considering Hong Kong’s colonial experience and China’s governance beyond Hong Kong, as well as Hong Kong’s own recent struggles and negotiations vis-à-vis China, its sovereign.

The book’s initial chapter, by Ray Yep, provides a broad overview, discussing how autonomy in the Hong Kong-China relationship should not be considered formalistically, but rather as a matter of ongoing negotiation, particularly considering the unprecedented nature of “one country, two systems,” and the fact that Hong Kong and China are distinctly different in culture and in institutions. The book’s following four chapters discuss Hong Kong under British colonial rule. Robert Bickers, in chapter 2, discusses the nature of colonial authority in Hong Kong, which was characterized largely by a lack of detailed supervision, with colonial administrators sent from post to post across the globe, and with Hong Kong, over a century and a half of colonial rule, largely left on its own without much interference or guidance from the colonizer. Gavin Ure, in chapter 3, considers Hong Kong’s autonomy in the context of public housing, particularly how the colonial authorities created public housing because of the massive influx of squatters in the late 1940s and early 1950s, again without guidance from Great Britain. Leo F. Goodstadt, in chapter 4, discusses the making of Hong Kong’s capitalist society. “Laissez faire and fiscal conservatism were not the typical legacy of British [colonial] rule” (83), but this was definitely the case in Hong Kong, where a lack of oversight by London enabled the local Hong Kong business elite’s interests to take priority over all else. Ray Yep and Tai-lok Lui, in chapter 5, discuss the MacLehose era (1971-1982) in Hong Kong. It was MacLehose, in particular, who worked to build up a sense of local pride and identity in Hong Kong, as well as leaving a legacy of social reform that was more partial and piecemeal than his British colleagues back in London sought for the territory.

The book’s subsequent chapters turn to an examination of communist rule. Chapter 6, by Lam Tao-chiu, looks at relations between Beijing and China’s provincial governments, concluding that these relations are markedly different from those between Beijing and Hong Kong. Ho-fung Hung and Huei-ying Kuo, in chapter 7, consider “one country, two systems” in Tibet and Taiwan. They show how the formulation “one country, two systems” was earlier framed in terms of Beijing-Tibet relations in the 1950s, as Deng Xiaoping later stated (179). “One country, two systems” failed as an experiment in Tibet and a proposal in Taiwan, Hung and Kuo show in their chapter; they ask in their conclusion as to whether its failure can be avoided in Hong Kong. Eilo Yu Wing-yat discusses “one country, two systems” in Macao, analyzing why this arrangement works more or less harmoniously in Macao as it does not in Hong Kong.

The book’s final two chapters turn, at long last, to contemporary Hong Kong as their object of inquiry. Ma Ngok analyzes in chapter 9 the 2010 political reform in Hong Kong, discussing how after the mass protests of 2003, Beijing tightened its control, reinterpreting the Basic Law to ensure that all electoral reform could only take place with Beijing’s approval. “The 2010 negotiations over political reform marked the first time that Beijing officials negotiated face-to-face with the Hong Kong democrats over the constitutional reform of Hong Kong” (262), with pragmatism prevailing—a pragmatism that in ensuing years has come to seem in increasingly short supply. In chapter 10, Benny Tai examines judicial autonomy in Hong Kong. The legal systems of China and of Hong Kong are markedly different, with the former taking precedence over the latter in Hong Kong of late. Because Beijing’s Standing Committee has the right to overrule Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, the latter proceeds very gingerly in order to preserve its autonomy to the extent that it can, Tai shows.

This book is quite interesting as a whole, but also imbalanced in my reading. I had hoped to discover much about Hong Kong’s complex relations with China since the 1997 handover, but only three of the book’s ten chapters—its initial chapter and two concluding chapters—directly address this topic. I found the book’s final four chapters to be its most interesting, first in their discussions of Tibet, Taiwan and Macao and their different renditions of “one country two systems,” and then in the final two chapters’ meticulous analyses of Hong Kong’s attempts to preserve and create political and judicial autonomy under Beijing’s massive shadow. There is great need for a full and comprehensive scholarly volume explaining in an institutional, political, economic and sociological sense what has happened to Hong Kong over the past twenty years. This is not that volume. Nonetheless, this book is well worth reading for the insights it provides as to what autonomy means in the context of “one country, two systems.” As its editor and chapter writers well realize, Hong Kong-China relations at present represent an extraordinary political experiment, an experiment whose broad historical and comparative context this book ably documents and analyzes.

Gordon Mathews, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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CHINA CONSTRUCTING CAPITALISM: Economic Life and Urban Change. International Library of Sociology. By Michael Keith, Scott Lash, Jakob Arnoldi, and Tyler Rooker. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 330 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-49706-0.

China Constructing Capitalism argues that the relationship between the market and the state in China is not so much one of competition or corruption, but a generative relationship that produces a new, “Chinese model” of capitalism, which the authors call “the system of local state capitalism.” This Chinese model, however, didn’t simply emerge anew during the reform period, but is founded upon Daoist and Confucian thought and culture. While “rational action” is the “basis of Western capitalism” (44), Daoist wu wei (non-action) and Confucian rites are the basis of the Chinese “mode of capitalism.” Putting aside this orientalist argument, many of the chapters, especially the empirical ones on urban land markets and developments, migration and financial markets, contain a wealth of ethnographic detail showing how “the hybridisation of state and market emerges to structure risk and uncertainty” (85). Nonetheless, it is hard to escape the orientalist framing, a symptom of contemporary desires to find a different capitalism in a booming China.

Methodologically, the book compares an ideal image of one society (Western neoliberalism) with an ethnographic study of economic life in another (China). Thus neoliberalism, an economic ideology that affects the economic regulation of capitalism in much of the world, is seen as abstract, rationalist, disembedded and individualistic compared to how markets work in China. After making this comparison in the introduction—where it is posited as central to the main argument of the book—chapter 2 confusingly suddenly exposes the methodological problem this entails, stating that actual markets in the West do not operate the way neoliberalism says they should either. The focus shifts from whether the economy is embedded or not to how it is embedded. The big splash of the introduction suddenly disappears, the sharp civilizational dichotomies rapidly dissolve—this is probably a good thing, and chapters generally improve from number two on.

Chapter 1, mostly summarizing the arguments of Durkheim-student Marcel Granet and French sinologist Francois Jullien, draws a strict distinction between Chinese and Western thought and culture, arguing that the West is rationalist and individualist and China immanentist and relational. This sharp East-West divide, founded in the Axial Age, largely determines the difference between Chinese and Western capitalism. Sounding more like a series of notes than a finished draft, the chapter is vague and repetitive. Chapter 2 jumps (over 2000 years!) to the contemporary period to describe the institutions of “Chinese capitalism.” It argues for a socio-economic approach to understanding China, with particular attention to formal and informal institutions. While the book intends to make a big argument about the uniqueness of Chinese capitalism, the authors are unable to sustain the argument in the empirical chapters.

Chapter 3 focuses on the importance of urban land markets and property relations to China’s recent economic development, arguing that the particular forms of governance in urban China are necessary to mediate between “incommensurable forms of expertise” and value (75). An interesting historical argument about the importance of British systems of property in Hong Kong to Chinese property reforms over the last 30 years seems to contradict the earlier culturalist approach detailed in the introduction and chapter 1. Chapter 4, which discusses regional economic models, the scale of governance, and the shift from danwei to xiaoqu, argues that the “relationality” central to markets in “Chinese local state capitalism” makes for a longer-term focus and a broader sharing of high-degree risk. Chapter 5 entails a quantitative analysis of the efficacy of guanxi within Chinese firms.

Chapters 6 and 7 are fashioned out of long-term ethnographic research by one of the authors (Rooker). Together with chapter 8 on the financial sector, they are the most negative about “local state capitalism,” showing both the corrupt and the productive sides of state-market hybridization. The “risk biographies” in chapter 9 contain interesting material, but, unfortunately, much of the orientalist language of East versus West returns, especially in the chapter’s conclusion. Chapter 10, constructed out of extensive interviews with migrants, focuses on the chengzhongcun (urban village), migration and new urbanism and points to the “flexibility of the urban form” (250). The conclusion unhelpfully returns to a comparison between China and neoliberal and neoclassical ideology.

For a book on Chinese capitalism, the discussion of debt seems like a side note when in fact it should be central to its theorization. Likewise, the marginalization of a discussion on corruption and illegal land grabs, too, allows the authors to be far more positive about its sustainability than might otherwise be warranted. Perhaps most startling is the assertion of the “non-subsumption” of labour by capital in China (12)—unexplained and, unsurprisingly, missing from the empirical chapters.

The authors go so far as to argue that Weber was right about the cultural differences between China and the West, only that for China what “did not work at the turn of the nineteenth century seems to be eminently successful at the start of the twenty-first century” (3). One must ask, hasn’t anything changed in China over those 200 years? Here the book’s orientalism is on full display. This reversal of fortunes is not a new argument: while during the Cold War Confucianism was blamed for holding China back, since the 1980s some in the West began to argue the opposite, that Confucianism was actually a boon to capitalism. The authors of this book do not attempt to explain why what didn’t work 200 years ago suddenly is so effective today.

The book perhaps should have been published as discrete articles, for they do not come together in a coherent fashion. Just as the theoretical perspective of the book is a hodge-podge construction (a bit of Weberian orientalism, some misreadings of Marx, snippets from Wang Hui, Cui Zhiyuan, and Giovanni Arrighi, all tossed together with a big helping of Daoism and Confucianism as understood by Francois Jullien), the chapters do not seem to produce a coherent theoretical argument about the contemporary Chinese economy or society. This incoherence saves some of the chapters from the orientalist theoretical edifice of the book.

Alexander F. Day, Occidental College, Los Angeles, USA                                                              

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THE CHINA MODEL AND GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY: Comparison, Impact, and Interaction. Routledge Contemporary China Series, v. 111. By Ming Wan. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xix, 194 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71796-0.

China’s remarkable three decades of economic growth have spawned an academic industry investigating how this been achieved. Is there a “China model”? If so, what are its central workings and is it replicable? These have become well-researched questions. Early examinations stressed the difference between China’s gradualism and pragmatism with the “shock therapy” route to a market economy chosen by (or for) the states of the former Soviet Union. Others stressed the parallels between China’s developmental state (or, more accurately, states, if local governments are included in the analysis) and those found elsewhere in East Asia. More recently, China has entered the “varieties of capitalism” literature, with scholars seeking to compare Chinese capitalism with other forms found around the world.

Ming Wan has taken many of these questions and literatures, added hegemonic transition questions, and brought them together in this book. However, it does not result in a smooth, integrated analysis but a rather lumpy, loosely held-together text. Many questions are raised and addressed, sometimes in detail, sometimes in a more perfunctory way. The tone varies from academic to more casual; the content from detailed synthesis to superficial coverage. It’s all a bit indigestible.

The book has nine chapters. The first, titled “China’s rise, the China model, and global governance,” covers a wide panorama in which we learn that the focus of the book is on a “dynamic feedback loop between two processes, namely the evolving China model and an evolving global governance structure” (2). This loop is summarized as “world capitalism saved the CCP, and the CCP came to save world capitalism in the later years” (3). As a thesis this is both interesting and important. However, like many other statements in the book, they are not really developed and the author moves on to other topics too quickly.

Chapter 2 outlines the “China model,” a topic also of much intellectual and policy interest and central to the book’s focus. The model, we are told, is “a hybrid system of partial market economy and authoritarianism under Chinese Communist Party leadership. It is complex, multi-layered, multi-dimensional, and still evolving” (16). It is so complex, in fact, that later on we learn that “even the Chinese government has trouble understanding it” (123). In fact, the features of the model identified by the author are well known and include incentives for elites to support reform, globally embedded mercantilism, pragmatism, high savings and investment rates, government bias in the media, and a foreign-aid program based on non-interference and infrastructure building. In short, a longish descriptive list of well-known features of China’s political economy. The causal relationships between these features which might move us beyond description to the delineation and theoretical understanding of a “model” are, alas, largely absent. The following three chapters compare the features of the China model with those present in the “Washington Consensus,” the “Japan model,” and those “Beyond America and Japan,” including the East Asian, Soviet, European social democratic and BRIC models.

Having presented and compared the China model, Ming Wan’s next three chapters shift to the global level and analyze the “global impact of China’s rise,” “the China model from a global perspective” and “the China model, the Great Recession, and the rise and fall of the great powers.” The chapter titles suggest a greater coherence than their content provides. There is a smorgasbord of topics including: renminbi internationalization; the China price; the limited appeal of the China model in the developing world (and virtually none in the developed world); the limited efforts to export the China model by the Chinese leadership, compared to its support for the “China dream” and other aspects of Chinese “soft power” (the latter concepts being different from the China model per se); China’s global financial power; global and regional security issues; Sino-US relations; great power transitions and their relationship to financial crises; and the prospects for a transition to democracy in China. On the latter, the author argues that China’s successful integration into global capitalism has produced the economic results which have enabled the regime to resist great democratization.

The book provides a good overview of many current issues for a reader unfamiliar with the basics of China’s political economy (although whether they would be prepared to pay $145 for the privilege is doubtful). It provides many details but lacks a theoretical framework capable of bringing them all together and adding to the “China model” debate which has occupied scholars. The part of the book I found most interesting was the section in chapter 2 which analyzed the debate about the “China model” in China itself. The six schools of thought outlined there are instructive (even if a “disadvantaged” school is not persuasive). The implication of the different interpretations outlined is that we should use the term “the China model” with caution, an implication which rather calls into question the premise of much of the rest of the book.

Paul Bowles, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada

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CHINA’S REGIONAL RELATIONS: Evolving Foreign Policy Dynamics. By Mark Beeson, Fujian Li. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2014. ix, 254 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$59.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-62637-040-1.

“Good neighbor diplomacy” (mulin waijiao) has been a key component of Chinese foreign policy, especially after the late 1980s. Improved relations with Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea helped China break out of the diplomatic and political isolation imposed by Western powers following the tragic 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident. Singapore established diplomatic relations with China in 1990, becoming the last Southeast Asian country to officially recognize the People’s Republic. In October 1992 Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. This first visit to China by a Japanese emperor raised the China-Japan relations to a new level of closeness. In the same year, the Republic of Korea and China formalized diplomatic ties. A peaceful and friendly neighbourhood was extremely helpful as China strove to step out of Tiananmen’s shadow and deepen economic reforms and opening up in the 1990s. Beeson and Li’s new book highlights the importance of China’s relations with major countries on its periphery. This is a particularly valuable study at a time when China is experiencing deteriorating relations with several neighbours. Beeson and Li remind us that if China cannot handle its regional relations well, its foreign policy will not be considered successful.

Beeson and Li discuss China’s relations with its key neighbours in the context of China’s rapid rise to the global power status. Indeed, China’s reemergence has fundamentally changed the political and economic landscape of Asia. The authors’ overall argument is that at this stage, China’s rise and growing importance are manifesting themselves primarily in China’s relationships with its closest neighbours. These regional relations offer an important and revealing window into not just China’s evolving foreign policy, but also the way its elite policy makers think about the world and China’s place in it (2). To elaborate on this thesis, the authors analyze China’s relations with Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia as well as India, Russia, Australia and Central Asia after briefly discussing how China has fundamentally been transformed into a global economy and how theoretical frameworks such as regional integration and institutional development can help understand the regional relations.

China is expected to play a role in the world commensurate with its growing economic clout. Yet its more assertive foreign policy since 2010 may have undone much of the positive image it created through its earlier diplomatic efforts. If China cannot manage its bilateral relations in Asia, what kind of global power will it become? Close neighbours are dearer than distant relatives. As the authors remind us, improving soft power in its immediate neighbourhood should become a priority of China’s foreign policy.

China has repeatedly assured its neighbours and the international community that it will be a peaceful and benign power. As the authors suggest, China’s regional role is still very much a work in progress. To a large extent China is uncertain about how to use its newfound power. The learning curve has been steep and the record is mixed (197). Though China’s relations with several neighbours—particularly Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines—remain volatile, the authors are cautiously optimistic about China’s foreign policy based on its successful resolution of border disputes with Central Asia and its effective management of relations with other countries in the region such as Australia and Russia.

The authors briefly mention that Chinese policy makers have to reconcile competing domestic interests in making foreign policy. This is an important point that should have been emphasized. Indeed, China is not a monolithic society anymore and it often sends out mixed messages. Domestic debates are inconclusive, with some suggesting that China should depart from Deng Xiaoping’s admonition that China must keep a low profile and focus on economic development. Hawkish generals and nationalistic scholars argue that it is time for China to flex its muscles now as the US power weakens. Many in China, just like elsewhere in Asia, are skeptical about America’s commitment to Asian security. Chinese government agencies such as the Foreign Ministry and the Department of Defense may not speak with one voice. An increasingly diverse and vibrant Chinese society will inevitably make foreign policy making more complicated.

Another variable that warrants more discussion is the reaction of China’s neighbours, including the United States across the Pacific, to China’s rise and how it affects China’s foreign policy. The action-reaction model in international relations is very useful in studying the dynamics of China’s regional relations. For example, China-Japan relations continue to be haunted by historical memory. Yet Japan seems careless or perhaps intentional in provoking China on sensitive historical issues. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recalcitrant visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and the Japanese government’s categorical denial of the existence of the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute destroyed the bilateral trust and shook the foundation of the relationship. With growing nationalism on both sides, neither can step back. This action-reaction pattern may spin out of control if the two nations do not have the wisdom, courage and a sense of urgency to halt the further deterioration of bilateral relations.

Cooperation, not confrontation, is what China and its neighbours need to move beyond the classic security dilemma they are trapped in now. In Northeast Asia alone, for example, China and Japan can work together to help form a multilateral security mechanism to deal with common challenges from North Korea. Meanwhile, the United States and China have mirror images of each other as a security threat. Building mutual trust will not only help dispel misperceptions of each other but also promote cooperation on a wide range of issues between the two sides.

Overall, the book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on China’s foreign relations in the twenty-first century. Its focus on China’s regional relations offers a useful vantage point to observing and analyzing China’s role in global politics and economics.

Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA           

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DIASPORIC CHINESENESS AFTER THE RISE OF CHINA: Communities and Cultural Production. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Julia Kuekn, Kam Louie, and David M. Pomfret. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. vi, 237 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) C$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2592-4.

In the past few decades, studies on the Chinese overseas and the Chinese diaspora have been a burgeoning field covering themes and topics ranging from identity and subject formation to migration, media and technology, the global economy, politics and art. The field has also been covered regionally, with particular focus in and around Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific. This book is a collection of essays centred around the production of culture within the specific context of China’s growing presence in the global economy. The unifying theme of the book is not simply in the contributors’ discussion of the production and reproduction of “Chinese culture” by the Chinese diaspora, but more fundamentally, in their discussion of what kinds of Chinese cultures and identities are presented and represented in the production of art as a cultural and political vehicle. The essays in the book draw from art in a variety of textual forms (poetry, plays and prose), film and performances (dance and theatre) to explore meanings of Chineseness within and without China.

Kuehn et al. introduce the text with an overview of “the rise of China” and link it to the kinds of cultural productions that have emerged as a result of this shift in political and economic power. The editors go on to review the changing relationship that the Chinese diaspora maintains with the state, recognizing that such an association is fraught with complexities wrought by the ill-defined identities of the diaspora itself. They question what this “rise of China” means for the Chinese diaspora, and set out to explore how “definitions of nation, identity, community, and culture” (6) are being represented in the wake of such a change in their “homeland.”

In chapter 2, Ien Ang rounds out the introductory chapter by grappling with the inevitably problematic identity of the overseas Chinese, and addresses the question, when does one stop being Chinese? She recognizes that as long as the diaspora identifies as a diaspora it necessarily refers to itself in terms of the nation of origin, and that the rise of China allows for the possibility of China being the definitive source of Chineseness (29).

Ouyang Yu in chapter 3 reflects on his experiences as a writer having migrated to Australia from China, and dealing with the theme of return (to China). The difficulties Chinese artists face in Australia relate to the way they continue to be identified as ethnic and migrant, and are sentenced to producing ethnic and/or migrant work that is continually judged from within the structure of “Western” art. Kam Louie follows along a similar theme in chapter 4, analyzing fictional prose within the context of the returning migrant. Louie unpacks the complex identity of the returnee, and what it means to be a successful Chinese, by bearing the trappings of foreign wealth: in essence, Chinese, and yet not Chinese. Louie additionally brings a gendered perspective into this analysis, studying the particularly masculine perspective of the successful returnee.

In chapter 5, Shirley Geok-lin Lim examines the contradictions inherent in the concept of peace in Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Fifth Book of Peace, and the possibility of the Chinese diaspora as a purveyor of such a peace. Her essay deals with the oxymoron of the “Chinese American” figure that, like war and peace, can most meaningfully be defined in relation to each other.

Chapter 6 turns to New Zealand, where Hilary Chung studies how two playwrights, as ethnic subjects, “write back,” grappling with their minority status and their hybrid and ethnic identities. Chung, like Louie, focuses on the gendered perspective of these plays. She notes the feminine perspectives of the stories and the way relationships and identities are negotiated “through the intergenerational relationalities of mothers, daughters, and granddaughters” (98).

Chapters 7 and 8 deal with film. Rey Chow examines the changing imagination of China in the minds of a global (“Western”) audience through the presentation of the film itself, as well as the very particular family culture that the film makes visible to its audience, and the way that the past gives way to the present. Cristina Demaria also explores the way the past is represented in the context of the present, focusing on the cosmopolitan production and consumption of the film and the diasporic nature of this cultural production.

In chapter 9, Sau-ling C. Wong examines “cultural long-distance nationalism” through the study of a Chinese grassroots organization, a dance association, in San Francisco. Wong analyzes the changes in the role the dance association plays as a purveyor of Chinese culture as relations between China and the US morph over the past half-century, critically problematizing the kind of Chineseness that the association presents to the US.

Yiyan Wang in chapter 10 studies the complex landscape that diasporic Chinese artists navigate, particularly in Australia. Like Yu in chapter 3, Wang notes that diasporic Chinese art is judged according to “Western” standards, and that what is deemed acceptable in the global and “Western” market tends to remain what is expected of “ethnic” culture, that is, a stereotypical imagination of Chinese culture as constructed from the “West.”

In the final essay, chapter 11, Kwai-Cheung Lo takes China and, by default, the diaspora, to task in the examination of the Han-centrism of the diaspora, and the nation’s treatment of ethnic minorities, particularly the Tibetan and the Uighur communities. Lo critiques the way China absorbs these communities as part of its multicultural nationalism despite their desire for an autonomous homeland.

This book of collected essays is an excellent starting point from which to explore the growing literature that examines the cultural production of the Chinese diaspora in a contemporary era that acknowledges China’s changing political and economic landscape. The diverse range of cultural production that the authors collectively study presents an effective means of exploring such a landscape. At times the link to “the rise of China” is not explicitly clear in some of the essays; however, this is generally mitigated by contextualizing the analyses within China’s contemporary global and cultural politics.

Serene K. Tan, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

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VOICES FROM TIBET: Selected Essays and Reportage. By Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong; edited and translated by Violet S. Law. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. xxxviii, 81 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3951-2.

Voices from Tibet is a collection of translations of blogposts and radio broadcasts on Radio Free Asia by husband and wife, Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong.  Tsering Woeser is a well-known Tibetan blogger and an adept user of social media to disseminate her commentaries on the current situation in Tibet. She has received international recognition in the form of numerous rewards, notably, in 2013 the US State Department’s Woman of Courage Award. Wang Lixiong came to prominence in China with the publication of his novel Huanghuo, (Yellow Peril) in 1991, an apocalyptic novel about the collapse of China. He is also one of the few Chinese intellectuals to tackle the issues of minorities, notably in his two books on Tibet and Xinjiang, which offered a personal perspective on the current situation in these conflict-ridden regions, and that are critical of the Chinese government’s policies in dealing with Tibetans and Uyghurs. Woeser’s blog is banned in China and she posts on her blog using a proxy server.

Robbie Barnett of Columbia University provides an informative and excellent introduction, which makes up nearly half of the book. Barnett contextualizes Wang and Woeser’s writings in the context of the larger issue of Chinese intellectuals’ engagement with the general issue of “nationalities,” and particularly with Tibet. Barnett points out in his introduction that Woeser’s writing focuses on “the everyday pressures faced by Tibetans” in Tibet, whilst Wang’s writings deal with “strategy and policy” issues.

Woeser was the editor of Tibetan Literature, a Chinese-language literary journal of the Tibetan branch of the Chinese Writers’ Association, but she fell foul of Chinese censors and was dismissed from her post as the editor. She was forced to move to Beijing. Wang is not regarded as an outright dissident in China. He carefully crafts his writings not to cross the censor’s line.  Because of the current wave of violent attacks by Uyghur nationalists and self-immolations in Tibet, Wang’s work has gained renewed interest amongst Chinese readers. Woeser has gained enormous popularity amongst the Tibetans in China and she is a conduit for news of protests and arrest, which she feeds through her over fifty thousand followers on Twitter.

Chinese readers will be familiar with their writings and their blogs attract a huge readership amongst the Chinese. Although Wang and Woeser have a high profile in the media, their works are rarely translated into English. Many of Woeser’s posts on her blog “Invisible Tibet” have been translated into English by Dechen Pemba and reposted on the blog “High Peaks Pure Earth.”

Violet S. Law, a journalist and translator, has done a great service by bringing English translations of selected posts from Wang and Woeser’s blog. The book consists of 41 short essays that are either posted on their blogs or broadcast on Radio Free Asia.  The essays are organized into five broad themes; the first chapter consists of nine short vignettes on the current situation in Tibet’s capital Lhasa (1-18), other chapters deal with the economic marginalization of Tibetans (19-32), religion (33-48), the devastating effects of developments projects in Tibet (49-60), and contemporary cultural politics (61-74). These essays demonstrate what Woeser refers to in the epilogue, “to write is to bear witness.” Woeser sees herself speaking of and for the plight of Tibetans.

The essays in the book are attributed to Wang and Woeser but the essays have no named author, just a list of sources for the essays at the back of the book. The majority of the translated essays have been published in Taipei under the title Tingshuo Xizang, the same title as the book under review. The collections show Woeser and Wang as keen and insightful observers of the everyday lives of Tibetans. One constant theme emerges in their writings, that is the question of why the Chinese government have failed to win over the hearts and minds of the Tibetans.  Woeser and Wang see the reasons in the gulf in everyday interactions between state officials, majority Han and the Tibetan people governed by mistrust and mutual incomprehension.

Woeser is a writer and poet whose works cannot be published in China but this has not silenced her or prevented her from taking to the Internet to circumvent the censor. This collection of essays attests to the opportunity and power of the Internet for a writer under an authoritarian regime.

Tsering Shakya, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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HONG KONG’S COURT OF FINAL APPEAL: The Development of the Law in China’s Hong Kong. Edited by Simon N.M. Young and Yash Ghai. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. lv, 681 pp. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-01121-2.

In the People’s Republic of China, the intermingling of law and politics has long been a central feature of Communist Party policy on judicial institutions. In many ways, the story of legal reform over the past several decades in China has involved a tension between ideals of the rule of law and the practical imperatives of Party leadership. This tension has come into particularly sharp focus with the re-assertion of PRC sovereignty over Hong Kong, where common-law traditions of the Hong Kong courts have come into conflict with the “political-legal” policies of the Communist Party of China. The magisterial treatise under review reflects the complexity of this interaction, as played out at the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (”HKCFA”).

Commemorating the retirement of Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok Nang, Professors Yash Ghai and Simon Young have compiled a wide-ranging and analytically rich compendium of essays examining the background, context and practice of the HKCFA. In keeping with much socio-legal scholarship on courts, questions of institutional history and context are presented at the beginning of this treatise. Yash Ghai’s masterful treatment of the autonomy of courts and law in comparative perspective offers a useful opening. The PRC has made no secret of its intent to ensure that Party policies and PRC sovereignty will take precedence over judicial and legal autonomy, and as Professor Ghai points out this has affected the practice of the HKCFA. In many ways the HKCFA is caught between two worlds, that informed by the political imperatives of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (“NPCSC”) and the world of the common law. The NPCSC perspective, grounded in provisions in the PRC Constitution that vest the NPCSC with exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the meaning of legislation, is presented by Dalian Maritime University Professor Nancy Xiaonan Yang, who explains the formal jurisdictional limits on the authority of the HKCFA. The perspective of the common law is addressed by Sydney barrister Oliver Jones, who examines the legacy of the Privy Council, the final appeals court for Hong Kong prior to the 1997 handover. These introductory chapters about autonomy, the power of the NPCSC and the continuing legacy of the Privy Council provide an essential context for understanding the current role and future potential of the HKCFA.

Subsequent essays on the practice of the HKCFA examine institutional questions of establishment, appeals practice, jurisdiction and procedure, and the views of conventional and human rights practitioners. These particular chapters, authored by eminent scholars and experienced practitioners, provide a comprehensive overview of the operational conditions of the HKCFA. Through each of these discussions runs a theme distinguishing between private and public law, and related questions about access to justice and judicial independence. The observers of the HKCFA’s institutional record tend to suggest that it accords with widely accepted standards for handling appeals on conventional private and commercial law matters, but that the bulk of the HKCFA’s work has been on public law and human rights questions where political interference from China or the desire to avoid such interference has affected judicial outcomes. These distinctions are also evident in the subsequent section on judges and judging. While noting the distinguished background and eminent integrity of the retiring Chief Justice Andrew Li, analyses of HKCFA judges (including foreign judges appointed to the HKCFA under Hong Kong’s Basic Law) are particularly attuned to the dilemmas of rendering appeals judgments on political questions that might draw the attention and resistance of Beijing.

The distinction between public and private law and questions about China’s political imperatives are also evident in the chapters included in an expansive section on jurisprudence. In many areas, such as administrative law, criminal law, commercial and land law, torts and civil procedure, the jurisprudence of the HKCFA appears to operate relatively smoothly. Different issues arise however in areas such as interpretation of law and human rights where the authority of the HKCFA tends to be clouded by the overarching authority of the NPCSC. Noting the importance of the Ng Ka Ling case on the right of abode, which resulted in a declaration by the NPCSC in 1999 sharply curtailing the jurisdiction of the HKCFA over matters of concern to China, analysts of the HKCFA’s Basic Law jurisprudence and human rights appellate practice express concern over the HKCFA’s long-term autonomy. The book closes with three important but somewhat incongruous chapters examining perspectives from beyond Hong Kong, notably the impact of HKCFA jurisprudence elsewhere (growing but limited), the example of Macau (much more diminished in Hong Kong due to little public or governmental resistance to PRC authority) and the role of the foreign judges appointed to the HKCFA under the Hong Kong Basic Law (limited capacity to steer decisions toward international rule of law standards).

This compendium provides an invaluable overview of the performance and prospects of the HKCFA. Established in the context of a handover of colonial territory, HKCFA operates between the two worlds of China’s “political-legal” principles and the common law tradition. Relying on principles and traditions of the common law, the HKCFA has attempted to build an autonomous jurisprudence of its own. But the Hong Kong’s top court still remains embedded in an institutional arrangement over which the political authority of the PRC reigns supreme. This returns us to the fundamental questions raised at the beginning of the volume as to what might be the conditions and limits on autonomy of judicial decision-making in Hong Kong after the handover to the PRC. To the extent that the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal represents the “best case” for judicial independence under PRC leadership, the prospects seem dim indeed. This masterful volume is an essential read for all who are interested in the development of law in Hong Kong and the PRC and questions about judicial economy generally.

Pitman B. Potter, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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SECURITY AND PROFIT IN CHINA’S ENERGY POLICY: Hedging Against Risk. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Øystein Tunsjø. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xvi, 316 pp. (Maps.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16508-2.

China’s quest for secure energy supplies has been a topic of great interest in policy, academic, journalistic and popular circles for some time. The country’s transition to net oil importer in 1993 raised the specter of an increasingly petroleum-thirsty China competing against the United States and other major oil importers for world oil supplies. Now, with the US Energy Information Administration reporting that China’s monthly petroleum and other liquid fuel imports have surpassed those of the US, policy makers in Beijing, Washington and elsewhere are keen to understand the economic and geopolitical implications of this new reality. Based on extensive interviews with energy experts and decision makers in China, Europe, Japan and the United States, Øystein Tunsjø argues that China’s economic and strategic considerations to securing petroleum supplies are self-reinforcing hedging mechanisms—complete with “short” and “long” bets—that seek to balance the needs for profitability and security.

Tunsjø distinguishes strategic approaches and market approaches to understanding China’s energy security (or, rather, China’s behaviours intended to reduce energy insecurity) and argues that scholarly analyses focusing on one or the other fail to fully explain how China actually behaves. He also regularly underscores the difference between managing risks and reducing threats and, relatedly, between wartime threats and peacetime risks. He argues that scholars writing on China’s energy security have thus far neglected these distinctions. Throughout the book Tunsjø writes of “Chinese decision makers,” including bureaucrats in party and government offices as well as leaders of major (state-owned) energy companies, as acting more or less in a coherent fashion throughout the book, while at the same time arguing that sometimes the pursuit of company profits conflicts with strategic interests of the state and vice versa.

Tunsjø’s key theoretical objective is to “explore how hedging and risk management can explain some of the complexity that is lost in the gap between the strategic and market approaches and thereby provide a more complete understanding of China’s energy security policy” (21). He offers several dichotomies as examples of hedging: “strategic partnerships but not alliances, military buildups but not arms races, and cooperation as well as assertive policies but not armed conflict” (22). Though the study’s primary focus is on petroleum, Tunsjø spends a good portion of chapter 2 detailing China’s overall energy mix, explaining how roughly 90 percent of the country’s energy needs are met with domestic production. At the time of writing, a Sino-Russian gas deal had been under discussion for roughly a decade; now, at the time of review (summer 2014), that deal has been struck, an economic and geopolitical boost for Russia given Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in February 2014.

Overall, the book is well written and carefully edited, barring occasional distractions such as non-standard usage (e.g., Export and Import Bank of China, or EIBC, instead of the more common China Exim Bank) and a tendency for passive constructions to appear en masse (“it is believed,” “it is expected,” it is acknowledged,” and “it is noted” all in the space of a few paragraphs (87-88). A missing “not” momentarily confounds: “The advocates of expanded Chinese naval power do show (sic) how expanded naval power will neutralize the US threat” (124, italics added).

Chapter 3 surveys China’s petroleum investments overseas, with special attention to Iran and Sudan, where the author finds an important distinction in countries where China’s national oil companies (NOCs) hold equity production rights (Sudan) or lack them (Iran). Tunsjø’s expertise in international security shines through in chapter 5, where he argues that China’s grand strategy has for decades been centred not on energy, but instead on Taiwan. He does allow that China’s pursuit of blue-water naval capabilities is at least partly motivated by the so-called Malacca Dilemma, though questions whether such pursuits may lead to a net reduction in China’s overall national security.

Tunsjø briefly examines government policies promoting energy efficiency, and curbing demand in the vehicle fuel sector, either through promotion of increased fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles or through promotion of alternative vehicles such as hybrid-electrics, is a vital piece of the China petroleum puzzle. As Tunsjø notes, although consumer-led petroleum demand represents a small fraction of China’s total energy mix, with the vast majority of primary energy and electricity consumed by heavy industry, the consumer fraction is projected to grow fastest in the future, barring a major shift in the dependence of mobility on petroleum. He reminds readers that in the event of a wartime event threatening seaborne transport of oil to China, the government would take immediate steps to curtail all non-strategic uses of petroleum and continue to meet a large fraction of remaining consumption using its own domestic sources or, when necessary, conscripting state-owned NOC tankers to do the dangerous work of repatriating overseas equity oil production or shipping oil through war zones.

Tunsjø draws heavily on the work of a few well-known experts in the global and China and energy literatures such as Kenneth Lieberthal, Daniel Yergin and Erica Downs, while admitting to consulting no Chinese-language sources (though he conducted numerous interviews with Chinese informants). In the end, his argument that “when China’s leaders sense uncertainty about whether a market or strategic approach—or what kind of mix of these two approaches—best enhances China’s interests, they will hedge their bets rather than choose one strategy at the obvious expense of another” seems fairly obvious. That “Chinese decision makers draw on both security and profit considerations to develop energy strategies” (89) acknowledges the pragmatism that Deng Xiaoping called “crossing the river by feeling for stones” and which shapes the approach China, a rising power with clear economic and political clout but limited power projection capability, must take to reduce energy insecurity. To this reviewer at least, the greater contribution of this study lies in Tunsjø’s clear and methodical account of “China’s” (including NOCs’) overseas petro-energy production behaviours and their drivers, rather than the hedging framework into which he seeks to fit those behaviours.

Darrin Magee, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, USA

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RISING INEQUALITY IN CHINA: Challenges to a Harmonious Society. Edited by Shi Li, Hiroshi Sato, Terry Sicular. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xxix, 499 pp. (Tables, B&W photos.) C$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-00291-3.

This book provides a timely and thorough account of inequality in the world’s second-largest economy. As the title suggests, inequality in China is rising, a trend which China specialists and comparative political economists interpret as alarming and potentially destabilizing. A book on so significant a topic could easily have gotten itself entangled in predicting China’s own future. Instead, the authors offer a transparent survey of rising inequality during the first half of the Hu-Wen administration (2002-2007), a period during which inequality, at least according to China’s leaders, was supposed to decline. The book’s conclusions are conservative; for example, inequality is likely to keep increasing, despite efforts to restrain it. At the same time, the survey methods and model descriptions demonstrate precision and instill confidence in a concept that has, until now, been poorly and inconsistently measured. For those interested in a reliable source on inequality in and across China, this book aims to please.

The book starts off with an illuminating overview of recent trends in inequality and poverty in China. The book relies on two sources. The first comes from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The second is an independent survey: the Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP), designed and coordinated by a number of the contributing authors. A casual reader, myself included, may have expected that, in comparison, the official NBS numbers would come out “sugarcoated.” On the contrary, it is striking how closely the official NBS numbers track the authors’ CHIP estimates. On some dimensions (such as urban income inequality, see chapter 7) the official numbers portray an even bleaker story (see chapter 2). This is because the CHIP survey measures something obvious—income from rental property and housing subsidies—that previous studies, including the NBS, leave out. This inclusion, one of many refreshing innovations strewn throughout the book, adds a new angle to China’s inequality challenge, an angle future research ought to pursue.

The book continues by detailing the emergent role of homeownership and property leasing in urban and rural China, both as a budding economic sector and as a factor contributing to China’s rising inequality. Subsequent chapters deal with inequality in education and migrant communities, across age cohorts and ethnic groups, and even between public- and private-sector labour markets. Chapter 11 on gender inequality, a personal favourite, proposes a novel hypothesis: that women, because they tend to work in low-skilled jobs, face disproportionate competition from migrant labourers, which contributes to non-migrant male workers earning higher wages. The findings strongly support the hypothesis, warranting further exploration in China and in other countries where migrants constitute a large share of the workforce.

In each chapter, the authors make it a point to reference existing policies and institutions that contribute to inequality as well as reforms taken by the state to alleviate it, namely, the Hu-Wen administration’s effort to engender harmonious (read: more equal) growth. How have these reforms fared? A consistent, but equivocal, conclusion throughout the chapters is that reforms have helped, but not enough, and not always without unintended consequences. For example, while abolishing agricultural taxes in 2006 significantly reduced burdens on the poor (see chapter 5), the state has been much less successful in taxing the rich (see chapter 10). Similarly, central initiatives aimed at reforming household registration rules (hukou) have been stymied by local governments unwilling to expand urban benefits, resulting in sustained income inequalities among homeowners (see chapter 3) and migrant workers (see chapter 6). Less explored are a number of equally important institutional adjustments, such as the central government’s move to empower counties by freeing them of prefectural oversight and fiscal control (16).

While discussing the state helps string the volume’s chapters together, it is too thin and fragile a fabric to bind them into a cohesive book. Conspicuously missing is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which features only fleetingly (mainly in references and footnotes). This omission is unfortunate, not only because the Party is the single most important institutional actor in China, but also because the Party has presided over, and in many respects orchestrated, China’s move from socialist egalitarianism to today’s extreme inequality. After all, it was Deng Xiaoping who famously said, “let some people get rich first.” While many assume that inequality is dangerous for the Party, Teresa Wright’s book Accepting Authoritarianism (Stanford University Press, 2010) provides a compelling counter-argument: inequality prevents China’s citizens from acting collectively against the Party. Also missing is the role of the public, for whom inequality must matter the most. Take, for example, Martin White’s Myth of the Social Volcano (Stanford University Press, 2010), which challenges the link between rising inequality with instability by highlighting the paradoxical acceptance of inequality among even China’s poorest as being “fair.” In contrast, the Chinese citizen in this book comes off more as a data point than an integral part of the narrative. While it is in some ways inappropriate to compare this edited volume with single-authored books, the weak integration of politics and society into the economic trends suggests a missed opportunity.

Despite these drawbacks, the book does exactly what it sets out to do: that is, to thoroughly assess inequality in China across a wide range of dimensions. To this end, the book is crammed with insights that, if emphasized and pursued further, offer potential starting points for exciting new research. Among these many insights is the proportion of urban households where the members own their own home, 89 percent in 2007, up from only 14 percent in 1988 (90-92)! Less surprising and perhaps more distressing is the apparent lack of return on education for rural students (see chapter 4), which explains why so many young migrants have flocked, unprepared and ill-equipped, to the cities. To get at these meaty empirical morsels, however, the reader must know what to look for. Indeed, reading from cover to cover may prove overwhelming, but for those with a specific research question in mind, this book is great starting point.

Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, University of California, San Diego, USA

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WANG RENMEI: The Wildcat of Shanghai. By Richard J. Meyer. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; New York: Cornell University Press [distributor], 2013. xxv, 157 pp., [20 pp. of plates] (Illus.) + 1 DVD (Wild Rose) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-988-8139-96-5.

WILD ROSE [YE MEIGUI] 1932. Producer, Luo Ming You; director, Sun Yu; cinematography, Yu Sheng San; music, Donald Sosin; DVD producer and writer, Richard J. Meyer; translation, Mahlon D. Meyer. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2013, 1932. 1 DVD (ca. 84 mins.) Silent film with musical accompaniment; intertitles in Chinese and English.

It gives me great pleasure to commend the latest in Richard J. Meyer’s book-and-dvd sets on Chinese film stars from the 1930s. After his biographies of Ruan Lingyu and Jin Yan (also from Hong Kong University Press), we now have Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai. It comes with the DVD of the film that made her famous and gave her the “wild cat” nickname, Wild Rose. The Shanghai cinema of the 1920s and 1930s is probably the most aesthetically and politically significant and also plain enjoyable cinema that you have never heard of and never seen. Getting to know Shanghai cinema challenges the old idea of modernity as a Western cultural formation that slowly spread across the world. Instead, it suggests that by the early twentieth century multiple incarnations of modernity were already developing simultaneously in metropolises across the world. With his careful research, accessible writing and the provision of a quality DVD with English subtitles—courtesy of his Mandarin-speaking son, Mahlon—Richard J. Meyer is helping the world to get to know the cinema of old Shanghai. His latest book will be of interest not only to film scholars and China scholars, but also to anyone who enjoys movies.

There is an implicit logic to the choice of Wang Renmei for the third of Meyer’s biographies. If Ruan Lingyu is the best-remembered of Shanghai’s female stars and Jin Yan the best-known male star of the 1930s, then Wang was also a major female star and JinYan’s wife. The biography maps out her life in a straightforward chronological order. Wang’s life was both exciting and tragic. Initial great success was interrupted by World War II, after which her career never really recovered. She entered a decline marked by episodes of mental illness after the 1949 Revolution, and died in 1987. In an era when film scholarship overlaps with research on the creative industries and people are interested not only in film texts but also the circumstances of their production, Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai provides much important information and insight for future scholars as well as the general reader.

Wang Renmei’s sad fate could have been worse. As Meyer notes, her life was intertwined with that of Mao Zedong himself, who taught at a school run by her father in Hunan when she was a child. Later on, he shielded her from the political movements that destroyed the lives of so many other artists and intellectuals. Using regular Chinese published sources supplemented by interviews with her friends and colleagues, Meyer traces her road to stardom via membership of the Bright Moon song and dance troupe. Luo Mingyou, boss of Shanghai’s famous Lianhua Studios, used the Bright Moon Troupe in a couple of his movies. Wang was spotted on the set by leading director Sun Yu, and also her future leading man and husband, Jin Yan.

Sun Yu cast Wang Renmei as a country girl opposite Jin Yan as the artist scion of a rich Shanghai family in Wild Cat. Her vivacious energy, his dashing charisma, and the chemistry between them are all evident when watching the DVD that comes with the book. Unsurprisingly, the film shot her to overnight stardom. The country girl and the artist fall in love when Jin drives his convertible out into the countryside to paint a bucolic scene. But his father will not accept the relationship. After numerous trials and tribulations, the film ends with a Sun Yu signature shot of the pair joining a march of patriotic volunteers. Although it could not be specified because of the Chiang Kai-shek Nationalist government’s policy of appeasement, the march is implied to be against the Japanese invasion of Northeast China.

What remains disputed is whether Wild Cat and other patriotic and class-conscious films of the era should be understood as a leftist cinema and part of the heritage of the People’s Republic, or whether they were in fact equally in tune with the ideology of the Nationalists. Perhaps wisely, Meyer does not get involved in this debate! Wang starred in other important films of the period, including Cai Chusheng’s Song of the Fishermen (Yu Guang Qu, 1934). This film won Chinese cinema’s first major international award at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1935. When the Japanese invaded the rest of China in 1937, Wang and Jin fled south. However, they did not join Mao and the Communists in Yan’an, which meant they were not part of a trusted inner circle of cinema artists after the 1949 Revolution. A declining career of occasional minor roles was accompanied by divorce, bad remarriages, and poor mental health until her death in 1987.

As well as giving her biography, Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai includes synopses of every film, transcripts of the interviews that Meyer conducted with her friends and colleagues, and credits for all of her films, as well as some details on their availability. This meticulous scholarship makes the volume both an enjoyable introduction to the star for the general reader and an important scholarly resource. My only quibble is that this excellent work could be further improved by the inclusion of Chinese characters, at least for the names of all people mentioned in the text and the titles of the films. That’s something to hope for perhaps in the next book in this valuable series.

Chris Berry, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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THE LOST GENERATION: The Rustication of China’s Educated Youth (1968-1980). By Michel Bonnin; translated by Krystyna Horko. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2013. xxxix, 515 pp. (Photos., figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-962-996-481-8.

Between 1968 and 1980 one of the largest-scale, government-sponsored and short-term population transfers in history occurred in China. Seventeen million young people were sent from their urban homes to the countryside. This English translation from the French brings to a wide readership the most comprehensive Western study of this xiaxiang (down to the villages) movement during the Cultural Revolution era and after. Michel Bonnin has worked on sent-down youth since the mid-1970s. The 2004 original of this book, drawn from a 1988 doctoral dissertation, is based to a large degree on countless interviews with former sent-down youth in Hong Kong and, since the late 1970s, on the mainland. Bonnin supplements these personal stories with official documents, and reference to fictional accounts of the sent-down youth experience. The author readily acknowledges his distinguished predecessors in this field, notably Liu Xiaomeng of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Thomas P. Bernstein, whose Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages: The Transfer of Urban Youth from Urban to Rural China (Yale UP, 1977) appeared while the movement was still in full swing and became an instant classic. Bonnin takes this story further with the benefit of perspective and a great deal more access to informants and records. His book should be in the library of every student of contemporary China, as this is now the standard reference work on the xiaxiang movement.

Bonnin offers insight into the motivations for the launch of the movement, noting that the thousands sent from the cities in 1968 had predecessors earlier in that decade and before. He suggests that worries over urban youth unemployment as much as Maoist revolutionary idealism about learning from the peasants were reasons for the effort. Returning to the question of motives in his concluding chapter, the author notes how the waves of youth heading for the hills were matched by floods of peasants moving in the opposite direction to jobs in the cities. In covering the movement into 1980, Bonnin dispels any assumptions about it coming to an end with the death of Mao. Young people were still being sent down in 1978, as Deng Xiaoping prepared to repudiate some of Mao’s legacy.

The book extensively sets out the sent-down experience and various large and small-scale efforts to refine, adjust or demolish the movement from almost immediately after it got underway in 1968. Bonnin illustrates well the tensions between educated youth and the cadres designated to look after them and between the city youth and local populations. Interviewees are particularly informative on these aspects of the movement and on the yearnings and plotting of just about every sent-down youth to return home. His sources combine interview material, statistics from labour gazetteers from across China, and fictional examples of suffering, abuse and rebellion.

Although he acknowledges the difference between short stories and actual events, and has interviewed several noted authors of educated-youth literature, Bonnin is perhaps too eager to cite fictional episodes as illustration of many of his points. The use of fictional material is fraught with problems. A writer’s license to embellish and heighten episodes based on real events should engender more caution in using fictional accounts of suffering and abuse from these years. A second flaw in the book may be a reflection of its relatively long gestation. Inconsistencies appear in these pages, when, for example, the suggestion is made about the near absolute level of control over sent-down youth only to be followed by pages of accounts of youth resistance and initiatives in finding space for their own activities. On one page we are told that zhiqing had no time for anything but work, but a few pages on, “frequent” visits from village to village are cited, without any reference to a specific location, as contributing to zhiqing solidarity (303). Culture and leisure were “virtually non-existent” (262-263), but then much is made of the youth’s own efforts to create their own entertainment. Bonnin seems to both underrate the appeal and overstate the influence of the Cultural Revolution yangbanxi (model performances). Only one half of the generation that might have been subject to rustication actually participated (xvii), raising the question of what happened to the other half, which is touched on but not developed. Sometimes major points seem to appear only in passing: only 8 percent of sent-down youth were sent outside their home province or municipality, for example (178). In summing up the movement, Bonnin concludes that it failed in its aims to transform a generation (453). I would argue that the sent-down youth experience did indeed transform the zhiqing, but in ways not intended by the movement. The flourishing and inventiveness of Chinese youth culture after 1978 owed much to the preceding decade, as Bonnin himself argues earlier in the book. As new sources have appeared in China, the author seems to have inserted further examples or discussion a little haphazardly in the text. The number of footnotes referring to preceding pages is striking. But the xiaxiang movement continues to resonate in China and is constantly throwing up new knowledge. We should applaud Bonnin’s mastery of his subject and dedication to continuing his fine work on the topic.

Also admirable is the Chinese University Press’s decision to place notes at the bottom of pages and to provide an extensive glossary. Why traditional characters are used instead of simplified for a book on this topic is a mystery. The same press published a Chinese translation of this work in 2009. The English translator is to be congratulated, with only a few places where the best expression escapes her. To bring this important study to the widest community of English-speaking students of contemporary China, a paperback edition must surely appear soon.

Paul Clark, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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Northeast Asia


NORTH KOREA-US RELATIONS UNDER KIM JONG II: The Quest for Normalization? By Ramon Pacheco Pardo. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. ix, 162 pp. (Tables.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-75039-4.

North Korea remains somewhat of an enigma in international relations, and observers of its foreign policy often try to make sense of its decision-making process. Some view North Korea’s foreign policy making as a mystery, in which Pyongyang’s motivations are inscrutable and its behaviour unpredictable. Others argue that North Korea’s foreign policy is in fact guided by rationality and its actions are geared towards achieving specific objectives that the regime deems important for its survival. While these two perspectives are not mutually exclusive, North Korea-US Relations under Kim Jong Il could arguably fall within the category of the latter group. Using organizational learning theory, author Ramon Pacheco Pardo provides a fresh perspective and a comprehensive account of North Korea’s considerations in its bargaining with the United States under the leadership of Kim Jong Il. This time period spans the US administrations of presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and the first term of Barack Obama.

Pardo establishes the context for his study succinctly in the first chapter. Despite being a nuclear state and possessing one of the biggest armies in the world, North Korea is justifiably a weak power—in both military and economic terms—when compared to its Northeast Asian neighbours and the United States. Given North Korea’s status as a weak state, Pardo identifies three tactics it could use in bargaining with stronger powers: alignment, brinkmanship and participation in international regimes. North Korea selects its tactics based on its learning, which Pardo (7-8) defines as “an active process whereby an actor analyzes its experiences and reconceptualizes its understanding of the world accordingly.” He addresses two types of learning in the book: simple and complex. The former reflects no change in the state’s goals, but an adjustment of the tactics used to achieve the goals. The latter, on the other hand, indicates changes in both the goals and tactics of the state.

North Korea’s fundamental objective in its relations with the United States is to normalize bilateral ties. Pardo highlights that this goal has generally remained constant under the Kim regime, with North Korea adjusting its bargaining tactics based on its understanding of international developments, its past experiences, as well as the actions of other states. Pyongyang’s simple learning is reflected in its decisions on whether or not to align with its Northeast Asian neighbours; whether or not to carry out brinkmanship; and whether or not to participate in international regimes such as the Agreed Framework, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Six-Party Talks. Following its nuclear test in October 2006, however, North Korea turned its attention to interim goals such as peaceful coexistence with the United States and, subsequently, the conclusion of a peace treaty and the possession of a nuclear deterrent against the United States. The emergence of such interim goals and the consequent change in tactics, Pardo contends, are proof of Pyongyang’s complex learning.

The book’s structure helps to reinforce the clarity of Pardo’s argument. The discussion is organized according to consecutive time periods, in which the start/end point of each time period is marked by a significant event in North Korea-US relations. Within each section, Pardo assesses Pyongyang’s objective(s) and examines in relative detail its employment of the three tactics mentioned above. Overall, Pardo has presented a convincing argument. It is indeed conceivable that North Korea’s bargaining with the United States is affected by what it has learnt from past experiences, and Pardo presents credible evidence for his case.

Two clarifications might help to enhance the book’s strengths. First, in discussing North Korea’s brinkmanship during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, Pardo on occasion mentions different types of brinkmanship, such as verbal, diplomatic or nuclear. At least one account of verbal brinkmanship was considered by the author \ “routine” (115) and thus of little importance in the study of North Korea’s foreign policy. It would be good if these different types of brinkmanship and their significance had been briefly explained at the beginning of the book. This would help readers to understand what Pardo considers brinkmanship by North Korea, as well as which types he views as significant for North Korea-US relations. Second, Pardo identifies two instances where North Korea failed to learn from experience—from January 2001 to March 2003, and from January to May 2009—resulting in its employment of unsuitable tactics. In both cases, North Korea’s learning was said to be limited by the leadership’s “cognitive structures” and “competency traps” (122). However, it could also be argued that in these two instances North Korea was acting in a way that reflected learning from past experience—for example, its brinkmanship in late 2002/early 2003 could be due to the fact that past brinkmanship had eventually led to engagement with the United States. Perhaps, then, one could consider the distinction between the intentions and outcomes of the bargaining tactics.

Nevertheless, the book undoubtedly makes an important contribution to the literature on North Korea-US relations. Pardo’s utilization of organizational learning theory offers a unique analytical lens through which to understand Pyongyang’s foreign policy making with regard to the United States. Significantly, the book has helped to shed light on the considerations of North Korea in its bargaining with the United States. The book’s rich content and the insights it provides into the North Korean and American decision-making processes makes it valuable to anyone seeking to understand the drivers in North Korea-US relations during Kim Jong Il’s leadership. Pardo’s approach could also suggest useful implications for North Korea’s policy towards the United States following Kim’s passing. Ultimately, North Korea wants to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations. It remains to be seen if Kim’s successor, Kim Jong Un, will be able to achieve this goal.

Sarah Teo, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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DMZ CROSSING: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border. By Suk-Young Kim. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xiv, 205 pp. (Figures.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16482-5.

The Korean demilitarized zone is one of the most heavily armed borders in the world and the most well-known vestige of a war that never officially ended. Despite this (hyper)visibility, as well as a number of popular explorations of its status as a “dangerous” tourist destination and “accidental paradise” teeming with rare species, the DMZ has largely evaded a focused and comprehensive scholarly inquiry. When mentioned, the Korean borderland is usually reduced to a dramatic hook for historical or political investigations of the peninsula that it divides, as if the DMZ were not a dynamic microcosm of these same historical and political forces. Indeed, these blurbs reinforce the popular Cold War imaginary of the DMZ as an impassable borderland frozen in time, obscuring the DMZ’s complexity as a fluid, permeable and multifaceted border that not only exists in its designated location near the thirty-eighth parallel, but also extends into the hearts, minds and bodies of both Koreas as an interpellative force. This idea of the DMZ as both a contained physical space and an uncontainable imaginary lies at the centre of Suk-Youg Kim’s necessary, illuminating and moving interdisciplinary book, DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border. By reframing the DMZ as a discursive constellation of separations, reunions, prohibitions, longings, warnings, remembrances, erasures, pain, pleasure, boundary-making and boundary-undoing, Kim expands and deepens the significance of what it means to cross a border that is not meant to be crossed.

Kim, a professor of theater and East Asian studies at the UC Santa Barbara and a noted expert on North Korean cultural production, draws on an impressive range of sources from both Koreas, including documentary and narrative films, theatrical productions, and museum exhibitions to trace the ideological heft, mis/alignments, and effects of such mis/alignments in the crosser and audiences for the crossing. What these multiple border-crossings produce, suggests Kim in her introduction, is “an alternative type of citizenship based on emotional affiliation rather than a constitutional delineation” (4), or “emotional citizenship.” As a transgressive and intimate form of belonging, emotional citizenship “resists the state’s conventional right to define citizenship”—significant since both states have long mobilized their respective citizens’ bodies and emotions to see each other as a perpetual enemy—by articulating an unwieldy and embodied affective grammar. Thus, emotional citizenship carries the potential to dislodge Cold War ideological conditioning and foster shared, rather than segregated, historical and cultural affinities.

Indeed, Kim’s close reading of cultural productions seems to follow a kind of methodology of reunification, of “sameness and difference” (3). Kim threads these principles throughout the following chapters, often comparing cultural productions of the same genre from both Koreas, and noting differences in context and content while emphasizing their similar emotional registers. For example, in the first chapter, Kim offers a close reading of two plays written in 1958—Thus Flows the Han River by South Korean playwright Yu Chi-jin and Ten Years by North Korean playwright Sin Go-song—that stresses the ways in which both plays, despite the oppositional ideological contexts of their emergence, stage similar feelings of danger and frustration of crossing, or the inability to cross, physical and imaginary borders. The second chapter compares two feature films—South Korea’s The DMZ (1965) and North Korea’s The Fates of Geumhui and Eunhui (1975)—in which Kim emphasizes their shared narrative trajectory of familial sameness over a warring difference. The third chapter compares two documentaries, North Korea’s Hail to Lim Su-kyung, the Flower of Unification (1989) and South Korea’s Repatriation (2003). In the former, Kim offers a sharp gendered analysis of the ways in which the documentary, through its elevation of South Korean college student Lim Su-kyung to the status of a revolutionary hero for daring to cross into the North, rendered visible both her Christian identity and her “uninhibited” gender presentation that countered dominant North Korean notions of the ideal body. In the latter, Kim notes the film’s humble tone and first-person perspective of the director, creating an intimate relationship of kinship between himself and the viewer, and between himself and his subjects—long-time unconverted North Korean political prisoners. The fourth chapter compares the 2010 DMZ Special Exhibition at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul and the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. Kim argues that both employ new technologies of seeing that enhance performative embodiments of memory that forge an emotional affiliation with objects on display, and thus, a transcendent kinesthetic empathy. The last chapter focuses on the odd co-existence of recreational activities, consumptive practices and indelible reminders of national trauma at Imjingak Pavilion Peace Park. Kim convincingly argues that leisure, pleasure and consumption can be understood as meaningful emotional transactions that index a history of loss within a space of limited mobility and seeing.

While impressive in its interdisciplinary acumen, archival scope and analytical depth, certain analytical moments did not go as far as they could have, and certain claims were not as convincing as others. For example, Kim’s claim that the use of a religious framework to immortalize Lim Su-Kyung “backfired” on the North Korean government because it elicited a rethinking of South Korea, disrupted the North Korean government’s grip on its people, and inspired North Koreans to defect to the South lacks substantial supporting evidence and is thus an overreach. The book also could have benefited from a thorough historicization of the DMZ’s establishment and development, which was largely absent. I wonder how a deeper consideration of the DMZ’s materiality could have enriched its cultural analyses. I also felt like the book missed an opportunity to more thoroughly think through the relationships between neoliberalism, war and tourism in her chapter on DMZ tourism. Despite these momentary gaps and generalizations, the book’s nuanced readings of a multitude of cultural productions from both Koreas, interviews with a number of officials and activists, and moving autoethnographic passages sheds enormous insight into a divided peninsula. Hopefully the book will encourage more scholars to consider the DMZ as a worthy object of analysis in its own right.

 Terry K. Park, Miami University, Oxford, USA        

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KOREAN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Crisis, Security, and Institutional Rebalancing. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 362. By Jongryn Mo and Barry R. Weingast. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xi, 218 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72674-1.

In this fascinating and engaging book, the authors, Jongryn Mo and Barry Weingast, seek to explain the transitional process of Korean political and economic development by utilizing main concepts such as limited access order, open access order and double balance. This book offers a new perspective on the development by shedding light on the problem of violence. The authors argue that even Max Weber, not to mention theorists backed by standard economic approaches, tends to ignore the effect of violence on the process of development. Many theorists are under the wrong assumption that the state naturally has monopoly on violence. But the reality is much closer to the fact that the satisfaction of the Weberian monopoly-of-violence is fulfilled at the ending stage of the development process. Thus, previous development studies, whether they attend to the problem of violence or not, cannot offer a comprehensive explanation on the origins of the state and its role in the developing countries, where monopoly of violence is understood as a given rather than something that can be formed in a process.

Based upon this insight, the authors divide social orders into limited access and open access order. In the limited access order, where violence potential is distributed and the state’s monopoly on violence does not hold practice, the problem of violence is solved through limited access to rights, privileges, and organization in politics, economics, and society. The limited access and privileges given to specific groups with violence potential tend to motivate them into cooperation while also deterring them from violence through provision of valuable rents. That is, in the limited access order, the rents and privileges solve the problem of distributive violence. On the other hand, the open access order is a social order where the problem of violence is completely eradicated, fostering competition and impersonal exchange with the widely accessible form of rights and rule of law. They are critical components in achieving economic and political development.

It is important to note that the transitional process from limited access to open access order may be explained by the mechanism of double balance. A stable society demonstrates a balance between economic and political openness. An imbalance between them ignites a natural tendency to seek equilibrium. A higher degree of political openness relative to economic openness may lead either to increased economic openness or reduced political openness. Conversely, too much economic openness in relation to political openness could lead to either greater political openness or to a reaction that limits economic openness.

This reexamination of the theoretical framework and concepts is immensely important in correctly analyzing the Korean development process. Among late-developed countries, the development of South Korea is viewed as a successful case demonstrating a process of transformation from a limited access to an open access order. The authors detail three significant turning points experienced in South Korea. First, Korea’s authoritarian government, which took power during the 1961 military coup, expanded economic access and gave big business groups, known as chaebol, excessive privileges and rents as a way of arranging the problem of violence. However, direct opposition to the limited access order, by both the persistent communists and the threatening Americans holding the power to withdraw economic and political support, led to Korea’s decision to provide political officials with incentives to trade off short-term rents for long-term economic growth. Second, with this tradeoff, economic growth accompanied by political repression gave rise to an imbalance between economic and political openness. Thus, together with the democratization in 1987, the second turning point, the political openness had to be heightened to provide balance. However, at the time, a newly introduced democracy had changed the outlook on incentives for political officials; that is, in order to win an election, politicians sought out campaign funds usually offered by the chaebol and this cozy relationship between politicians and conglomerates debased the government’s ability to monitor and discipline the chaebol. In the end, the failure to accomplish double balance and open access order triggered the financial crisis of 1997. Third, the financial crisis in 1997 was critical to the progress towards an open access order both economically and politically, setting off a series of economic and political reforms. However, whether these reforms have succeeded in creating a stable double balance or were sufficient to counterbalance the chaebol remains to be discussed.

During the 1960 and 1970s, the modernization or political development theory struggled to identify general grounds for political development, but failed to give explanation for diverging paths of development in the real world. Since the 1980s, many researchers have focused their research on East Asian development. For instance, the economist approach implemented by the World Bank succeeded in uncovering policies that enabled long-term economic growth in East Asia. The developmental state study was advantageous in explaining why and how political officials in East Asia could choose and sustain those policies. However, previous studies did not provide any insight to the transitional dynamics behind the development process. This book by Mo and Weingast is exceptional in that it provides valuable complexity to this discussion, explaining how the transitional process from limited access to open access order was able to take place and why the dominant coalition had incentives to successfully introduce open access order incrementally in South Korea.

Although the argument is appealing and persuasive, there still remain unclear points that may need development. As shown in the Korean case, the single most important factor to explain the development seems to rest on whether a country can effectively sacrifice short-term natural rents to seek out long-term economic gains. But the theoretical framework in this book implies that the provision of rents and privileges is central to overcoming the problem of violence and open access order is fundamentally free from this issue. It still remains unclear whether a developing country should provide rents and privileges to the groups with violence potential or whether it should bypass this stage for the sake of economic development. Despite this weakness, however, this book with its timely and profound analysis must be included as essential reading for researchers who are interested either in the development issue in general or in the Korean case in particular.

Hyun-Chin Lim, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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EASTERN LEARNING AND THE HEAVENLY WAY: The Tonghak and Ch’ŏndogyo Movements and the Twilight of Korean Independence. Hawai‘i Studies on Korea. By Carl F. Young. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxiii, 271 pp. (Figures, Table, B&W photos), US$ 49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3888-1.

The 1894 Tonghak Rebellion and the 1919 March First Movement are widely recognized as significant moments in Korea’s modern history. Carl Young’s Eastern Learning and the Heavenly Way seeks to fill in some gaps between these two events by tracing the organizational and ideological changes that transformed the Tonghak (Eastern Learning) movement into Ch’ŏndogyo (Teaching of the Heavenly Way), a group whose members were significant leaders of the March First Movement.

The story that Young tells is one of change and transformation. There is change in leadership: from the founder of the Tonghak religion, the “Great Divine Teacher” Ch’oe Che-u (1824-1864), to the “Divine Teacher” Ch’oe Si-hyŏng (1827-1898), to the “Leader of the Great Way” Son Pyŏng-hŭi (1861-1922). Son functions as the chief protagonist in Young’s story.

There is change in geography. Tonghak began in the southeast, the home of its founder. Later, a greater number of adherents were found in central and southwestern Korea, which led to the Chŏlla region being the locus for the 1894 Tonghak Rebellion. Still later, the greatest number of adherents were located in the northern provinces of Hwanghae and P’yŏngan.

There is change in doctrinal emphasis and organizational structure. The folk traditions and “superstitions” of Ch’oe Che-u gradually gave way to more codified and sophisticated doctrines and liturgical practices designed to appeal to a more “modern” audience. It was only in this later period that the doctrine of in nae ch’ŏn (humans are heaven) was fully articulated despite the claims of some that it originated with Ch’oe Che-u, if not earlier.

Most remarkable is the change in core focus and political orientation of the group. What began as an amalgamation of Korean folk tradition and Confucian, Buddhist and even Christian elements took on political and social overtones as Tonghak rebels fought against local corruption and foreign, particularly Japanese, imperialism in Korea. However, when Son Pyŏng-hŭi fled Korea for Japan in 1901, he began to refocus Tonghak away from Korean exclusivism and toward a universal religion with worldwide application. Moreover, as Son mingled with other Korean exiles, he also began to adopt what can only be called a pro-Japanese orientation. Not only did he see Japan as an exemplar of “reform and progress,” but he openly supported Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (going so far as to donate ten thousand yen to the war effort in 1904).

This dramatic shift led to Tonghak becoming increasingly enmeshed in Korean politics, first with the sponsorship of the Chinbohoe (Progress Society) in 1904 and then with the merger of the Chinbohoe with the pro-Japanese Ilchinhoe (Advancement Society) later that same year. However, when the Ilchinhoe supported a Japanese protectorate, Son broke with the group, renamed Tonghak Ch’ŏndogyo, and sought to distance his organization from political affairs. This cost the group in resources and membership but ultimately proved vital for Ch’ŏndogyo’s continued existence, as any organization deemed political in nature (including the pro-Japanese Ilchinhoe) was abolished by the Japanese, but religious groups were allowed to continue.

Ch’ŏndogyo generally steered clear of politics from that time forward although some leading figures in the organization participated in educational and political activities. But it was this general focus on religion and the decision of Son and other Ch’ŏndogyo leaders to eschew advocacy of revolution or independence that allowed the organization to continue. Paradoxically this is why Ch’ŏndogyo still existed in 1919 when its leaders changed course once again and openly advocated independence from the Japanese.

Those interested in late-Chosŏn religious and political movements have much to learn from Eastern Learning and the Heavenly Way. Young definitely succeeds in his stated goal of filling in large gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the period between 1894 and 1919. Unfortunately, Young’s account ends in 1910, leaving the reader wondering what additional shifts and transformations might have taken place between 1910 and 1919.

In addition, Young’s seeming reluctance to fully utilize primary and secondary sources above and beyond those directly related to Tonghak/Ch’ŏndogyo makes for some frustrating omissions. For example, Young mentions meetings between Tonghak leaders and a “General Tamura” in which they plotted to jointly overthrow the Korean government. But Young seems remarkably uncurious regarding who this “General Tamura” really was (mostly likely, he was Lieutenant General Tamura Iyozo; 田村怡与造 ), how serious these plans were, etc.

More generally, Young does an excellent job of bringing in secondary literature from further afield, such as his invocation of Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities,” Timothy Brook’s notion of “collaborationist nationalism,” or the idea of “Protestant Buddhism” in Sri Lanka. These help illuminate themes and trends that Young sees taking place in Korea. However, the book might have benefitted from engaging with a host of secondary literature a bit closer to home. Acknowledging the sizable and growing body of literature on Kwangmu-era Korea (1897-1907) would have probably resulted in a more nuanced depiction of the Korean government rather than Young’s repeated characterization of it simply as “conservative.” “The Japanese,” too, generally come across as static and monolithic, a view that even a cursory examination of classics in the field such as Hilary Conroy’s The Japanese Seizure of Korea (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1960) and Peter Duus’s The Abacus and the Sword (University of California Press, 1995) would serve to dispel.

Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that the timing of the book’s publication means that it was likely in the final stages of production when two other works that have much to say about Young’s chosen topic were published: George Kallander’s Salvation Through Dissent (University of Hawaii Press, 2013) and Yumi Moon’s Populist Collaborators (Cornell University Press, 2013). Young does mention both authors’ dissertations but a more robust engagement with the actual monographs, their arguments and sources would likely have greatly enhanced the persuasive power and significance of Young’s work. But Young can hardly be faulted for waiting for these other works to see the light of day. Those interested in late-Chosŏn religion and politics will likely be discussing all three works for some time to come.

Kirk W. Larsen, Brigham Young University, Provo, USA                                                        

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K-POP: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea. By John Lie. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. 241 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28312-1.

The rapid growth of Korean cultural industries and their exports of cultural products are not new developments in the Asian markets. From television dramas to films and online games, Korea has become one of the most significant local forces in producing and disseminating its own cultural products to not only Asia but also North America and Western Europe. In the 2010s, one particular cultural form, known as K-pop (Korea’s contemporary popular music), has contributed to the global penetration of Korea’s popular culture. Slightly before Psy’s Gangnam Style in 2012, which became a global hit with the help of social media, the Korean music industry had been identified as one of the most successful youth cultures, both nationally and globally. K-Pop: popular music, cultural amnesia, and economic innovation provides a timely and valuable confirmation of this new trend by using storytelling to examine the emergence of K-pop in the context of broader political, economic and cultural milieus. It aptly historicizes and documents the evolution of K-pop, including its origin, the symptoms of cultural amnesia, and the convoluted reasons for the rise of K-pop.

This book consists of six chapters, and it primarily raises and answers three questions. By historicizing the origin of K-pop, the first chapter grounds the reader in the past: traditional Korean music, colonial and postcolonial Japanese influence, and the growing impact of US popular music. The chapter carefully argues that K-pop constitutes a break not just with the traditional Korean music of the past but also with earlier Korean popular music. After discussing several significant historical music genres, it explains how popular music entered people’s everyday life in urban Korea in the mid-1920s as yuhaengga (popular songs). The chapter also tactfully analyzes trot, which many Koreans have enjoyed as Korean popular music since the 1960s, followed by a discussion of the ways in which So Tae-ji wa Aidul (So Tae-ji and the Boys) challenged and ultimately destroyed many conventions of Korean popular music, while introducing American soundscapes in the mid-1990s.

The second chapter, “Interlude,” stresses the etiology and symptoms of cultural amnesia. It identifies several sociocultural changes that have swept through South Korea, which has resulted in the rise of K-pop, such as the decline of Confucian ethics, the South Korean elite’s embrace of American culture, the shift of Korean main culture from the tears of departure and the tacit expressions of han to dynamic urban youth culture and the 1997 financial crisis, which have deepened Korea’s penchant for growth and innovation. It also emphasizes K-pop’s dependence on its external orientation, which embodies South Korea’s innovative spirit.

The third chapter, “Seoul Calling,” discusses how K-pop became popular by analyzing K-pop’s aesthetic appeal. The main topics are the confluence of social change, economic culture, and industrial transformation that sustains the export imperative, and its production and consumption inside and outside South Korea. It classifies K-pop as a conceptual invention that substituted a “K” for the “J” in the term “J-pop,” which in turn was coined in 1998 to identify a new style of music. Therefore, it argues that K-pop is not only chronologically but also musically a post-So Tae-ji wa Aidul phenomenon. The chapter continues to explore the extramusical realm of political economy and global culture in order to explain how K-pop came to be produced for export and why non-Koreans began to consume it.

This book is easily accessible, with rich information and solid discussions. While there are many significant contributions, a few elements highlight the value in understanding the emergence of K-pop in the global soundscape. On the one hand, it is unique in its writing style because the author selects a narrative storytelling technique instead of a formal academic analysis, although it eventually provides some analysis. Due to the large amount of information involved, such as the names of Korean musicians, traditional music genres, and several historical events, the author addresses several key findings in the broader socio-cultural context based on his personal experience and studies, which makes the book readable. On the other hand, the book’s structure deserves readers’ appreciation. This book avoids a formal chapter order by following the form of an orchestral piece, which starts with the prelude and ends with the coda. This stylish structure not only proves the author’s mastery of popular music, but also his dexterity in delving into K-pop—one of the most significant local cultural forms.

While admiring the book’s extensive musical discourse, I also admit to noting a few shortfalls, which perhaps occurred in the process of the generalization and/or the shortage of enough space. The most significant issue is the lack of discussion on the Korean wave, given that the current boom of K-pop is a consequence of the growth of the Korean wave itself. For example, while the book briefly notes that K-pop is a part of the Korean Wave 2.0 it does not analyze the new factors driving the rise of K-pop in the context of Hallyu 2.0, such as the roles of global fans, transnational production, and social media.

In addition, the author makes a hugely controversial argument by identifying the rise of K-pop with the post-So Tae-ji revolution. So Tae-ji wa Aidul certainly symbolizes the change in Korean popular music; however, the group itself is a primary actor in developing contemporary Korean popular music. K-pop technically began ahead of the Korean wave phenomenon that started in 1997 with the surge of American popular music, and therefore, we cannot separate K-pop from previous musicians who contributed to the emergence of K-pop in the mid-1990s.

In general, this book investigates one of the most compelling issues in current transnational cultural flow and production driven by domestic factors. It provides insights into global pop culture by offering rich empirical detail and useful historical milieus surrounding the emergence of K-pop. It is presented as a convincing contribution to a growing body of literature on popular music, the Korean cultural industries and cultural politics. It is highly recommended for a wide range of readers who are interested in K-pop, the Korean wave and popular culture.

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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DEATH, MOURNING, AND THE AFTERLIFE IN KOREA: From Ancient to Contemporary Times. Hawai‘i Studies on Korea. Edited by Charlotte Horlyck and Michael J. Pettid. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press; Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai‘i, 2014. xi, 265 pp. (Figures.) US$48.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3968-0.

Although it may not be a topic we prefer to dwell on, death is an integral part of human life; beliefs and practices related to death and the dead are an important part of any culture. Consequently a rounded view of a culture is impossible if views of mortality and the afterlife are ignored. Yet in spite of this, the editors of this volume note, for Korea there has been no focused treatment of the matter in English, even if the subject inevitably comes up in accounts of Korea’s religions. They aim to rectify this situation and “provide insight into how death was dealt with on the peninsula” and to “offer a comparative platform from which East Asian approaches to death and disposal [of the dead] can be viewed” (2) by presenting nine chapters that deal with historical, anthropological, archaeological and literary aspects of mortuary culture from the seventh century to the present.

The book is not organized by period, but thematically, in four parts. The first part is entitled “The Body” and contains two chapters, “Death and Burial in Medieval Korea, The Buddhist Legacy” by Sem Vermeersch and “Making Death ‘Modern’” by John DiMoia. Vermeersch concludes, unexpectedly, that the introduction of Buddhism did not necessarily result in cremation instead of burial for Buddhist monks. DiMoia examines how in the 1950s American doctors working in Korea contributed to a reappraisal of the body “as a valuable tool for medical learning”(63). He also devotes attention to the emergence in the 1960s of mortuaries at hospitals, which mourners would come to visit, a modernized form of an older tradition. The second part, which might very well have included the chapter by Vermeersch, is about the disposal of the dead body. Here Charlotte Horlyck, on the basis of archeological discoveries, surveys the amazingly varied ways to dispose of a body between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. A completely different approach characterizes the following chapter by Guy Podoler, who analyzes a narrative about the nation in the National Cemetery in present-day Seoul, which by its inclusion of some persons and exclusion of others presents a thinly veiled political statement. In part 3, Michael Pettid examines shamanic rituals in the Chosŏn period (1392-1910), a time when these rituals, which arguably represent the indigenous religion of the peninsula, were heavily criticized by the Confucian elite. Nevertheless they continued to play a role even in the lives of the ruling class, particularly when premature or violent death needed to be dealt with. In a chapter that is rather brief but full of curious detail from Chosŏn sources like a sixteenth-century diary or the obituary of a noble lady, Milan Hejtmanek shows how the Confucian demand that descendants of the elite yangban class perform frequent and laborious rituals for the ancestors of up to four generations and ideally spend three years at the graveside of their parents substantially changed the lives of the yangban. He also points out, however, that enforced idleness during periods of mourning, when men had to withdraw from all official positions, offered opportunities for affirming social ties. Part 4 deals in three chapters with conceptions of the afterlife. The first chapter in this section, again by Michael Pettid, examines representations of ghosts in the Koryŏ (918-1392) and Chosŏn periods, drawing from a variety of sources, including works of fiction. Pettid makes the valid point that the existence of ghosts was recognized by Confucians and Buddhists as well as shamans, but is less attentive to differences in the views that various groups had of those who resided on the other side, with Confucians, for instance, less inclined to believe in a permanent existence after death. Some attention to the theories of Korean Neo-Confucians about the unstable nature of ghosts would have been welcome here. The next chapter, by Gregory Evon, examines Buddhist ideas about death and rebirth in the novel Kuunmong (The Nine Cloud Dream) by Kim Manjung (1637-1692), who as a proper yangban had enjoyed a sound Confucian education, which might have predisposed him negatively toward Buddhism. Recent research has made clear that Kim’s interest in Buddhism was somewhat less unusual among yangban than Evon suggests, but the chapter is an excellent reminder that where attitudes to death in the actual practice of Korean life were concerned one should not strictly compartmentalize Confucianism, Buddhism and shamanism. The final chapter by Franklin Rausch addresses a newcomer on the religious scene, Catholicism, introduced in the Chosŏn period through contacts with missionaries in Beijing, and examines views on heaven and martyrdom of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century converts. Rausch concludes that a “distinctly Catholic vision of the afterlife” emerged that inspired believers to choose to die rather than deny their faith when the government tried to suppress the new religion. (227)

The contributions to the volume are all of high quality and it presents several new insights. As it is the first work in English on the topic, covers a vast time span, and also is rather short, it should not come as a surprise that certain aspects may seem underrepresented. In its totality the book is biased toward the pre-modern period, with only two chapters about the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, offering two radically different approaches and a rather narrow focus. Podoler’s chapter, for instance, might have been accompanied by a chapter on self-immolation as a gesture of protest, of which the most famous example is Chŏn T’aeil’s setting fire to himself in 1970 to draw attention to the miserable conditions in the sweatshops of the Seoul garment industry, a gesture that galvanized an entire generation of dissidents. For the pre-modern period, the extremely popular belief in the Buddhist paradise of Amitābha (which may have facilitated belief in a Christian paradise) is mentioned only tangentially (and the words “rebirth” and “reincarnation” are missing from the index). But that does not detract from the value of the book as a stimulating investigation of an area of human life that is of undeniable salience.

Boudewijn Walraven, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea         

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INEQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE: Labor Market Reform in Japan and Korea. By Jiyeoun Song. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014. xvi, 229 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5215-4.

The economic and social institutions in Japan and Korea seem more similar to each other than to institutions in Europe or the U.S. In this book, however, the author reveals that the two countries respond in different ways to similar pressures of labour market reform. This is because of differences in the formation and arrangement of institutions in Japan and Korea.

The author argues that the “two variables of employment protection systems and industrial relations determine the diverging pathways of labour market reform. The institutional features of employment protection shape the pattern of reform-selective reform for outsiders versus comprehensive reform for all workers by constraining the available range of reform options, especially for employers and policy makers, and the configurations of industrial relations affect the consequences of reform on the workforce by exacerbating or alleviating insider-outsider differences in reform implementation through the mechanism of compensation. The lack of compensation policies for those affected by labour market reform accelerates labour market inequality and dualism” (8). As a result, in Japan what emerged was liberalization for outsider workers and protection for insider workers, and in Korea, the liberalization of all workers, with the exception of those working for family-owned and managed business conglomerates (i.e., Chaebol).

The major accomplishments of this book include its revealing the emergence of different paths from the same pressures, especially the divergence of the internal labour markets in Japan and Korea even though we might have expected similar outcomes in those two countries. It would have been better to mention in terms of the different functions of employment the substantial institutions and the role of employers in Japan and Korea in order to improve the book’s achievements.

First, as the author mentions for figures 1.1 (22) and 1.2 (23), the grade of employment protection legislation for regular workers is nearly the same in Japan and Korea and for temporary workers the difference is not great. It is worth noting here that in figure 2.2 (59) the author notes the length of tenured years for regular Japanese workers in 1995 as higher than that of regular Korean workers. The author explains this as having to do with “a high degree of the institutionalization of employment protection in Japan versus a low degree of the institutionalization of employment protection in Korea” (59). According to Botero et al. (“The Regulation of Labour,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics (2004) 119 (4): 1339-1382) the labour market regulation index, which is a measurement of employment law, industrial relations law and social security law, indicates that the grade of employment legislation is almost same in Japan and Korea—with Japan ranking 34th and Korea 35th in terms of labour market regulation among the 60 developed and developing countries in the index. However, in the substantial regulation index (i.e., the employment adjustment speed), Korea (9th) ranks much higher than Japan (41st) among the 59 countries indexed. Here we can see the gap between Korea and Japan in terms of legislation and substantial regulation.

Secondly, how can we explain this gap? We can find one clue from the role of the employer in labour management relations because the employer is not only a partner but also the final arbiter in the substantial forming of labour management relations. A Japanese employer is required to protect employee jobs even though retrenched in a recession that has continued for two years, as during the oil shock period of the 1970s (Kazuo Koike, “Kaiko kara mita gendai nihon no rōshi kankei” [Contemporary Japan’s labour-management in perspective from dismissal], in Moriguchi C., Aoki M. and Sawa T. (eds.), Nihon keizai no kōzo bunseki [Constructional analysis of the Japanese economy], Tokyo: Sobunsha, 1983). We might better term it “long-term stable employment” rather than lifetime employment because Japanese companies have reduced employees during recessions. Nevertheless, Japanese employers make efforts to retain their workers, the reason we recognize job security in Japan as stronger than in other countries. We also need to investigate retroactively in order to distinguish the origin of the differences between employer behaviour regarding labour relations in Japan and Korea, particularly at large-scale companies. Korean employers had little experience in labour management relations at large-scale companies during the first colonial industrialization period because Japanese companies advanced into Korea and sent in Japanese top and middle managers. After the 1960s, during the second industrialization period in South Korea, Korean employers did not have enough to develop meaningful labour management relations.

This book is the first to reveal the distinctions between the labour markets of Japan and Korea through a focus on large-scale companies and Chaebol. This accomplishment would be much improved if the author had focused on the function of substantial institutions for social protection and the differences of the employer’s role in labour management relations.

Jae Won Sun, Pyongtaek University, Pyongtaek, South Korea

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GROWING DEMOCRACY IN JAPAN: The Parliamentary Cabinet System since 1868. Asia in the New Milllennium. By Brian Woodall. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2014. xi, 284 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8131-4501-3.

In this book Woodall makes a valuable contribution to the study of Japanese politics by carefully examining the historical development of the cabinet system, literally the centre of the Japanese government. Starting with the tragedy of the 2011 Eastern Japan Great Earthquake and the then government’s flawed response, the book questions: “Why did Prime Minister Kan and his cabinet ministers fail to use their powers to galvanize and reassure the nation following the catastrophic sequence of events?” (2). More generally, the book attempts to answer why cabinet government failed to set root in Japan and how Japan’s cabinet system came about, in a comparative perspective—especially in contrast to the Westminster system. In answering these puzzles, Woodall draws theoretical concepts from works by Huntington, North, and Mahoney and Thelen on institutionalism and institutional change to show that Japan’s cabinet system evolved in a gradual process against a backdrop of historical change.

Utilizing a wealth of both Japanese and English documents, Woodall chronologically traces the evolution of Japan’s cabinet system by focusing on major political actors, their interactions, and political structures at different times, or “critical junctures.” Such actors include bureaucrats and party politicians, with the first half of the book—whether intentionally or not—focusing on the former. In building up a modern state, oligarchs from Satsuma and Chōshū avoided implanting a constitutional monarchy as in the UK, but rather chose the Prussian system whereby political powers were centred on a sovereign emperor and the central bureaucracy (chapter 1). This quasi-cabinet pseudo-democracy was followed by bureaucratic dominance after the war, when Prime Minister Yoshida appointed cadres of bureaucrats and utilized core state organs for the cabinet (e.g., the Cabinet Legislation Bureau), in the political vacuum created by the US occupation’s demilitarization and democratization reform measures (chapter 2). Bureaucrats-turned-politicians such as Kishi, Ikeda and Satō kept dominating politics after the birth of the Liberal Democratic Party’s one-party dominance in 1955 (chapter 3).

The second half of the book, in turn, explains how party politicians and opposition parties make the cabinet system obsolete. The long-term LDP dominance allowed veteran MPs acting as zoku giin (policy specialists) to demand particularistic benefits for their home districts through the LDP’s policy-making organ, to the extent that such demands eroded the cabinet’s own policy initiatives (chapter 4). This fragmented policy-making process did not disappear after a series of administrative measures in the 1990s and the 2000s. Rather, as the 2005 postal privatization tumult suggests, Prime Minister Koizumi needed to go through intraparty disunity and revolts (chapter 5). After 2007, divided parliament or “Twisted Diets” have become the norm, as the opposition controls the equally powerful law-making body, the House of Councillors, to stop the government’s important legislation (chapter 6).

All in all, as the first comprehensive analysis in English providing an in-depth account of the historical development of Japan’s cabinet system since the Meiji period, this book is a welcome addition to the literature on Japanese politics.

That said, there are several problems that could have been better addressed. Most notably, empirical evidence is offered in a somewhat ad hoc manner, making the arguments a bit unconvincing. This is mainly because the Westminster model is (a little unrealistically) depicted as an omnipotent cabinet filled with senior, skillful MPs that can adequately respond to a (somewhat daunting) list of issues: economic downturns, government deficits, public health concerns, environmental problems, demographic changes, natural disasters, foreign relations, territorial conflicts, major corruption scandals, and others (15-17). Whenever Japan’s cabinet showed an inadequate response to any of these issues or was filled with junior MPs, the book argues it was dysfunctional.

Let’s take the example of ministerial appointment: Woodall argues that a stylized Westminster cabinet should have senior politicians who can effectively monitor bureaucrats. Based on this thesis, Woodall attempts to show that Japan’s ruling party in the early postwar period only formed figurehead cabinets—and therefore they were inefficient agenda setters—because of the shortage of career politicians. But one could argue that Prime Minister Yoshida and the subsequent LDP leaders were able to circumvent this information asymmetry problem by actively utilizing the bureaucracy as a potential pool of candidates to train future political leaders. In fact, according to some claims made in this book, this is the case: the bureaucratic dominance disappeared by the 1970s as “the influence of the government bureaucracy declined” (165), because the ruling party was indeed able to nurture career politicians skilled at dealing with the bureaucracy and specializing in some policy areas. This point further implies that there seem to be multiple different causal pathways leading to the dysfunctional cabinet system, and that the “institutions, structures, personnel, and norms from an authoritarian prewar order” (217) may not be necessarily important, as opposed to the thesis presented in the first half of the book.

More generally, the Westminster system is just one of the different parliamentary models out there. It can inadequately respond to a corruption scandal, as the British Tories could not recover their brand name after the party was tarnished in the 1961-63 Profumo Affair. It can make a policy mistake, as evinced when the market liberalization policy of the 1984-90 Labour government in New Zealand was unable to meet its core supporters’ expectations. It can have a factional struggle over leadership, as anti-mainstream factions in the Australian Labour Party demonstrated when they staged intraparty coups to oust the incumbent prime ministers in 2010 and 2013. In each of these cases, the result was electoral defeat. And while Japan’s cabinet system may not be working like that of the UK, New Zealand or Australia, perhaps it can be conceived of as just another parliamentary democracy model, under which the country was able to recover from the ruins of war to become an affluent, safe, well-organized society.

Kuniaki Nemoto, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

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NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR OPERATIONALITY: Regional Security & Nonproliferation. Edited by Gregory J. Moore; foreword by Graham T. Allison. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. x, 302 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4214-1094-4.

Based on this book’s title, its contents would seem to be an argument on the degree of operationality of North Korean nuclear weapons, but since, as the editor clearly writes in the introduction, North Korea “has not achieved nuclear operationality,” the focal point is in fact not the degree of operationality. Rather, the primary question the book poses is: What is at stake for Northeast Asian regional security and for the international nuclear nonproliferation regime if North Korea were to successfully develop nuclear weapons capability and marry this to its missile technology or another potential delivery system, thus achieving nuclear operationality? To this, the authors try to provide answers from political, security, economic and international relations perspectives.

This book consists of an Introduction and three parts, each comprising several chapters, and a conclusion. In the Introduction, the editor addresses North Korea’s present operational status, provides an overview of U.S. policy toward North Korea and describes the path Pyongyang has taken toward nuclear weaponization.

Part 1 is titled “The North Korean Nuclear Dilemma.” In Chapter 1, “Translating North Korea’s Nuclear Threats into Constrained Operational Reality,” Peter Hayes and Scott Bruce point out that North Korea has a number of strategic uses for the nuclear capabilities it already possesses, and they further propose establishing a regional nuclear-free-zone.

In Chapter 2, “North Korean Nuclear Weaponization: A U.S. Policy Failure,” Gregory J. Moore (who is also the volume’s editor) states that the U.S. policy since the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1994 has been a failure, and suggests that the only way to a solution is preemptive recognition and better relations between the two countries.

Part 2, “What’s at Stake for Northeast Asia?” consists of surveys on the reactions of North Korea’s neighbours—South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia—to the potential of North Korean nuclear operationality and its regional security implications.

In Chapter 3, “The Implications for Seoul of an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Jong Kun Choi and Jong-yun Bae argue that since the threat from North Korea’s conventional weapons statically exists for Seoul, North Korean nuclear operationality has limited influence on Seoul as seen in public opinion poll and the South Korean stock price index. They also suggest that if North Korea were to move to operationalize its nuclear capabilities the only option for South Korea would be to engage with North Korea while following a policy of containment.

In Chapter 4, “Beijing’s Problem with an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Gregory J. Moore points out that though China is clearly against North Korea’s nuclear policy, it supports the country economically to prevent its collapse, because the collapse would affect China both politically and economically.

In Chapter 5, “Japan’s Response to North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests,” Katsuhisa Furukawa and Hajime Izumi explain why North Korea’s nuclear programs have not pushed Japan toward acquiring its own nuclear weapons, and state that the abduction issue is more important for the Japanese than the nuclear one.

In Chapter 6, “Russia’s De Facto Nuclear Neighbor,” Georgy Toloraya argues that Russia is concerned about its security in the case North Korean nuclear know-how or weapons were to make their way into the hands of terrorists or separatists, and so expects the U.S. to start a new approach rooted in engagement with economic incentives.

In Chapter 7, “Washington’s Response to an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” David Kang suggests that since China will not put further pressure on Pyongyang, and the military option is not realistic, Washington should pursue economic engagement with Pyongyang.

In Chapter 8, “North Korea’s Nuclear Blackmail,” Andrei Lankov concludes that North Korea will not give up its nuclear program, for it is necessary not only to blackmail the outside world, but also to demonstrate the legitimacy of the “Kim Family Regime” to both the military and civilian population of North Korea. Thus, the world will have to learn how to live with a nuclear North Korea.

Part 3 is titled, “What’s at Stake for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime?” and deals with the implications of an operationally nuclear North Korea for the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

In Chapter 9, “India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism and the North Korean Nuclear Case,” Daniel Twining explains why the U.S. gave its blessing to India’s nuclear operationality in contrast to the North Korean case, and points out two reasons: India never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and India has acceded to the key parts of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

In Chapter 10, “Global Consequences of an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Maria Rost Rublee points out that since different standards are applied to India and Israel, North Korea and Iran do not take nuclear norms seriously, and warns that if North Korea achieves nuclear operationalization without paying any cost for its transgressions, the nuclear nonproliferation regime will be devastated.

In Chapter 11, “DPRK Nuclear Challenges and the Politics of Nonproliferation,” Jing-dong Yuan also warns that the unchallenged operationalization of North Korea’s nuclear capability would seriously harm the Nonproliferation regime, while pointing out North Korea is the first country to have acceded to and then withdrawn from the NPT.

In Conclusion, the editor summarizes the findings of the book and their implications for the security and the nonproliferation regime, and discusses international relations theory, its implications for the North Korean nuclear issue, and insights into the North Korean nuclear issue that international relations theory offers.

This book was published in early 2014, so it covers the period up until the third North Korean nuclear test of February 13, 2013. There have been no notable developments in the North Korean nuclear issue since then, so the circumstances described in this book have not changed much.

As the editor writes in the book’s Conclusion, this study aids at a better understanding of the seriousness of the issue of a nuclear operational North Korea, and offers some fresh thinking on methods for its resolution.

Tomohiko Kawaguchi, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan                    

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THE JOY OF NOH: Embodied Learning and Discipline in Urban Japan. By Katrina L. Moore. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014. xv, 124 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00 cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5059-9.

By the end of 2014, 26 percent of Japan’s population was sixty-five or older, making it the oldest of any country in the world. Japanese women have had the unique distinction of holding the record for longest life expectancy for nearly thirty consecutive years; on average a Japanese woman who reaches sixty will live an additional thirty years. This is not the longevity once found in the countryside, where physical work, close social ties, and traditional diet were keys to long life. Today, longevity in Japan is increasingly urban, middle-class, and marked by a life course break between retirement and pursuits of leisure. Anthropologist Katrina Moore’s ethnography of leisure and learning in Tokyo beautifully captures the rich life stories and “serious play” (7) of older Japanese women engaged in what Thomas Rohlen referred to as the “promise of adulthood” found in creativity, personal growth and acceptance (“The Promise of Adulthood in Japanese Spiritualism,” in ed. Erik H. Erikson, W.W. Norton and Company, 1978). By approaching questions of what it means to grow older in Japan from the perspective of this relatively new leisure life stage, Moore’s book moves us beyond simple descriptions (or prescriptions) for “successful aging,” and provides a fresh look at some perennial topics in anthropology (gender, embodiment, community and generation) as well as broader questions of existential meaning, well-being and identity. We have a lot to learn from the women in Moore’s book.

In the first two chapters, Moore introduces us to the setting, including a very brief introduction to the history, aesthetics and pedagogical traditions of Noh. Noh, an ancient form of Japanese theatre revitalized in the early twentieth century through its popularization among women, is the perfect vehicle for drawing together themes of aging, embodiment and identity. Moore’s central argument is that women who take up Noh in their later leisure years are cultivating a new self-awareness, a new sense of the possibilities of the body and of personhood in old age. While John W. Traphagan’s ethnography of gateball clubs in rural Japan examined similar dynamics (Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan, State University of New York Press, 2000), Moore’s work is the first ethnography to focus on leisure activities among urban Japanese women (certainly a very large and growing section of the aging population and worthy of attention in their own right). By focusing in on a small group of older amateur Noh practitioners, Moore takes readers inside the processes of dissolution and transformation of selfhood that these women refer to as polishing one’s gei, or “art,” (103) into old age.

Chapters 3 and 4 focus on embodiment, discipline and the transformation of the self. As Moore practices alongside the other novices, the reader acquires a deep sense of the tense, warm, vibrating body as it is shaped and reshaped in the able command of the formidable instructor. Like Liza Dalby’s (University of California Press, 2008) descriptions of intense arts training in Geisha, Moore illustrates the cultural complexity of Noh practice: novices are embodying tradition and transcending it; cultivating femininity and transgressing norms; achieving a means of individual expression; and performing bonds between cohorts and generations. Sometimes these women were more like monks than geisha, describing Noh as a means of achieving “no-mind,” or a non-attached, selfless connection to a deeper sense of being that Moore compares to psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” (77).

It is notable here that Moore focuses throughout on the specificity of the ethnographic setting, keeping her phenomenological and psychological discussions grounded in her empirical observations and extensive interviews. The stories of the performers become interwoven with those of the plays themselves. These are often stories of other kinds of transformations, of lifting up into a spiritual layer of experience, one full of emotion and aspiration. Just as these women have played several roles during their lifetimes, they are not reducible to those roles. There is power in this ability to put on and take off these identities, a power shared in the group like a kind of effervescence (63), and Moore treats this with sensitivity and grace.

Although Moore develops her argument about women’s self-development in later life in contrast to theories of leisure as politics (6,104), a thread of empowerment and even resistance runs throughout the book. This empowerment is less about individual agency and self-reliance than it is relational, constituted in the interactions between teacher and novice and the comradery felt between fellow novices. Older women’s dedication to this community and to the traditions it maintains, forms the basis for reassessing wider circles of relationships, especially in the family. Moore beautifully describes both the dissolution of former identities as mothers and housewives, and aspirations for independence, self-satisfaction and even joy. This process of developing transformational relationships is one that takes time, something these older women were keenly aware of. While some conflict (internal and social) was not absent from the narratives, most women seemed to embrace change with determination and grace. Fittingly, the book ends with a sublime, reflective chapter on acceptance, maturity and the capacity to “be with” others; these are poignant lessons not only about age, or fieldwork, but about the tone and texture of the spirit.

The Joy of Noh is an ideal text for instructors looking for a case study exploring aging, selfhood and the arts in contemporary Japan. The book itself is slim, and the chapters are relatively short, clearly written, well-organized and full of memorable ethnographic vignettes well suited to further discussion. Moore avoids burdening the reader with lengthy theoretical discussions or specialist jargon, making this accessible to a variety of readers.

 Jason Danely, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

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NEW POLICIES FOR NEW RESIDENTS: Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond. By Deborah J. Milly. Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell University Press, 2014. xvi, 260 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5222-2.

Daily headlines from around the world highlight tension and misunderstanding between immigrants and their host communities. Clearly, the challenges faced by the addition of linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious “others” call for policy responses that at least facilitate peaceful coexistence between groups and at best foster meaningful inclusion of immigrants. Deboraah J. Milly’s New Policies for New Residents: Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond is an important contribution to the literature on immigrant integration, providing a new framework for considering the interplay between civil society groups and different levels of government in responding to the challenges created by the reality of immigrant communities.

While the book is focused on the particular case of Japan, it uses a comparative framework to highlight the processes at work in the making of immigrant policy. Milly compares the cases of Japan, Korea, Spain and Italy to examine how multilevel governance affects the pathways to achieving immigrant policies. The choice of these four cases is inspired; all four countries have relatively recently switched from being emigration countries to “countries of immigration” while experiencing decentralizing trends in governance. In another refreshing departure from much of the work in this field, Milly breaks free from the regional limitations that characterize much of the comparative work on immigration.

Milly is interested in the interaction between advocacy and governance, allowing her to look at the issue from a different perspective than is normally seen in the literature. She categorizes Spain and Japan as examples of “advocacy-promoting governance” models, while considering Italy and Korea as characteristic of “advocacy-reinforcing governance” and “advocacy-integrated governance,” respectively. This conceptual framework, though interesting and instructive, is also a bit unwieldy; is there a more elegant way to conceptualize the role of civil society groups in setting and shaping policy?

While chapter 1 focuses on setting up this conceptual framework, Milly quickly moves on to the meat of the book: the comparative examination of immigrant advocacy and policy making in these four countries. Chapters 2 through 6 offer an in-depth look at how immigrant policy is made in light of different governance models, various stages of devolution, and different strategies used by civil society groups. For example, in Spain, regional governments, like Catalonia’s, have been the primary locus for immigrant support programs and policies in areas like education and housing, generating policy ideas while securing the input of civil society advocates. Milly’s primary case of Japan highlights the ways that local governments in immigrant-receiving regions worked around the significant challenges of national party division, bureaucratic segmentation and lack of comprehensive immigration reform to respond to housing, education and health care challenges in their communities. Italy and Korea prove to follow a different path due in part to the existence of national frameworks that include the possibility for lower levels of government (and civil society groups) to play a role in immigrant integration solutions. In areas like housing and healthcare, Italian localities have responded to local challenges of immigrant integration with creative and collaborative solutions that operate within the parameters set by national policy. Likewise, in Korea, the interaction between new laws facilitating collaboration between non-governmental organizations and local governments to respond to immigrant integration needs led to the emergence of support services for foreign workers run by NGOs with government funding. The case studies are the key to illustrating the argument of the book, bringing to life the complex interplay between governance and advocacy that make up the crux of this book’s argument.

The last two chapters of the book contain Milly’s analysis and conclusions about the impact of economic crises on the creation of immigrant policy in these four cases and the implications of these findings for immigrant-receiving communities and countries around the globe. Milly finds that in Japan, as in the other three cases, a downturn in economic conditions does not significantly affect immigrant integration policy, though shifts in public opinion about immigrants may occur. Spain and Japan, the advocacy-reinforcing governance models in Milly’s framework, continued with pre-crisis plans for immigrant support programs while also instituting “assisted return” policies for newly unemployed immigrants. The economic crisis did not result in “assisted return” programs in the Korea and Italy, but was less of a factor than the political changes that had preceded the crisis in those countries.

The implications of this research are interesting for immigrants, immigrant advocacy groups and local governments in immigrant-receiving communities, suggesting that there are ways to use the tools of democracy at both the national and local level to promote inclusion of immigrants in local decision making. While this research demonstrates that there is an opening for civil society groups to play a role in (especially) local government decision making on immigrant policies, one area that is not explored fully here is the possibility that anti-immigrant groups could exploit the same governance structures and pathways to craft policies that move in the opposite direction.

The conclusions presented in this book have potentially far-reaching implications that can help civil society groups to best craft their strategies for promoting conflict-reducing policies and paths for foreign residents’ meaningful inclusion in national communities.

Betsy Brody, Collin College, Plano, USA                                                                 

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THE POLITICS OF WAR MEMORY IN JAPAN: Progressive Civil Society Groups and the Contestation of Memory of the Asia- Pacific war. Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series, 49. By Kamila Szczepanska. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xvi, 233 pp. US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70771-8.

Who are the main grass-root champions of progressive memory politics in Japan today? How are they organized? What are their goals? What is their relationship with the public, the state and overseas actors? And finally how effective have they been in influencing the Japanese national memory landscape? This book offers answers to these questions. It is original in that it covers five civil society groups that have not yet been examined. It is also timely. It focuses on the latest period of 1990 to 2012 and updates the thus far published literature on this subject.

The five organizations under study—The Center of Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility, Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21, Violence Against Women in War Network Japan, Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace and POW Research Network Japan—are highly diverse in their structure, size and focus area. What they share, however, is a desire to educate the public and push the Japanese state to assume greater responsibility for the Japanese wartime past. How successful have they been? Not too successful. As the author acknowledges, they have neither been able to stop the conservative onslaught on the positive policies of the early 1990s, nor have they brought any changes to Japan’s redress practices. Nevertheless the author’s overall evaluation seems to be positive. The existence of the groups and their activities are a proof to Szczepanska that Japanese civil society is neither bereft of “civil advocates,” nor politically apathetic or dominated by historical revisionism.

Reading the book, however, one might reach a different conclusion. As is shown, the combined membership of the five associations reaches 7,750. Rival organizations such as the Nihon Izokukai list 1 million members and the Japanese radical right lists approximately 100,000. Anticipating this charge, Szczepanska stresses twice that not numbers but political clout matters in civil activism. Yet, later we learn that none of the five groups have had regular access to Japanese mainstream media or influential political elites (whereas their right-wing opponents do). Moreover, some of the greatest accomplishments of these groups—such as the staging of the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal or the pressure put on the Japanese government through the UN to address the issue of comfort women—were largely ignored in Japan. The same applies to the establishment of the WAM museum, which has so far attracted 2,000 visitors per year (hardly comparable to its rivals such as the Yasukuni’s Yūshūkan Museum with 250,000 visitors annually). In short, more than a vigorous progressive civil society, the evidence presented in this book points to a trend many have been observing since the mid-1990s: a drastic decline in the strength, organizational capability and political relevance of the Japanese Left and its progressive movement.

The book also documents another problem that is often discussed in the literature on Japan: the relative amateurishness with which its civil society actors approach political activism. Here it especially applies to the use of the Internet. The five groups’ websites are inexpert and fragmentary; updates are irregular and mostly in Japanese; English content is limited and Korean and Chinese translations non-existent. Szczepanska explains that this is mainly due to the age of the organizations’ members and their lack of funding and staff. But, it is precisely for this reason that the Internet needs to be their priority. A relatively little effort can significantly improve the groups’ communicative capabilities and help them reach critical target audiences that have thus far eluded them: the Japanese youth and overseas actors. In fact, the Chinese and Koreans (also great potential sources for funding) have shown considerable interest in such contacts in the past but were hampered by a lack of appropriate communication channels. Szczepanska does not discuss this in the book.

Neither is she too critical of the five groups’ unwillingness (or inability?) to seek greater support from Japanese policy makers. In her chapter on the relationship between the two, the scholar mostly analyzes their antagonistic relationship with the Liberal Democratic Party. As for potential partners—the Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party or the Japanese Communist Party—the activists seem to prefer interdependence over closer endorsement by these parties. They do not display a strong will to spread their message or expand their membership, either. Introduction by existing members is necessary for entry into some of these associations. And much of the groups’ communications remain internal while their publications are for sale only. As such, the citizen groups appear to operate as self-contained units within the limits of what is comfortable. Or, as Szczepanska seems to argue, they are civil advocates doing their best in an increasingly difficult conservative environment. Such a lenient evaluation, however, fails to explain why they have attracted so little attention from the Japanese public—a public which largely agrees with their message as the author herself suggests.

The lack of a more critical analysis of the groups’ activities and achievements is a major shortcoming of this work. It is likely linked to the Szczepanska’s over-reliance on the main sources of this research: the organizations’ publications and interviews with their members. Too often the book simply reads as a report based on the self-reporting of the groups themselves. Moreover, there are many passages, such as chapter 2, that add very little to the overall argument and should have been left out. The book’s coherence and utility would have also greatly improved if each group received a separate chapter treatment rather than being treated in a lump. Last but not least, the author explores civil society activism without ever properly introducing its main protagonists. This is a serious flaw as the reader is not allowed to fully understand the many personal linkages that exist between the groups’ leaders and the fact that their circle is fairly limited. One can also not assess their social position in the larger Japanese society and hence the import of the organizations they represent.

In sum, this is the most up-to-date research on Japanese progressive activism in the area of memory politics in the last decade. Those who are seriously interested in this subject might find useful information in this book. Overall, though, the publication leaves much room for improvement.

 Ivo Plsek, University of California, Berkeley, USA        

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GOVERNING INSECURITY IN JAPAN: The Domestic Discourse and Policy Response. Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series, 50. Edited by Wilhelm Vosse, Reinhard Drifte and Verena Blechinger-Talcott. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xvii, 180 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-81130-9.

JAPAN’S CIVIL-MILITARY DIPLOMACY: The Banks of the Rubicon. Politics in Asia Series. By Dennis T. Yasutomo. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xviii, 192 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71129-6.

There is growing interest in Japan’s security policies due to Japan’s rising tensions with China (the world’s number two military spender), revisionist claims regarding Japan’s Second World War experience by Japanese cabinet members, including Prime Minister Abe and his supporters, and due to several high-profile changes in Japan’s security policies themselves in the past several years. Readers of these two volumes will be exposed to a more nuanced and broader conceptualization of Japanese security than seen in mainstream news coverage and also treated to a rich panoply of empirical data and insider stories regarding Japan’s contemporary security practices and security concerns. Both volumes are recommended, but are directed to different audiences: Japan’s Civil-Military Diplomacy is especially suited for those seeking a detailed account of the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) recent deployments overseas (especially to Iraq, 2004–2006) and of the changes to Japan’s civil-military relations this has required; Governing Insecurity in Japan is for those seeking a broader overview of the security challenges Japanese perceive themselves to be facing in the twenty-first century, from nuclear weapons and missile attack to crime from undocumented immigrants and dangers of contaminated food.

Yasutomo (Smith College) makes a more important contribution to our understanding of Japan’s contemporary security practices (and also Japan’s foreign aid policies) than his somewhat obtuse book title suggests. This book provides the definitive English-language account of the most significant JSDF overseas deployment since their creation in 1954, to Iraq from January 2004–July 2006, in two chapters of this five-chapter book. In addition, the book recounts Japan’s important contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan from 2001–2013, which did not involve deployment of the JSDF but nevertheless required new civil-military cooperation in Japan’s overseas development assistance (ODA) policies. In addition, the opening chapter provides a concise history of Japan’s civil-military relations as well as a primer on the evolution of Japan’s ODA policy (the subject of a book Yasutomo published in 1986). A concluding chapter focuses on the extent to which Japan has “crossed the Rubicon” in its security policies in the cases examined. Yasutomo argues throughout the volume (to a somewhat tedious degree): “Japan has not crossed the Rubicon in the traditional sense, and is not likely to anytime soon” (16). He does argue, however, that “a new civil-military security culture is replacing the old merchant state culture of pacifism and antimilitarism” (opening summary).

Much of the first chapter of Japan’s Civil-Military Diplomacy is devoted to an examination of the concept of a “civilian power,” contrasting the use of the term in Europe, the United States and Japan—a comparative context that is informative and germane to a broad readership beyond those who focus on Japan. He concludes this first chapter with these words: “For Japan, civilian power diplomacy, with its enlarged civil-military component, is the new normal” (22). The chapters on Afghanistan and Iraq make this case persuasively and are laden with rich empirical detail from a wide range of published sources and interviews. Many readers may not be aware of the extent of Japan’s contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan (the number two financial contributor after the United States) after the US toppling of the Taliban. Japan’s ODA coordination with military efforts and objectives may not have “crossed the Rubicon” but they were unprecedented in Japanese ODA policy and in many ways laid the groundwork for Japan’s later engagement with Iraq, including by the JSDF. Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi would later describe Japanese ODA and the JSDF as an “inseparable pair” in Japan’s Iraq policy (77). The detailed discussion of the JSDF deployment to Samawah in terms of logistics, strategy, lessons learned and the positive reception by the local Iraqis should be of broad interest to readers beyond just “Japan hands,” since, as Yasutomo wryly notes, “In the end, the SDF rather than U.S. troops were the ones who received sweets and flowers from Iraqis upon their arrival in Iraq” (105).

It is a shame that Yasutomo did not seek to engage with broader works on Japanese security policy that have been published in the past decade, seeking to enhance or disconfirm those arguments based on the excellent casework he presents on Japan’s Afghanistan and Iraq experiences. There is a notable absence of such works in his bibliography. By contrast, the bibliography includes an impressive number of Japanese-language sources germane to the narrower sub-set of issues he does seek to address: about the evolution of the concept of a civilian power, civil-military relations, and the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Governing Insecurity in Japan provides, by contrast, a great breadth of consideration of how Japanese in the 21st century view their and Japan’s security. The three editors of the volume deserve kudos for assembling such a broad overview, rooted in the concept of “securitization” in vogue among especially European-educated scholars (who constitute the majority of the contributors to this volume). Each of the eight chapters is clearly written and carefully edited, well-argued with research questions stressed at the outset, methods discussed, and central findings summarized in a concluding section. Each chapter also provides a concise historical overview of the specific topic that will be useful to those new to the subject matter. This historical context and framing of the central issues is important since the data presented in most chapters ends around 2010, and sometimes earlier, which is unfortunate given the quickly evolving security environment in East Asia. Nevertheless, the volume collectively makes an important and lasting contribution which future researchers can update with more recent data and in general the time-lag does not appear to undermine the central conclusions of each chapter.

The volume introduction begins rightly by noting the paradox that a country that objectively enjoys so much security in comparison to most other states perceives so much insecurity. The first two empirical chapters of the volume build on this theme, focusing on Japanese public perception of threats to themselves and to Japan. Vosse (International Christian University of Japan) draws on evidence from an innovative cross-national survey that he and colleagues conducted in 2004 that shows that Japanese express a much higher concern about crime than Americans despite an objectively much lower crime rate; and, moreover, that Japanese express a greater fear of the outbreak of a major war and use of weapons of mass destruction, and also of an impending economic crisis. Vosse then draws on other survey data to illustrate an increasing threat perception among Japanese from 2000 to 2006. What is striking in his findings, however, is the divergence in policy prescriptions between Japanese and Americans based on this sense of threat: to a large degree, Japanese are still from Venus and Americans from Mars. Midford (Norwegian University for Science and Technology) follows on the issue of policy prescriptions by examining in-depth survey data and exit polling from the 2007 House of Councillors election, which pitted the nationalist incumbent Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Prime Minister Abe against the more economic policy-focused challengers from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ); the DPJ win was a major upset for Abe’s party. Midford argues that it is notable that at a time of an objectively escalating external threat from North Korea, Japanese voters chose to focus on economic security issues, rooting his argument in the post-classical realist school.

Three chapters of Governing Insecurity in Japan address the security aspects of immigration to Japan. The most accessible and useful chapter is by Chiavacci (University of Zurich), which situates the immigration question in the context of Japan’s shrinking population (since 2010) and aging demographic profile. He argues that the two dominant and conflicting “frames” of the present immigration debate—that immigrant workers should be imported to address the demographic challenge and that immigrants commit more domestic crime—are both mistaken, and that a more realistic and pragmatic discussion over immigration should take place. Quite striking is a table (121) that shows the number of immigrants that would be needed each year just to maintain Japan’s currently challenging demographic profile—which would lead to a total population for Japan of over 800 million by 2050 (compared to about 128 million today)! His discussion of the methodological flaws in reporting on crime statistics and coverage of the ugly nationalist discourse on immigration will be informative to a broad audience. His characterization of the debate differs somewhat from the chapter by Vogt (University of Hamburg), who purports to focus on the “discourse” over immigration in Japan, a contrast which is unacknowledged by either author. Vogt is strong on the comparative perspective (contrasting Japan with Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea) and in examining the institutional actors involved in the debate within Japan. Kibe (International Christian University of Japan) contributes to the issue by examining the debate over the Japanese version of multiculturalism, tabunka kyōsei. Like many of the contributors to the volume as a whole, he argues that the current approach to managing this perceived security challenge is not working but that in a shifting political environment with frequent leadership turnover and a wide range of bureaucratic actors with overlapping responsibilities, how to go about crafting a new set of policies is unclear. Collectively the three chapters suggest that a significant change in the immigration status quo in the near-term is unlikely.

The remaining chapters in Governing Insecurity in Japan address the issue of food security, the recent growth of Chinese investment in Japan, and Japan’s experience with overseas peacekeeping and related activities since 1992. Takeda (University of Tokyo) addresses the issue of food security, beginning with a broad overview of the history of this concern back to the pre-war period and situating the concerns more recently in a global context. The chapter concludes, however, with a strong condemnation of “neoliberal political reform” that accelerated under Prime Minister Koizumi (2001-06) and continues despite what she argues are obvious shortcomings in the wake of the March 11, 2011 nuclear meltdown at Fukushima that left the Japanese people to manage food risks of radioactive contamination with little effective government assistance. Drifte (formerly of Newcastle University) sketches out the contours of recent Japanese concerns about rapidly growing Chinese investment in Japan, framing it in the context of recent growth of Chinese foreign investment globally, but is not able to offer much by way of analysis in only seven and a half pages. Still, his contribution adds to the breadth of the volume in illustrating the range of security concerns contemporary Japanese perceive, and also links to concerns expressed in the Takeda chapter regarding imports of contaminated food from China. Mulloy (Daito Bunka University) returns to themes developed in greater depth in Yasumoto’s Japan’s Civil-Military Diplomacy. It is surprising how little attention Mulloy pays to the significant departure from previous red-lines in overseas deployment of the JSDF that the Iraq mission heralded. Rather, this chapter categorizes the five civilian and nine JSDF overseas deployments under the 1992 International Peace Cooperation Law and subsequent legislation into four different types of missions and then evaluates each category, with common themes of risk aversion, bureaucratic stove-piping, and narrow missions emerging, despite writing in his conclusion that “the JSDF have usually performed above expectation, professionally, and have contributed to local human security” (169).

Taken together, these two volumes illustrate the many challenges the Japanese government faces in addressing new and continuing threats to Japan’s security at a time of frequent political leadership transitions, continuing economic stagnation and a rapidly evolving regional and global security environment. They usefully guide readers beyond persistently conveyed images of Japan as an unimportant or unevolving global security actor.

Andrew L. Oros, Washington College, Chestertown, USA        

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BEYOND AINU STUDIES: Changing Academic and Public Perspectives. Edited by Mark J. Hudson, Ann-Elise Lewallen, and Mark K. Watson. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. xi, 257 pp. (Figures.) US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3697-9.

Published in 2014 by the University of Hawai‘i Press, Beyond Ainu Studies: Changing Academic and Public Perspectives consists of 13 chapters of arguments and discussions in research paper, analytical essay and other styles. It is one of the world’s most comprehensive non-Japanese-language publications of its kind about studies based on the latest research results.

As the title indicates, the book is a critical re-assessment of Ainu studies conventionally conducted by scholars in Japan and elsewhere, and seeks to clarify how such studies will ideally be implemented in the future. In light of the need for a fundamental change in the people, targets and methods involved in achieving the aims at hand, authors other than recognized experts on Ainu studies contributed; the 13 chapters based on 4 themes were written by 12 authors representing the attributes of Ainu, wajin (majority Japanese) and non-Japanese people, and include scholars as well as Ainu culture practitioners. Theme One: Representation/Objectification deals with the history of Ainu studies, which stemmed from relations between the nation-state and anthropology during the period of their establishment in Japan. Thus, Theme One focuses on the history of the Ainu people’s objectification. Theme Two: New Critical Responses is based on the objectification history described in Theme One, highlighting initiatives to redefine the scope of present-day Ainu society and culture beyond geographical boundaries. The authors of the chapters for Theme Three: Academic Disciplines and Understandings of Ainu question the authoritative nature of academic disciplines (particularly those of archaeology and history) on which images of Ainu people are based, and suggest the possibility of changing this in the future. Theme Four: The Discourse of Culturalism shows a new direction for Ainu studies toward the reassessment of connections between cultural practice and identity from the perspectives of museology, gender, linguistics and law.

One of the threads running through the book involves clarification of the relations linking Ainu studies, the formation of Ainu social images and the political movement for the restoration of the Ainu as an indigenous people. Based on this, efforts are made to open up new horizons by removing limitations that have been placed on Ainu studies in the past; here lies the significance of this book, which is written for English-speaking readers. The section below outlines new attempts presented by the individual authors and highlights challenges added by the reviewers based on new developments concerning recent Ainu policy and research trends.

The authors of the book seek to tackle the theme Beyond Ainu Studies from four perspectives: (1) reinterpretation of the history of Ainu studies by Western scholars; (2) reinterpretation of the history of Ainu studies by Japanese scholars; (3) a look at the present-day Ainu community by Ainu people; and (4) background to the establishment of Ainu social/legal positions and related analysis. Although each chapter may initially appear to approach conventional Ainu studies from an individual perspective, those who read the book through will recognize a loose connection among the threads and realize that they lay the foundations for future Ainu studies. Hans Dieter Ӧlschleger, Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Kristen Refsing address Ainu studies conducted by Western scholars, discussing the Ainu culture described in Western thought and its impact on subsequent Ainu studies conducted in Japan. In contrast, David L. Howell, Mark J. Hudson and Deriha Koji reconsider Ainu history as interpreted by Japanese historians and archaeologists. Based on their research experiences in Japan and elsewhere, these three authors underline the importance of understanding Ainu culture with consideration of the multiple perspectives required among historians and archaeologists in order to conduct new Ainu studies in light of the multi-faceted nature of historical events. One of the book’s characteristics is its content expressing the opinions of scholars who engaged in Ainu studies in Japan and elsewhere in the past as well as those of others involved in Ainu research domestically and internationally today. Another characteristic is its inclusion of descriptions of the Ainu community by Ainu people. Mark K. Watson, Uzawa Kanako, Sunazawa Kayo, Tsuda Nobuko and Ann-Elise Lewallen address the Ainu community in Hokkaido and elsewhere, and especially Uzawa, Sunazawa and Tsuda contribute to the book in their roles as Ainu authors. Tsuda and Lewallen cover research on embroidery and clothing as handicrafts of Ainu women, pointing out how related techniques passed down for generations play an important role in ensuring cultural inheritance and meeting Ainu ethnic requirements despite a lack of detailed written records. These handicrafts stand apart from the traditional Ainu cultural elements of hunting/gathering and language as discussed in chapters 8, 9 and 12, and represent a new perspective in which focus is placed on another aspect of traditional culture that has been passed down in the private domain of women’s handiwork. In chapter 13, Georgina Stevens discusses the significance of practicing Ainu culture and exercising self-determination as an indigenous people within the legal system of Japan. The chapter describes the movement to restore the rights of indigenous peoples within the international community as well as the process behind the restoration of Ainu rights that has taken place since the 1980s against a background of legal resistance to Ainu discrimination in Japan.

Since the book’s publication, rapid and diverse developments have continued in research on Ainu culture and various policy measures. As mentioned in chapter 13, the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion proposed the concept of the Symbolic Space for Ethnic Harmony in July 2009. Scheduled to open in 2020, the space will act as a national centre for the revitalization of Ainu culture. It will be a base for new initiatives toward the preservation and revitalization of the Ainu language and other aspects of the culture, with efforts including the designation of Ainu as an official language of the facility. These goals are worthy of attention as new developments in the restoration of Ainu culture.

The author of chapter 10, Tsuda, earned a doctoral degree in traditional Ainu attire and related culture in 2014 from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan. Her work on Ainu cultural studies as an Ainu woman has earned academic acclaim, thereby creating promise for new future developments in Ainu cultural studies.

Meanwhile, a number of issues in Ainu studies remain unresolved. By way of example, as discussed in the book’s introduction, the question over repatriation of Ainu human remains collected for scientific study has yet to be concluded. Despite its certain limitations, the book’s juxtaposition of perspectives in Japan and elsewhere is expected to provide a strong stimulus for consideration regarding efforts to resolve such issues, and the effectiveness of its methodological framework will be revealed in future Ainu studies.

Mayumi Okada, Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, Sapporo, Japan

Rina Shiroishi, Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, Sapporo, Japan

Yasushige Takahashi, Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, Sapporo, Japan

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DISCOURSES OF DISCIPLINE: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports. Japan Research Monograph, 17. By Aaron L. Miller. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2013. xiii, 245 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-105-9.

At the beginning of 2013 two separate stories regarding corporal punishment (taibatsu) in sport led the Japanese media headlines. The first involved the suicide of a high school student and captain of the basketball team, allegedly in response to being subjected to relentless and excessive physical punishment at the hands of the team’s 47-year-old coach, who was also a teacher at the school. The second involved 15 female judoka or judo athletes, including competitors from the London Olympics, who filed a collective letter of complaint to the Japanese Olympic committee against two coaches for using excessive physical violence and power harassment. The minister for Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology, Shimomura Hakubun, described the situation around these scandals as the “biggest crisis in Japan’s sport history,” stating that it was “necessary for Japan to clearly demonstrate it has eliminated violence from the sports world with its own self-cleansing functions” (Yomiuri, Feb 6, 2013).

The case of corporal punishment in Japanese sport is rendered even more unusual by the fact that it has been banned from educational settings first in 1879, and continuously since 1941. So how and why does corporal punishment persist in schools and sports clubs across Japan? This is the question Aaron Miller sets out to answer in his excellent book Discourses of Discipline. Based on long-term participant observation fieldwork in a university basketball club, grounded further in his experiences of teaching in Japanese schools and working in higher education, and drawing on extensive historical data, Miller has produced a rich and informative analysis of the practices and meanings of corporal punishment in the Japanese context. With a good degree of critical reflexivity, and adopting an anthropological approach to the question, Miller offers an interpretation, rather than an explanation, of corporal punishment, and in so doing avoids the traps of essentialism and cultural comparison.

As the book develops it is clear that the more one tries to understand and define taibatsu the more ambiguous and slippery it becomes. Indeed its origins appear to be a Japanese response to the modernization and engagement with foreign education systems rather than an indigenous concept. Prior to the Meiji Restoration taibatsu was not part of the educational vocabulary and, whilst there were forms of physical punishments in both temple and samurai schools during the Edo period, it is argued that the preference in these settings was for non-violent forms of sanction. Considering the central role of the samurai class in Meiji educational reform, and especially in the establishment of sports clubs in education, it seems likely that corporal punishment would have been absent from educational practice.

From this point onwards Miller provides an extensive historical and ethical contextualization of the practice of corporal punishment in education. He positions corporal punishment within a broader language of disciplining techniques and in doing so highlights the diversity of pedagogical styles at work in Japanese sports, from authoritarian (“bushido”) to liberal (“scientific”) coaches. It is here that the real strength of this book comes through as Miller considers the various cultural explanations for the use of corporal punishment. He addresses the scope of “uniquely” Japanese (samurai ethos, groupism, ascetic practice, character building, etc.) reasons for the continuing practice of corporal punishment and then proceeds to expose such approaches as limited in empirical evidence, being generalizations, and indeed characteristics of sports in many other cultural contexts.

In countering the various nihonjinron explanations of corporal punishment Miller utilizes the work of Michel Foucault to pose an alternative point of view. Corporal punishment is a discourse: linguistic, legal, symbolic and physical. As such it is a power relation that works through the subjectification of the individual bodies it interacts with. Understanding corporal punishment as a form of “bio-power” is effective in explaining, for example, why those who are victims of corporal punishment often do not recognize that they are victims (and may even come to be grateful for their beatings), or how others come to internalize the demands of coaches and adapt their behaviour accordingly.

As promised in the beginning, this book does not pose a solution for the corporal punishment problem. What it does is present a thorough contextualization and rethinking of the issue and in doing so paves the way for others to find the answers. In this sense the book offers policy makers, educators and coaches a way to reconsider corporal punishment and perhaps, as the minister suggests, facilitate Japanese sports’ “self-cleansing functions.” It would be essential reading for anyone interested in Japanese sport and, considering other issues and problems (bullying, school refusal, and drop-out) faced in Japanese education, a way of examining various problematic relationships of power. Finally this book exposes the culturalist shortcomings in explaining violence in a given society. One would contend that this approach could be adapted to other settings and situations where violence becomes institutionalized.

Brent McDonald, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

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A FAMILY OF NO PROMINENCE: The Descendants of Pak Tŏkhwa and the Birth of Modern Korea. By Eugene Y. Park. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xvii, 239 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8876-2.

At the beginning of this short but insightful book on status and social mobility in early modern and modern Korea Eugene Park makes the interesting observation that while many contemporary South Koreans are proud of their lineage background, in fact very few know much about their actual ancestors. This remark is not only indicative of how the social status system has transmuted itself in twentieth-century Korea, it also points out a blind spot in historical memory. Through the reconstruction and study of his own family’s lineage and its history in this book, Park successfully shows that such personal micro-history in fact has the potential of being a hitherto largely untapped source of information about social change and the emergence of modern Korea.

While the approach is original and in many ways path-breaking, the fact that the author’s ancestors were chungin (technical specialists and others of social status below aristocracy but above commoners) means that the subject of this book corresponds with a recent major research trend in the study of Korean history: secondary social status groups and the fuzzy demarcation lines of what was once considered to be a clearly delineated social status system. The previously prevalent monolithic understanding of social status can be explained by master narratives on ancestry in twentieth-century Korea. As Park argues, “The descent group narratives that crystallized in early modern Korea have framed popular discussions of ancestry in a way that allows little room for real family stories” (4). In terms of English-language scholarship on Korean history, it can also partly be explained by the fact that the first generation of Koreanists in the West focussed primarily on the yangban elite and their lineages.

The first four chapters offer fascinating insight into status and social mobility in Chosŏn Korea through the narration of the Pak lineage’s ascent from commoner status to specialist chungin, and finally the insertion of its progenitor into the genealogy of a yangban branch of Miryang Pak. Chapter 1, tellingly titled “From the Mists of Time,” discusses descent and kinship in medieval and early modern Korea and provides a general picture of the social status group defined as chungin before attempting to trace the earliest origins of this Pak lineage in the seventeenth century. Through a detailed study of genealogical records of the lineage and its in-laws, in conjunction with a wide range of other sources, the author comes to the conclusion that the earliest traceable ancestors probably were commoner military officers. The second chapter is set in the eighteenth century and argues that the “expanding commerce and urbanization of Seoul allowed social upstarts to accumulate wealth and join the society’s middle ranks” (28). The section on the Pak lineage details how the Paks relocated to such a Seoul—while maintaining an economic presence in their home region—and advanced within the military.

In chapter 3, dealing with the nineteenth century, the Pak lineage has more firmly established themselves as chungin. In a period when this status group came to the fore in the capital with prominent and affluent families pursuing “various forms of cultural activity, ranging from artistic connoisseur to erudite antiquarian to versatile literatus to social critic” (50), the Pak lineage finally established themselves as specialist chungin, the highest stratum within this social status group. The lineage having achieved specialist chungin status, the fourth chapter, dealing with the late nineteenth century, describes how the Paks, like many other lineages in the period, performed a “genealogical maneuver” to make themselves descendents of a yangban branch of Miryang Pak by having the progenitor, Pak Tŏkhwa, inserted as a son in their genealogy. After this the book slightly changes focus. Chapter 5 describes some prominent in-laws of the Pak lineage and their activities in the early twentieth century, and chapter 6, while returning to the Paks, offers vignettes into the lives of its members during the colonial period rather than discussing the vicissitudes of their social status.

To trace the lives of the members of the Pak lineage and their in-laws, Eugene Pak has mobilized an impressive range of sources. Bringing these texts to the fore of his narration the reader can follow the detective work involved and obtains a good understanding of both the difficulties in using such sources and the potential they possess. As the book is tracing the life of people “of no prominence,” sometimes the link between people found in the sources and the Pak lineage is tenuous and the analysis has to be somewhat speculative. However, even if it can’t be confirmed that all of the people found in the sources actually belonged to this branch of the Pak lineage, the narration still corroborates the overall picture provided of the life and social mobility of this social status group in Chosŏn Korea.

As mentioned earlier, secondary social status groups have recently received increasing academic attention. This book stands out for two reasons, though. Firstly, whereas previous studies have focussed on more well-known chungin, this study with its path-breaking methodology is a both minute and long-term analysis of the social mobility of a “family of no prominence.” Secondly, as argued by the author, this approach also facilitates a more variegated understanding of this social status group, in particular in the colonial period, when many prominent members of the chungin have been described as collaborators. This book is therefore indeed a valuable contribution to the field and should be read by all interested in the social status system of Chosŏn and its transition into modern Korea.

Anders Karlsson, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION OF JAPANESE CAPITALISM. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies. Edited by Sébastien Lechevalier; translated by J.A.A. Stockwin. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xxxv, 198 pp. (Figures.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71766-3.

This highly stimulating book takes up a wide range of core themes and debates in studies of Japanese capitalism, and of comparative political economy (CPE) more broadly. Sébastien Lechevalier’s goal in the original French version of 2011 was to pull together and make accessible to a non-specialist audience the results of his research on Japanese and comparative capitalism, and J.A.A. Stockwin’s admirably clear translation has made that effort available to an English-speaking audience. Lechevalier makes the case that Japanese capitalism has, since the early 1980s, gone through a “great transformation” (his use of this term seems not to have any Polanyian overtones), one so significant that the country’s political economy must now be seen as fundamentally different from the “classic” Japanese model that prevailed in the decades after World War II. One of his core goals is to explore the central role of neo-liberal policies in instigating this transformation. He argues that such policies (which were put into place largely in the mid-1980s and between 1996 and 2006) have had significant negative consequences for Japan, most notably through their contribution to the disastrous economic bubble of the late 1980s and the ways in which they have dismantled Japan’s classic system of political economy without putting a coherent new system in its place. Lechevalier thus finds that the “neo-liberal transition” has transformed Japanese capitalism, but that these changes have not added up to “convergence towards the liberal model” (21). The peculiarities of Japanese neo-liberalism mean that the country continues to occupy a distinctive place within the CPE literature.

The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism has an unusual structure. After an extended foreword by the great régulation school political economist Robert Boyer, the book is comprised of an introduction and a series of empirical chapters by Lechevalier (chapter 5 is co-authored with Arnaud Nanta). The one exception is chapter 1, in which University of British Columbia political scientist Yves Tiberghien seeks to periodize, explain and evaluate Japan’s structural reform process since the early 1980s. This inclusion of a single chapter by a different author as an integrated part of Lechevalier’s argument works very well, and Tiberghien’s contribution can profitably be read both as a stand-alone piece and as a component of the whole. The chapter (which was written in mid-2013) also extends the book’s argument to the political implications of the 3/11 disaster and the return to power of Abe Shinzō in December 2012, with Tiberghien arguing that “Abenomics” should not be seen as driven by neo-liberal ideas. Lechevalier’s chapters also allude to these events from time to time, and his extensive references to works published in 2012 suggest that they may have been updated somewhat from the 2011 French version (though his empirical coverage ends for the most part in 2010).

While Lechevalier’s analysis has more moving parts than can be summarized in a short review, his introductory chapter does an excellent job of highlighting the core elements of his research and their implications for broader debates. At the heart of the book is a theoretical framework in which different capitalisms are distinguished and analyzed along three dimensions: the micro-level dimension of the nature of firms, and the macro-level dimensions of forms of co-ordination (both market and non-market) and of the social compromises that underpin and help to constitute particular capitalisms. Chapters 2-4 cover these three aspects of Japanese capitalism in turn, with each first outlining the “classic” Japanese system in the relevant area before exploring how and why it has been transformed since the early 1980s. Chapter 2 emphasizes above all the increasing heterogeneity of firm types in Japan, chapter 3 the decline of the old forms of co-ordination (including keiretsu networks and industrial policy) and the rise of new ones, and chapter 4 the rapid rise in socio-economic inequality (the development that Lechevalier sees as the “most visible” aspect of the “real rupture in contemporary Japanese capitalism” (86). Chapters 5 through 7 then take up three other central features of Japan’s changing capitalism, the education and innovation systems and Japan’s place in the global and regional political economies.

The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism covers a remarkable range of material in a relatively small number of pages. While the presentation is sometimes dense (though almost never difficult to follow) and readers with some background in Japanese political economy will get the most benefit from the book, Lechevalier succeeds admirably in giving an accessible, analytically driven account of the multifaceted restructuring of the Japanese political economy over the last three decades. The emphasis on brevity and accessibility detracts from the book’s effectiveness, however, when arguments are presented without the detailed engagement with data required to make them stick. This is the case, for instance, in the coverage of statistics on inequality (92). In some instances, Lechevalier deals with this problem by providing citations to his own or other researchers’ work on the topic at hand, but in others key arguments come across as assertions. Chapters 2 through 4, too, are not organized as clearly as they might be around demonstrating the impact of neo-liberal reforms, specifically on firm diversity, forms of co-ordination, and the social compromise. Chapters 5 and 6 make this argument much more effectively with respect to the education and innovation systems. Overall, however, the book is an impressive achievement, and anyone with an interest in Japanese and comparative political economy will benefit from reading it.

Derek Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada                                               

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MABIKI: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660-1950. Asia: Local Studies/Global Themes, 25. By Fabian Drixler. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xvii, 417 pp. (Maps, illustrations.) US$75.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27243-9.

Historians have long known that parents in early modern Japan sometimes killed their newborns, a practice euphemistically called thinning the shoots (mabiki). Fabian Drixler’s ambitious book skillfully blends statistical and textual analysis to explain how the culture of infanticide evolved over three centuries, shedding light on the intellectual, cultural and institutional history of early modern Japan and offering a fascinating, and at times harrowing, case study of population control.

Drixler’s methodology is rich and complex. In the introduction he explains that a “feedback loop between demography and discourse goes through several cycles in this book” (21), a simple statement that belies the complexity of his argument. Until recently historical studies of the demography of early modern Japan relied on structuralist assumptions that viewed social, political or economic relationships as static. Drixler sets aside these static assumptions and argues instead that the practices and demographic consequences of infanticide evolved through dynamic processes of social change that were influenced by widespread debate about infanticide. While he uses discourse analysis he cites no post-structuralist sources in the notes or bibliography. His approach is neither structuralist nor post-structuralist, but rather bears an affinity with the new interactive structuralism. The result is an insightful, dynamic view of the culture of infanticide backed up by a sophisticated quantitative analysis.

The quantitative analysis is audacious in scope. Where most demographic studies of early modern Japan examine a single village, Drixler analyzes data from ten provinces in eastern Japan, a region that stretches from north of what is now Tokyo to the northern tip of the main island of Honshū. Most of his quantitative conclusions appertain to that region but he provides context by explaining population change, sex ratios and fertility levels throughout all of Japan based on data compiled from secondary sources. For the main statistical analysis he collected roughly 780,000 observations from 3,300 population registers coming from over one thousand villages in eastern Japan and compiled the data into thousands of spreadsheets. To this data he applied the “Own Children Method” (OCM) that estimates fertility based on a snapshot of the surviving children in a family. By analyzing many thousands of entries from population registers Drixler generated an estimate of where and how often infanticide took place. His results show that infanticide was common in eastern Japan, sometimes shockingly so, that it was only sometimes sex-selective, that it was not practiced uniformly throughout the region and that rates of infanticide changed over time, rising to high levels in the eighteenth century before decreasing in the nineteenth (he uses different data to show it ended in the middle of the twentieth century). Many tables, maps and charts make the quantitative results more accessible.

The book is quite readable because Drixler has placed most of the technical explanation in appendices and endnotes, but readers who venture into the end matter will have a better view of the scope and complexity of the analysis. To organize the data for analysis Drixler had to make what must have been a staggering number of adjustments to the hundreds of thousands of observations he used. To use the OCM he also had to make assumptions about a number of values that are difficult to estimate, such as mortality rates. He explains how he made these adjustments and assumptions but for reasons of space cannot provide details. The estimates and assumptions look plausible, however, and the adjustments to the data look reasonable so his results are probably correct. In at least one case, however, his explanation lacks adequate transparency. He uses a Monte Carlo simulation to examine the comparative frequency of infanticides and abortions, referring readers who want a fuller description of the method to an article he has not yet published. Readers may want to withhold judgment about the results of the simulation until he publishes the supporting article.

His analysis of the discourse on infanticide is fascinating and shows that commentators in early modern Japan had diverse attitudes about the practice. He argues that infanticide became widely accepted in eastern Japan in part because priests in some Buddhist sects began to promise they “could transform a dead soul into a divine ancestral spirit” through the ongoing performance of rituals (62), and limiting family size through infanticide helped to stabilize households and secure heirs who could ensure the future performance of the rituals. Cultural practices such as costly reciprocal gift giving at the birth of a child and the belief that having a large family would lead to poverty provided further justification for infanticide by shaping social expectations about the need to limit family size. The diverse discourse also included criticism of infanticide based on Confucian ideology and Buddhist theology. Drixler argues that such discursive attacks, backed up by domain policies to monitor pregnancies, to exert moral pressure on villagers and to subsidize child-rearing, led to lower levels of infanticide in the nineteenth century.

The dynamic development of the discourse on infanticide came to an end with a radical political rupture at the beginning of the modern period, and this is the most problematic part of Drixler’s analysis. To some extent early modern debates about infanticide had to take into account the hereditary patrimonial authority of the domain lords, especially after domains began to implement countermeasures to curtail infanticide. When the Meiji Restoration (1868) swept away the old system of domain-based political authority it also swept away the underpinnings of that discourse. Drixler describes insightfully how the discourse died out, but he underestimates the extent of the discursive rupture that took place. As a result he conflates incommensurate understandings of civilization (Chinese and Western) and pays insufficient attention to how meanings of civilization changed during the process of reshaping state power after the Restoration. Drixler’s explanation of how the culture of infanticide ended in the twentieth century is first rate, however, and his analysis of discourse in the early modern period is on firm ground. On the whole the book is packed with interesting insights that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Robert Eskildsen, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

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FAILED DEMOCRATIZATION IN PREWAR JAPAN: Breakdown of a Hybrid Regime. Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. By Harukata Takenaka. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xii, 241 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-6341-7.

Deeply rooted in the Enlightenment past, the social sciences struggle with the enormous complexity of a twenty-first-century world. As Stanford-trained Harutaka Takenaka reveals, political scientists have concocted innumerable labels to capture the political complexity of our times: traditional democracy, semi-democracy, pseudo democracy, illiberal democracy, delegative democracy, near polyarchy, competitive oligarchy, inclusive hegemony, tutelary regime, competitive authoritarianism, electoral authoritarianism, classical authoritarianism, autocracy, despotism, etc. Takenaka himself leans toward the increasingly popular study of “hybrid regimes,” polities with democratic and authoritarian attributes.

In probing an overlooked subgenre of hybridity, the “semi-democratic” regime, Takenaka hints to the potential of social science research on Japan. Compared to other models of hybridity (competitive authoritarianism, electoral authoritarianism), “semi-democracy” suggests the permeability of invented political categories. Takenaka applies the term, after all, to a nation typically considered democratic, Great Britain. Although blessed with the fundamental conditions of democracy—regular elections, accountability and mass political participation—nineteenth-century Britain, Takenaka explains, suffered from bribery and coercion, the unaccountability of the House of Lords and military, and limited suffrage. By the late 1920s, however, legal reform transformed Britain into a model democracy.

Similarly, Takenaka finds Japan wanting between 1918 and 1932 and, like Britain, suggests this “semi-democratic” polity could have transitioned to democracy. Echoing recent historical analyses, Takenaka appropriately distinguishes 1920s Japan from the “competitive oligarchy” of the latter nineteenth century. Whereas latter nineteenth-century Japan witnessed battles among the oligarchs and one political party (the Seiyūkai), by the 1920s, political competition shifted to two major political parties (the Seiyūkai and Kenseikai, later Minseitō). While electoral control in the nineteenth century extended only to the Lower House, by the interwar era, both the Lower House and government became beholden to the people through the strong place of political parties in both. Finally, although only 4.8 percent of the adult population could vote before 1919, by 1924, universal male suffrage enfranchised 37.3 percent of Japanese adults.

Despite these impressive gains, democratic reform did not, of course, continue in 1930s Japan. Takenaka’s broadest aim is to explain how such “semi-democratic” regimes fail. The experience of Japan reveals, first, the importance of civil-military relations. Interwar Japan saw the gradual rise of military over civilian authority. The shift was facilitated by a failure of electoral control over institutions such as the Privy Council, House of Peers and the military, and by the “semi-loyalty” of some party politicians vis-à-vis the civilian government. The lack of loyalty derived from an erosion of civilian legitimacy in the face of economic crisis, political scandal, even political party betrayal of democratic principles.

Takenaka’s strength lies in locating specific points where alternative actions might have facilitated a smooth Japanese transition to democracy. Had the Hara Takashi cabinet (1918–21) introduced universal male suffrage, he argues, the Katō Takaaki cabinet (1924–26) could have curbed the power of the House of Peers and Privy Council. Had the first Wakatsuki cabinet (1926–27) stood up to the Privy Council, the Seiyūkai might not have objected to the London Naval Treaty and thus politicized the military. Had the Tanaka Giichi cabinet (1927–29) punished the army assassins of Chinese warlord Chang Tso-lin, military politicization again could have been checked. Had the second Wakatsuki cabinet (1931) abandoned Hamaguchi’s economic austerity, it could have retained popular legitimacy. It might also have worked harder to control the military after the Manchurian Incident. Following the May Fifteenth Incident, the Seiyūkai and Minseitō parties could have turned to public support against the military.

Takenaka thus offers an important corrective to the determinist vision of a prewar Japanese political culture adverse to democracy. At the same time, his analysis reveals the limitations of social science research on non-Western societies. Codified with the nineteenth-century rise of the Western world, modern political science continues to privilege Western polities (particularly, Britain and the US) as ideal models against which non-Western societies invariably pale. Although Takenaka effectively counters the cultural determinism of political science research from the 1980s (Lucian Pye), his discussion of “semi-democratic” Japan and early 1920s roots of failure echoes early post-1945 Japanese Marxist and revisionist American (Robert Scalapino, Barrington Moore) emphases on the structural origins of Japanese militarism.

A less Anglo-American-centric reading might recognize that, while legal mechanisms for civilian control did not match those in contemporaneous Britain or the United States, democratic procedures in 1920s Japan were fully, if more informally, established. The Japanese parliament adopted universal male suffrage in 1925, just seven years after Britain. And as Mitani Taichirō, Murai Ryōta and Itō Yukio have argued, the Lower House gained ascendancy over the Upper House; party cabinets neutralized the power of the elder statesmen, the Privy Council, and the military; the selection process for prime minister became regularized; and the civilian cabinet expanded its authority over the imperial house. As Kawada Minoru has observed, in deliberations over the London Naval Treaty, Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi (1929–31) unified the Imperial Army, Navy, parliament and Privy Council under political party command.

Trapped by his own “semi-democratic” label, Takenaka cannot interpret the ultimate rise of militarism as anything but the product of weak Japanese democracy. Yet contemporary sources reveal nothing if not the extraordinary power of party government under Hamaguchi and an inordinate fear of that power among Japan’s non-elected elites. It seems likely that Japan’s political transformation of the 1930s derived from a problem of legitimacy not of Japan’s political parties but of her non-elected elites. Rather than focus on a brewing storm from 1920, one might note that the 1930 ratification of the London Naval Treaty marked the pinnacle of prewar Japanese party government, demonstrating to all the overwhelming power of the Hamaguchi cabinet. Unable to surmount party politics by legal means, members of the Imperial Army resolved to do so by a campaign of violence at home and abroad. Unfortunately, no amount of political accountability in interwar Japan could control armed soldiers determined to recover their waning authority through political assassination and foreign conquest.

Frederick R. Dickinson, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

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IN THE SERVICE OF HIS KOREAN MAJESTY: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876–1888. Korea Research Monograph, 35. By Wayne Patterson. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2012. xii, 193 pp. (Figures.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-100-4.

When East Asia was undergoing momentous changes in the late nineteenth century, Westerners were hired as officials and experts by East Asian governments. These Westerners were used to help establish new institutions based on Western models that started arising with the expansion of European and American influence in the region. Among the best known of these institutions is the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, which was set up by the Chinese government to collect customs dues from overseas traders. Most of its employees were foreigners, including its head, Sir Robert Hart. When Japan forced Korea to enter into the Western system of international and economic relations through the Treaty of Kanghwa in 1876, the Koreans also started hiring foreign experts to set up and administer new institutions that arose as a result of changes in the international system. Wayne Patterson tells the story of one of these Westerners, the British-American William Nelson Lovatt, based on letters and other documents that he obtained. The result is an interesting account of a Westerner’s personal experience in East Asia, his and his family’s interaction with Korean society during the 1880s, and the personal impact that domestic and international events in East Asia had on his and his family’s life.

Lovatt was born in Britain, but spent most of his working life in East Asia. He worked first for the British military and came to China during the last years of the Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion in 1860. Soon after, he switched employers to work for the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, where he worked in several treaty ports for the next twenty years and rose to a mid-level rank. During this time, he also married his American wife, Jennie, whom he courted in a long-distance relationship before going to Minnesota to get married. During his career in China, Lovatt also became friends with the German Paul Georg von Möllendorf, who also worked for the Chinese customs service and later for the German diplomatic service. It was this connection that would lead Lovatt to Korea. When Möllendorf resigned from the German diplomatic service to work for the top Chinese official Li Hongzhang, Li assigned him to act as a new Western expert to the Korean court to establish a Korean customs service on the model of the Chinese customs service. Möllendorf eventually persuaded Lovatt to become the head of the customs service in the southern Korean port of Pusan, where Lovatt lived along with his wife and one of his daughters from 1883 to 1886.

Most of the book deals with the life of Lovatt and his family in Pusan. What is striking is the strong Japanese presence in Pusan already in the 1880s. Lovatt lived and worked in the Japanese area of Pusan and most of his interactions were actually with Japanese people rather than Koreans. Lovatt did have interactions with Korean officials and with some Koreans working for his family as servants, but these contacts were less frequent. The book also reveals the isolation and loneliness of life for Westerners in Pusan, especially for Lovatt’s wife, Jennie. This book shines in its treatment of Western lives outside a capital region and its intimate portrayal of family life. In the end, Jennie became pregnant and left Pusan with her daughter before her husband to return to America to give birth to her son.

Lovatt’s story also reveals how vulnerable these foreign experts were to changes within the domestic and international spheres involving the East Asian governments they worked for. Lovatt’s stint in Pusan ended because of the consequences of the failure of the Japanese-supported Kapsin Coup in the Korean court in 1884. This led China to further reinforce its presence and influence in Korea. Möllendorf turned against his Chinese employers and instead advised the Korean court that Korea should look towards Russia rather than China to act as a counter-balance to Japan. This elicited a harsh Chinese reaction and Möllendorf was removed from office. This led anyone connected to him, like Lovatt, to suddenly come under suspicion. The increase in Chinese influence in Korea in the aftermath of the Kapsin Coup’s failure also led to a proposal by Sir Robert Hart, the head of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, to merge the Korean customs service with the Chinese service. This would clearly be a severe weakening of Korea’s sovereignty and eventually never happened. However, Lovatt, knowing that his days in Korea were numbered, threatened to reveal this scheme to the Korean court unless he got an improved severance package to go quietly. In the end, Lovatt got most of what he wanted and left his position in Pusan and went to the United States to join his wife and family. However, he could not get used to being a farmer in Minnesota and ended up going back to China to work at a reduced rank for the Chinese customs service. He would eventually be able to rise to his old rank that he had before going to Korea by the time he died in China in 1904.

Wayne Patterson’s book is successful in bringing to a human level the effects that the economic, political, social and cultural changes in East Asia had on individuals and communities, both Western and East Asian. It relates a Westerner’s experience in East Asia in a place where there was not a large Western community and in this way, provides a new perspective. The fact that Lovatt worked for the Chinese and the Koreans also gives a new twist to the Western experience in East Asia. This is a good supplementary book that helps to show how the changing situation in East Asia was reflected in individual lives.

Carl Young, Western University, London, Canada                                                                     

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RISE OF A JAPANESE CHINATOWN: Yokohama, 1894–1972. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 367; Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Eric C. Han. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; distributed by Harvard University Press, 2014. xvi, 250pp. (Maps, figures.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-49198-4.

Solid scholarship and fresh research findings make Eric C. Han’s book a significant contribution to Asian Studies, expanding our knowledge on Chinese immigration to Japan and a history of Yokohama Chinatown in the context of tension and warfare between China and Japan from 1894 to 1972. A first in English, this book provides historical evidence of the Yokohama Chinatown, now the most popular tourist destination in Japan for tasting imagined and exotic Chinese culture. This research also contributes to social sciences discourses on the theory of ethnicity and national identity, adding vivid testimony to the flexible, paradoxical and plural existence of a global Chinese diaspora. Drawing on rich Japanese literature, archival records and local newspaper articles since the 1880s, Han convincingly argues how the Yokohama Chinese enacted multiple roles of patriotic overseas Chinese (huaqiao), cooperative local sons or “Yokohama-ite” (hamakko), to eventually become a Japanese ethnic minority. This study provides useful demographic data of the Chinese in Japan over 80 years, while old photographic copies illuminate the physical transitions in Yokohama Chinatown’s residents’ daily lives.

Consisting of five major chapters, the “introduction” spells out research goals and methods; what global diaspora means; and the chapters’ main points, with each chapter covering a landmark historical period or key warfare between China and Japan.

Chapter 1, “The Sino-Japanese War and Ethnic Unity, 1894–95,” first accounts for the arrival of the Chinese in Yokohama, predominantly Cantonese compradors and merchants who accompanied Western traders in the 1880s. Assigned to the Chinese quarter of the Nankinmachi in this emerging port town of international trade, they were welcomed as prestigious foreign merchants. Following China’s first major defeat by the Japanese in the 1894–95 war, although anti-Chinese sentiment grew, it did not stop friendships and intermarriages between the Chinese and local Japanese, and thus commenced an emerging local identity for Chinese sojourners.

Chapter 2, “Expatriate Nationalists and the Politics of Mixed Residence, 1895–1911,” examines the in-fighting amongst Chinese centred at the Chinese organizations such as guilds and schools, because of revolution and other political movements in China and overseas. Vivid anecdotes highlight the fight for control of Chinese institutions between cliques adhering to conflicting political ideologies as well as different hometown origins.

Chapter 3, “Cooperation, Conflict, and Modern Life in an International Port, 1912-32,” tells how the Chinese citizens of the new Republic of China (founded in 1912) achieved commercial success and cultural acceptance in Yokohama. Two interesting activities won the hearts of the Japanese. They popularized exotic Chinese cuisine (Cantonese shumai in particular) in luxurious Chinese restaurants; whereas Chinese schools built modern “Chinese” baseball teams (they had a Chinese coach from Hawaii) that defeated all other local and regional Japanese school teams in this budding American sport in Japan. Also discussed is the direct intervention of China’s new government in Chinatown’s schools by importing teachers and official Chinese textbooks in order to indoctrinate overseas Chinese children to become patriotic Chinese citizens. Then the Chinese faced harder times when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931.

Chapter 4, “Sino-Japanese War, Sino-Japanese Friendship, and the Yokohama-ite (native son) Identity, 1933-45,” portrays the Chinese enduring eight long years of hardship under police abuse, general distrust and being coerced into openly supporting the cause of the Japanese invasion and occupation of their homeland. To survive in this enemy country, some Yokohama Chinese leaders compromised by openly demonstrating loyalty to the Japanese puppet region in Nanking, China. The long war period also saw the Yokohama Chinese cultural integration into the mainstream Japanese society, thereby adopting a stronger and paradoxical local Japanese identity. Along with other major cities in Japan at the conclusion of the Pacific War, air raids in Yokohama Chinatown turned it to ruins.

Chapter 5, “A Town Divided: The Cold War in Yokohama Chinatown, 1945-72,” describes the postwar period when the Chinese status in Japan was suddenly elevated to the citizens of the “victorious nation” of China. Many Chinese took advantage of their new status by engaging in black market trading, prospered and reconstructed a new Chinatown. Then the Cold War and Korean War periods also witnessed a positive transition of Yokohama Chinatown into a major tourist attraction when the majority of the residents received Japanese citizenship. However, the political split in China into ROC and PRC induced fierce fighting between rival supporters, when each faction sought control of Chinese schools and associations. Han tells of dramatic stories, for instance, of how at Chinatown schools’ board meetings, thugs were hired and Japanese police summoned to physically remove members of opposite political factions.

Han in his “conclusion” reminds us that Yokohama Chinatown is now dominated by Japanese nationals of Chinese ancestry who join the “Minorities in a Monoethnic State,” as his study shows a marked assimilation and identity change among Chinese in the “Micropolitics of Everyday Life.” He emphasizes, once again, the flexibility of ethnic and national identity, as being a historical and social process, not fixed essential markers. By the end of the twentieth century Yokohama Chinatown had become a plural community: a Japanese town engaged in the business of commodified Chinese culture. After the 1980s enormous numbers of new immigrants arrived from China, and they gradually took over old restaurants and souvenir shops. That, of course, is a subject for another book.

This book may serve as a timely reference for opinion leaders and specialists of East Asian international politics, given the current intensified conflicts between China and Japan, such as the almost daily skirmishes on the high seas surrounding the Diaoyutai (Chinese name) or Senkaku (Japanese name) Islands of Japan. Although Han’s book focuses on the “Rise of a Japanese Chinatown,” it actually provides condensed background information on a century of international rivalry between Japan and China. In sum, while interesting for general readers, this book is a must read for students of diaspora Chinese and East Asian Studies.

David Y.H. Wu, East-West Center, Honolulu, USA

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JAPAN: The Paradox of Harmony. By Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. viii, 295 pp. US$32.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-18607-9.

Since Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword was published in 1946, many scholars have studied Japanese senses of self and patterns of behaviour with a holistic approach to Japanese culture. Every decade has seen important books published on the theme of Japanese cultural uniqueness, or Nihonjinron. JAPAN: The Paradox of Harmony follows in this line of works analyzing what wa, meaning harmony, is and its implications in Japanese society. Three decades ago, during Japan’s economic burgeoning, books analyzing the concept of harmony as an element of Japanese cultural uniqueness also flourished. Many praised this Japanese uniqueness, stressing harmony as a driving force of the country’s economic success, while others pointed to the same characteristic as a major source of the discrimination against out-groups, the inflexibility of the system, the overwhelming pressure of individual responsibility, and so on. The way in which this book analyzes Japanese society through the concept of harmony might not seem new at all for many people who pay attention to Japanese society and related research. What is new in this book is the broad range of current issues it analyzes, from recent territorial disputes with neighbouring countries to the popularity of K-pop culture and from the disaster of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 to changing portraits of men and women, along with its engaging manner of incorporating anecdotal materials.

Arguing that the harmony that once led Japan to achieve its remarkable economic success and social solidarity in the postwar era might cause harm in the future, the authors present various cases to show the rigidity of the Japanese system and intensified conflicts in Japan. Chapters like “The Whistleblower” and “Meltdown,” for instance, clearly reveal the authors’ main point that strict hierarchy and excessive loyalty to superiors prevent the discussion of critical problems among the public and keep society from finding the most effective ways to fix the problems. Linking their discussion to another aspect of wa, which creates sharp boundaries between in-group and out-group, the authors present well-balanced critiques of both in- and out-groups in the chapters “Getting Along with the Neighbors” and “Graying and Shrinking.” In the chapter “Grass-Eating Girly Men,” they also discuss an interesting contrast in that modern portraits of men and women in Japan have diversified, while old gender roles still persist. In contrast to the traditionally masculine and achievement-oriented “salaryman” images, increasing numbers of gentle and sensitive herbivores are changing the patterns of men’s lives as well as their relations with women in Japan.

Many previous studies on Japanese culture and its uniqueness focus on either Westerners’ perceptions of Japanese-ness or Japanese people’s own perceptions of it. Such studies pay attention to one dimension only, and their analyses often reveal only fragmentary truths or a distorted knowledge of Japan. Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer, on the other hand, enlighten readers about Japan and Japanese-ness through their treatment of various dimensions of current issues that involve different actors and changing environments. For instance, their discussion weaves together diverse strands of social life in Japan, including the fever for K-wave culture, memories of the Second World War, the changing stances of political leadership, and ethnic education of Chongryon (the General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan) schools, to explain conflicts between Japan and neighbouring countries. The authors present that diverse actors including China, America and South and North Korea have a strong influence on making Japanese shape and reshape views about themselves. And the chapter “Grass-Eating Girly Men” explains diverse male-female relations and family life through the cases of Otaku men (people who “have a hobby to passionate extremes”), Herbivore and Konkatsu (marriage-hunting), revealing that the existence of diverse relations can be understood best in the broad context of Japan’s changing socio-economic circumstances.

The book also has some shortcomings. First of all, not surprisingly, the authors stress American solutions of efficiency and rationality over more Japanese social norms. They write, for instance, that reconstructing small and dangerous coastal communities populated largely by the elderly rather than supporting towns that could offer more opportunities for the young is disrupting rational efforts to rebuild the region damaged by the 3.11 tsunami. Regarding Japan’s decreasing birth rates, they argue that Japan needs to accept more immigrants. Considering only economic efficiency and development per se, these might be the quickest and most effective solutions. However, it is possible that the Japanese would prefer to pay greater economic and social costs, if by doing so they could recover their community solidarity. Cultures may not be etched in stone, but Japanese culture has evolved for hundreds and thousands of years. Secondly, although the authors make a strong effort to reveal different dimensions of the issues and take a broad perspective on the Japanese paradox, the prevailing view in their book still seems to see the Japanese as a single unit of analysis. They do not fully consider the dynamics among all the different actors in Japanese society. Recent conflicts over memories of the Second World War, for example, reveal huge variation in the different voices of Japanese citizens. It is common to see even the groups roughly considered right-wing nationalists positioning themselves as different from each other. Finally, the conclusion of the book is somewhat vague. After pointing out all the negative aspects of Japanese ways of harmony, the authors hurriedly conclude that “Japan need not abandon such admirable cultural traits as honesty, hard work, service, self-sacrifice, respect, and commitment to education” – many of which can also be considered central characteristics of wa and also cause problems in Japanese society.

Despite these shortcomings, by covering so many recent issues the authors have made a strong attempt to create a comprehensive road map of current Japanese society. This book will be valuable for students and others who might be interested in better understanding Japanese society after the devastating 3.11 earthquake and tsunami.

Hye Won Um, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, USA

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FROM CULTURES OF WAR TO CULTURES OF PEACE: War and Peace Museums in Japan, China, and South Korea. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Takashi Yoshida. Portland, ME: MerwinAsia; Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press [distributor], 2014. xix, 308 pp. (Illustrations.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-1-937385-44-6; US$35.00, paper, ISBN 978-1-937385-43-9.

Memories of the past have always mattered in international politics, and it may not be an exaggeration to say that the East Asian region currently serves as one of the strongest reminders of this truism. At the time of writing, Japanese Prime Minster Abe Shinzō and Chinese President Xi Jinping had held the first Sino-Japanese summit since 2012, following territorial disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Japan’s announcement to nationalize the islands had prompted emotional, large-scale anti-Japanese demonstrations in China, as well as a suspension of all high-level contact between the two states’ leaders. Such reactions were undoubtedly fuelled by memories (partly kept alive by the Communist regime to boost their legitimacy) of Japan’s invasion of China and its seizure of Chinese territory. Meanwhile, relations between Japan and South Korea remain in a deep “freeze,” with South Korean President Park Gyun-he continuing to refuse to meet Abe unless he alters his attitude towards “history issues,” including Korean “Comfort Women” and visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. It is clear that how Japanese imperialism is “remembered” has tremendous implications for the international relations of East Asia.

Given this context, the publication of Takashi Yoshida’s new monograph on war and peace museums in East Asia is guaranteed to be of interest to observers of the region’s politics and history. The book, which consists of seven chapters, is organized in a broadly thematic fashion. After providing a chronological survey of war museums in Imperial Japan and the rise of multiple voices of pacifism in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in 1945, the author provides a broad survey of various Japanese war and peace museums. In doing so, Yoshida’s work makes a number of contributions. First, it serves as a valuable “museum guide” for researchers and students of East Asian history and politics. Yoshida provides us with detailed descriptions of the museums’ exhibits and the political messages behind them, as well as analysis on the socio-political context in which each museum emerged.

Second, through his detailed examinations of these museums, Yoshida is able to trace the gradual evolution of Japanese attitudes towards the Asia-Pacific War of 1931–45, as well as the politics of “remembering and forgetting.” Thus, while many Japanese war and peace museums are subjected to pressure from both conservative and progressive camps to adopt the “correct” attitude to history (chapter 6), Yoshida shows there has been a gradual acknowledgement of Japan both as a victim and perpetuator of war. Even museums that were founded primarily to remember events in which Japanese citizens suffered (such as the Himeyuri Peace Museum, the Voiceless Museum or the Centre on the Tokyo Raids and War Damages) examine Japanese aggression in their exhibits, distinguishing them from others that continue to stick to glorifying the heroism of the Japanese war dead (such as the Chiran-Town Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots). The overall picture of Japanese war memories that emerges from Yoshida’s careful empirical analysis is one of complexity, where competing narratives coexist uneasily with each other, vying for mainstream acceptance.

Yoshida’s third contribution is to put Japanese war and peace museums in a regional context by comparing them to Chinese and South Korean war and peace museums (chapter 7). In contrast to Japan, the author finds less scope for diversity in what is “remembered and forgotten” in terms of each state’s darker episodes of history. The museums examined remain (to different degrees) within the framework of state-led nationalism, leading the author to conclude that “[m]useums in China and South Korea seem more perpetuating a notion of ‘innocent-us’ and ‘savage-them’—and thereby inciting a divisive brand of patriotism (i.e., nationalism)—than on exposing the pervasive horrors of war and promoting peace” (236). In both countries, the emphasis remains firmly on highlighting Japanese atrocities, glorifying the heroic anti-Japan struggles by Chinese and Korean citizens, while frequently ignoring any historical wrongdoing committed by native regimes after Japan’s defeat (Park Chung-hee’s political repression, as well as Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution are cases in point).

This book provides a rich empirical account of the politics of memory in East Asia, and the author’s question of whether or not “patriotism contribute[s] to promoting peace in Northeast Asia” (231) provides us with much food for thought. There are nevertheless a number of points that could have made this already useful book even more valuable. First, on a somewhat technical point, given that the book serves as a “guide” to war and peace museums in Japan, a list of their addresses and other details would have been extremely beneficial in assisting researchers wishing to build on Yoshida’s work and conduct additional fieldwork to these sites of “remembering.” Second, while I am fully appreciative of the fact that the author’s strength lies in Japanese history, as well as the inherent difficulties in conducting multi-lingual research, given the title I would have liked to see more analysis on the Chinese and South Korean cases. In particular, it would have been interesting (and useful) to more detailed analysis on the politics of memory in South Korea, which is a liberal democracy that tolerates—at least in theory—much more diverse historical narratives than an authoritarian one-party state like China. What are the political dynamics that seem to produce a much more homogenous “remembering” of the past? In what way does South Korean society differ from Japanese society in this regard? These points aside, Yoshida’s book will prove to be highly valuable for scholars and students of all levels and disciplines, particularly history and political science. It is a timely and a valuable addition to the literature.

Shogo Suzuki, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

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BREWED IN JAPAN: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry. By Jeffrey W. Alexander. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014, c2013. xii, 303 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3953-6.

The history of beer in Japan dovetails perfectly with the history of Japan’s “modern” period, as the first cases were brewed just before the Meiji Restoration and as the history of the industry’s major players cuts through the Fifteen-Year War into the historical present. Beer as both a consumer product and an industrial enterprise thus intersects a wide range of historical moments: the installation of industrial capitalism, Japanese imperial expansion, the economic and social effects of total war, post-war economic recovery, and the rise and transformation(s) of a consumer culture in both the pre- and post-war social landscapes. Jeffrey Alexander’s industry history of beer in Japan surveys the entire width of this expanse while remaining focused on the development of beer as a manufactured product and a consumer good. Despite the breadth of this study, it is both rich and highly detailed. Drawing heavily on the self-generated company histories of several major brewers, Alexander explicates the microscopic details of the creation, expansion and transformation of Japan’s major beer companies.

His central narrative traces beer’s evolution from an expensive, “European” product to the radical shifts in the composition of both the product and industry during the Second World War, resulting in the subsequent, total domestication of it in the post-war years (2, 87, 109, 170). It is this history of domestication that forms the core of his argument. Early chapters deal with the difficulties encountered by brewers within the process of industrialization, and explore beer’s expansion as a consumer product domestically and within Japan’s colonial possessions. With Japan’s invasion of China, the initiation of the wartime economy also fundamentally altered the nature of Japanese beer itself. Until then, beer in Japan was generally brewed in a heavy German style and thus thought of as a European product. However, wartime restrictions on imports and ingredients brought about a lighter beer that would become the mainstay of the post-war years. Through advertising and the rise in beer consumption, it was radically recast as a “Japanese” product, completing the domestication of beer as it eclipsed sake as the staple of bars and homes alike.

Beyond this broader narrative of industry growth and development, Alexander’s work touches upon a number of important themes in Japanese modernity. For example, his first two chapters interweave the early history of the brewing industry with the development of industrial capitalism within Japan. The particularity of the brewing industry, which experienced a number of different setbacks and difficulties related to lack of experience and infrastructure, qualifies narratives that see Japan’s industrialization as “rapid” and smooth as the early brewers often times utilized non-industrial techniques in brewing or transportation, and were only able to reach a limited base of consumers due to geography and the price of the product (53-54, 104-106). Over the last thirty years, traditional narratives of the Meiji era as a smooth and efficient period of “industrialization” or “modernization” have been shown to be too reductive and moreover, ignorant of the unevenness and contingency involved in the shift to industrial capitalism and a nation-state. As a very recent example of this, Robert Stolz’s Bad Water (Duke, 2014) looks at the pollution surrounding the Ashio Copper mine during the late Meiji shift to industrial capitalism circa the 1890s and early 1900s. He shows how the logic of the state and the process of industrialization allowed for “national sacrifice zones,” whereby the population and natural environment of places like Ashio were destroyed for the greater common good seen in industrialization. Rather than a smooth development, the attempt to reterritorialize both land and worker to the needs of industry was difficult, violent and often a destructive process (Robert Stolz, Bad Water). While Alexander in some sense adds to the critique of Meiji industrialization, it may be more productive to think about the relation of the beer industry to the uneven and variable process of industrial development in terms starker than simply “qualifying” the narrative of smooth development.

It is precisely when Brewed in Japan touches upon issues like the above that one wishes that Alexander would push past the narrowness of an industrial history and dig deeper into some of these important themes. This was particularly the case with his discussion of imperialism. Some of Japan’s first brewers were deeply connected to the colonization of Hokkaidō where the government tried to engineer a “second little Japan” by converting local inhabitants into Japanese subjects. As Alexander shows, the brewing industry was part of both the industrial development and the institution of agriculture in Hokkaidō, which were essential to converting the local population into wage labourers and agricultural workers (32). Here would be a perfect opportunity to explore how an industry like beer was interconnected to this colonization process and how the particularities of the colonization process may or may not have been an important part of the history of the industry. His discussion of Japanese imperial expansion in the thirties and forties warrants a similar call for more analysis. While he historicizes the spread of breweries to Japan’s colonies, one is left wondering about the interconnection of the industry with colonial policy and exploitation (132-137). For example he discusses how the post-war industry suffered from the loss of Japanese employees due to conscription in the war, but the issue of colonial labour—did they employ local Korean and Manchuria factor workers and how did that process work?—is left under-addressed (163). That is not to say that Alexander should have forced a long discussion of imperialism or a colonial critique, but rather that his gesturing to the connection to imperialism leaves a number of questions and concerns unanswered.

Overall, as an industry history, Brewed in Japan is well done and bursting with excellent details and well-researched scholarship. For anyone interested in a history of beer in Japan this is an excellent and comprehensive account of it.

Kevin Richardson, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

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IN TRANSIT: The Formation of the Colonial East Asian Cultural Sphere. The World of East Asia. By Faye Yuan Kleeman. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. viii, 295 pp. (Illustrations.) US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3860-7.

Faye Yuan Kleeman’s In Transit: The Formation of the Colonial East Asian Cultural Sphere provides a fascinating description of Japan’s empire and the cultural exchanges that flowed within it through the life stories of ten of its subjects and citizens. As Kleeman points out, even though the Japanese empire might not have been as large as that of Britain or France, its compact nature allowed for the relatively easy internal flow of people, cultural knowledge, ideology, art and material culture. Through her biographical approach, Kleeman shifts the discussion of such movements away from larger entities, such as particular colonies or ethnic groups, to individuals so as to “illustrate the intertwined and multifarious relationship between the personal and the national, the private and the public, in the grand scheme of the Japanese colonial enterprise” (7). She consequently argues:

[I]t was not through the ideologies championed by the state apparatuses that people were persuaded to participate in the imperial enterprise; rather, it was through the lure of desire and pleasure, through their romantic imaginations that everyday people came to be engaged in the seemingly abstract concept of empire. Simple drives to see the outside world, to better one’s social and financial standing in society, and to experience the vicarious pleasure of information about new and exotic places drew individuals into the narrative of the empire. (9)

Thus, while acknowledging its use for exploitation, Kleeman contends that the “Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” was not simply a government construct for the purpose of propaganda but something based at least in part on the realities of colonial cultural exchange, which, while problematic, were to some degree a response to the demands of individual subjects.

In Transit begins with its only male biography, that of Miyazaki Tōten, a nationalist and Pan-Asianist who participated in China’s 1911 revolution and subsequent nation building. Kleeman next examines in chapter 2 the life of Kawahara Misako, the daughter of a samurai Confucian scholar. As a “new woman,” Kawahara dedicated herself to bringing modern education to the people of China and Mongolia and then as a “good wife, wise mother,” devoted herself to her husband and household. In chapter 3, Kleeman explores how the Japanese empire’s marriage politics shaped the family lives of Nashimoto Masako, whose marriage to Yi Eun linked her with the Korean imperial family, and Saga Hiroko, whose union with Pu Jie, the brother of Pu Yi, tied her to the imperial house of the old Qing dynasty. Kawashima Yoshiko, the cross-dressing Manchu princess and spy executed as a Japanese traitor to China and Ri Kōran, the Japanese actress who played Chinese parts in films and passed as a Chinese during significant parts of her life, serve as the subjects of chapter 4. In chapter 5, Kleeman examines the lives and writings of Masugi Shizue and Sakaguchi Reiko, both of whom made literary careers in colonial Taiwan and wrote sympathetically about the aboriginal peoples there. The lives of Choi Seunghee and Tsai Juiyueh, Korean and Taiwanese dancers respectively, provide the concluding chapter to In Transit.

I found much of In Transit to be gripping. In particular, chapters 3 and 4 were hard to put down. Kleeman has a knack for revealing the pathos of her subjects through her exploration of the conflicts and tensions within their lives, providing a humanistic perspective that helps us to make better sense of issues of “collaboration” with empire. While I believe she may have understated the impact of imperial ideology on the subjects of empire, her point that there were other, more individual, factors at work is well taken, and amply proved through her biographies. Likewise, her argument that there was a prior reality of cultural exchange that the co-prosperity sphere built on is significant and demonstrated throughout her book.

Despite its strengths, In Transit also has its flaws. At times the text has a disjointed feel and interesting questions are raised without being fully answered. For example, in seeking to answer the question of whether Ri Kōran was a “propaganda tool of the Japanese empire,” Kleeman provides a summary of an article by Tanikawa Kenji entitled “The Reproduction and Sustainability of the Ri Kōran Myth,” in which he compares her to the anti-Nazi movie star Marlene Dietrich, and the maker of Nazi propaganda, Leni Riefenstahl (145-146). The section then ends without Kleeman directly answering the question she raised. Considering her sensitive treatment of Ri, I think it would have been edifying had Kleeman gone on to situate her between Dietrich and Riefenstahl. In Transit itself ends in essentially the same way, without a conclusion, which considering Kleeman’s deep knowledge of her subject and excellent powers of analysis, is unfortunate. There are many common themes that arise throughout her book that could have been examined more fruitfully. For instance, Kleeman argues that since men are often the centre of works of this period, she has chosen to focus on the lives of women. However, men constantly appear in the lives of the women she studies, particularly as fathers (adopted or biological), as lovers, and as husbands, shaping the women Kleeman studies and their own histories. Perhaps then a reflection in her conclusion on how relationships influenced the lives of the people her book featured would have been interesting, particularly as a focus on “modern” relationships would have resonated with the reformed Confucianism of such figures as Miyazaki Tōten and Kawahara Misako.

Despite these flaws, Kleeman has made a significant contribution to the study of Japan’s empire through her sensitive exploration of the lives of individuals who made up the Japanese colonial cultural sphere. I recommend In Transit to anyone interested in this subject matter and time period, particularly those who focus on history, literature and the arts. Moreover, this work would also serve well in a graduate seminar dedicated to any of those fields.

Franklin Rausch, Lander University, Greenwood, USA            

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THE TWO KOREAS AND THE POLITICS OF GLOBAL SPORT. By Brian Bridges. Leiden; Boston: Global Oriental/Brill, 2012. x, 188 pp. US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23339-3.

Most research on sport politics either focuses on state government of sport and the implementation of public policy or on the way in which sport organizations wield their power for their own sectional interests, usually at the expense of other interest groups. Brian Bridges, the recently retired head of the Department of Political Science and director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, takes a distinctively different approach by placing the state into the centre of analysis and introducing a functionalist dimension to the political scientist’s understanding of sport in international relations. His double history of Korean sport looks at the simultaneous development of sport politics in two states and their interactions in national and global sporting arenas over the past sixty-something years. The result is a valuable, though way too pricy contribution to the still sparse literature on sport in non-Western nations. It is unique in the sense that it attempts to compare the development of national sport systems in both Korean modern states.

Bridges has been known as an avid writer on sport in East Asia among the few political scientists who acknowledge the political nature of sport. Bridges is particularly interested in the dimensions that make sport politically useful in international relations in East Asia, e.g., for the projection of national images, the conveying of messages of dissent or consent, or the mitigation of rivalry and conflict. Some of his earlier journal articles, in which he discussed the aforementioned aspects, provide the core chapters of this book: the troublesome relations of the International Olympic Committee, with two states claiming to represent one nation (chapter 4); the politics behind the Seoul Olympics (chapter 5); and the exaggerated expectations towards the Beijing Summer Olympics as facilitator of inter-Korean encounters (chapter 7). Previously unpublished work fills the gaps within the historical account of sport politics in Korea. Since chronology dictates the sequential arrangement of chapters, the 23 pages (chapter 3) between the theory chapter and the ICO chapter must tackle the ambitious goal of summarizing the trajectory of sport in Korea from premodern times through centuries of feudalism, exposure to the Chinese cultural sphere of influence until the colonial period and the early years of postcolonial state formation. Similar gap fillers—all of them descriptive rather than analytic—are chapter 6 on sport relations in the 1990s and chapter 8 comparing the two Korean national sporting systems in contemporary times. All chapters also contain a useful overview of the two Koreas’ domestic policies and the changing international environment, which are crucial impact factors.

The book sets out with a short overview of its content and a more detailed introduction to the linkages between sport, nationalism and international relations. Political scientists argue that because of its socio-cultural functions and its strong association with ideas of the national, sport can play an important role in the domestic politics and social order of modern nation-states. Bridges differentiates state nationalism from popular nationalism, which is a useful distinction, particularly in the realms of sport, where state-run actions as well as popular images and media productions contribute to the construction of national ideas and the perpetuation of nationalist sentiments. But Bridges is more concerned with the top-down approach of state actors who are getting engaged with the world of sport for the purpose of outlining the contours of the national. He grasps sport as a selected functional field in which states can cooperate, thereby building up ties that compel them to cooperate in other areas as well. Because spill-over effects can be achieved (and indeed are desirable), sport becomes a powerful factor in foreign diplomacy and the management of international relations.

Well, in theory. Most of the chapters following the introduction look into the ways in which the two Koreas have tried to utilize their entanglement with supranational sport organizations and high-profile sport events to gain clout in the global arena or to emphasize their claim for national representation. North Korea’s spectacular advance into the quarterfinals of the 1966 FIFA Football World Cup in England or South Korea’s successful hosting of the Seoul Olympics in 1988 provides some evidence of the weight of sport for nation branding. However, in the end (chapter 10) Bridges concedes that sporting contacts did not help to improve relations between the Korean states, because sport in general is held hostage to the political relations, or sport is not such a heavyweight in international relations as theory wants us to believe. Just the contrary seems to be the case, judging from the sketchy survey of sport in other divided nations (chapter 9). Evidence from the case studies of Germany, Vietnam, Yemen and China (Ireland is conspicuously absent in the review) unanimously confirms the negligible leverage or even total irrelevance of sport in the promotion of reconciliation.

Placing Korea into the context of competing representation or divided nationhood would have been a great jumping-off point. Such a study would generate more analytical depth and theoretical insight than a primarily descriptive and ultimately hermeneutical approach ever could produce. The methodological weakness is particularly profound when considering the kind of sources Bridges is relying on. Most of his account is based on academic literature and other secondary sources in English, including media clippings and government reports. Archival material is hardly used, government officials are hardly questioned, and other agents are not surveyed. The quantitative data is not explored to a degree that would allow the reader a more clear picture of any of the Korean sport systems, while many of the qualitative accounts are drastically devalued by the selection bias and the question of provenience and partisan interests behind them. The gap between social reality and scholarly account is uncomfortably large in the case of North Korea, for which no reliable material is available, which is a shortcoming acknowledged by the author himself. For the time being, therefore, in the end we still do not know that much more about the contours and content of Korea’s sport systems. At least the context has become a bit clearer.

Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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TREACHEROUS TRANSLATION: Culture, Nationalism, and Colonialism in Korea and Japan from the 1910s to the 1960s. Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies, 6. By Serk-Bae Suh. Berkeley: Global, Area and International Archive, University of California Press, 2013. xxx, 222 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-938169-06-9.

Scholars of literature who are conducting research in a transnational context often find themselves working with a vocabulary that declines toward essentialism. It is difficult to discuss a text without situating it within a (putatively self-evident) national literature, itself founded upon a circular logic in which the nation, often an imagined ethno-nation of implied common biological descent, both explains and is explained by the text. This is not surprising; during the modern period many of the authors and readers in question would have embraced such a paradigm. Similarly, many scholars who have taken on the interplay of texts that traverse these categories have merely reproduced them with little concern for their historicity or instability. By contrast, Serk-Bae Suh’s study on the role of translation in the colonial context avoids the reification of national categories without losing sight of the tremendous influence those categories exerted and continue to exert, as he examines asymmetrical power relations involved in specific instances of translation.

The first of these is the work of Hosoi Hajime (細井肇, 1886-1934), a writer, editor and translator who considered it his life’s mission to “bring Japan and Korea together into genuine unity” (18) under Japanese imperial rule. Suh argues that Hosoi’s project, which advocated the unification of knowledge and empathy (in Hosoi’s terminology, “love” [愛]) was doomed from the beginning, as it never confronted the political conflict (stemming from the violence of colonization) which necessitated that unification (44-45).

Next is the 1938 Japanese translation (by Chang Hyŏkchu장혁주 [張赫宙], 1905-97) of a traditional opera Ch’unghyangjŏn (춘향전 [春香傳], The Tale of Spring Fragrance), staged in both Japan and Korea. The translation met with resistance by intellectuals, such as Yi T’aejun (이태준[李泰俊], 1904-70?), who were concerned with both “misrepresentation of Korean culture and customs” and ultimately “the total assimilation of Korean culture into Japanese” (59). Suh, however, points out that rather than a form of resistance against Japanese imperialism, the cultural nationalist response of these critics, premised as it was on a symmetrical relationship between two putatively autonomous cultures, only “served to compensate for the political asymmetry between the colonized and the colonizer” (66).

In chapter 3, Suh takes up the career of Ch’oe Chaesŏ (최재서 [崔載瑞], 1908-64), a scholar turned journalist who became an editor of the Japanese-language journal Kokumin bungaku (『国民文学』, 1941-45), published in Korea. According to Suh, Ch’oe represented a different approach to culture in the colonial context: he wished to position “Korean literature and culture within the literature and culture of Japan” (84). As Suh describes, this schema was Ch’oe’s attempt to preserve the autonomy of culture without resisting the politics of his day; as a result his attempts were anything but autonomous, and in fact “colluded with the politics of colonial domination” (103).

Moving into the period following liberation, Suh discusses the historian Tōma Seita (藤間生大, 1913- ) and the poet/translator Kim Soun (김소운 [金素雲], 1907-81). In 1956, two years after a series of his translations of literary works into Japanese had been republished with commentary by Tōma, Kim published an article that attacked the historian’s “ostensibly sympathetic” (104) readings. Kim attacked Tōma for readings that he thought were plagued by “wild speculation and dogma” made worse by being “shrouded in good will” (104). Kim’s criticism focused on questioning why “colonial experience should be the ultimate hermeneutical horizon” (126); for Suh, however, the greater problem lay in equating Japanese under the U.S. Occupation with past forms of imperialism, which allowed them to “escape accountability for Japan’s own colonial expansion” (113).

Finally, Suh discusses the poet Kim Suyŏng (김수영[金洙暎], 1921-68) as a representative of a generation of bilingual intellectuals in postcolonial Korea who were forced to negotiate the politics and pragmatics of their differential language abilities amid a “nationalist imperative […] to favor Korean as the sole national language” (145). As Suh points out, however, such a project “indicated aspirations to a unified Korea that was not only absent in the present but had also never existed in the past” (148). As such, these intellectuals posed a challenge to an ideology that “erases the alterity of language and reinforces monolingualism as the normative linguistic situation” (157).

Suh’s study is a concrete example of the difficulty in historicizing essentialized peoplehood constructs while preserving collective accountability in the face of a history of colonial violence. In focusing on “translation in the colonial context” (xiii), he scrupulously maintains the contingency and complexity of the subject positions of the individuals involved. The result, to this reader, was a historically specific critical theorization that could nonetheless contribute to understanding translation outside of this colonial context, where other forms of alterity and asymmetry would inevitably be operative. The only moment of hesitation I felt was near the end of the book, in his reflections on representation, when he concedes the existence of communities formed upon “epistemological substrata” comprised of shared conventions and norms (130). It soon becomes clear that Suh has conceded this only to then undermine it, first noting that no such community will lack its own internal alterity or be entirely homogeneous (131), and then clarifying that colonial alterity “need not involve any essentialist identification” (134). My fear, though, is that the initial concession implies the existence of a privileged form of alterity between ahistorical “peoples,” qualitatively different from that between other collectivities or between individuals, which could be read to justify a belief in essentialist notions of ethno-nations by a reader inclined to do so. Suh cannot, of course, be held accountable for all possible (mis-)interpretations of his text; I raise this point only to say that addressing this issue more directly would have made a strong study even stronger.

Edward Mack, University of Washington, Seattle, USA         

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SPLIT SCREEN KOREA: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema. By Steven Chung. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 262 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-9133-3; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-9134-0.

Shin Sang-ok’s (1926-2006) incredible career might have been rejected as “too improbable” by the executive types had someone pitched a screenplay detailing the events of his life. As one of the most commercially successful Golden Age producer-directors, Shin was responsible for such landmark films as Hellflower (1958), Romance Papa (1960), Sŏng Ch’unhyang (1960) and Red Muffler (1964). In 1978, Shin was allegedly kidnapped by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, just as his glory days as the head of Shin Films were winding down in South Korea. After making a series of high-profile films such as the musical Oh My Love (1984) and the monster film Pulgasari (1985) in the North, Shin “defected back” to the South, wherein he struggled but largely failed to re-establish himself as a relevant film artist.

I am going to “cut to the chase” and state that Steven Chung’s monograph on the entire career span of Shin Sang-ok, the businessman-auteurpar excellence, is one of the best English-language books on Korean cinema I have read: it is also one of the most ambitious, perhaps deceptively so. Shin’s oeuvre, in Chung’s view, can neither be reduced to products of the “culture industry,” the contents and forms of which are over-determined by the structure and dynamics of global capitalism, nor to simplistic representations of the hegemonic ideologies, be they North Korea’s particular brand of communism or the Park Chung-hee regime’s aggressive developmentalism.

Chung’s innovative interpretive stance is anchored on the primacy he gives to the “enlightenment” (kyemong) mode of cultural expression, as opposed to the conventional narratives of Korean cultural history centred on the rise and fall of (nationalist and/or socialist) realism. Despite the persistently derogatory and dismissive treatment doled out to the works in enlightenment mode by Korean (in particular left-wing) critics, the author proceeds to characterize the enlightenment cinema as the “basic vernacular” of postwar Korean cinema, conveying
“the predicament of a cinema caught between an intensely politicized cultural field and the need to remain publicly visible through commercial success or state sponsorship” (27). Realigning cultural expressions of colonial modernity, North Korean (nationalist) socialism and South Korean capitalist developmentalism into a single continuum, Chung shows how Shin Sang-ok masterfully practiced filmmaking in this mode. He was able to create the works of massive and enduring popularity, that also articulated social responsibility and political meaning through the heightened legibility of its “themes,” embodied in the melodramatically suffering figures of women.

Interspersed with the analysis of the modalities and mechanics of Shin’s work are provocative yet nuanced dissections of the select motion pictures. Chung, for instance, discusses Shin’s paradoxical yet brilliant manipulation of the realist style and form to foreground the fantasy of “refined” femininity and sexuality in the star personality of Ch’oe Ŭn-hŭi, in Hellflower (73-81): He also shows what appears to be explicitly pro-Park Chung-hee-regime didacticism found in the exemplary “enlightenment” film Rice is complicated by Shin’s own orchestration of “melodrama of development” that partakes of the visual imagery even redolent of socialist realism, as seen in the movie’s mass pan shots and labour montage (141-157). More intriguingly, Chung analyzes how Shin expanded upon Kim Jong-il’s mandate for “nonmimetic measurement of affective timing” in the dictator’s Juche film theory—“[the] strength of the emotions must be built up and there has to be a motive for their coming to a head,” as Kim memorably puts it (171-172)—yet managed to subvert the ideological imperatives of socialist realism, the results of which were welcomed by the Northern movie-goers as “movies that were really like movies”(185-203). By no means resistant to or critical of the dominant ideologies, Shin’s most notable works nonetheless manage to exceed the bounds of the ideological and create moments of “excess,” “surplus” or even “superfluousness,” that nonetheless endowed them with vitality, beauty and an affective power of their own: therein lies, Chung argues, their most significant cinematic raison d’être as well as their enduring appeal.

The “cultural history” component of Chung’s research is so well done that it actually raises many interesting new questions that we might not have come up with, had it not been for his suggestions. For instance, what about the question of plagiarism of the Japanese cinema? Shin was no exception among the early postwar Korean cultural producers in terms of the close attention he paid to the works of his Japanese contemporaries: couldn’t Cruel Stories of Yi Dynasty Woman, to name just one example, be explicitly modelled after a similarly themed Japanese work, for instance, Imai Tadashi’s Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai (Bushidō zangoku monogatari, 1963)? He does not really advance a convincing explanation about why Shin was unable to make meaningful films after 1986 either. This is a pertinent question in that the director-producer was alive and well throughout South Korea’s transition into the so-called New Korean Cinema: what structural and historical factors (aside from personal reasons) prevented Shin from producing a “Hollywood-style blockbuster” like the comedian-auteur-con artist Shim Hyung-rae’s D-War (2007)?

Finally, while I find Chung’s juggling of various theoretical and social-scientific concepts and heuristic terms very impressive, there are a few questionable usages, such as his choice to translate the terms kŏgukjŏk (“nationwide,” with a strong connotation of state-directed mobilization) and kojŭng (an act of making sure historical details are “authentic” or “accurate”) as “national-political” and “historical materiality,” respectively. I would hesitate to take the author to task for these rather minor questions and problems, as Chung’s effort to bring together rich textual analyses of individual cinematic works and the detail-attentive cultural history of postwar Korea into a coherent project is more Herculean than it might appear to a casual reader.

Written in clear, jargon-free prose and gently persuasive and accommodating in its engagement with the existing scholarship, Steven Chung’s Split Screen mounts a compelling case for re-examination and re-evaluation of the commercial Korean films produced between 1953 and 1979, which he aptly calls “a rich, irreducibly cinematic testament to the complexities of Korean modernity” (212). Chung throws a gauntlet of challenge to any ambitious scholar of the Golden Age Korean cinema to outdo his impressive research, with the likes of Yu Hyŏn-mok, Yi Man-hŭi [Lee Man-hee] [The same director better known for the name inside parenthesis], Kim Ki-yŏng and other contemporaries of Shin Sang-ok. The book is a must-read for any serious student of Korean cinema and strongly recommended to any general reader interested in the modern history of Korea as expressed through its mass media.

Kyu Hyun Kim, University of California, Davis, USA

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LIVING ON YOUR OWN: Single Women, Rental Housing, and Post-Revolutionary Affect in Contemporary South Korea. By Jesook Song. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014. xi, 152 pp. (B&W photo.) US$70.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5013-1.

When I read Jesook Song’s acknowledgement of the 16 women whose experiences form the core of her study I knew that this would not be a happy story. Song describes the women as “so strong, genuine, and grounded, despite the ruptures they have experienced between their social consciousness and their individual happiness, between their ideal of autonomy and the realities of financial and moral pressures, and between their loss of social networks and their hope to create new kinds of social support” (ix). She presents the life circumstances of 35 South Korean women, all in their late twenties to late thirties at the time of her study, all living on their own, and all of whom describe themselves as “pihonyŏsŏng,” “unassociated with marriage,” in effect single by choice. Most had been student activists in their college days and carried a sense of social commitment into subsequent involvement with the women’s movement or poorly remunerated work for NGOs. They also experienced, with a great deal of ambivalence, a liberal market ideology of consumerism and self-improvement. Although all of the women were college educated, their own earned income relegates them to the category of “new poor.” With limited personal resources, they precariously inhabit a self-defining “room of one’s own” in a real estate market that is skewed against single women. Many are haunted by the prospect of an impoverished and lonely old age.

Well-educated and precariously employed young South Koreans are part of a national and global trend where neoliberal economics favour flexible irregular or part-time employment with only a minimum of social support. In South Korea women are more likely to fall into this pattern than men. Song attributes her subjects’ thirst for independent living to the popularization of liberal ideas, desires and practices, including feminist consciousness-raising and expanded exposure to Western media in the 1990s. Many women describe solitary living as an escape from family pressure, in particular pressure to marry, and yet, Song notes, most of the women in her study could not sustain an independent lifestyle without the help of their families. Parents, some women claim, are actually relieved to have a fractious or embarrassingly unwed daughter leave home.

South Korean real estate arrangements, combined with irregular or poorly remunerated employment, are at the crux of the problem. Most rental space in South Korea requires an up- front lump sum cash payment, unmarried people under the age of 35 cannot apply for bank loans, and even when they reach the requisite age, single women are required to provide guarantors where unmarried men might not be so asked. Many single women are further hampered by their inability to show a consistent employment record, a consequence of gendered employment patterns in South Korea where women are more likely than men to be partially employed. Song sees the lump-sum deposit system as discriminatory against women and the poor but she recognizes that it is so engrained in South Korean practice that most of her interviewees attribute their own difficulties to personal or generational failure rather than systemic constraints.

Reading of their struggles, I found myself wondering what had attracted these women to their singular lives in the first instance and caused them to persist. Song sees her subjects as caught in a paradox. They have been influenced by a liberal ethos that encourages them to seek happiness in the pursuit of individual freedom, including social experimentation, salsa dancing, aerobics and foreign travel. At the same time, they are limited by the economic constraints of flexible employment that works in tandem with their idealized flexible lifestyles. In brief, the women seem far from happy. Song describes them as caught between the weighty sense of duty that they carried in the 1980s and the new imperative to enjoy life that they embraced in the 1990s, initially as an escape from doctrinaire and ultimately patriarchal anti-state activism. Politically left and socially liberal, these women are anxious for a new politics which they can engage as individuals, the sort of mellow political expression found in the candlelight vigils and in the public mourning for former president No Mu-hyeon. But the women find little traction in the contemporary moment; even those who work for NGOs devoted to women’s issues are not able to articulate their own needs as single women, possibly because the dominant South Korean social ethos views them as selfish. Song leaves her subjects in a “place of suspicion and suspension” (95).

This is an account of some members of a pivotal generation of South Korean women and it gains poignancy from the author’s own deep identification with her subjects. Song has a clear sense of her terrain and tells her story concisely and effectively. She offers a reasoned argument about life under neoliberalism in South Korea, a project Song initiated with her first book, South Korea in the Debt Crisis: The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society (Duke University Press, 2009). She also contributes a fresh chapterto the unfolding story of South Korean women and begs reflection on the global phenomenon of under-employed educated young adults. What I missed was ethnography. The women’s voices were present but I never felt that I had a clear picture of any one of them, how they lived day-to-day, or why, apart from the few admitted lesbians in the sample, they had so adamantly rejected marriage. Some had recoiled from the “patriarchal” ethos of anti-state activism and from the familial pressures to embark upon a season of arranged meetings leading to possible matrimony, but a more sustained discussion would have been appreciated. Even so, Song made me care—even worry—about her subjects and this is a measure of the ultimate success of her project, requisite reading for anyone interested in the current state of South Korean society and the place of women within it.

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA                                      Laurel Kendall

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THE MAKING OF THE FIRST KOREAN PRESIDENT: Syngman Rhee’s Quest for Independence 1875–1948. By Young Ick Lew. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxv, 444 pp. (Figures.) US$68.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3168-4.

When South Korean President Syngman Rhee left office to begin a life of exile in 1960, it brought an abrupt close to his storied career as a political and public figure in modern Korea, one spanning the late Chosŏn, the colonial period, and the formation of an independent nation-state, albeit one marked by contestation and division. Little did he suspect, however, that his legacy would continue to be debated by historians and scholars well into the early twenty-first century, with a recent historiography just now beginning to explore the complex economic and social circumstances dating to his period of rule (1948–1960), especially given sufficient time to reflect and re-evaluate. Park Tae-gyun of Seoul National University, for example, has sought to outline the careful economic planning and bureaucratic work done by a small group of Korean social scientists and intellectuals from the late 1950s, and into the early 1960s. If Park’s intent is clearly not to exonerate Rhee, the effect of such a gesture suggests at least a more nuanced reading, especially in contrast to an earlier caricature in which the president simply waited on stage for Park Chung Hee to emerge with his ambitious visions for the future.

In keeping with this theme, Young Ick Lew’s timely study, The Making of the First Korean President (2014), offers a rich biographical portrait of the first ROK president in his multiple guises, beginning as a “Christian reformer,” and spanning the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the beginning of his presidency (1876–1948). Well-known as a senior figure and in particular, as a scholar of the Korean independence movement at the end of the nineteenth century, Lew offers here a deeply researched vision of Rhee as a flawed, complex individual capable of great achievement and ambition, as well as someone equally skilled at becoming mired in controversy, engaging with factions and intrigue. Drawing on a wide range of sources across several different languages, and holding access to Rhee’s personal documents, Lew presents his newest and perhaps most vital insights when he covers the period between Rhee’s departure from Korea in the early twentieth century and his re-emergence nearly four decades later, following liberation in 1945. While the broad contours of this career may be familiar to some readers—the time he spent in Hawaii, and his engagement with the Shanghai provisional government—the details provided here offer a potentially greater depth, and an argument actively promoting Rhee’s long-term motivation as a major figure behind the ideals of Korean independence, even characterizing him as a “freedom fighter” (281).

With his chosen periodization, Lew offers numerous links between the late Chosŏn and the early Republic of Korea, a choice that might remind some of the Cold War narrative conflict between the two Koreas, with both nations struggling to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the external world. Still, Lew’s version of events takes place less at the scale of the nation-state than via an individual, and he seeks to explain that individual over the long-term, countering the facile dismissal typical of some of the previous English-language scholarship. Equally interesting, Lew acknowledges his engagement with Robert Oliver’s famous (and deeply problematic) biography, a hagiographic account composed with access only to the English-language portion of Rhee’s personal papers. In this sense, the task that Lew sets for himself is extremely difficult from the outset, calling for an account drawing upon Rhee’s composition abilities in several languages; and moreover, one that must be far more critical than its predecessors. To a great extent, Lew succeeds in his chosen task of defamiliarizing this prominent figure, and equally, seeks to engage Rhee’s personal conflicts and failed efforts at diplomacy, actions earning him criticism from any number of quarters.

If in the end Lew’s major task is to convince the reader of the value of re-engaging with Rhee as a serious figure worthy of attention, he succeeds, providing shades of gray sufficient to complicate the existing picture. His careful documentation of Rhee’s travels and diplomatic work in a variety of contexts adds to his own previous work on the president, and makes extensive use of the papers obtained in the late 1990s, and now housed at Yonsei Unversity. In brief, the book works well as a vehicle designed to showcase a specific set of emerging sources, and in this respect, meets the terms it has set for itself. At the same time, his contention that Rhee was the individual best suited for the presidency as of the mid-1940s is bound to cause some controversy (281–293), particularly among those sympathetic to exploring alternative or counterfactual possibilities. Still, much like the major biography of Kim Il-Sung offered by Dae Sook Suh in the mid-1990s, the present work takes up a deeply familiar subject, or at least apparently so, before presenting it in revised form, asking new questions of a contentious, complicated figure.

John P. DiMoia, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                      

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THE “GREATEST PROBLEM”: Religion and State Formation in Meiji Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 365. By Trent E. Maxey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2014. xiii, 330 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-49199-1.

Maxey’s book is a well-presented investigation into the “problem” of religion during the Meiji period. Following a number of other studies that examine the uncertainties surrounding the early Meiji state, Maxey’s research contributes to this theme by examining how religion was not simply a given category to be easily manipulated, even by the imperial institution. Rather it was shaped by a number of actors, both domestic and international, who sought to transform the definition and contents of the term religion largely to further the project of nation-building. Thus the main focus of the book is to trace the shifting boundaries between the state and religion. To assist in this quest Maxey introduces his term “grammar of religion” in order to describe how the state carefully crafted policies regarding religion so as to not undermine its own position.

The first half of the book provides a history of state policies towards Christianity from the Edo period into Meiji and in some ways is what forms the original problem regarding religion in Japan. Balancing the potential for Christianity to produce local agitation and the imposition of Christianity by Western nations and their unequal treaties throughout the nineteenth century, the Japanese state had to quickly formulate a response to the question of religion despite it not being high on the agenda for many Restoration bureaucrats. The Iwakura Mission helped shape the state’s response to Christianity but, as Maxey argues, it also opened up the question of religion in regards to domestic practices. The second half of the book deals with the state’s response to religion as something that needs to be managed domestically. Treating religion “as an object of policy” (180) the Meiji state sought to neutralize the debate through secularizing public institutions and even cutting off their support of Shinto. Nonetheless, the problem of religion continued to haunt both the secular authorities as well as the project of modernity, as scholars like Gerald Figal and Marilyn Ivy have already observed.

Perhaps Maxey’s greatest contribution to the study of religion in the Meiji period is to show how the restoration of the imperial institution “produced as many problems as solutions” (243) regarding the question of political power in Japan. The discussion on how to differentiate between what was private or public religious belief is a good example of how the state produced a problem by not wanting to unravel the contradiction that constituted its own authority. The solution was found in Article 28 of the Imperial Constitution, which enshrined the ideals of freedom of religion but situated that freedom within the boundaries of upholding the imperial authority. The “grammar of religion” was thus simply a means to navigate the politics of building a nation-state without having to confront the material problems that modernization presented to the everyday life of the masses.

It was this materiality of ritual and everyday life and its connection to the overall nation-building project of the Meiji state that was lacking from Maxey’s analysis of the state and religion in Meiji Japan. While this might fall outside of the author’s intended project, at times the focus on policy and the rhetoric of national integration limits religion to belief (as public/private or its absence) without understanding the place of ritual in grounding religion within the everyday. For example, Yasukuni Shrine through the majority of the Meiji period would best be understood not through the lens of religion and state power but rather through ritual. The majority of people who visited the shrine grounds knew very little if anything regarding the state ideology of enshrining the war dead and yet their participation in festivals and the consumption of entertainment on the shrine grounds tied them to the modernizing aims of the state which, in many ways, Yasukuni symbolized. Without understanding the place of ritual (and its many manifestations) within the bounds of the secular state, religion will always be a category that produces problems and anxieties similar to that experienced by the political leaders of Meiji Japan.

Nonetheless, Maxey’s book offers the reader a wealth of primary sources, from state documents and journals to newspapers, which are carefully organized so as to produce a dialogue with each other. In particular the focus on state policy and debates on the issue of religion will be of use to students of the Meiji period.

Joshua Baxter, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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IMAGINING JAPAN IN POST-WAR EAST ASIA: Identity Politics, Schooling and Popular Culture. Routledge Studies in Education and Society in Asia. Edited by Paul Morris, Naoko Shimazu and Edward Vickers. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xv, 264 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71399-3.

East Asia has enjoyed a long period of relative peace since the end of the Vietnam War some four decades ago, a peace undergirded by the remarkable economic growth of the region. While the unresolved problems of the Cold War, most notably the divided Korean peninsula, remain a source of tension, the postwar structure of order in East Asia has been unusually stable. A principal source of that stability and order has been the role of Japan, resurgent from the destruction of World War Two as an engine of economic growth and the pillar of the American-led system of alliances in the region.

The East Asian order is increasingly under stress, however. Globalization produces stresses on social and political systems, as well as inter-state relations. New powers such as South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia seek a greater role in the region. And most powerfully, China claims its place as the new regional hegemon, an aspiring equal to the United States as a great power, at least in East Asia. These forces combine to create political and cultural changes within East Asian societies, manifest in the search for forms of national identity that can serve the needs of the state and society.

Japan occupies an important role in the construction of national identity across East Asia. As the first Asian nation to achieve the status of a modern nation state, one capable of challenging the Western powers, it was a role model for many in Asia. But there is another Japan, the “dominant Other,” which embarked on a path of imperial aggression, colonial occupation and invasion earlier in this century, leaving a legacy of mistrust that remains stubbornly intact.

Images of Japan continue to play a critical role today in the formation of national identity in East Asia, most obviously in the nationalist ideologies of China and Korea but even elsewhere in the region. But those images can vary widely, not only over time within each society but also between nations, some of whom embrace the image of Japan as a model of modernization much more than as a perpetrator of aggression.

What is most disturbing to observers of contemporary events is the degree to which anti-Japanese sentiments, driven by historical memories of the wartime period that are encouraged and sharpened by governments, are now dominating relations in Northeast Asia. The Sino-Japanese rivalry is most worrisome, raising the specter even of armed conflict, but the tensions now prevailing between Japan and South Korea are equally entrenched.

This volume offers a valuable contribution to the literature on the formation of national identity in East Asia through its focus on how the images of Japan shape that process of identity construction. The volume looks at the images of Japan through two comparative lenses. At the broadest level, the volume is broken down into two sections: one examines the images of Japan in popular culture and public propaganda and the second looks at the portrayal of Japan in school textbooks, which is a form of official discourse in most Asian countries due to the role of the state in the content and publication of school textbooks. The second comparative dimension is between nations: the volume provides varied studies of the images of Japan in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, and of Japan in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in Northeast Asia. The volume is also comparative in a disciplinary sense in that the contributors work in a variety of academic fields from education, culture and history, to the social sciences.

In the comparison between Southeast and Northeast Asia, across both popular culture and textbooks, the volume offers evidence that in Southeast Asia the images of Japan tend to emphasize its use as a normative model, rather than dwelling on its wartime past. The “learn from Japan” campaign in Singapore, for example, was a valuable tool for the regime’s own developmental model. The view of Japan in South Korea and China is quite different, though not necessarily uniformly negative. In an interesting contribution on the depiction of Japanese in Chinese war films, Kinnia Yau Shuk-tin points to the emergence of “good Japanese” characters who offer a more subtle portrait of Japanese than the previously Manichean portrayals found in Communist Chinese propaganda movies about the war.

The discussion of popular culture is necessarily somewhat anecdotal in nature, given the scope of the subject. The most cogent and useful section of this book deals with textbooks. In particular there is an excellent contribution from Caroline Rose on changing views of the Sino-Japanese war in Chinese high-school history textbooks, which have been revised to reflect a more “patriotic” and anti-Japan narrative, downplaying the previous emphasis on the civil war struggle against the Nationalists. Other chapters, such as Alisa Jones’ detailed examination of Taiwanese textbooks and Paul Morris and Edward Vickers’ chapter on Hong Kong textbooks provide useful contrasts with the Chinese textbooks. And finally there are very fresh additions to the literature in chapters on the images of Japan in the textbooks of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

As the editors of this volume stress in their introduction, this is a study of how images of Japan are constructed and the plasticity of their use in neighbouring Asian societies. It is not a study of how Japanese themselves have acted to construct a self-image, or to portray themselves to others, and most importantly, not a study of how closely those images actually track reality. And equally important, this does not look at how other foreign nations, such as the United States, might also impact the formation of national identity in East Asia. But it does assert, and quite correctly, that: “Understanding how and why portrayals of Japan have become so intertwined with the construction of identity in many societies across the region is an essential precondition for steps—that must follow—to untangle image from reality, and prevent the war of minds from becoming a war of men” (23).

Daniel Sneider, Stanford University, Stanford, USA                                                                       

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CONTENTIOUS ACTIVISM & INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Danielle L. Chubb. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xvi, 272 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16136-7.

This book discusses how sets of beliefs, which the author specifies as “arguments” or ‘‘discourses” (19) around the political priority of “unification, human rights, and democracy” have, according to the author, provided a focus for three “distinct activist movements” in South Korea. These distinct sets of beliefs, the author argues, “continue to influence debate around inter-Korean relations” (19) as the political activists of yesterday have become the politicians, diplomats and officials of today. The aim of the book is to understand better inter-Korean relations through “examining the nature of South Korean domestic political debate” (5).

Chapter 1 reviews various theoretical perspectives to conclude that “an agency-driven conceptualization of discursive power” provides a helpful explanatory device that is best employed via “a wider, historical view of politics” (30). To this end, chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5, provide a historical summary of the relations between South Korean governments and political activists from the years of the Park Chung Hee military dictatorship (1961 to 1979) through to and including the period of democratization from the late 1980s, and the “decade of progressive rule” (195) of the late 1990s and early 2000s that concluded with the election in 2007 of the conservative president, Lee Myung Bak. The fairly short concluding chapter summarizes the contribution of the book as demonstrating that political activism is not spontaneous but has ‘deep-seated social, cultural, and political roots’ and that “the relationship between dominant (state) and dissident (political activist) discourses is multifaceted” (98).

Critical analysis, in the scholarly sense, of human rights movements is very sparse, given the fear of analysts of being portrayed as sympathetic to human rights abuses and the understandable reluctance of scholars to have their work misinterpreted by one side or another in politically charged debates. In South Korea, those fears are compounded by the continued existence of the National Security Law that is used to penalize those judged to be sympathetic to North Korea with sanctions that include imprisonment. This book, therefore, addresses a number of potentially productive debates. Chapter 5 provides interesting new empirical material in the short section on the “new right” and the “new left” of the human rights movement in South Korea, in terms of the division between them as to how much to involve United States regime change advocates in domestic human rights campaigns (168-195). The author also touches on the story of how some South Korean activists saw North Korea as a society to be emulated, how most were disillusioned but some remained faithful to what for most observers is at best an outdated society ruled over by a repressive government and at worst a vision of hell in which crimes of humanity are committed against the entire population on an everyday basis; this is another untold story that would bear further investigation.

Overall, however, the book is handicapped by insufficient specification of the research question such that the narrative is forced into an over-high level of generality. The consequent lack of a defined central thesis results in the absence of cohesive analytical structure that makes it hard to identify the key points that the author wants to make. In the absence of a clear analytical framework, the historical chapters end up with a lot of descriptive material that the book struggles to integrate into narrative cohesion. That is not to say that the book does not abound with ideas and possibilities but the trick here would have been to develop these ideas so as to provide the foundations for a disciplined framing of the historical material.

The book clearly started as a doctoral thesis and there is nothing intrinsically wrong in that. It does, however, suffer from the absence of a really good editing job that could have eradicated what read as quite descriptive summaries between chapters, repetition, odd locutions, and references to theoretical work that are not integrated or developed as part of the analytical frame for the book. More substantively, there is a “levels-of-analysis” issue that need to be resolved. The author is centrally concerned with the issue of “norm negotiation” and this is a potentially important way of thinking about who or what achieves hegemonic dominance in any society; the issue in this book is that there is an elision between the level of individual, non-state actor, society, government and state. In the context of a book that is intending to explain inter-Korean (state and society?) relations by evaluating the activities of individuals and non-state actors, we need, at minimum, to have these different levels analytically specified so that the questions of who is negotiating, how, why and what are the outcomes, in terms of the relationships between these different analytical levels, can be asked in the first place.

Nevertheless, at the heart of this book is a commendable approach to scholarship. It is committed to the idea of explaining important things—in this case what political activists do and how we understand what they do—and it also tries hard to avoid naïve empirical exposition as a substitute for careful analytical investigation.

Hazel Smith, University of Central Lancashire, Lancashire, United Kingdom

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WORLD WAR I AND THE TRIUMPH OF A NEW JAPAN, 1919-1930. Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare. By Frederick R. Dickinson. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xii, 221 pp. (B&W illus.) C$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-03770-0.

Japan is far from the first country that comes to mind in connection with the First World War. Although it entered the global conflict on the side of the Allies, with most of the war taking place on the other side of the globe, Japan’s role was limited to the swift occupation of German territories in China and the Pacific, limited naval operations in Europe, and participation as one of the powers at the Versailles Peace Conference. In this book, Frederick Dickinson sets out to reveal how important that war and the new world order it brought about were for the development of modern Japan. At the same time, he also seeks to challenge the all-too-common view, among postwar Japanese and Japan-specialists alike, that there was something fundamentally flawed in Japan’s interwar “Taishō democracy” that led inexorably to the militarism and authoritarianism of the 1930s and early 1940s. Dickinson claims that by interpreting the 1920s in light of the 1930s, previous scholars of modern Japan have overemphasized the crises and reactionary tendencies of interwar diplomacy, politics and culture, thus overlooking or devaluing the degree with which the Japanese understood the post-Versailles world order as an opportunity to advance Japan’s international stature, while also using the internationalist tide of the postwar years to advance progressive changes at home.

Dickinson urges us to consider the Japanese reaction to the First World War in a light similar to that of the Meiji Restoration. Just as scholars have moved away from an interpretation of the early Meiji years that emphasizes Japanese fears of the threats posed by Western imperialism toward one that focuses on the active pursuit of modernity, wealth and power in the state-building process, he contends that we could more accurately view developments of the interwar years not as a series of compromises forced upon Japan (or, domestically, upon a reactionary government by its citizenry), but rather as the active embrace of opportunities to assume a role in global politics more commensurate with its arduously acquired power. There is one important difference between the Meiji years and the 1920s, however: whereas the Meiji state-builders’ quest for modernity was in many ways a game of “catch-up ball” with the Western powers, by 1918 Japan’s leaders and people understood that Japan had achieved great power status. Japan’s willingness—indeed eagerness, according to Dickinson—to embrace the kind of multilateralism embodied in the League of Nations, the Washington Naval Conference, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact (to name just a few examples that Dickinson explores), far from being little more than humiliating compromises or superficial gestures doomed to failure, revealed an understanding of the new order that Versailles had brought about and the belief that Japan could play a major, even a leading role, in sustaining it. Dickinson also views the effort made across the 1920s by successive party cabinets to downsize the military as part of an international trend in reaction to the carnage of the war. Here too, Dickinson demonstrates that Japan’s leaders recognized that to lead meant to lead by example; the militarism exemplified by Germany had failed, and the leading states in a new, civilized world order needed to chart out a better course.

On the domestic scene as well, Dickinson notes the positive political and cultural developments that came about in response to the First World War and the failure of the German-style authoritarianism that was, he claims, one of the greatest lessons that Japanese observers took away from the Allied victory. Dickinson downplays the importance of some of the benchmarks of interwar history familiar to students of the period, such as the post-1918 economic downturn as European goods returned to the international market, the Rice Riots, the Great Kantō Earthquake, and the Peace Preservation Law and the subsequent roundups of communists and socialists. While these were far from unimportant, he cites the writings of prominent intellectuals and political leaders of the time to show that they saw these as much less dire for Japan than historians have since 1945. Instead, Dickinson urges us to look at the trends of the period: the democratization that began with Hara Takashi’s expansion of the electorate and took off with the achievement of universal male suffrage under the progressive policies of Katō Takaaki’s Minseitō; the downsizing of the military, also carried out by the Minseitō; a reevaluation of Japan’s imperialist program and approach to ruling its colonies; and the rise of a “culture of peace” in Japan that reigned until the travails of the early 1930s.

Throughout his analysis, Dickinson offers revealing evidence of how the leaders and knowledgeable observers of this “New Japan” understood their nation’s role in the new world order and the opportunities it promised to enhance Japan’s international influence. I was somewhat less convinced in regard to his claims about domestic developments, particularly in regard to disarmament and the culture of peace. The fact that the electorate seemed to support the downsizing of the military, after all, does not necessarily indicate a broad sentiment of anti-militarism or pacifism, as Dickinson suggests; people can accept the benefits of military power while at the same time being unwilling to pay higher taxes for them, after all. Readers may also come away wondering how the commitments to internationalism and peace that Dickinson claims were so deeply held in interwar Japan collapsed so rapidly after 1931. Dickinson promises to answer that question in a forthcoming study, but given the challenge he mounts to the standard historiography of the interwar period, a few hints in that direction would have given this book a better sense of conclusion.

Be that as it may, Dickinson provides us with a thought-provoking reminder not to read the past in light of what we know came next. This book, in combination with his next, will become important texts for students and specialists of interwar diplomacy, politics and culture in Japan.

Jeffrey P. Bayliss, Trinity College, Hartford, USA

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THE KOREAN POPULAR CULTURE READER. Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, editors. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 450 pp., [8] pp. of plates (Tables, figures.) US$28.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5501-4.

Korean popular culture has become a global sensation in the early twenty-first century. Starting with television dramas in the late 1990s, Korean popular cultural forms, such as film, music (K-pop) and online games have rapidly penetrated the global cultural markets and created global fandom. Previously, the Korean Wave (Hallyu), known as the rapid growth of Korean cultural industries and popular culture, was based on the export of television dramas and film within Asia; however, the Hallyu phenomenon has experienced a dramatic change because of its interplay with social media. The Korean Popular Culture Reader,edited by Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, is a timely and valuable contribution to the expanding collected works on the Korean Wave tradition, mainly because it relates “the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots.” It aptly traces and documents the historical evolution of Korean popular culture, focusing on transnationalism and cultural politics.

As the result of a workshop held at the University of California, Irvine in June 2010, two editors recruited both local-based and Western-based scholars to extend their focus, from traditional media areas, such as film and music, to non-traditional media areas, encompassing literature and sports. In order to systematically combine relevant chapters, the editors compartmentalized the sections alongside field demarcations rather than along with the lines of historical chronology.

The book is divided into five sections. Part 1, Click and Scroll, includes four chapters, such as The World in a Love Letter and The Role of PC Bangs in South Korea’s Cybercultures. These chapters explore the ways in which the landscape of modern-day consumers is shaped by a quick fix with celebrity gossip, serialized comics and blog culture. Part 2, Lights, Camera, Action, contains four chapters on Korean cinema, including Film and Fashion Cultures in the Korean 1950s and The Star as Genre in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother. The chapters raise several ideological matters surrounding cultures of celebrity and fan consumption practices built around them from questions about how images signify within cultural economy. Part 3, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, contains chapters titled Sports Nationalism and Colonial Modernity of 1936 and Female Athletes and (Trans)national Desires. The two chapters focus on sports, which are capable of creating overnight sensations, compared to movies and music. Part 4, Strut, Move and Shake, comprises chapters that focus on ethnomusicology. They include The Seo Taiji Phenomenon in the 1990s and Girls’ Generation: Gender, (Dis)Empowerment, and K-pop. In theorizing hybridization strategies, partially, if not entirely, these chapters analyze the evolution of contemporary Korean popular music, from the 1930s to the early twenty-first century. The final part, Food and Travel, encompasses three chapters, including The Commodification of Korean Cuisine and Touristic Fantasy, Photographic Desire, and Catastrophic North Korea. By employing the notion of spectacle, these chapters focus exclusively on the contemporary period and attempt to conceptualize approaches to state-sanctioned art.

While there are several significant strengths of this book, it especially develops three major theoretical practices: the historicization of cultural forms, the diversification of Hallyu discourse, and the appropriation of the notion of cultural politics. To begin with, the obvious asset of this volume is its consistent analysis on the historical background in each cultural form. The chapters show the intimate connection of Korean popular culture to Korea’s historical roots starting in colonial histories. The chapters develop a historical discussion of local popular culture because “contemporary popular culture is linked to related historical precedents” so that the readers can fully understand the roots of the contemporary stardom of local culture in the global market.

Secondly, the diversification of the Korean popular culture discourse is another strength of this volume. The book is successful in its goal to “depart from the intra-Asian cultural flow model that had been proposed by media studies scholars who tended to rely on primarily data-driven, audience-oriented research.” The editors consciously select several key topics, both in media-driven and non-media-driven fields, including literature, film and music, sports and food studies. Combining translations of a few essays written in Korean by local scholars with new works by Western scholars, the chapters expertly map out cultural uniqueness embedded in Korea’s socio-political context that has contoured the growth of local popular culture. Through the process, they achieve their aim in advancing “the comprehensive interpretations of values set by the most obvious ideologies that determine image creation.”

Thirdly, the book thematizes cultural politics as the most significant component running through the volume. It identifies cultural policies as a form of social and political dynamic, including the movement for social democracy, that have shaped Korean popular culture in given periods, from the colonial period to the contemporary neoliberal regime. As the landscape of Korean popular culture has changed and continued within the period’s political agendas, the majority of chapters carefully engage with socio-political situations, from censorship to the resistance to colonial and/or neoliberal oppression; therefore they prove the significance of the active roles of cultural creators in reflecting the ordinary people’s mentalities.

The book is not without areas of concern. Although I understand the limitation of the space, there are no serious discussions on a few eminent areas, such as social media and cultural policy issues. The book sparsely touches on these areas; however, it is unfortunate that it does not more deeply analyze these matters. Secondly, it lacks an investigation on contemporary popular culture. Regardless of a few chapters emphasizing the Korean Wave phenomenon, it does not include analyses on the influence of the historical evolution of Korean popular culture on contemporary practices. Lastly, it could have detailed the role of globalization. Since globalization started several decades ago, the clear appropriation of globalization alongside transnationalism would have enhanced the value of the book.

Overall, this volume nurtures the readers with a generous abundance of information on Korean popular culture. It is well designed and thoughtfully presented and makes a convincing contribution to a growing body of literature on Korean studies, media studies, and anthropology. It is a must-read book for those who desire a common introduction to the diverse local cultural landscape and those interested in popular culture in tandem with Korean society and culture.

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                                            

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DILEMMAS OF ADULTHOOD: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-Term Resistance. By Nancy Rosenberger. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013. xv, 209 pp. US$24.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3887-4.

Based on her rich longitudinal study of Japanese women, Rosenberger demonstrates the ways that Japanese women resist the status quo in their daily lives through the 1990s and 2000s. Originally interested in these women because they were “delaying marriage” by remaining single beyond their mid-20s, she conducted the first interviews in 1993 with sixty Japanese, never-married women between the ages of 25 and 35; 58 of the participants were interviewed a second time in 1998; a third interview with 54 women was conducted in 2004. In 2004, about one-third of the women had remained single, two-thirds were married, and half of the women had children. Throughout the book, she utilizes four core concepts—ambiguity, tension, ambivalence and contradiction—to describe women’s long-term resistance that is often performed in a subtle manner such as remaining single or continuing their career after marriage.

The book is organized in a straightforward manner. Chapter 1 provides the background and theoretical framework of the study. Chapter 2 illustrates the ways Japanese women experience tension and ambivalence by living in a transitional era that contains two sets of contradictory values: traditional cultural values and newer global values. Chapters 3 through 6 introduce subgroups of these women based on their marital, maternal and work statuses as of 2004. Chapter 7 summarizes her findings, while the epilogue introduces snippets of her fourth interview in 2012, which touches on the women’s experiences of the deadly earthquake in northeast Japan in 2011.

Single women in her study all wrestle with their sense of self as their single status runs counter to the traditional cultural code. Single women in the study are assigned to one of three subgroups: successful singles, struggling singles and struggling-and-crashing singles. Successful singles, who are financially and emotionally stable, tend to have higher education, live in the city, and have healthy parents. Struggling singles experience noticeably high tension and ambivalence, while struggling-and-crashing singles have collapsed over the year both physically and psychologically.

For married women without children, childlessness is more acceptable in Japanese society than previously. Some women in this group enjoy “the two of us” while others have problems with immature husbands. Married, stay-at-home moms can be planners, cocooners or caretakers. While both planners and cocooners place their focus on mothering for the moment, planners are more aware of their multiple identities. On the other hand, caretakers are tired with caring for two sets of loved ones (parents and children). The experiences of married working mothers vary, yet they all try to accommodate their roles in marriage to maintain their career. For full-time working mothers, their parents’ help is a key for them to continue working. Part-time working mothers in her study were either independent or family workers, and affected by economy and relationships with husbands. The author features a married organic farmer as she represents this generation’s ideal of self-actualization.

With careful examination of Japanese women in the subgroups, and by drawing on postmodern, feminist and Japanese studies scholars such as Comaroff, Melucci, Butler, Doi and Ueno, Rosenberger claims that Japanese women in her study engage in ambiguous, long-term resistance to the status quo with ambivalence and tensions. Such resistance is enacted through the use of vague movements (i.e., tacit refusal) in the contexts of contradiction. She also notes that women’s aging and Japan’s economic downturn over the years (time), urban-rural differences (space), and level of education (class) indicates complex effects on women of different subgroups. In addition, historically salient concepts such as dependence (amae) and endurance (gaman) are highlighted to illustrate the ways these psychological traits emerge in the process of resistance.

The women’s resistance produced negative tension and uncertainty as well as reflective awareness and increased tolerance and a continuing search for life that allows them reasonable satisfaction. In the end, Rosenberger attests that while these women created changes in the world around them, a new kind of social movement, the direction of this movement is still uncertain. As a result, these Japanese women feel that “they have choices, and yet simultaneously they have no choice but to negotiate their way with practiced ambivalence through the dilemmas of their adulthood” (175).

The strength of the book is in her detailed descriptions of the women’s voices from her longitudinal in-depth interviews of women with whom she formed relationships over the years; moreover, her ethnographic observations—from their dresses to their interactions with husbands and children during the interviews—are outstanding. She featured at least 37 women’s personal stories throughout the book, which indicates her thorough examination of the data. Yet, as each of these women’s lives is full of stories, it was at times confusing to keep track of the stories threading through so many voices. Although she attests her struggle of analyzing the data using the Western feminist framework in the beginning, with her careful narrative of the women’s stories and thorough literature review, she demonstrates that the behaviours and attitudes of these women, often interpreted as submissive, passive or parasitic by some scholars, are indeed, resistance that is changing Japan’s landscape.

While we await her forthcoming analysis of the fourth interview, additional work is necessary to further our understanding of the social dynamics involved in the women’s resistance. In particular, it would be interesting to hear the voices of these women’s counterparts, single and married men of their generation, as well as the generation of their parents, who were most likely affected by the social upheaval of World War II in their youth. With these individuals voices added, we can develop a more complete understanding of the ways postwar cultural codes and newer global values influence individuals of different status, and hopefully, find a direction that allows both women and men to make life choices without fear, but rather, with care and love.

Eriko Maeda, University of Hyogo, Kobe, Japan

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MIGRANT WORKERS IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN: An Institutional Perspective on Transnational Employment. Japanese Society Series. By Kiyoto Tanno; Translated by Teresa Castelvetere. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services (exclusive distributor), 2013. xxxii, 376 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$89.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92090-160-8.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan is primarily concerned with changes in social institutions within the context of globalization and the implications of these changes for the lifestyles of people living and working in Japanese society. Kiyoto Tanno regards the essence of globalization as “the reintroduction of disparities” (xvi) to relationships in the most fundamental social institution, i.e.,the division of labour. Globalization in this sense has not only dismantled Japan’s mythical tradition that made the lifetime employment and seniority-based wages of regular workers the ideological norms, but has also promoted the rapid growth of irregular workers. Within this restructuring of the Japanese labour market, Tanno draws special attention to the formation of the “transnational employment system” (xiv) that brings in labour from beyond its national borders to meet its needs. He also emphasizes that it is crucial to carefully investigate the long-unexplored “fiction (lie) surrounding workers who cross national borders” (xxx). This refers to the Japanese state’s official stance that does not recognize the existence of trans-border migrant workers engaged in so-called “unskilled” jobs because of its principal ban on the entry of these workers to Japan. With these frameworks coherently underpinning the arguments in the book, Tanno aims to disclose the economic and political logics driving the incorporation of transnational migrant workers—in particular, the Nikkeijin (Japanese descendants) mainly from Brazil who are able to work legally in Japan—into Japan’s reorganized division of labour in an era of globalization.

The book is divided into three parts.Part 1 explores the ways in which the transnational employment system has been created.With a focus on peripheral, irregular work under short-term contracts, chapter 1 shows how Japan’s labour market reform, ushered by calls for deregulation, has shifted the role of migrant workers from simply alleviating the shortages of low-skilled and low-wage labour to constituting part of the expanding insecure contract labour force.Chapter 2 describes the function of the brokers who recruit Nikkei migrant workers in Latin America and deploy them to Japan’s local labour markets, while chapter 3 demonstrates how the lifestyles of these migrant workers have been influenced by the increasing prevalence of service contracting companies that assemble flexible workforces as needed.In chapters 4 and 5, Tanno further unpacks the dynamics of the transnational employment system, highlighting the spread of stratification and diversification among migrant workers, mainly due to their ethnicity and legal status.

Part 2 of the book brings together a range of quantitative and qualitative data from primary research conducted by the author in order to empirically illustrate the development of the transnational employment system. For example, chapter 6 traces the historical inflows of the Nikkeijin as migrant workers to Japan and elucidates the ways in which the increasing demand for these workers hasbeen derived from profound changes in the Japanese management of employment contracts. Chapter 7 offers a summary of the findings from a survey of manufacturing factories in Toyota City—most of which are related to the automobile industry—and following interviews with those who identified their experience of hiring migrant workers. It illuminates emerging differences among these firms in terms of their reliance on migrant workers according to their position within the hierarchically organized subcontracting structure (known as keiretsu, which is one of the key elements that characterize Japan’s industrial relations).Based on an ethnographic study of a service contracting company in Toyota City that distributes Nikkei migrant workers to the factories, chapter 9 reveals specific labouring and living conditions imposed on these workers in Japanese society.

Finally, part 3 attempts to explore “the social foundation of [migrant] workers who straddle national borders” (xxxi), though it is not entirely clear how, exactly, the three chapters in this section are connected. Chapter 10 extends the analysis put forward in chapter 2 of the broker structure that sends the Nikkeijin from Brazil to Japan, delineating its linkage with the Japanese service-contracting companies and its transformation over time.Chapter 11 dwells on one particular court case concerning the system that grants special permission for unauthorized migrant workers to stay in Japan.Although the chapter sheds some light on the minimum requirements set by the state for unauthorized migrant workers to make their residence in Japanese society legitimate on a permanent basis, itcreates a sudden disruption from the previous discussion of the transnational employment system with a central focus on the Nikkeijin.Chapter 12 examines genealogically the definition of Japanese nationality.It should be noted that this last chapter is not in the original Japanese version of the book, and the reason for its inclusion is not clarified anywhere in this English translation.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan has much to contribute to the study of transnational labour migration to Japan. Of particular importance are Tanno’s efforts to combine various original sources in order to generate a more comprehensive and empirically grounded analysis for understanding the transnational employment system under conditions of globalization. However, while carefully disclosing the complexity of the transnational employment system, this book does not precisely explore the fiction surrounding cross-border migrant workers, which, in Tanno’s view, is another key framework that endorses its arguments. The link between a transnational employment system and the fictitious perception of migrant workers should have been more clearly articulated, possibly in part 3. Indeed, another salient question left unaddressed is: How far and in what ways does the specific study of Japan contribute to a growing body of literature regarding international labour migration and globalization? Despite these shortcomings, this book must be welcomed as an important resource for researchers, activists and policy makers who are interested in global labour migration and the politics of contemporary Japan.

Hironori Onuki, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia                                         

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MORAL NATION: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History. Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes, 29. By Miriam Kingsberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xvii, 304 pp. (Figures, maps, tables, illus.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27673-4.

As a late-coming Asian nation in the West-dominant world order, Japan’s modernity consisted of constant struggles to establish itself as an equal to European and American counterparts. After Japan fully entered the global community by signing unequal treaties with Western powers in the 1850s, the country underwent a turbulent century. Japan’s assertion of autonomy soon turned into a claim to regional domination, and the country’s defeat in World War II left the nation in a state of devastation, exhaustion and despair. In her recent book Moral Nation: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History, Miriam Kingsberg tells a tale of Japan’s repeated self-reinventions as a modern nation by tracing its narcotic policies during this period.

Moral Nation chronicles three episodes of legitimacy crises and subsequent anti-narcotic moral crusades during Japan’s first century in the Westphalian system. Each episode occurred in a different geopolitical context, prompting distinctive narratives of drug use. The first episode took place in the early period of Japan’s imperialism, following their surprise victory in the Sino-Japanese War and the cession of Taiwan. Kingsberg argues that, in this early period of the Japanese Empire, narcotics policies were a key ingredient of Japan’s justification of imperialism. Opium smoking, which was prevalent in China and Taiwan but not among Japanese, became a politically useful marker for Japan to distinguish the civilized self from the uncivilized Other, for it placed non-opium-smoking Japan among Western powers and apart from their defeated and drugged Asian neighbour. In Taiwan, Japan regulated the opium trade through a government monopoly, claiming its commitment to eventual extinction of this barbaric habit of natives. This approach allowed Japan to generate a substantial profit and the approval of Western colonizers, who were also enjoying profitable opium monopolies in their own colony.

The author placed the greatest emphasis on the second episode: Japan’s increasing political isolation in a global community during the interwar era and the anti-opium crusade in the Kwantung Leased Territory (KLT). After the failure in gaining international approval for Manchukuo, Japan shifted the basis of its legitimacy claim from the Western standard to traditional Confucian values. Under the Japanese rule, the KLT’s port city of Dairen witnessed unprecedented levels of narcotic trafficking. Antidrug initiatives in the KLT employed the language of a benevolent government (jinsei) and framed drug control as a benevolent act of liberating smokers from their enslavement to opium. While the drug use in the KLT, in reality, was diverse in the choice of substance as well as the nationality of users, anti-drug discourses exclusively targeted opium addicts, who were predominantly Chinese. The narrow focus of the moral crusade on opium resonated with a larger political narrative of the salvation of colonial subjects by civilized Japan; however, it did not help eradicate the actual problem of wide-spread narcotic addiction in the region.

The third episode in the book is a methamphetamine epidemic called the “hiropon age” and anti-meth crusade during the 1950s in Japan. Methamphetamine, which was legal in Japan until 1950 and was marketed as a safe and inexpensive stimulant by major pharmaceutical companies, rapidly gained popularity in postwar Japan. The fact that meth users were neither other nationals nor colonial subjects, but the Japanese themselves, led to different narratives of drug addiction and a distinct orchestration of anti-drug initiatives. In the moral crusade against meth, Japanese addicts were seen as an embodiment of the bruised and humiliated nation; conquering the meth problem became a symbolic act of re-establishing Japan as a modern nation with its former strength, confidence and high moral ground.

Moral Nation, meticulously researched and sensibly written, is a welcome addition to the library of Japanese studies. By examining Japan’s symbolic boundary-making and identity assertion through the lens of narcotic policies, Kingsberg makes a fresh contribution to a growing body of research of modern Japanese national identity. Critical criminologists have repeatedly reported the political use of anti-narcotics policies as means to stigmatize particular groups and legitimize their subordination. The book contributes to broader historical studies of social problems through its careful examination of the cultural production of drug problems.

The book also comes with some weaknesses. Kingsberg uses moral entrepreneurship as the book’s core theoretical framework. While the author astutely acknowledges the substantial diversity in narcotic discourses and roles of different actors such as merchants, law enforcement, scientists and medical doctors, the book frequently refers to unidentified ‘moral entrepreneurs’ as if they had been a unified entity. Such generic use of the label blurs the multiplicity of voices in moral crusades. Compared to rich discussions on narcotic policies in the interwar period, the book’s coverage of the hiropon age, contained in the last chapter, is limited both in the breadth of data and the depth of analysis. Furthermore, the lack of a clear conclusion may leave a reader with a sense of incompleteness. A concluding chapter that examines the lasting consequences of these narcotic moral crusades might provide a better ending to the book.

While Moral Nation exclusively focuses on a period between the 1850s and 1950s, the value of this volume goes beyond historical specificities. The political dynamics articulated in the book offer a useful perspective for sociologists, criminologists, political scientists and social historians who are eager to learn the use of deviance in the construction of self, other and nationhood.

Ryoko Yamamoto, State University of New York
College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, USA                                               

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REGIONALIZING CULTURE: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia. By Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxv, 230 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3694-8.

In an information age, our globalized world is increasingly impacted not only by the intraregional and interregional flows of financial capital but also by the movements of cultural commodities. While the cultural industry worldwide continues to boom, it is now one of the hottest business trends in Asia. Particularly in East Asia, the sector of popular culture products has experienced rapid growth in recent years, fuelled by a large number of emerging middle-class consumers with higher disposable income. From such a viewpoint, this book gains importance and assumes a responsibility for timeliness.

Structured in six chapters excluding a general introduction, the single-authored volume has become a reality with funding, logistic and advisory supports received from a number of related sources, institutions and people. It endeavours to explore a regionalized system of Japan’s popular culture proliferation in urban East Asia, and to examine the illustrative effect of its cultural industries on the dynamics of East Asian regional formation. As its findings reveal, the country’s popular culture products have been widely disseminated and consumed in many East Asian cities over the last three decades. The researcher’s core argument is that cultural industries underpin regionalization in East Asia by creating regional markets and propagating a regionwide transformation of the structural framework for commodifying and appropriating culture. I would however like to present my following straightforward feedback about this publication.

First, it is clear that the research has been conducted on East and Southeast Asia. But as the author clarifies, “In this study, East Asia refers to both Northeast and Southeast Asia” (185), the term “Asia” used in the book’s subtitle is misleading. While “Asia” and “East Asia” have been interchangeably used throughout the volume, other subregions of the greater Asian continent (South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and North Asia), where the rate of Japanese pop-culture diffusion is relatively low, are clearly left out.

Second, with a concise conceptual analysis about “popular culture” and “high culture,” the researcher has used the term “popular culture” to refer to commercial cultural commodities mainly including music, animation and television dramas. It is also good that an integrated “political economy” approach has been utilized in the study. When a link between political economy and popular culture has been made, a difference between regionalization and regionalism has essentially been shown as well. Nonetheless, this transregional research project should have been realized by an international political economy approach. In this connection, it seems excessive that the book covers almost a chapter-long description on the production mechanisms, local markets and organizational concerns of the Japanese image factories.

Third, to be more skeptical, this volume begins with some inconsistent statements recognizing the potential of soft power for the East Asian governments and publics while at the same time viewing Japan’s ever-expanding cultural export industry as a multibillion-dollar business. Since the author himself has rightly asked “If we can think of economy and security as factors that define a region, why shouldn’t we be able to think of popular culture in the same way?” (184), it is seriously questioning the relevance of the entire book. Actually, he has paid more attention to the “economic aspects” and placed less emphasis on the “political affairs.” In other words, this study basically deals with the mass-commercialization of Japanese cultural exports for money making, and it does not investigate how the politics of Japanese popular culture as ideological values can help shape the contemporary East Asian international relations order.

Fourth, the researcher has of course better justified the rationale for selecting Japan as a useful case study. Besides, the research is basically based on fieldworks at several hybrid cultural cities in the region comprising Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok and Seoul. Moreover, this practically grounded project includes in-depth interviews with 68 cultural industry insiders in addition to a survey of primary sources in Japanese, English and other languages. But I am not so convinced by the research results. More concretely, when the author has disclosed “The research focuses on East Asia’s nine biggest markets for Japanese cultural exports” (xxiv), a full-fledged chapter on any above-mentioned city (except Tokyo) might have made genuine sense. In fact, he regards Japan’s pop-culture industries as a forerunner “regional model” of production and circulation, and tells us numerous success stories of its highly profitable manufacturing enterprises. Frankly speaking, he has taken neither a logical approach to fault-finding nor a bold stance throughout the volume. It is a major problem.

Fifth, when the concluding chapter summarizes the book’s main findings and it ends with some questions, it would have been valuable for the well-informed readers if this section had sharply answered the following pressing and stimulating questions: (1) Why is Japan despite its status as a pop-culture powerhouse failing to mobilize the nation’s available soft power resources so that it can exercise more cultural influence globally? (2) How can the country project its goodwill of “Cool Japan” around the whole geography of Asia given that Japan still has image problems in East and Southeast Asia for its imperialist past? (3) How does Tokyo’s public diplomacy relate to the strategic interests of Japan as a leader in East Asia and more specifically as a counterweight to Beijing as China’s thriving economy makes it more powerful and attractive?

Finally, when it comes to my overall assessment, regardless of a few weak points and some gaps in coverage, the principal purpose of this book has been realized in a rewarding manner. In the publishing world, there are already many books (written mainly by sociologists) on East Asian popular culture in general. But I have not found any piece that specifically analyzes the regionalization of Japanese cultural industries within a political-economic context. By doing so, it fills an academic gap in globalization studies literature on cross-cultural relations. I understand that this young scholar has shown passion, patience and true commitment to his field of specialization to produce this volume, for which Nissim Otmazgin is congratulated. Because of its distinctiveness, the volume can be suggested for everyone involved and interested in the subject-matter.

Monir Hossain Moni, Asia Pacific Institute for Global Studies, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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GENDER AND LAW IN THE JAPANESE IMPERIUM. Edited by Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. ix, 301 pp. (Table, graph.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3715-0.

Susan Burns and Barbara Brooks have put together a markedly revisionist anthology, with nine case studies analyzing legal reforms concerning prostitution, reproduction, sexuality, female criminality and family, while paying attention to relationships between Japan and the West, Japan and its colonies, and state and society.

Following Burns’ introduction, chapters are organized thematically in three parts. In part 1, Douglas Howland and Sally Hastings discuss the origin and abolishment of legalized prostitution in modern Japan. Howland examines the 1872 Maria Luz Incident, which juxtaposed the similarly inhumane indentured labour practices of Chinese coolies and prostitutes. Kanagawa assistant governor Ōe Taku, in charge of this case, established a legal context in improving conditions for prostitutes, propelled by Japan’s desire to present itself as a civilized and humanitarian, and thereby modern nation, in the international labour migration debate. Hastings investigates another action to liberate prostitutes from mistreatment in the 1950s. Newly enfranchised and elected female Diet representatives, in favour of eradicating prostitution, regarded prostitutes as victims of human rights violations. Not everyone, however, shared this view, as brothel owners and unionized prostitutes advocated for their right to work. For bipartisan female Diet members, the passage of the 1956 Prostitution Prevention Law was bitter-sweet because, while selling daughters was made illegal, prostitution itself was not.

Part 2 investigates criminal and penal law with an emphasis on applications beyond definitions. Using actual court cases involving abortion and infanticide in the early Meiji period, Susan Burns challenges Fujime Yuki’s influential theory of the prewar judicial system as gendered and oppressive, designed to limit women’s reproductive and sexual choices. Rulings demonstrate that gender biases against female reproducers were remarkably limited, as their male sexual partners as well as parents and in-laws were routinely punished for reproductive crimes. Similarly, in his examination of the legal double standard of adultery, Herald Fuess presents court decisions which were more sympathetic toward wives than adulterous husbands by granting the former divorce through some liberal interpretation of laws. Daniel Botsman’s chapter illuminates that men and women in premodern Japan committed different types of crimes. The gendered pattern of crimes and punishment did not change following the post-1868 “modernization” of Japan’s penal system. His study tentatively links an intriguing decline of female prisoners during interwar years to the medicalization of female criminality and calls for further investigations. Darryl Flaherty’s richly contextual study of female criminality focuses on a very specific event, the 1928 Tokyo Court’s first jury trial of alleged arsonist-for-insurance Yamafuji Kanko. The all-male jury trial upheld Yamafuji’s acquittal precisely because she was a woman in need of paternalistic sympathy. This portrayal of women reinforced the prevailing gender stereotypes, which ironically coincided with such democratizing and hierarchy-fighting experiments as the jury system, “new women” and “modern girls.”

Part 3 highlights legal decentralization and centralizing efforts in the Japanese empire. Diverse legal definitions of family existed because Japan allowed customary laws in Taiwan and Korea. Chen Chao-ju offers a new theoretical reading of a customary law governing the Taiwanese tradition of sim-pua, an adoption of a young girl who was often expected to marry her adoptive brother, which invited later interventions by Japanese authorities. Legal handbooks informed the late Barbara Brooks of how the boundary that divided colonizer and colonized through separate household registration systems was “porous” (219), as Japanese women married colonial men and they had “hybrid” offspring. Matsutani Motokazu’s study of the bitterly detested sōshi kaimei (often translated as name-changing) policy rejects the commonly held view that the policy, issued in 1939, reflected Japan’s intent to promote assimilation by means of the forced adoption of Japanese names at the expense of Korean identity. Matsutani’s provocative essay concludes that the central tenet of the policy was to “reform” the traditional Korean family system so that it could align with the Japanese family system. Incidentally, women, who had been used to retaining their natal family’s clan name (sei) after their marriage, came to share the same newly created family name (shi) with their husbands.

From these summaries, one may sense new sources, approaches, perspectives and interpretations in the volume. Additional examples sustain the important claim that this volume is indeed revisionist (7). A comparative approach is particularly productive. According to Fuess, “[a]s adultery laws evolved, change did not proceed exclusively in a linear fashion as a story of women’s liberation, nor did all the Western models that were evoked support notions of gender equality” (110). His discussion reveals that the adultery law of supposedly progressive and egalitarian France and that of supposedly conservative and male-chauvinistic Japan were strikingly similar. Likewise, Chen notes that Taiwan’s customary succession system had exhibited greater “equality” than that of Japan, typically deemed more “modern” than its “backward” colony (204). Botsman also challenges “any simplistic equation of mass incarceration with modernity” since “imprisonment was already a relatively important form of punishment for women” in late Tokugawa Japan (137). Matsutani’s discussion on whether a woman would take the family name of her husband upon marriage could have been used to question the linearity of feminist master narrative as well. As Burns mentions, in contemporary Japan and the world, feminists argue requiring the one (often husband’s) surname for a married couple is discriminatory (14), and a wife’s retention of her maiden name can be seen as progressive and liberating. However, as Matsutani illuminates, Japan’s “modernizing reform” regarding Korea’s family system moved in an opposite direction by promoting one last name within a family, though not only female identity, but also choice was at stake. Taken together, all this evidence pushes us to reevaluate the oversimplified notion that the modern West was a source of inspiration and model for progress elsewhere, as well as the question of what is “liberation” for women.

If they are looking for thought-provoking ideas in discourse analyses rather than recovery of women’s voice, scholars and students in Japanese and comparative gender history will benefit from this finely edited volume with coherent and mutually cross-referenced chapters.

Sumiko Otsubo, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, USA

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RACE FOR EMPIRE: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II. Asia Pacific Modern, 7. By T. Fujitani. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013, c2011. xxi, 488 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28021-2.

T. Fujitani’s Race for Empire is a very insightful book that examines how the authorities in both the United States and Japan actively sought to integrate a key ethnic minority—Japanese Americans in the US and Koreans in the Japanese Empire—within the nation and have them actively participate in their respective war efforts. This required the creation and dissemination of a new discourse that reinvented the traditional relationship between nation, race and soldiering, a discourse which denied the existence of racial discrimination within their borders. Fujitani’s objective is not to describe in detail the soldiers’ experiences during the war, but rather to “utilize the two sites of soldiering as optics through which to examine the larger operations and structures of the two changing empires … as they struggled to manage racialized populations within the larger demands of conducting total war” (6). Another recurrent theme is how both empires used these soldiers as part of their wartime propaganda offensive to, as Edwin Reischauer stated in a 1942 memorandum, “[win] the peace” (102).

Part 1 of the book exposes the theoretical framework which sustains—and, in a real sense, drives—the analysis. Drawing on Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and bio-politics, Fujitani argues that, faced with the irrevocable exigencies implied by the logic of total war, both governments were progressively driven to enfold the heretofore unwanted populations and to tap them for soldiers and workers for their wartime industries. Officials deployed modern technologies of bio-power and governmentality to nurture and control these individuals, effectively turning them into free-thinking citizens and giving them the right to die for their nation. As Fujitani indicates, however, the discursive shift which allowed the minorities’ passage from the periphery to within the nation did not completely erase all forms of discrimination against them: while the more blatant, “vulgar” expressions of racism were officially denounced and repudiated, other forms of racism (which Fujitani refers to as “polite”) persisted. The first chapter of part 2 thus examines the American authorities’ efforts to discursively integrate the Japanese-American population within the nation and to collect its energies for their war effort. The second chapter offers samples of the reactions of the targeted individuals to this new discourse and their various attempts to negotiate their place within the nation, while the third chapter is dedicated to the analysis of Robert Pirosh’s movie Go for Broke (MGM, 1951), presented as representative of the new, “politely racist” discourse. In part 3, Fujitani follows a similar approach as he shifts the focus to the Koreans in the Japanese empire.

Missing from Race for Empire is any formal attempt to systematically compare the experiences of both ethnic minorities as they navigated their way into their respective nation. The author does, however, expertly bring into conversation a number of elements which, taken together, challenge our understanding of loyalty and patriotism, and subvert received narratives sustaining national identities. For example, upon describing how many Koreans reacted positively to volunteer recruitment drives for the Japanese imperial army, Fujitani writes that “[t]he idea that they might respond with patriotism to a regime that continued to discriminate against them despite official disavowals of racism is only as absurd or reasonable as the notion that patriotic Japanese Americans volunteered out of internment camps to defend the freedom they did not have” (251). More broadly, Fujitani does not shy away from showcasing Japanese Americans and Koreans as seeking to improve their own socio-economic situation, sometimes at the expense of other political and ethical considerations: that is why, for example, many Japanese Americans asked for guarantees in exchange for their unconditional loyalty (176). When we consider the fact that the total number of Japanese-American volunteers was well below the government’s targets, this undermines the “model minority” discourse which lauded the Japanese Americans’ participation in the war, and thus confronts the postwar myth of America as a multiracial and multiethnic democracy with its own contradictions. Conversely, Fujitani warns against the uncritical acceptance of the narrative according to which all militarized Koreans were unwilling victims of the colonial power, as a large proportion of volunteers were economically well off. He writes: “those who benefited materially from colonialism and the possibility of incorporation into the expanded concept of ‘Japan’ had the most to gain from acting as if they were loyal to the Japanese nation” (251). The overall result is a delicately nuanced, decidedly fair, study of the processes through which the two warring empires redefined their “problematic” ethnic minorities into idealized ones, and how these populations responded to their new circumstances as free, calculating agents.

Race for Empire is an outstanding contribution to a growing number of studies focusing on racial politics in Japan and the United States, which began in earnest with John Dower’s War Without Mercy (Pantheon Books, 1986). Canadian scholars will undoubtedly draw useful comparisons with Mutual Hostages (University of Toronto Press, 1990), by Patricia Roy et al., and especially Stephanie Bangarth’s Voices Raised in Protest (UBC Press, 2008) and Greg Robinson’s A Tragedy of Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2009), books which engage, at least partly, with the question of race and the wartime treatment of Japanese Canadians in a transnational setting. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Race for Empire nevertheless feels like it should have brought the concept of “race” under more critical scrutiny, especially as it evolved from what is, apparently, a strictly biological phenomenon to one with more cultural undertones. For example, Fujitani notes how Japanese American volunteers who practiced “quintessentially Japanese and nationalistic sports” such as kendo and judo were rejected as a result of the authorities’ cultural racism (154). In fact, however, many martial arts dojo on the American West Coast were in a trans-Pacific relationship with such nationalist organizations as the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, which included individuals with proven, strong links with the Japanese military. That members of these dojo would appear suspicious to the American military during times of war is not racist in itself. This should not, however, detract from what is otherwise an excellent book.

Daniel Lachapelle Lemire, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

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OPENING A WINDOW TO THE WEST: The Foreign Concession at Kōbe, Japan, 1868-1899. By Peter Ennals. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xxiii, 237 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$29.48, paper. ISBN 978-1442614161.

Japanese treaty ports have been neglected as a subject of study by foreign historians so it now almost appears as if nineteenth-century globalization bypassed Japan’s harbours. In Japan, treaty ports now symbolize a time when Japanese sovereignty was impaired by the “unequal treaties,” which is a period the public would rather forget. From a comparative perspective, Japanese treaty ports also seem less interesting to global historians, as this era was rather short in Japan (1859-1899) and limited to a few places. By Chinese standards the foreign community in Japan remained small while the Japanese government also took meticulous care in ensuring that foreigners did not transgress treaty boundaries so these ports did not become stepping stones for further imperialistic encroachment. As a result, Japanese treaty ports, which used to be the main places of cultural and economic interaction between Japan and the outside world, are marginalized in Japanese and international history. Peter Ennals, a Canadian professor emeritus of geography, has now published a very readable, well-informed concise history of the Foreign Concession in Kobe, which together with Yokohama, was Japan’s main international port in the late nineteenth century.

In the first three chapters of his book Ennals places Kobe geopolitically in the broader region and leads us through the establishment of the physical and political infrastructure of the foreign concession in relation to the native town of Hyōgo. When Kobe opened in 1869, ten years after Yokohama, its foreign planners wanted it to become a better location to work and live for middle-class Western merchants than other East Asian treaty ports. Just like other planned international settlements of the time, it included a grid-pattern for housing lots with streets and canalization, and a waterfront imitating the famous Bund at Shanghai, with the prominent building of a Japanese customs house for clearance of all international transactions. Unlike more nationally fragmented treaty ports, Kobe’s Foreign Settlement was united administratively and thus able to conduct its municipal development more effectively. This common core, designed to enable Western merchants in their business and maintain facilities for residents, manifested itself in a large brick municipal building for council meetings, which also housed a fire brigade, rooms for consular courts, and even a jail. The transient Western population of sailors, however, was provided for through inns and grogshops in the native town and high property prices in the settlement induced a stronger social segregation than for example in Yokohama.

The next two chapters explain Kobe’s economic basis. Silk and cotton textiles formed the backbone of Japan’s international trade and industry in the nineteenth century. Ennals shows how merchants at Kobe went through a period of trial and error, hoping to match Yokohama’s strength in silk exports, but failing due to market inexperience. The 1870s for them turned out to be rather disappointing. Eventually Kobe settled on its competitive economic advantage: assembling, processing and selling Japanese green tea to the American West and to Canada. The green tea export market thus came to influence the urban landscape in the Kobe settlement. Godown storage spaces with tea firing facilities and Japanese day labourers to handle tea leaves turned into a common sight. The seasonality of the tea trade meant very busy and intensive seasons followed by a stretch of time with much lower commercial activity. While North America became the prime destination of Kobe tea, the trade was mostly organized by British merchants with a surprisingly weak American presence, which was more prominent in the Yokohama silk trade. The economic chapters pay more attention to the initial years than Kobe’s burgeoning import trade, even though Kobe’s key economic success was its emergence as Japan’s leading import harbour, surpassing Yokohama by 1893. The reason Kobe’s second-largest group of foreign merchants was from Germany, which remained an insignificant destination for Japanese exports, may also have been related to the fact that German imports and shipping to Japan was on the rise. Foreign entrepreneurs later engaged in industrial activities such as the repair and building of ships as well as paper production but the most promising ventures were eventually bought by Japanese investors.

The last three chapters explore the social dimensions of the Foreign Settlement, which was separated by “Division Street” from the older Japanese town. Just like other treaty ports with an expatriate community where men outnumbered women, selective clubs and physical recreations provided an important venue of male sociability. The Kobe Club became the premier gentlemen’s club with a strict dress code and a bar. The Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club, with the support of the municipal council, turned a former river valley adjacent to the concession into sports grounds for horse racing, cricket, soccer and a gymnasium that could also be used for theater performances. Protestant missionaries established schools teaching English and the Bible.

Peter Ennals’ excellent and pioneering study relies exclusively on English-language material. British and American perspectives are thus well documented through diplomatic reports, corporate archives and the English-language local press, which also catered to other Western nationalities. To what extent Kobe, as the book title suggests, “Opened a Window to the West” or remained an extraterritorial enclave with limited local impact is more difficult to assess. As a showcase model of overseas life, Kobe’s role in introducing the Japanese people to Western culture and politics can be deduced in the partial spread of Western-style architecture in the Japanese part of town but we also know that despite all earnest missionary efforts in Kobe and elsewhere, the spread of Christianity often disappointed the proselytizers. Kobe in the nineteenth century appeared to be a port for processing and moving goods more than people, with Japanese overseas passenger traffic not yet playing a major role. One wonders how the overall narrative would need to be amended when continental European, Japanese or Chinese sources and voices were integrated more fully into the picture. This caveat does not detract from the fact that Peter Ennals has written a wonderful history of the Foreign Settlement at Kobe, which appears especially strong in its analysis of spatial developments and patterns of architecture.

Harald Fuess, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany                                                               

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EXPERIMENTAL BUDDHISM: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By John K. Nelson. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxiv, 292 pp. (B&W photos, figure, table.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3898-0.

Modern pressures of rapid global development are being keenly felt by religious institutions around the world. Their future will depend to a great extent on how readily religious leaders can adjust to these changes while still maintaining relevance for their members. John K. Nelson’s Experimental Buddhism, anew study of this phenomenon in contemporary Japan, is a welcome addition to Asian cultural studies, providing an intimate and well-researched examination of a wide range of efforts currently being made by major Buddhist denominations to survive the current competition for hearts and minds in the new globalized Japan.

A cultural anthropologist from the University of San Francisco, Nelson has produced important written works and documentaries surveying the current Japanese landscape of religious meaning and practice. In the present work, through a series of interviews with priests and administrators from 40 different Buddhist temples, the author attempts to uncover the kinds of changes being tested to slow the recent dramatic decrease in parishioners, and to offer new entryways to Buddhism that would attract greater levels of interest among various demographics. Nelson states in his introduction that the book provides a broad survey of these experiments across a number of denominations, without focusing extensively on any one institution. In order to maintain flexibility, he also recognizes that he could not rely on a single methodology, but rather needed to employ several approaches across disciplines in order to respond effectively to the unique challenges of the study.

Beginning his first chapter with a striking example of the kinds of experimentation occurring among long-established temples in Japan, Nelson relates the story of a 400-year-old Pure Land temple in Kyoto that burned to the ground, killing the head priest. The priest’s eldest son left Kyoto for another location, and what was left had to be run by a board of advisors. Faced with little political or economic support, they rented out parking spaces on the temple grounds for a period of time, and eventually designed a seven-story tenant building with shopping, restaurants and bars on the first six floors, and a temple on the seventh. Because the temple lost most of its parishioners after the fire, its uncertain future will depend almost completely on the ability of the tenants to continue making a profit.

In chapter 2, Nelson provides a brief, yet informative history of Japanese Buddhism, and then focuses on three denominational headquarters (Tendai, Sōtō and Pure Land), to provide greater detail about approaches taken by administrative officials to improve public interest. The next chapter of the text, “Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism,” responds to the common question, “Does Buddhism really have anything to offer the social world given the practices of renunciation and the primary concern for personal liberation?” Nelson answers the question in the affirmative, finding evidence throughout Buddhist history of monks providing for the social good. In contemporary Japan temples are attempting to become more relevant to the citizens they serve by responding to concrete problems of human suffering. Two prominent examples provided by the author are suicide prevention programs, and aid for victims of the March 11, 2011 “triple disaster” earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.

In chapters 4 and 5 Nelson surveys a range of temple experiments, first detailing the approaches of four prototypes, and in chapter 5, examining some of the more ground-breaking, even risky, attempts at innovation. The chosen temple prototypes in chapter 4 tend to have common narratives involving a disillusioned or jaded young priest who, after experiencing a life-altering moment, chooses to return to temple life with a new vision. There is a Pure Land priest who only sees possibilities for his vocation after witnessing the devastating effects of the Kobe earthquake and Aum Shinrikyō attacks in 1995. Creating a new temple, not in the funerary business, but rather one offering a calendar of lectures, concerts and performances, his mission is to become a credible source of “learning, healing and enjoyment” (117). There is also a Rinzai priest who finds his calling in caring for child victims of the Chernobyl incident who are suffering from thyroid cancer; a priest of a prominent temple in Nara establishes “Everyone’s Temple” in the shopping district of the city, available to anyone who wants to walk in and receive counseling; a Pure Land priest opens a drinking establishment in Ōsaka, an astute means of conversing with customers in a relaxed environment. Other temple innovations surveyed in chapter 5 include temple web sites, pet memorials, organizations for temple wives, chanting concerts, musical performances in rock, jazz and rap, and fashion shows of priestly robes. In the final chapter of the text Nelson concludes that the future of Buddhism in Japan remains uncertain, and there is no telling whether or not the experiments currently being tried by temple priests will prove to be successful in achieving a sustained relevance for the general public.

Because Nelson limits his interviews to priests belonging to prominent denominations, there are certainly some gaps in his study. More interviews with parishioners would have provided greater understanding of the actual effectiveness of temple experiments. Investigating New Religions would have clarified how these rival institutions may be influencing the changes being made in the more traditional sects. But Experimental Buddhism fills an important need in the study of contemporary Japanese Buddhism, illustrating the kinds of challenges facing the clergy, and the necessities of making meaningful changes in everyday temple life in order to respond to the needs of persons living in the twenty-first century. The text would make a fine addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses in contemporary Asian studies or cultural Buddhism. Nelson writes in an engaging and accessible manner, and students will find great pleasure in reading the pages of his book.

Victor Forte, Albright College, Reading, USA         

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JAPANESE PERCEPTIONS OF FOREIGNERS. Japanese Society Series. Edited by Shunsuke Tanabe. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2013. xviii, 182 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$79.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-920901-54-7.

This book is an English translation of a work published in 2011 in Japanese that deals with Japanese perceptions of issues related to migration and their interrelation with political views. The analysis is based on results from a nationwide survey held in 2009 that focused on eight themes: nationalism, immigration, coexistence society (or tabunka kyōsei), citizenship, neoliberalism, support for political parties, swing voters and populism. Subjects were Japanese nationals aged 20 to 79 years and the authors collected 3610 samples, with a 43.4 percent return rate. The themes covered by the survey correspond with the topics of the eight chapters, which are organized into two groups: the first deals mainly with issues related to perceptions of migrants and the second focuses more on political views and their interrelation with immigration-related issues. Overall, this book presents a significant contribution to the still infrequent quantitative studies of Japanese perceptions of the growing foreign population in general and to relating these to political orientations and social characteristics of populations in particular. As the editor himself emphasizes, issues of nationalism, anti-foreign sentiments and political attitudes have tended to be considered separately in Japan and the integrative approach presented here underlines the significance of this work.

In the introduction, Shunsuke Tanabe outlines the background to this study: the changing face of nationalism in the age of globalization, a growing foreign population in what was once believed to be a single-ethnic Japan, and the relationship between an increasingly fluid political situation and (the new) nationalism in Japan. One of the characteristics of this survey is that it was conducted after the general elections in 2009 that meant a change of ruling parties in Japan after more than five decades. This is mainly related to the second part of the book, yet issues concerning foreign residents, such as suffrage, have been on the political agenda of the new ruling party as well. In the first chapter, Tanabe challenges the simplistic views of a relationship between political stances and nationalism and elaborates on the factors contained in the term nationalism in present-day Japan. In particular, he focuses on the views of ordinary people and outlines three dimensions of nationalism in Japan: patriotism, exclusivism and purism. These three dimensions, which he explains and describes both theoretically and empirically, represent core concepts that connect the remaining chapters of the book. The second chapter deals with differences in opinions on foreign residents in Japan by respondent’s occupation, education or region. Unsurprisingly, those with managerial jobs, a higher level of education and more contact with foreigners view the contribution of foreigners to the economy in more positive terms. On the other hand, blue-collar workers tend to see foreigners’ role more negatively and these views are associated with purism and patriotism. The third chapter focuses on support for multicultural coexistence in Japan. The author identifies four major types of perceptions of multicultural coexistence based on the degree of acceptance of equal rights and willingness for communication. The ideal type of autonomous coexistence, when both equal rights and mutual communication are promoted, has been found only among around 30 percent of respondents whereas the majority have more exclusionary ideas of coexistence. The fourth chapter aims to uncover the determinants of support for the political rights of foreign nationals in Japan. Indeed, the results confirmed the hypothesized relationship between purism and patriotism on the one hand and the support for suffrage on the other. Interestingly, however, the author found no correlation between support for suffrage and the socio-economic situation of an individual. This uncovers an intriguing point: the relatively tolerant views of socio-economically well-situated individuals towards migrants do not necessarily translate into support for migrants’ political rights.

Chapters in the second part of the book focus more on the contemporary trends among voters in Japan. Due to the brevity of the review, I focus here only on results related to views on migrants. The fifth chapter focuses on aspects of neo-liberalism and discusses their correlation with nationalism. Patriotism in particular was found to be strongly related to all aspects of neo-liberalism. The sixth chapter analyzes the shift in voter support after the general elections in 2009. In regard to migrants, the analysis uncovers a link between LDP support and low support for extending rights to foreigners. The seventh chapter scrutinizes the voting preferences and socio-economic characteristics of swing voters and shows that those swinging to DPJ were more tolerant toward migrants. The eighth chapter analyzes the characteristics of supporters of populist politicians. Similar to LDP voters, populist supporters are also inclined to be more patriotic and less tolerant towards an extension of foreigners’ rights. The book concludes with Tanabe’s chapter summarizing the main findings and discussing the new nationalism in Japan in light of these findings.

Whereas the findings of this survey suggest some important and interesting points about views concerning foreign nationals in Japan, the analysis and discussion of the results tend to be limited in some places. For example, the discussion of support for the rights of foreigners is largely limited to that of suffrage, although the data provide views concerning other social or civic rights as well and the author undertook a considerably more elaborate analysis and discussion of a similar topic elsewhere (Kikuko Nagayoshi, “Support of Multiculturalism, But For Whom? Effects of Ethno-National Identity on the Endorsement of Multiculturalism in Japan,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37, no. 4: 561-78). Furthermore, whereas the particulars of the sample of this survey are sometimes discussed (e.g., 18), a more comprehensive discussion is lacking elsewhere. For instance, the authors do not discuss some major differences (21) in their results with other similar surveys such as ISSP’s module National Identities. Nonetheless, the book represents a valuable contribution to studies on migrants and their acceptance in Japanese society and it unveils, through empirical methods, links between various aspects of nationalism, political orientation and socio-economic characteristics.

Miloš Debnár, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

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PRECARIOUS JAPAN. By Anne Allison. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. x, 246 pp. US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5562-5.

The cover of Anne Allison’s new publication sets the tone for the whole book. It is a photograph by Dominic Nahr of two elderly Japanese women who have taken refuge in a school after the triple disaster of 3.11. The two women are looking anxiously into a dark forest beyond a parking lot, under a gloomy sky. They seem shaken by what has happened to them, but the photographs also convey the impression that they are even more worried about future events; it is as if a dark force may be lurking out in the wilderness, ready to engulf them. Whilst this is unquestionably a high-quality picture, one also feels somehow reminded of a horror movie poster. The same can be said about the content of the book. It is not an easy read; rather, it is a highly emotional account that takes us into the murky underside of Japan. It is an impressive ethnographic study of exclusion, precariousness and struggle that will leave no reader untouched; nevertheless careful reflection suggests that as a scholarly analysis it is not fully satisfying and at times its argument risks drifting into sensationalism.

Allison’s study starts with the story of a middle-aged man whose corpse was found one month after he had starved to death alone in his apartment. Surrounded by wealthy Japan, in his last diary entry the man expresses the simple, yet unfulfilled, wish to eat a rice ball (onigiri). Rice balls are a staple food that can be bought at any hour of any day throughout Japan for little more than one US dollar and rice is also a core symbol of Japanese culture. The anecdote shows us a man who has not only been abandoned by society; even his socio-cultural existence has been annihilated. In the first chapter Allison puts this and other stories into the broader context of precariousness, the new social risks and insecurities which have become an issue in Japan and in many Western industrialized societies. The second chapter illustrates Japan’s transformation from a society of stable institutions and predictable life-courses into a fluid society, in which the unstable margins are creeping towards the core. Allison identifies changes in human resource management, neoliberal reforms and demographic aging as the main factors in this transformation. In the next two chapters Allison discusses examples which illustrate how this new instability leads to the dissolution of “home” as a secure place in society and the emergence of new forms of homelessness, the breakdown of the family as a unit and withdrawals from society. Chapters 5 and 6 are centred on aging, death and hopelessness. In these chapters examples are used to show the effects of Japan’s liquidization. The loss of social stability leaves those excluded alone, outside in the social cold, struggling with circumstances for which they have not been prepared. The final chapter embeds examples of the triple disaster of 3.11 into this narrative of precarious Japan. Three eleven and its impact are not discussed as a singular event, but as an example of Japan’s new fragility.

The book is part of a recent wave of studies on social inequality in Japan. For many decades, Japan was not only lauded for its outstanding economic growth, but was also identified as a prime example of social equality and fairness. The existence of harshly discriminated-against minorities and other marginal groups was often overlooked and absent from public discourse. However, from the late 1990s onwards, Japan’s self-view started to shift fundamentally. A new model of Japan as a “gap society” (kakusa shakai) became dominant and issues like atypical employment and poverty started to fill newspapers and television programs and prompted new research. Allison has made a valuable contribution to this field. Most studies involve quantitative analysis of structural changes, but she has focused on daily life. For readers not aware of the dark side of contemporary Japan, the book will be an eye-opener. The examples are powerful and some feel like punches to the stomach. However, readers already familiar with the debate about Japan as a “gap society” may not be fully satisfied by this book. Its structure and theoretical foundation are a kind of potpourri. The argument is not introduced at the beginning, nor does the book end with an overall conclusion. It is also hard to find a clear thread running between the strings of examples discussed in the chapters. Although in the second chapter Allison develops a concise model of former Japan as general middle-class society, in the chapters which follow she too rarely makes use of this model as a comparative tool to contemporary Japan. Instead, she introduces new theoretical concepts based on studies of Western societies throughout the book. Because similarities and differences between precariousness in Japan and Western societies are not fully discussed, these concepts add another layer of theoretical complexity, but rarely a new dimension to the analysis. It would be beside the point to reproach a qualitative study for being unrepresentative, but some of the examples here seem somewhat exploitative in character. For example, Allison discusses what she acknowledges may be a fictitious story of a homeless boy who becomes a famous comedian (108-112). It is a breath-taking story, but why include it in an empirical study if it might be manufactured? Although it is not openly stated in the book, Allison seems to position herself both as a researcher, and as an activist for Japan’s underprivileged classes. Her political commitment notwithstanding, choosing less stark examples would have made possible a more subtle analysis; after all, the existence of poverty and marginal groups in Japan is not a completely new phenomenon. I would argue that the paradigmatic change of recent years has been the return of such groups into the limelight, indicating a new fear of social downward mobility among the middle classes. Despite these caveats, and although the analysis may not be wholly convincing, Allison’s new book will surely be highly impressive for many readers and a good resource for discussions in courses on contemporary Japan.

David Chiavacci, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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South Asia


BIRTH IN THE AGE OF AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India. By Cecilia Van Hollen. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xii, 274 pp. (Illustrations.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-8423-8.

This book is a ground-breaking investigation into the reproductive lives of HIV-positive women. The ethnographic setting, the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is moreover a very illuminating one for global health. In terms of numbers of people living with HIV, India is second only to South Africa and Nigeria. In Tamil Nadu, the epidemic seems to have escaped its confinement within “high risk groups” and been transmitted to the general population. When Van Hollen began her research in 2004, HIV prevalence in Tamil Nadu was estimated to be 1.1 percent, but in four districts of the state HIV prevalence was at or above 3 percent. Responding quickly to the epidemic, Tamil Nadu became a pioneer state for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and was reputedly successful in bringing the epidemic down by 50 percent between 2003 and 2007. As part of its battery of interventions, in 2000, Tamil Nadu initiated India’s national program of PPTCT (Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission), offering prenatal testing and a dose of nevirapine at the time of delivery to reduce HIV transmission to the child, from 15 to 40 percent to 8 to 10 percent. Van Hollen’s fieldwork, between 2004 and 2008, was embedded within this PPTCT program. It involved interviews with 70 HIV-positive women whom she recruited through HIV care networks, as well as interviews and ethnographic fieldwork within the hospitals involved in the program. Each chapter of the book tells an important story about the ways in which global health standards and practices are refracted by the state, kinship and gender in Tamil Nadu.

Chapter 3 investigates the institutionalization of prenatal HIV testing and the ways in which the global standards of informed consent and confidentiality were put into place. Pretest counselling was not uniform; many of the women Van Hollen interviewed had been tested unaware. To satisfy health funders’ demands for increased uptake of testing, counsellors tried to make the test more palatable by describing it as “like an immunization,” emphasizing the positive effects on conjugal trust in the event of a negative result, but failing to explore the devastation of a positive result. Chapter 4 shows that the counsellors’ emphasis on married women as the “innocent” victims of the sexual transgressions of their husbands was accepted by the women in the study. Interestingly, the counsellors’ encouragement that the women discuss the test with their husbands, part of an attempt to increase testing among spouses, was interpreted as a request for their husbands’ “permission”—which the women asserted that they did not need. In accepting the HIV test without their husbands’ permission, then, Van Hollen argues that the women were exerting agency. Yet ironically, this led them to being tested before their husbands, allowing their husbands and in-laws to scapegoat them. In chapter 5, she discusses the devastation of a positive HIV test result and the stigma that became the defining characteristic of their lives. Against the anthropological consensus about sexual double standards leading to a greater stigmatization of HIV-positive women than men, Van Hollen shows that gendered processes of stigmatization are highly differentiated. In public discourse, men are condemned more than women, who are cast as the “innocent” victims. In private negotiations, the women narrate being outcast by their in-laws, gossiped about or accused of sexual immorality, whilst their husbands were quietly condoned. Yet Van Hollen unpicks these responses, showing that they derive not only from sexist ideology but also, crucially, stem from economic motivations. The blame was most intense after the death of the husband, when the in-laws were faced with the combined tragedy of losing a son and the thorny question of inheritance to the widow and her children. Further complicating matters are cultural understandings of the female reproductive body, which cast women as harbours of the HIV “worm” (kirumi). Chapter 6 examines women’s decision to keep or abort the pregnancy after a positive HIV test result. Van Hollen stresses here the centrality of motherhood within Tamil constructions of femininity, but within patrilineal and patriarchal kinship structures that pressured women to keep the babies to meet the expectations of their husband or his family. Chapter 7 highlights economic constraints and appalling stigmatization in determining where the women could give birth. Chapter 8 discusses the counselling the women receive about infant feeding, showing it to be highly situational, depending on the counsellors’ understandings of whether the women would be financially capable of replacement feeding with formula milk. She explores the women’s positive understandings of the “immune strength” (ethirppu sakti) carried in their breastmilk and the benefits for their children. From this they derive a related term, “resistance strength” (resistance sakti), to talk about their own empowerment as HIV-positive mothers. Finally, in chapter 9, she shows that HIV activist networks have succeeded in empowering HIV-positive women in two key respects: encouraging them to overcome the taboo against widow remarriage, and encouraging them to claim their inheritance.

The book shows convincingly that HIV in Tamil Nadu “runs along the grooves of kinship and marriage relations that serve at times to protect the dignity and health of these women, and at other times to expose them to public indignities” (168). Van Hollen contributes significantly to debates about the authoritarianism of reproductive medicine and the state in South Asia, and women’s gendered agency in negotiating these structures, as well as the ambivalence and destructive guises of kinship. I would have liked to know more about the caste dynamics involved, given that the majority of her informants were lower-class Dalit women. Were there any interactions between the interpretation of HIV through the lens of sexual immorality, and local discourses about the sexual availability of Dalit women’s bodies? But this is an important and accessible book, and an essential teaching resource for reading lists in medical anthropology and sociology, and global health.

Kaveri Qureshi, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom                                                 

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PROSTITUTION AND THE ENDS OF EMPIRE: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India. By Stephen Legg. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 281 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5773-5.

Stephen Legg’s book, Prostitution and the Ends of Empire: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India, is a smart and original contribution to the expansive literature on colonialism and prostitution. Focused on Delhi, Legg seeks to explain why the regulation of prostitution shifted from segregation to suppression between the two world wars. The innovation of his book lies in its methodological orientations, particularly his emphasis on scale. Centering scale allows Legg to foreground the inter-spatial politics of prostitution as it unfolded at the local, national, imperial and global levels and through the struggles of state/ non-state actors and international organizations. Placing scale at the “heart of its methodology,” the book reveals “how the most intimate spaces of desire and intercourse were forever enframed in broader scales of politics, terminology, and movement” (3).

As a geographer interested in scale, Legg is concerned with near and distant geographies and their concatenation. “Rather than taking a body or event and moving back through time” he begins with “a place (Delhi) and moves out through space” (7). In so doing, he considers the effects of forces outside of the city on the governance of prostitution within it. The regulation of prostitution in Delhi, he argues, was shaped by developments in India and elsewhere. The enactment of the Suppression of Moral Traffic Acts (SITAs) in Rangoon, Bombay and Bengal were especially important, as were the activities of imperial feminists, including Meliscent Shephard.

It is in his discussion of SITAs that Legg’s aptitude to read across scales—the local and the national, the specificities of India and the weight of the global—becomes apparent. “Swathed in the patriarchal language of protection and guardianship,” the SITAs “reinforced the state’s powers over women who chose to satisfy the sexual desires of men and to craft their own space within a masculine, political economy” (95). At the surface, this seems no different than what was occurring in other cities in the British Empire. While the SITAs were directly influenced by efforts to regulate prostitution internationally, Legg shows that in India they drew additional potency through Hindu mythology, most notably the Ramayana. The “acronym ‘SITA’ also presented a gift to legislators and campaigners,” Legg argues. “Sita is one of the most revered Hindu goddesses, abducted by the demon King Ravan, and rescued by Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu. Her rescue thus represents the ideal of the anti-traffickers: the passive and victimized woman, returned to the safety of male trusteeship” (96). Legg reads Sita’s exile in the forest as mirroring “the civil abandonment of prostitutes to an urban existence beyond the center of towns, beyond medical care, and beyond social understanding on the basis of a normative judgment regarding their sexuality” (96). Though SITAs were part of a longer global history of legislative interventions aimed at suppressing the trafficking of women and girls and restricting the sexual desires of women, Legg shows how they gained local and national traction through dominant religious and gendered meanings of sexual chastity and purity.

Legg’s book draws effectively on scale as methodology. He also uses scale to organize the book and to introduce its theoretical stakes and engagements. First, each of the three chapters focuses on the brothel, demonstrating how it became a site of intervention that centered on the body, the city, and the empire. Second, Legg draws from an array of archival sources from Delhi, London and Cambridge, producing a detailed and nuanced account of the politics of prostitution. Finally, the book presents a lively theoretical engagement with Michel Foucault on governmentality and Giorgio Agamben on abandonment. But it is here that his archival and historical narrative begins to separate from the intellectual discussion he introduces at the outset.

Building from his previous book and aware of the critiques made by postcolonial scholars, Legg’s interest is in evaluating “the applicability of Foucault’s concepts and observations to the colonial world” (5). He seeks to expand the governmentality literature in two ways: by focusing on scale and the social and by fusing apparatus and assemblage. For Legg apparatuses are “those governing networks with a strategic function and ordering intent.” Assemblages are “their gatherings, heterogeneous groupings, and emergences” (6). He combines the two skillfully, revealing how the shift from segregation to abolition was influenced by the ongoing political dynamics in the city, the Raj, and the empire. A reevaluation of governmentality, Legg argues, continues “the critical dialogue with Foucault and his Eurocentric blind spots” (4).

Legg’s efforts to interweave archival and theoretical insights—to write across scales—makes Prostitution and the Ends of Empire a bold, exciting and ambitious project. But as I read his book, I wanted to hear more on the significance of Foucault and Agamben for the work at hand. I was left wondering how a study such as this—on the colonial state and the suppression of prostitution in interwar India—might encourage a rethinking and reworking of Foucault and Agamben, not for colonial contexts but through colonial contexts. In other words, how might we revise and extend their respective insights on governmentality and abandonment through the specific dynamics of the Indian colonial rule in India, including the governance of prostitution? As I approached the end of the book, I anticipated a return to these larger theoretical questions. Instead, Legg concludes with the methodological promise of scale, the “new ways of thinking” it generates in the study of “late colonialism, early internationalism, and the persistent civil abandonment of women who work with sex” (246). These are important considerations. Foucault and Agamben will just have to wait.

Renisa Mawani, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada               

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THE POLITICS OF RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT IN SRI LANKA: Transnational Commitments to Social Change. Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series. By Eva Gerharz. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xi, 188 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-58229-2.

The politics of reconstruction and development in Sri Lanka provides a perceptive and astute insight into the fascinating universe of Jaffna peninsula during the 2002 to 2006 interlude of the island’s ethno-separatist war. The ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) opened up the long-besieged and isolated peninsula, and cleared the way for some innovative development brokerage. It is indeed a well-chosen site for studying the politics of development.

Gerharz uses the German government aid agency GTZ as an initial vantage point. This is in itself worthwhile, given that this significant and somewhat atypical development actor is largely invisible in the English-language literature. I hasten to add, though, that Gerharz’ book is not the umpteenth upgraded policy report that managed to turn itself into a book. The author managed to release herself from the institutional and discursive trappings of the aid industry. Her interviews, observations and anecdotes will provide readers unfamiliar with war-time Sri Lanka with a well-illustrated insight into the absurdities and normalities of everyday life during crisis. Those with first-hand experience will probably nod, sigh or chuckle in recognition of some of Gerharz’s observations.

Following two contextual chapters—one on the ethno-political conflict, the other specifically on Jaffna—the empirical core of the book comprises four loosely structured chapters. Chapter 4 discusses the intended and unintended outcomes of GTZ’s repositioning after the 2002 ceasefire. Gerharz places these in the context of the convoluted political order, where Sri Lankan state institutions and the LTTE’s attempt at de facto sovereign rule elbow for legitimacy. She carefully navigates the ambivalent stance of her respondents with regard to insurgent governance. Coercion, brutality and forced recruitment stand side by side with the preservation of order and public morale: low crime and corruption, efficient coordination, and honouring of traditions. This then sets the stage for some of the later contentions around development, order, change and moral anxiety.

Chapter 5 introduces the red thread in Gerharz’s scholarship: transnationalism, more specifically the Tamil diaspora and their role in development efforts. She discusses diaspora projects and contrasts them with Jaffna-based religious initiatives, resulting in some critical reflections around local knowledge, ownership and progress. Diaspora Tamils make a particularly useful contribution through their computer skills and their mastery of English-language development paradigms, we learn in chapter 6. This not only benefits Jaffna’s somewhat archaic NGO scene, but the LTTE as well. Gerharz sheds light on the conundrums around the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a registered international NGO, but effectively an LTTE outreach mechanism. Chapter 7 engages with some of the cultural clashes and moral panic associated with diaspora return to Jaffna. Grandmothers find themselves astounded at the life style of their family members from Western countries, the girls in particular. The book usefully juxtaposes contentions around governance and development with wider anxieties about cultural purity and tradition. This yields a nuanced multi-layered analysis of community, moral order, gender and othering in a society undergoing rapid transition.

The final two chapters seek to transform this fascinating narrative into some conclusions about the politics of development and reconstruction. The author introduces four conceptual takes on development (external service delivery, spirituality and secularism, social (in)equality and autonomy) and discusses knowledge struggles over development. The final chapter comprises a postwar epilogue, with a nutshell overview of the resumption of war, the defeat of the LTTE, and the militarized postwar developments. Gerharz concludes that the international peace-building agenda disintegrated as Sri Lanka’s new government embraced the war on terror and “home-grown solutions.”

The book’s strengths do not lie in the overall argument. Gerharz aspires to unravel how development is negotiated between local communities, aid workers, state agencies, rebels and diaspora groups. And she does so quite well. But her observations do not result in a larger conceptual move or theoretical claim, other than underlining the complicated, multi-layered, contextualized nature of development. Gerharz adopts an actor-oriented approach to take issue with simplistic policy paradigms: overly instrumental perspectives on the migration-development nexus (diaspora are not one homogeneous actor that can be deployed), the so-called “global peace-building consensus” (peace and development do not simply go hand in hand) and its Sri Lankan variant, the “Kilinochchi consensus” (the idea that development efforts and peace dividends will transform the LTTE is ill-founded). In itself, these are valid points, but they are well established and could have been better embedded in existing scholarship. Engagement with authors such as Mark Duffield, Oliver Richmond, Rajesh Venugopal and Benedikt Korf, to name some authors that remain uncited, would have made sense.

Moreover, the book’s criticism of wider policy agendas lacks the nuance and insight that characterizes the empirical parts of the book. The eye for detail and multiple perspectives, which allows us to see the many layers and dimensions of Jaffna society, seems to fail Gerharz when she reviews the policy landscape. After all, it is highly doubtful that there ever was much of a real consensus in Sri Lanka (or globally) about development and peace-building. Donors struggled all along to close ranks around the peace process: views, interest and positions were rather divergent and this became abundantly clear when the going got tough. Capturing the diversity of actors and perspectives under the label of a global peace-building consensus, only to argue that this outlook is too simplistic, leaves readers with a straw-man argument.

The book’s nuanced empirical chapters deserve better, and it is these chapters that make the book worth the read. Gerharz skilfully weaves together a wide variety of interesting characters into a coherent and readable narrative without forcing them into pre-conceived roles: Christian priests, Australian Tamil idealists and tourists, insurgent bureaucrats, puritan grandmothers, German administrators and innovative refugees. And in doing so, she gives us a skilful glimpse of how development is brokered in the globalized socio-cultural market place that Jaffna is.

Bart Klem, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

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TRANSFORMING INDIA: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy. By Sumantra Bose. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 337 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05066-2.

There is an old adage that “a week is a long time in politics,” and scholars are understandably rather cautious about predicting future political trends. At the time that this book was written, however, the strong statement made by Sumantra Bose, that “Coalition governments in New Delhi are a certainty for the foreseeable future” (109), would have seemed unexceptional to most observers of Indian politics. The Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government was mired in corruption scandals, and seemed to lack decisive leadership, but the principal alternative party at the national level, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with leadership problems of its own, had failed to offer convincing opposition. So, looking forward from early-mid 2013 to the general elections of the following year, it appeared more or less certain that the post-election alignments of strongly supported regional political parties would determine the character of the next central government of India, as they had done since the mid-1990s. Bose and others could not have anticipated the dramatic consequences of the BJP’s decision in September 2013 that Narendra Modi would be its candidate for the position of prime minister. Modi led an extraordinary, presidential-style campaign, backed with massive financial resources, and the BJP won an absolute majority in May 2014. Bose’s further strong statement, that “the era of nationwide leaders is definitively in the past” (293) has also been falsified, for Modi continues to dominate Indian national politics in a way matched by no other leader since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The general election that followed her death was also the last time that the electorate delivered an absolute majority to a single party.

But does the apparent falsification of his analysis of the political trends that are shaping India today, mean that Bose’s book is now of little value? Almost certainly not, because the regionally based political parties that he believes to underlie the transformation of India’s democracy—the subject of the book—have not gone away as a result of Modi’s great victory. It is not at all unlikely that regional political leaders will once again hold the balance of power at the national level. Bose’s central argument, which draws some inspiration, explicitly and implicitly, from the work of Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph, is that India has become a “decentred democracy.” In his words: “The bottom-up federalization of India’s politics in the post-Congress era—an evolution rooted in the nation’s diversity and driven by the will of its people [through their support for regional parties]—means that the lives of the vast majority of Indians will be shaped by the dominant feature of India’s decentred democracy in the early twenty-first century: regionalization and regionalisms” (109). The argument is developed through an engagingly written account, in the first two chapters of the book, of the history of Indian politics since Independence, focusing especially on the significance of what was going on at the state level. This is followed by three chapters, each one of which stands more or less on its own, taking up specific themes: the history of democracy in the state of West Bengal; the story of the challenge posed to Indian democracy by the Maoists, who are organized in “a loose, possibly unstable federation of regional movements” (222) across a swathe of territory in the centre and east of the country; and finally a chapter on the “Kashmir Question” (on which Bose wrote a fine earlier book, Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003]). A short conclusion looks to the future of India’s democracy as a “full-blooded federation of state-based polities” (296), in which much will depend on how regional leaders perform. Can they provide competent governance? Can they adopt a national perspective when it is needed? Can they together forge consensual decision making (or in a term familiar from Spain and Latin America, realize concertacion)? These are indeed critically important questions for India’s future. The auguries are decidedly mixed. Regional leaders have not so far shown much inclination for concertacion or for taking a national perspective. On the other hand, as Bose says, “the most intelligent of the state-based elected leaders” (293), like Mr. Modi in his earlier avatar as the long-term chief minister of Gujarat, have shown an increasing concern for demonstrating their performance in implementing strategic programs, instead of ruling through patronage.

Transforming India is neither a contemporary history comparable with Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi (London: Pan Macmillan, 2007), nor a thorough-going work of political science such as Atul Kohli’s Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). It runs the risk, therefore, of falling between two stools. The core argument is an important one, though it seems to this reader, at least, to be somewhat one-sided, paying too little attention to questions of political economy. In this regard Indian federalism remains quite strongly centralized. The “federation of state-based polities” that India is becoming is perhaps less “full-blooded” than Bose suggests. His book is, nonetheless, a stimulating and distinctive addition to the wave of publications about the “new India.”

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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THE ALL-INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE, 1906-1947: A Study of Leadership in the Evolution of a Nation. By Mary Louise Becker. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2013. xlii, 295 pp. US$27.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-19-906014-6.

Marie Louise Becker was an American scholar-diplomat who, it appears, dedicated much of her life, and a vast amount of intellectual energy, to enhancing the understanding of what Pakistan was, or indeed is, about. Her interest in what has at times been called “the most bizarre country in the world” led her to an intense examination of the concepts of nationalism and of leadership, and how these interacted with each other, finding fruition in the creation of one of the world’s largest nation-states. The book is actually meant to be a study of the Muslim League, in the first four decades of its existence, but this leads naturally into an analysis of the leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam (meaning “the great leader”) Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the intensity of whose ideas, the depth of whose commitments, and the persistence of whose unrelenting endeavours changed the map and the politics of the region and the world. By 1940, when the Muslim League adopted what is called the Pakistan Resolution in Lahore, Jinnah was the party’s undisputed leader.

Born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai in Karachi in 1876, he changed it to a simpler and more anglicized Mohammed Ali Jinnah while in England. Jinnah lived just over seven decades, and died in 1948, not far from where he was born, in Pakistan, in a country he did more than most others to create. Discussing his life, Becker quotes Professor Stanley Wolpert’s slightly hagiographic summary: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation state. Mohammed Ali Jinnah did all three”(xxii). Intensely secular in lifestyle, habits and behaviour, and deeply fond of most things English, Jinnah used the Western political idiom of the nation-state, and carried forward with incredible passion and against great odds, that the Muslims of India were a separate nation. He gave ideological battle to towering personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, shrugged off the unfriendliness of the British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, often rode roughshod over opposition in his own camp, and managed to carve out a new country, one for his co-religionists, the Muslims of India. Becker attributes “incorruptibility” and “bravery” to him, and writes that he was an a “lone figure,” he also had “an air of mystery around him”(192). In her words, he was also a “superb showman,” a quality essential to moving masses.

But Jinnah also made mistakes, serious ones, which came to light only two and a half decades following his death; their seeds, however, were sown in his lifetime. One of those was his failure to gauge the sentiments of a large segment of the subcontinental Muslim population, the East Bengali Muslims, who ironically were the great champions of his goal of the creation of Pakistan. Jinnah was unable to foresee the power of language, in addition to religion, as a force of nationalism, and his preference for Urdu over Bengali as the national lingua franca of Pakistan deeply offended the Bengalis, who constituted the majority of the nation’s citizenry. Secondly, his tendency to concentrate all powers in himself failed to lay the foundations of a democratic tradition in Pakistan, which not only led to the bloody separation of Bangladesh in 1971, but to a huge political instability that marks that country’s politics today. These fall outside the purview of the scope of Becker’s work, but nonetheless merit mention, as the causes of these upheavals were to be found in the time-period that the author covered, ie, 1906 to 1947.

The book is an interesting study of nationalism, which Becker describes as “an infinitely complex, dynamic and emotional phenomenon most accurately considered by subjective rather than objective criteria”(xiv). She goes on to define a nation as being “not based upon what outsiders determine, but upon what a specific group of people feels and believes itself to be”(xiv). The author also discusses how three principal and necessary ingredients were present during the rise of Pakistan: “an integrated community possessing distinctive and group characteristics; a particular set of circumstances under which the community would respond to the call of nationalism; and the national leadership which has coordinated the first two to produce a self-conscious nation seeking an independent political existence in a national state”(vii). The book tells the story of how all these conditions were brought together.

The author narrates the tale in a manner reflecting deep research. Becker recounts the gradual rise in Muslim consciousness through the “Muslim Renaissance in India” (leading personalities were Nawab Abdul Latif, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of the Aligarh Movement fame, Chirag Ali, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, and the poet Shibli Nomani); the establishment of the All India Muslim League on 30 December 1906 in Dhaka (present-day Bangladesh) under the stewardship of Nawab Sir Salimullah, the Aga Khan et al.; the conflict between the League and the Indian National Congress; Jinnah’s shift in role from the “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” to being the champion of Muslim separatism, cheered on by the philosopher Sir Mohammed Iqbal and leading to the nascence of the “promised land” (Pakistan) for the Muslims. Certain minor errors, however, seem to have crept into the volume. On page 41 for instance, Pherozeshah Mehta, a Congress leader, is described as a “moderate Hindu,” when in reality he was a Parsi, a distinctly different religious persuasion. Another issue that editorial tightening should have addressed is the confusing impression an unwary reader may face in thinking that “the Honourable Syed Amir Ali” (69) and Amir Ali (53) are two different persons, when actually, they are the same (author of The Spirit of Islam).

In contemporary times, great interest should be expected in a work such as this, for the following reason: The creation of Pakistan was the product of the Westphalian logic of  sovereign states for separate nations, albeit in a non-Western milieu; this can be perceived as an acceptable counter-narrative to the current Islamist notion , espoused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of a single Islamic ‘caliphate’ spanning across many nation-states with Muslim-majority populations.The author, Marie Louise Becker is sadly no longer with us, having passed on in 2012 at the age of 84, but her scholarship marks an important and still relevant contribution to the literature on nationalism.

Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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MEDIATING THE GLOBAL: Expatria’s Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu. By Heather Hindman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013. viii, 277 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8651-5

Who mediates neoliberalism, and how are those individuals’ own lives transformed in the process? Heather Hindman’s Mediating the Global: Expatria’s Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu is a poignant investigation of this question through an ethnography of expatriate lives in Nepal’s capital city in the 1990s and 2000s. In this important contribution to the anthropologies of development and work—as well as to development studies, international business, human resources and South Asian studies—Hindman offers an incisive yet sympathetic account of the intimate challenges that “global middlemen” face in their daily lives.

The book is not a kneejerk critique of international aid or global capitalism, but rather a view into the family dramas, consumption practices and subjectivities of those who are “asked to be implementers of neoliberalism and also find themselves its objects” (217). Hindman asks us to consider how those tasked with implementing such agendas, through both governmental and non-governmental agencies, often suffer the negative consequences of their own policies at a personal level. This perspective takes us beyond the “dyad of originating site and destination site” (219) in studies of globalization to explore the crucial role of mediation and mediators.

The location of the study in Kathmandu is in some ways incidental to the author’s portrayal of “Expatria” as a deterritorialized polity that “shared many of the characteristics of a small town” (9). Expatria’s inhabitants are linked through “postings” across the globe, from Mali to Peru, Indonesia to Oman. But Hindman is clear that this is not a book written in the “simple language of flows and exchange” (219) between disparate locations. Rather, it is a sited, historically contextualized ethnography that tells us much about Nepal’s position in the current global conjuncture. Through the experiences of its expatriate inhabitants, we come to understand how Nepal has been shaped by the economic and geopolitical forces that have deposited these often unlikely residents in Kathmandu. In this way, although the book is not about Nepalis themselves—except in cameo appearances as household help or elite international women’s group members—it begins to suggest how Nepali lives are increasingly mediated by the global.

With an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion, the book explores expatriate life from several angles. Chapter 1 considers whether contemporary expatriates in Nepal can be compared with British colonials elsewhere. The answer is “not really.” This is both because Nepal was never formally colonized and so the postcolonial optic that shapes much scholarship on South Asia does not fully apply, but perhaps more importantly because “the widespread aspiration to the status of ‘being global’” (40) is a recent phenomenon, dating to the late twentieth century.

Chapters 2 and 3, “Families that Fail” and “Market Basket Economics,” constitute the ethnographic heart of the book. Here we meet several expat couples and families in the 1990s, whose experiences either exemplify corporate and governmental expectations of “success,” or illustrate the embarrassment of failure. Hindman shows how a heteronormative family with children that relies upon the uncompensated labour of a (usually female) spouse was long the unquestioned kinship model at the heart of expatriate “packages” used to compensate international employees. Of course many real families deviated in some way, but the pressure to conform could tear them apart.

In one of the book’s most poignant ethnographic moments, Hindman describes how a group of expat women forego serving rice at a planned party because the foreigner-oriented supermarket is out of boxed Uncle Ben’s rice, without even considering the possibility of buying rice in bulk from a local shop (100). This example shows how expats must negotiate between consumption practices intended to replicate “home,” as dictated by idealized compensation categories promoted by their home governments and companies, and the reality of Nepali markets and their fluctuations. For Hindman, this day-to-day “labor of producing normalcy” (79) is an often misrecognized element of expat livelihoods that demands better analysis—rather than derision—from anthropologists.

The remaining three chapters take us further behind the scenes to show how structural transformations began to render the “package expatriates” described in chapters 2 and 3 obsolete by the early 2000s. Corporate investment in “cross-cultural training” (chapter 5) gave way to new communication technologies (chapter 6) and an emergent ideal of the flexible, unattached single worker (chapter 4). These changes were driven by economic downturns in the “Global North” as well as new corporate paradigms of “flexibility” that transformed “displacement from a source of concern to a job benefit” (134). At the same time, Nepal’s Maoist-state civil conflict (1996-2006) accelerated, making it seem a less than ideal posting for families with children. Single, short-term contractors began to take their place, in turn shaping the commodities and services—and therefore employment—available in Kathmandu.

This confluence between global labour paradigms and national political scenarios takes us to the heart of Kathmandu’s ongoing transformation. The scaling back of expatriate consumption has been paralleled by the entry of ever greater numbers of Nepalis onto the city’s increasingly conspicuous landscape of consumption. Fuelled by remittances earned by the approximately 25 percent of Nepal’s workforce employed outside the country—many of whom left directly or indirectly due to the conflict—it is now primarily Nepalis who populate the restaurants and supermarkets that Hindman describes as the province of expatriates in decades past. The iconic landmark that was once Mike’s Breakfast—the restaurant pictured on the Hindman’s cover—has now become a bar catering to young Nepalis. Their experiences as construction workers in the Gulf, university students in North America, or hotel receptionists in Korea, and the ways their earnings and shifts in consciousness are changing Kathmandu demand new research. Heather Hindman is already ahead of the curve, with recent articles focusing on Nepali experiences of the language exam required to work in Korea, and the political views of city youth returned from abroad. Understanding these eminently Nepali experiences of global mediation is a welcome next step that nicely complements Hindman’s excellent first monograph.

Sara Shneiderman, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                     

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THE RIGHT SPOUSE: Preferential Marriages in Tamil Nadu. By Isabelle Clark-Decès. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. x, 204 pp. (Figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-9049-9.

This wonderfully written book is about changing marriage practices in Tamilnadu, South India. Dravidian Kinship has been characterized as a mammoth “system” in the study of kinship in India/South Asia, and in general, in anthropology. This book provides an update by taking us back into the world of Kallars, made famous by Louis Dumont. The author looks at the “rights” (murai) that some kin have over others when it comes to marriage. Such a concept of entitlement could have “moral and emotional consequences when matrimonial rights are denied” (2). For consequences there are, and quite traumatic and exacting ones at that. The subject of kinship is made real and “visible” in this ethnography. The author convincingly argues that ignoring kinship (“demotion,” as the author puts it) would deprive anthropology of some remarkable practices which may soon “disappear” (3).

Clark-Decès starts with a detailed discussion of the various theories of kinship delineated for Tamilnadu by Dumont and Good. The excessive attention paid to kinship terminology meant that the “logic of marriage rules” was overlooked (6), and for a long time Dumont’s structuralist model of marriage alliances was the governing paradigm. This was refuted by Good when he started looking at marriage “at the level of practice” (8). His assertion that “uncle-niece marriage” was the most preferred in Tamilnadu/South India changed the understanding of kinship and marriage (9).

The author presents her case with three main arguments. The first is that instead of focusing on kinship terminologies, the emphasis should be on murai, rights of marriage endowed on some individuals over others. But this right can be challenged and subverted, thus giving rise to violence, vanmurai. The case studies in the later chapters establish that “when a ‘right’ marriage does not take place, the missed opportunity can deeply, and negatively, affect one’s sense of self” (16). Clark-Deces next calls for an examination of the mother-daughter duo as the “atom” of Tamil kinship, not brother-sister (16). These two women, and other sisters, are heavily invested in arranging (or de-arranging) matrimonial alliances. The final point is about exploring why close-kin marriages are no longer preferred, from the perspective of young people and their experience of close kin relationships (20).

Why is the mother’s brother “inherently different” (37)? Clark-Deces demonstrates in chapter 1 how a once criminalized group has now become economically and politically powerful by looking at the significance of gift-giving as evidence. The mother’s brother bears nearly or more than half of the expenditure of a girl’s wedding, even if that share of burden is undocumented. The small sums of rupees given, now run into several hundred thousands, most of which is entered into further circulation of capital through investments in real estate and trade. This “ritual cooperative” (32) has not only helped the Kallars become dominant, but has also ensured that gift-giving remains important, especially from the mother’s brother(s).

Probing Tamil terms like contam (mine) and anniyam (other), the author argues in chapter 2 that “entitlement rather than exchange” is the organizing principle of Tamil kinship relations (38). To suggest that “I own my kin and whatever they have” is to affirm not only “right” but also to give back in the same way. This practice then leads to “doing the right thing,” (43) such as a man marrying his mother’s brother’s daughter. Murai not only means “right” but also “order.” Murai ensures democracy in that everyone has the possibility to receive the right gift or the right woman. But when this right does not play out as it should, then it begets violence (53-56).

But marriages are as much about power play, in the sense defined by Bourdieu (58-59). Chapter 3 illustrates in great detail two marriages that were not “right” because the persons concerned were not in control of things themselves; the same “right” rules of kinship did them in. Kallar ideas of what applies to elder siblings and those in the lower order ends up becoming an ordeal in some lives. “Marriages missed” (74) extract a heavy toll.

On the “mother’s brother,” Clark-Deces argues in chapter 4 that in uncle-niece marriages, the uncle is the sacrificial being. The women around him—his mother and his (elder) sister—are the primary movers and shakers, forming the “most critical bond” (90). In such marriages, money transactions from the bride’s family are considerably reduced. Uncle-niece marriages are also preferred by most castes in Tamilnadu because it brings familiar kin together, especially a woman and her natal kin, and reduces chances for conflict.

Critiquing Trawick’s (1990) Oedipal take on brother-sister relationships among Tamils, Clark-Deces proclaims in chapter 5 that it is “entitlement,” rather than any sexual longing, which results in cross-kin marriage (103). But this close “chain of kinship” can also become “unbearable,” as is demonstrated in one “wrong” marriage, with devastating consequences for those involved.

Clark-Deces discusses change in the Tamil marriage system in chapter 6. While uncle-niece marriages are fast disappearing, cross-cousin marriages are also less favoured. A decreasing birth rate, and widespread belief that close kin marriages result in genetic defects in children, or “medicalisation of spouse selection” as she puts it (124), have resulted in the decreasing popularity of the “right” kin as spouse. Instead, young people imagine their future to be more about social mobility and less about family ties.

The last chapter is about young Tamils’ understanding of love, particularly the unrequited kind. The changing socio-economic landscape of the state has left many young people in rural areas with neither the qualifications to compete in the neoliberal economy nor the desire to engage in agriculture. They find themselves in a conundrum when it comes to pursuing their love interests. Through the lives of two people, Clark-Deces illustrates the hopeless situation they are placed in, unable to marry the ones they love, and being rejected by “right” kin for having lost out in the race.

This beautifully written study on the “emotional cosmology” of Tamil kinship (165) is an important contribution to the anthropology of kinship. It will be of interest to scholars in anthropology, South Asian studies, gender, and to anyone interested in what’s going on in the marriage scene in India.

Haripriya Narasimhan, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India

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THE PARIAH PROBLEM: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India. Cultures of History. By Rupa Viswanath. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xviii, 396 pp. (Maps.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16306-4.

Rupa Viswanath’s The Pariah Problem is a study of Dalits in the Madras Presidency, south India, between the 1890s and 1920s. It is an outstanding work of historical scholarship, based on innovative, assiduous archival research and a through reading of relevant literature, which carefully examines the data and relevant theoretical problems, and advances original conclusions about the position of Dalits in India today, as well as in the past.

Dalits in south India have been known by various terms, but their miserable condition was first publicly identified as a problem that afflicted “Pariahs,” an anglicization of “Paraiyar,” the name of the largest Dalit caste in Tamil Nadu (formerly part of Madras). The Pariahs’ condition, Viswanath insists, was a function of both class and caste, because they were unfree landless labourers or slaves, and also degraded because they were excluded from society proper, as constituted by the higher castes. In the late nineteenth century, an alliance developed between Pariahs and Protestant missionaries, mainly because Pariahs actively sought out missionaries, rather than the other way around. The alliance gave Pariahs new resources to combat local, village oppressors and the missionaries’ interventions eventually forced British officials to recognize the reality of the Pariah problem, an event Viswanath dates to a government report in 1892.

Officials, however, were reluctant to tackle the Pariah problem vigorously, because they did not want to alienate the landed elite groups whose support was vital for imperial rule, and they feared that interfering with traditional customs would be dangerously provocative, especially if the customs were religious ones. The missionaries viewed the Pariahs’ degraded, untouchable status as essentially linked to the Hindu religion, and their understanding became part of how the colonial government and rural elites conceptualized the problem. Hence any attempt to truly ameliorate the Pariahs’ condition could be deemed offensive to the rights and sentiments of all other Hindus. Moreover, the notion that relations between high-caste masters and untouchable servants were mutually harmonious, rather than exploitative, was pervasive in government circles, among both British officials and their numerous Indian colleagues and subordinates.

In the early twentieth century, the government, partly influenced by new liberal ideas of social welfare in England, cooperated with missionaries in granting new house sites to Panchamas (as Pariahs came to be called). Such initiatives provoked serious opposition from higher-caste landlords, however, and officials were unwilling to confront them. Starting in 1918, the government nominated several Dalits to the reformed Madras Legislative Council and some became vocal members of it, demanding equal rights of access to public space and facilities. But high-caste council members and British officials responded by insisting that because the untouchables’ problems were social, not political, peoples’ minds had to change before reform could be effective. Hence even progressive nationalists evaded the reality of the Pariah problem by defining political and legal problems as social problems, primarily within Hindu society. That definition and the outlook it entails, Viswanath argues, remain “deeply embedded in political, scholarly, and legislative responses to the plight of Dalits in the present day” (241).

Viswanath writes well and presents her arguments clearly in the main text of 258 pages. The 84 pages of endnotes, however, are burdensome. Unfortunately, too, bibliographic references in them are sometimes inadequate; for instance, citations never indicate whether the voluminous proceedings of the Madras Board of Revenue were consulted in the Tamil Nadu State Archives or British Library, although the two sets are not identical. Furthermore, the endnotes contain too much digressive material, probably surviving from her PhD thesis. A lot of this content deserves to be in the main text and checking this is tedious, especially because no footers cross-referencing page numbers are printed in the endnotes.

One significant issue mentioned only briefly is the difference between Paraiyars, Pallars and Chakkiliyars (3). The first two “specific caste terms” were practically synonymous with terms for agrestic servants or “slaves,” and “to be a Pariah was to be a laboring servant” (28), but an endnote confirms this does not mean that “all laborers were Pariahs, although virtually all Pariahs were laborers” (n. 19, 273). If I understand Viswanath correctly, “Pariah” primarily denoted someone belonging both to the servile labouring class and an untouchable caste. The populous Paraiyars gave their name to the whole untouchable category; nonetheless, the less numerous Pallars were and are a different caste group, often said to rank above Paraiyars, and the Chakkiliyars are a third, still smaller caste group normally ranked lowest. Even in modern Dalit political organizations, the three groups are not always united, and their social divisions persist in many localities (Robert Deliège, The Untouchables of India, Berg, 1999, 58-62; Hugo Gorringe, Untouchable Citizens, Sage, 2005, 55-64). Viswanath says hardly anything about these divisions during the period she discusses and sometimes I was unclear whether her book’s “Pariahs” belonged to all untouchable castes or were Paraiyars only.

The book’s virtues greatly outweigh its flaws, however. One important research innovation is Viswanath’s combined use of the separate missionary and government records, which has contributed to her original finding that Pariahs actively sought out missionaries, rather than passively waiting for them to proselytize. She also shows that Dalits—not just Brahmans and non-Brahmans—mattered in south Indian colonial history and that, too, is a major step forward. Other historians and anthropologists have previously argued that servitude or slavery, as well as ritual pollution and status inferiority, define untouchability, but none has done so more effectively than Viswanath. Her explanation of how the Pariah problem in Madras became social-cum-religious, instead of political and legal, is consistent with modern ethnographic evidence, although her claim that “hurt Hindu sentiments,” rather than undermined privileges, “became central to the discussion of the Pariah” (131) sounds anachronistically contemporary. Finally, though not everyone will agree with her extrapolations to the current state of Dalit affairs in India, Viswanath makes a persuasive case and her book deserves a wide readership.

C. J. Fuller, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom

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RIGHTEOUS REPUBLIC: The Political Foundations of Modern India. By Ananya Vajpeyi. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. xxiv, 342 pp. (Map, illus.) C$157.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-04895-9.

The Righteous Republic is an ambitious book. Through an exploration of the category of swaraj (commonly translated as self-rule), it seeks to understand what constitutes the “self” for five “founders” of India. That four of the five founders are Mohandas Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhim Rao Ambedkar is not surprising. The fifth—artist Abanindranath Tagore—is a somewhat surprising inclusion. Vajpeyi argues that each of the founders experienced a “crisis in the self” (xiv) and that each of them turned to Indian or Indic traditions to overcome it. Vajpeyi’s aim is to tell the story of the “quest of the five founders for an Indian selfhood hitherto obscured by foreign domination” (10). She also refers to “Muslim traditions of inquiry into self and sovereignty in the making of India” (33), but admits that she does not have the wherewithal to understand the intellectual antecedents of thinkers like Sayyid Ahmed Khan, Mohammed Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Maulana Azad.

While swaraj is the “master category” of the book, Vajpeyi’s major innovation is to isolate one category to frame the thoughts of each of the five founders. So for Gandhi the relevant category is ahimsa (non-violence), for Rabindranath viraha (longing), for Abanindranath samvega (shock), for Nehru dharma (law/order) and for Ambedkar duhkha (suffering). She explicates each category by interrogating the relationship between the founders and key texts in their lives. While no one can doubt that ahimsa defined Gandhi’s thinking and action, the other categories do not have the same kind of resonance for the other founders. It then becomes a box in which Vajpeyi is forced to categorize each founder’s thinking. It also seems that the founders, except for Gandhi, themselves rarely used the categories employed by Vajpeyi.

This is particularly true for Ambedkar and the category of duhkha. Vajpeyi points out in the chapter on Ambedkar that he repudiated the “Four Noble Truths” of the Buddha, which included duhkha, duhkha samudaya, duhkha nirodha and nirvana. The centrepiece of the chapter is an interesting analysis of Amebdkar’s conversion to Buddhism along with nearly 400,000 of his followers in 1956, which remains a bit of a puzzle to this day. But the analysis—which among other things rightly says that Ambedkar “attempted to disassociate himself and his people from the humiliating roles assigned to them in the narratives so dear to the Hindus” (225)—does not convincingly establish the centrality of duhkha in Ambedkar’s thought.

The analysis of Tagore’s thought through his engagement with the fifth century Sanskrit poet Kalidasa’s long poem, Meghaduta (The Cloud Messenger), is unusual. While it could plausibly be argued that Rabindranath develops the category of viraha in his Meghaduta corpus (five poems written over fifty years), whether viraha defines the entire body of his work could be contested. The same could be said for the centrality of samvega in Abanindranath’s paintings. But Vajpeyi is right when she says, “The Tagores sought more than India’s liberation from British rule. They sought self-knowledge in the harness of poetry, in the protocols of painting, in the strains of music, in the intimations of a tradition that for thousands of years had pursued nothing if not to know that, the very One that knows” (167).

Vajpeyi is on surer ground in her analysis of Gandhi, partly because Gandhi himself had much to say on ahimsa. Vajpeyi makes the Bhagavad Gita central to Gandhi’s conception of ahimsa. She argues that Gandhi understood the Gita very differently from his contemporaries, reading it as a “text of ahimsa.” She writes that for Gandhi, “the Gita was the best possible guide to self-knowledge, ethical action, psychic discipline, and transcendental freedom in any circumstance, every single day throughout one’s life, and not just a dramatization of moral crisis and its resolution within a political framework” (75-76).

In her chapter on Nehru, Vajpeyi captures the inherent tensions in Nehru’s thought through the binary of dharma and artha. She does this by examining Nehru’s TheDiscovery of India, his adoption of Buddhist symbols for the Indian state and, as India’s first prime minister, his Letters to Chief Ministers. She describes Nehru’s dilemma eloquently: “The Janus-faced modern state provides a key to the split between Nehru’s dharma-oriented and artha-oriented tendencies: one the one hand, a massively popular freedom writer—passionate, ardent, eloquent, and principled—and on the other, a beleaguered elected administrator—scientific, systematic, deliberative, and compromising” (172).

The Righteous Republic is an impressive intellectual history of modern India. Vajpeyi seeks to correct the neglect of Indian intellectual traditions in constructing the lives and ideologies of India’s founders. As Vajpeyi points out the founders drew their understandings of selfhood from “Hindu and Buddhist texts, from Buddhist and Mughal artifacts, from traditions that were classical and vernacular, living and dying, ancient and recent” (xxiii). She successfully excavates some of these intellectual traditions though at the cost of positing what seems too rigid a dichotomy between Indian and Western traditions and the imposition of one category to frame the thought of each of her five founders of India.

Ronojoy Sen, National University of Singapore, Singapore                                                 

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1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh. By Srinath Raghavan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 358 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72864-6.

This book deftly and intricately shows the various hesitations, strategies, machinations, contexts, geopolitical interests, complex mixture of motives, strategic interactions and unintended consequences that went into understanding the events of East Pakistan and the subsequent independence of Bangladesh during the nine months from March 1971. The book outlines the games of chess that were being played by various actors and countries in determining their support, hesitation and encouragement to the movements in East Pakistan or to the activities of the West Pakistani government. Based on exhaustive archival research in various countries, this book brings out the intricate details and behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of the big stories that are intertwined with the known and lesser-known political narratives of 1971.

The prologue and the first two chapters map the situation in 1971 leading to the chilling events of Operation Searchlight on March 25 by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh. The subsequent chapters outline the role of the Indian government and the varied reasons for its support and scepticism of the movements and struggles in Bangladesh; the Kissinger-Nixon and US government machinations over its support for Pakistan in order to seek an alliance with China; and the reluctance of the Russians in supporting Bangladesh. The chapter titled “Poster Child and Pariah” shows how “Bangladesh distilling the hopes and fears of the swinging sixties” (147) and the atrocities relating to the war catches international attention. The next chapter outlines the different diplomatic manoeuvres undertaken by varied countries; the complicated strategies that determined China’s concerns; and increased support by the Indian government followed by the victory of the Indian army over the Pakistani military strength. The epilogue maps the impact of 1971 on the Bangladeshi political trajectory.

The book is fantastic in locating the war of 1971 within varied sets of local and international contexts: namely public opinion, globalization, humanitarian politics, and sixties counterculture, especially music, the global and Pakistani student revolts of 1968, and diasporas. The events of Biafra, the Vietnam War, international and internal dynamics within the White House and its need to align with China, communal politics in India, the dynamics of Congress politics and Indira Gandhi’s advisors—all of these factors impinged on the course of events in 1971 and its consequences thereafter. The book shows how the Russian government did not want Pakistan to break up and rather than Cold War realpolitik (which was the main reason for USA’s involvement with the 1971 war), it was concerned about Chinese influence in East Pakistan. Similarly India’s scepticism and support for Bangladesh liberation waxed and waned in the early months of the liberation struggle and only gained momentum in the last few months of 1971. Overall, the book brings out the central role of refugees as political tools and shows that relationships with China were pivotal to the diplomatic manoeuvres relating to 1971.

The book makes a substantial contribution to the disciplines of international relations and diplomacy. However one of the conspicuous absences in this book is the lack of reference to the extensive history of rape during 1971 and how it became a tool for international relations. The issue of rape is mentioned once in the epilogue when referring to collaborators who are being tried by the current Bangladesh war crimes tribunal. There is no dearth of images, photographs and press reports on rapes during 1971 and the raped woman emerged as a mobilizing figure for various national and international actors. In the documentary Dateline Bangladesh (1972), Indira Gandhi, in making a case for India’s humanitarian and military intervention in the Bangladesh war said: “Shall we sit and watch their women get raped?” On The Frost Programme (1972), Sheikh Mujib agonized over how Muslim men could rape Muslim women. In fact Raghavan, when referring to the existing scholarship on 1971 relating to memory, violence and identity (5), seems to suggest, disdainfully, that “these themes detracted from a serious engagement with the staid but ineluctable questions on the causes, course and consequences of the conflict.” In fact the global history of Bangladesh is not confined to the diplomatic games of chess described in this book. The history of rape during 1971 is intrinsically a global one given the intricacies of abortion and adoption, and the images and photographs – all of which involved individuals from across the world and a global audience (Nayanika Mookherjee, The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971, Duke University Press, 2015).

There is a brief reference to the East Pakistanis being “animal cunning” (46) but the Bengali Muslim discourse is not further expanded. However this point is raised in the case of the Pakistani army’s perception of themselves with regard to the Indian army. Following from the British martial policy one Muslim soldier is deemed to be equal to ten Hindu soldiers. However that this policy itself is deemed to be a reason for the instances of rape in the case of 1971 is lost on the author. According to Bangadeshi accounts, the Pakistani army perpetrated the rapes so as to make better Muslims of the ‘half Muslim’ Hinduized Bengalis of East Pakistan. (Nayanika Mookherjee, “The absent piece of skin: Sexual violence in the Bangladesh war and its gendered and racialised inscriptions,” in Modern Asian Studies 46, no. 6 [2012]: 1572-1601). The book also remains uncritical of Khandaker Mushtaque (218), needs to elaborate more on the Militant leaders of March 1971 (mentioned throughout chapter 2) and there is inadequate (76-77) reference to the Indian government’s position on 1971 vis-à-vis the Naxalite movement occurring at the same time in West Bengal.

One of the notable arguments that the book makes is that if India had intervened earlier it would have helped avoid such hardship in Bangladesh. At the same time the book contends that the emergence of independent Bangladesh is not a given but the result of historical chance and conjunctures that went beyond South Asia (265). More controversially, the book argues that the tensions that existed between various actors in independent Bangladesh emerged during those nine months. According to Raghavan, this in turn made it inevitable that the liberation war created the groundwork for the failure of democracy in Bangladesh (272). This argument attributes a minimal role to Bangladeshis in their own liberation struggle. Overall, it is the human stories of the diplomatic decisions taken and the nature of the unintended consequences emerging out of this humanitarian crisis of 1971 that come through most strongly in this book.

Nayanika Mookherjee, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

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NATION AND FAMILY: Personal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India. By Narendra Subramanian. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xvii, 377 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8878-6.

The making of modern India has been defined by a tension between a vision of a secular Indian republic based on the equal rights of individuals as citizens, and claims for recognition of group rights based on custom, tradition and religion. Key sites of contestation have been personal law, family, and gender. This has been the case since the early nineteenth century, which marked not just the beginnings of modern ideas of nationhood, individual rights and development, but also that of reinvented tradition and recasting of women. This contestation continues into the second decade of the twenty-first century India, visible in the 2014 General Elections and their aftermath. Personal law remains a contentious issue and is seen as a marker dividing religious communities rather than being about women’s rights. This has been grounds for misunderstandings between different social groups in India and between the state and community leaders, as is clearly seen in the Shah Bano and Deorala Sati cases in the 1980s, or more recently in the Khap Panchayats’ statements regarding honour killings and demands for change in the Hindu law. Personal laws are often posited as necessarily backward vis a vis more liberal codified laws. The Hindus are likewise deemed as more modern than the Muslims. The history of codification of law and reforms within communities is more complex.

Narendra Subramanian’s book is important in such a context. It is a scholarly, painstakingly researched work that delves into the complex ways that state-society relations and discourses of community have developed through interaction leading to a particular kind of nation formation, recognition and family law (46). The six chapters that constitute the book begin with a focus on Indian personal law in chapter 1, but importantly with a comparative perspective that provides an excellent overview of the varied experiences of many colonial states in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Pacific Islands in negotiating the tension between recognition, equality and liberty. The focus on diverse state policies in such countries as Tunisia and Turkey, which prioritized “the promotion of their visions of modernity,” the pursuit of traditions that “upheld lineage authority” in Lebanon, Algeria and Syria and a mix of the modern and traditional in South Asia where “ruling elites were allied with modernist urban elites, as well as with traditionalist religious, ethnic and kin leaders,” allows the reader to locate the Indian story in a broader framework. Chapter 2 develops the comparison forward within a theoretical framework that looks at the way nations are imagined and at approaches to family life. The analysis breaks from the dominant postcolonial understanding in western academia of the persistence of colonial forms of knowledge and poststructuralist emphasis on how discursive practices shape state projects. As someone whose early work was on a related area, I am in complete agreement that such conclusions are based on lack of empirical investigation coupled with a theoretical failure to pay attention to the dynamics of state strategies and social movements that did offer and push alternative models (Chaudhuri Maitrayee, The Indian Women’s Movement: Reform and Revival, Radiant, Delhi, 1993)

Chapter 3, with its focus on official nationalism and majoritarian citizen-making, explores the changes in Hindu law since the 1960s. These are further detailed in chapter 4 on recasting the normative national family, while chapter 5 discusses the experiences pertaining to the laws governing India’s two largest religious minorities, the Muslims and Christians before moving on to the concluding chapter 6 which returns to the core theme of nationalism, multiculturalism and personal law.

A comparative perspective allows the author to push an important argument that the traditions of many cultural and religious groups provide for extensive reforms that enhance women’s rights and individual liberties (286). But states have used this to a very limited extent. An important comparison that the book draws upon here is that between reforms in India and Indonesia. Many religious scholars and policy elites in Indonesia incorporated in their construction of indigenous Islam certain customs that were shared by the members of different religious communities. Unlike in India, personal laws of minorities in Indonesia therefore saw greater reforms. For India this is a significant point. The decline of syncretic tradition and consolidation of what is deemed ‘pure’ Hindu’ and ‘classical’ Islam has been extensively documented. Importantly, this was in part linked to colonial state policy. The book concludes with the important observation that although culturally grounded initiatives for personal reform were present among both Muslims and Hindus, the focus after independence shifted to Hindu law. In the author’s words, the story may have been different “if governing elites had operated with different understandings of the nation and its traditions” (275). A curious absence in the book is the tragic and violent outcome of Partition that may have had long-term implications for postcolonial legal reform of personal law.

This book stands out for a couple of reasons. For one, its scholarship and empirical details and the body of literature and archival sources that it marshals which would be of immense use to students; second, its historical perspective and comparative analysis opens up the issue in a very different manner than has played out in India’s dominant public discourse; third, it deploys key social science categories such as institutions, ideas, interests and social movements to understand the detours that personal law debates take. In doing so, this study breaks from the theoretical trend that has dominated academia in the last two decades or more, namely one that has paid disproportionate attention to textual analysis with a focus on specific texts and discourses to the neglect of empirical study of how groups of people act in resistance or domination, negotiation and alliance.

Maitrayee Chaudhuri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR POLICY: A Minimum Credible Deterrence. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 84. By Zafar Khan. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xix, 178 pp. (Figures, tables.), US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877879-5.

This book gives an overview of the conceptual logic presumed to underlie Pakistan’s military nuclear doctrines, though it has less to say about a possible logic of deployment and practice. It has little to say about how the nuclear program is embedded in the dominant Pakistan army.

Zafar Khan based this book on his PhD dissertation at the University of Hull, UK. If this book is to add to the substantial writing on this subject by H. Nizamani (2000 and onward), B. Chakma (2009), Z.I. Cheema (2010), H.F. Khan (2012), M.V. Ramana (2013), P. Hoodbhoy (2013) and others, then Zafar Khan has to penetrate the nuke-speak and logic of people who populate the agencies and ministries to which he had access. He accomplished this, collegially enough, through numerous strategic studies institutes in Pakistan and he was enabled by the government’s own Strategic Plans Division in Rawalpindi.

Khan provides a short review of the standard Pakistan narrative going back to Bhutto’s 1965 signal remark about a nuclear bomb “even if we have to eat grass,” and the famed nuclear meeting in Multan, attended by noted physicist Abdus Salam, after the collapse of the Pakistan forces in Bangladesh in 1971. He describes briefly the notorious metallurgist A.Q. Khan’s activities in quietly transferring nuclear technologies to other countries, mentioning how foreign payments for those technologies and services were used to supplement the budgets of the nuclear agencies in Pakistan. What is new is Khan’s account of interviews during 2012–13 (and before) with a number of very well-placed nuclear experts both within and outside government circles.

What is the use-value of nuclear weapons to a divided state like Pakistan? No neighbour has ever really threatened it since 1971, though India and Pakistan have occasionally fought for weeks on their highland borders. Pakistan has basically been a military-guided system since 1947, punctuated occasionally by the outbreak of party-politics and elections. In contrast to India, Pakistan’s nuclear program has usually been supervised by senior military officers.

This book charts a shift in official nuclear posture after the 1998 bomb tests by India and Pakistan from an objective of “minimum deterrence” to “minimum credible deterrence.” These nuclear experts in Pakistan can only guess at how credible their opponents think the deterrence is. Behind these questions lie accountants who have been asking “what amount can we spend which will be just sufficient to deter India, and not a rupee more than necessary?” Pakistan’s public answer has always been “we don’t really know [what the amount is], but we have to build up our costly systems, and watch our opponent like a hawk.” So there are perhaps two senses of “minimum,” one of which is minimum cost.

Pakistan must try to determine whether its assertion of the right to a first strike (which Khan says is now well-established) is having an impact in India. Is the projection of a nuclear force profile the right one for the opponent? As one Pakistani analyst told Khan in a classic understatement, the nuclear posture “is not very static.” How could it be?

This work has a careful tone, as if the text was to be read not just read by a publisher’s editor, but also by someone else with an official eye. It should be essential reading for advanced administrative staff, as it describes in an orderly fashion the structures and flows of command and control. What such trainees might make of the uncertainty at the heart of Pakistan’s language of “strategic ambiguity” Khan does not say. He does however repeat that ambiguity is at the heart of the posture, and that perhaps saves him from examining what a “credible” deterrent really means.

But we the readers long for Khan’s evidence of disagreements among these experts and decision makers, revealing who in Pakistan interprets what ambiguity means, and when do those interpretations really matter. Such disagreements might explain why a small weapons state like Pakistan thinks it nevertheless needs a number of interpretations by closely available officials in agencies and experts in institutes, all focused on the same question: is Pakistan maintaining a minimum deterrence that is credible? And how do we measure credibility?

Pakistan’s nuclear posture and the use of the first strike option is a very important subject for Pakistan and all its neighbours, although Iran is not even mentioned here. Pakistan wanted to appear more modern in the 1970s, to resemble other militarizing states, and to enjoy a prestigious counter-balance to its otherwise growing yet unfortunately dysfunctional reputation. It also had the advantage of occupying a location for which more powerful states were prepared to pay heavily over the decades, in order to have a strong ally at that very location, and with the same strategic goals.

Khan makes no reference to nuclear energy and reactors, and none to the technologies which must be assembled and well-operated if weapons are to be built, maintained and continuously upgraded for readiness to delivery. But he also explains that a number of positive agreements have been negotiated which are intended to build confidence between Pakistan and India, such as agreement to forewarn each other of military exercises, not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities, etc. The nuclear establishment would be worried if the top leaders found a less expensive method by which to minimize the risk of a nuclear attack in South Asia. Without this risk-perception it is hard to see why the cost is sustained, unless it is also essential for prestige and self-confidence. But so far no less expensive method, except these limited types of agreement, has appeared.

This interesting book thus unintentionally gives a rather good picture of the slightly sealed-off quality of nuclear strategy thinking in Pakistan. It is left to the reader to fit this secluded enclave into the military organization and wider socio-economic structure.

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                      

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BORDERLAND LIVES IN NORTHERN SOUTH ASIA. Edited by David N. Gellner with an afterword by Willem van Schendel. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. 310 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$89.95, cloth, ISBN 978-0-8223-5542-7; US$24.95, paper, ISBN 978-0-8223-5556-4.

India’s anxiety with its border regions has received much attention in the media, and scholars of international relations and political scientists have been engaged with them in ways that do not consider their inhabitants as central. The dominant state response to the border regions of Northern South Asia is that they are to be secured, mainly as a preserve of security agencies. What this has also meant is that research has been difficult to conduct in these regions spanning over 10,000 kilometres, where India borders with Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Further, while the field of borderland studies has gained traction elsewhere, the relatively new border regions of South Asia have neither been studied as much nor understood in depth. This insightful collection of essays attempts to fill that gap and provide a detailed understanding of the nuances and dynamics of life in South Asia’s borderlands.

The book, which is organized to move from the west to east, takes readers through the northern parts of the South Asian international borders even as, collectively, the chapters largely engage with three bodies of literature: new writings that focus on how ordinary people interact with, engage with and experience the state in South Asia; recent work on the dynamic relationship between upland and lowland peoples (see James Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed); and, work on borderlands.

Throughout the book, the borderlands of Northern South Asia are variously depicted as “a place of interaction, meeting, struggle, exchange, belonging, and transition, sometimes despite vigorous attempts at state interdiction” (afterword by van Schendel). However, these broad themes manifest themselves in hugely different ways, where cultural practices and even difference in geographies (such as shifting enclaves) determine the manner in which people across the border have come to interact with each other, with the state on both sides and with the different “nodes of control” (chapter 8).

The chapters reveal multiple agencies that control life in the border regions and these range from local officials (chapter 1), nongovernmental organizations (chapter 4), the army (chapters 6 and 7) to insurgent groups (chapter 7), which in turn interact with the state. Often, people living in the borderlands face the brunt of the distrust (on both sides) that is pervasive in the regions. Sometimes, systems that have been put in place to safeguard people at the border region actually achieve the opposite. Hausner and Sharma’s (chapter 4) account of the India-Nepal border reveals a couple facing difficulty and suspicion in crossing the border together, due to lack of documents. The porous borders present easy access to the other side as much as they allow for personal humiliations and difficulties on a daily basis.

The narratives also depict the border regions as places that straddle the zone between neglect and control by their states and the governments which rule them. While border regions in Northern South Asia share traits of underdevelopment, arguably due to neglect, the developmental discourse uneasily intertwines with security concerns. India’s frosty relationship with its neighbours provides the canvass that determines the scale of deployment of security forces and the intensity with which they exercise control, with political situations playing out in faraway capitals often determining if and when borders are to be opened.

For some of the people who inhabit the borderland regions, who were not consulted at the time of the creation of these borders, there is a seeming resignation and acceptance of authority that is exercised from far away. But for others, this authority is contested (in the case of Nagaland) while some of them find themselves in a situation where they need to prove allegiance and loyalty (Kargil). The fate that such public policy decisions have brought on the people at the borderlands is depicted through struggles for claims to “national belonging and citizenship” (chapters 2 and 9) as well as “struggles over local and national narratives of the past” (chapters 9 and 10).

Yet, the book starts with a proposition of a new sub region: Northern South Asia. Despite the common themes of anxiety, tension, interaction, hope as well as apprehension in the border regions, there are differences in historical particulars and peculiarities that underpin each region. Then there are different agents of state, “nodes of control,” geography and terrain, and economic imperatives. Furthermore, the regions’ relations with the state vary vastly. While the organization of the book from west towards the east provides a flow to indicate continuity and change, the evidence presented as a whole in the book is one of difference, diversity and complexity. The book makes a solid contribution to the understanding of the borderlands and lays the ground for further work to allow for the imagining of a new sub region. While the task is made easier for future scholarship on the complexity of the proposed sub region, the challenge will be to find discourses and narratives that bring together these complexities.

Laldinkima Sailo, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE ARMY AND DEMOCRACY: Military Politics in Pakistan. By Aqil Shah. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. xiii, 399 pp. (Tables.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72893-6.

Given the paucity of good scholarly material on civil-military relations in Pakistan, The Army and Democracy must be welcomed as an important contribution to the field. This very digestible and readable book has made a cogent and strong case for civilian rule and democratic principles without in any way being opinionated or preachy. It mercifully avoids the typically laboured attempts to force data to fit a theory merely to prove the author’s theoretical expertise and instead confidently asserts its case by stating the essential bare-bones facts of civil-military relations in the history of Pakistan.

The book is divided into an introduction that is a brief literature review, seven main chapters, and a lengthy and very finely written conclusion. Shah begins with a brief mention of the principal theories that have been utilized to explain civil-military relations. These include the Lasswellian garrison-state argument that contends that an external enemy strengthens the men in uniform (see for instance, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Garrison State, Oxford University Press, 2013); the contention that military dominance in Pakistan is a product of the country’s decision to align with the United States during the Cold War (see for instance, Hamza Alavi, “The State in Post-Colonial Societies: Pakistan and Bangladesh,” The New Left Review I/74, July-August 1972; Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad, edited by Carollee Bengelsdorf, Margaret Cerullo and Yogesh Chandrani, Columbia University Press, 2006); and the view that the financial interests of the military-industrial complex create the necessary push-pull factors to keep the military involved in the politics of Pakistan (see for instance, Ayesha Siddiqa, Military Inc., Pluto Press, 2007).

While Shah’s book concedes that these factors play a role, he wishes to examine civil-military relations from the perspective of the internal institutional values and norms of the Pakistan military itself. In this regard, he considers his work to be a continuation of Stephen P. Cohen’s earlier work (The Pakistan Army, University of California Press, 1984). In other words, Shah wants to ask how and why the military’s own perception of its role in society has changed in the course of the history of Pakistan.

Having laid out its fundamental theoretical premises, the book proceeds into a chronological examination of civil-military relations in Pakistan. The next seven chapters illustrate how the military’s institutional thinking was shaped and reshaped by conflict with India, Cold War imperatives, safeguarding perceived interests against encroaching civilian authority, the war on terror and so on. In a word, he portrays how the British-trained army slowly morphed from considering itself an “apolitical professional military” into the sole guardian of the very reason for existence of the state. These chapters, which follow the now fairly standardized periodization of Pakistan’s high politics (that is, Pre-Ayub, Ayub, Bhutto, Zia, the return of democracy, and finally Musharraf) remain fairly close to the most important facts even when the book does not directly support or give any particular insight into the institutional norms of the military. Hence, the book is a tour de force of the last 70 years of civil-military relations in Pakistan.

However, those who study and write on Pakistan may legitimately ask, “What’s new in this book?” In theoretical terms the book does not necessarily present any new ideas. And the supporting evidence may not be extraordinarily new to other scholars in the field. Although, in addition to accurate and detailed accounts of the issues causing tension between civil and military institutions, the author has conducted a number of interviews with army personnel, some would argue that all this information was already in the public domain.

On the other hand, one can argue with equal merit that given that the military is well-guarded with respect to the information about itself, and that what it is willing to share is already accessible in the public domain, any researcher would really have to work extraordinarily hard, even ruffle some feathers, to break new ground. In fact, this is, arguably, a very risky business. For instance, it is alleged by the Human Rights Watch that Saleem Shahzad was tortured and murdered as a consequence of his criticism of the role of intelligence agencies in Pakistan (Saleem Shehzad, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, Pluto Press, 2011).

In my view, however, the book does succeed in breaking new ground. While the book may not present a new theory or even any new information that is not already available in the public domain, its strength lies in bringing the two together to form an orderly, succinct and cogent presentation of the central political conflicts and contradictions that have shaped civil-military relations in the country. Hence, its most important contribution is that Shah has sifted through the mass of data and emphasized in a concise manner the crux of the problem. This synthesis of theory and public information and the resulting clear presentation of the problem help to bring into clear focus the essential elements of civil-military relations in Pakistan.

In the final analysis this extremely readable book will be enjoyed by the general public and will inform university students. It is an important contribution to the debate and would be my first recommendation to anyone who wishes for a succinct introduction to civil-military relations through the history of Pakistan.

Taimur Rahman, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

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INDIA’S OCEAN: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership. Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series, 26. By David Brewster. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 228 pp. (Maps.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-52059-1.

The peninsular character of India, with its extensive and open coast line and with a littoral that is extremely fertile and rich in resources, makes India dependent on the Indian Ocean. Hence, a secure and safe Indian Ocean, along with the vast Indian shoreline, is insurance for India’s industrial development, commercial growth and stable political structure. India’s Ocean, written by David Brewster, aims to enlighten readers on India’s strategic ambitions in the Indian Ocean and asks whether India has the wherewithal to become the leading power in the Indian Ocean. At the outset, the author claims that “a lack of clear strategic direction” makes India’s future role uncertain.

To tell the story of India’s bid for regional leadership, the author outlines the development of Indian thinking on its role in the Indian Ocean and examines its relations with the Indian Ocean littoral states and major powers. The book is divided into eleven chapters with interesting insights. The first two chapters underline transforming the balance of power in the Indian Ocean, Indian strategic thoughts about the Indian Ocean and their likely impact on India’s strategic activities. The author points out that many in New Delhi believe that the Indian Ocean must be, and must be seen to be, “India’s Ocean.” Further, he elaborates on three key features of this idea. First, domination of the Indian Ocean is part of India’s “manifest destiny.” Second, to preclude the possibility of extra-regional intervention in the subcontinent India must establish a defence perimeter as deep into the Indian Ocean as possible. And finally, the author visualizes the development of a sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean as a necessary step towards India’s status as a global power. While the author admits gaps in India’s potentials and capabilities, he underlines that should India succeed in maximizing its power, it would be for the first time in history that a local Indian Ocean player will be the most predominant one.

Subsequently, the book examines India’s strategic role in the Indian Ocean by dividing into five geopolitical spheres: Maritime South Asia (primarily Sri Lanka and the Maldives), Southwest Indian Ocean (comprising Mauritius, Seychelles and the Mozambique Channel), East and Southern Africa, Northwest Indian Ocean (comprising states in and around the Persian Gulf) and Northeast Indian Ocean (comprising the ASEAN nation-states). While the author describes India’s peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka as India’s ‘regional military adventures,’ he also underscores the Indian navy’s evolution as a benign provider of public goods. Indeed, the Indian navy has sought to institutionalize itself as the leading Indian Ocean navy through such initiatives as sponsoring the biennial Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, to which the navies of all Indian Ocean littoral states are invited. The author asserts that India’s intervention in the Maldives was a model for the benign security role that India could play in the Indian Ocean. He stresses that India’s intervention in the Maldives to procure political stability might be used further afield in the Indian Ocean.

The book provides a comprehensive account of India’s security relationships in the Southwest Indian Ocean, demonstrating India’s exemplary approach to this region, and examples of the flexibility that India will need to demonstrate in the future as it extends its influence throughout the Indian Ocean.

Australia, the United States and China are discussed in separate chapters. The author underlines that other than as a potential energy supplier, Australia will find it difficult to make itself an indispensable partner to India. He adds that Australia has had no desire to sponsor the establishment of a local security order, and has worked assiduously for decades to draw the US further into the Indian Ocean region and keep it there. The author asserts that New Delhi has been successful in developing security relationships with smaller countries such as Singapore, but has been slow to develop cooperative relations with larger or more powerful states such as Australia. He, however, keeps readers guessing on what he means by more powerful states. Elsewhere, he makes a claim that if strategic autonomy is part of India’s DNA, then collaboration is part of Australia’s. This makes clear why India has been slow to develop relations with more powerful states.

The author asserts that the US military sees India as a capable partner. India also sees limited cooperation with the US as a useful means of achieving its long-term goals in the Indian Ocean, and New Delhi wishes to be regarded as a global power that deals directly with Washington. Indeed, India could take on more responsibility in Asia such as in peacekeeping, search and rescue, disaster relief and providing high-value cargo escort. Nonetheless, the author underlines that “the US is still perceived by the Indian elite as a potentially unreliable strategic partner that may ultimately seek to dominate India” (177). It is not clear, however, on who is being referred to as “the Indian elite” and how much influence they have had on India-US security relations.

The book contains some concepts like “Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD) capabilities” or “Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA)” without offering any detail. Some information on such concepts could have added value for readers. Similarly, the author mentions in the first chapter that the Indian Ocean was first opened to European naval power in 1498 by Vasco da Gama. Recent archaeological and historical research, however, indicate that by virtue of India’s geo-strategic location, the Kushan rulers gained access to ancient maritime routes that led from India to the Persian Gulf, the southern shores of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Red Sea. The Asian ships were a major force in early history, carrying both commerce and culture to new heights and the maritime branch of the silk roads had reached its maximum extent by the first century CE. More importantly, the analysis in the last chapter seems biased, as the author describes India as “Hindu India.” While the book tells a fascinating story of the increasing centrality of the Indian Ocean and India’s growing role throughout the region, it leaves readers craving for more of an assessment of India’s capability to become a leading power in the Indian Ocean.

Nevertheless, the author presents his experience and knowledge in a clear and candid manner. The book is handsomely produced, with an index, endnote references, and sourced from the most relevant documents on the subject. India’s Ocean is an excellent contribution to understanding the geopolitics in the Indian Ocean and will be welcomed by both policy makers and scholars alike.

Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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INDIA’S HUMAN SECURITY: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. Routledge Studies in South Asian Politics, 4. Edited by Jason Miklian and Åshild Kolås. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xvi, 243 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-83068-3.

Over the last three decades, security studies has expanded its scope from focussing on state-level security issues to understanding how individuals are subjected to different kinds of insecurity. The establishment of the UN Commission on Human Security in 2001 is indicative of this shift to what are seen as “soft” security concerns. This volume covers this expanded terrain, by offering a collection of papers on different dimensions of the new frontiers of security studies in the context of India. The case of India, the editors explain, is significant given its size and the fact that it continues to have a strong democratic tradition. Further, the Indian state and sections of civil society have sought to project India as an emerging superpower on the back of relatively high levels of economic growth for nearly 15 years. This claim to a  status of power fails to take on board India’s poor record in human development. Its health and nutrition parameters, for example, are lower than those of even some of the poorest countries in the world. Along with the growing income inequality in the country since the onset of economic reforms, such issues of human “illfare” pose a serious threat to individual security despite India’s economic performance. Further, the process of growth itself generates new risks and insecurities as demands made on energy and land resources can undermine the basis of livelihoods for many of its citizens.

While the editors do point to the dangers of securitizing socio-economic issues, they believe that non-securitization of some issues such as inequality, environmental degradation or rural dispossession may prevent policy making from devoting sufficient attention to these aspects. A basic premise of a security-based framework is that if left unattended, these issues may lead to potential situations of conflict in the future. Apart from academics working within the field of security studies, contributors include scholars working in other domains such as health and environment and also journalists covering issues of internal insurgency and illegal cross-border migration. The collection is organized under three sections: resource management, governance and development. Papers in the section on resource management address insecurities emerging from poor management of what is referred to as the food-energy-water complex. Two chapters cover aspects of sustainable access to water ranging from insecurities arising from over-exploitation of ground water to how water interdependencies between the south Asian countries and China pave the way for an emerging hydropolitics in the region. Significantly, the section points to an important lacuna in collective action against depletion of water resources. While protests against contamination and extraction of groundwater by MNCs like Coca Cola are relatively visible, there are hardly any protests against everyday illegal mining of water by a large number of actors which pose more serious risks for depletion of water resources. The need to look beyond productivity in agriculture to understand food insecurity and the need to link food policy with agricultural policy is stressed in another chapter. The need for power to propel growth and how that has led to destruction of land and livelihoods through setting up of thermal power plants in central India is the focus of the other chapter in this section. Though not explicitly stated, the chapters in this section clearly question the paradigm of development that generates these conflicts.

The section on governance deals with security risks posed by poor governance of internal insurgence in central and north-east India, risks posed by politicization of immigrations from Bangladesh and the state’s fragile efforts to work with Myanmar to secure certain geopolitical interests. While this section covers familiar territory for the most part, the paper on recent attempts to improve governance by developing a universal biometrics program makes an interesting point. The security risks of centrally pooling and coding such large quantities of information about individuals may actually pose far greater risks to national security than the advantages that it is supposed to have in terms of monitoring and tracking security threats. The last section, on development, addresses threats posed by insecurities generated by the pattern of development processes such as urbanization. The paper on urban stress makes a useful call to pay more attention to the small and medium towns where environmental degradation is acute and regulatory capacities are poor. Other papers look at insecurities arising from the reform process such as competition among state governments to attract private investments and rising income inequality in post-reform India. The incentive to compete among states to attract investments may be a race to the bottom as poorer states tend to offer more incentives to attract private capital.

Approaching issues of inequality and lack of human well-being from the perspective of security may well work to enhance policy attention on these dimensions. However, I am not too sure how securitizing issues of fundamental rights as citizens and studying the relationship between environmental degradation and economic growth from this angle provides new insights on the processes that generate them. Given the large-scale gender and caste-based violence and insecurity in the country, one is also left wondering how a framework of this kind can contribute to addressing such social violence.

M. Vijayabaskar, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India

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CROSSING THE BAY OF BENGAL: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants. By Sunil S. Amrith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 353 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72483-9.

The name, the Bay of Bengal, referring to the eastern wing of the Indian Ocean, is not one that resonates very strongly these days. But as Sunil Amrith explains in this beautifully written, elegiac book, the idea of “the Bay” was once a meaningful one amongst colonial administrators, mariners and the many common people who moved across it as coolies and traders, soldiers and slaves. Over more than a millennium the territories of the littoral of the Bay were bound together by culture, holy relics and movements of people and goods. It was “once a region at the heart of global history” (1), the maritime highway between India and China, where, in the European Middle Ages, great regional states of Asia encountered one another, and where later, from the end of the fifteenth century, the expansive European powers fought each other for supremacy. Then, over the century from about 1840 to 1940, when connectedness across the Bay of Bengal changed quite dramatically in scale with the arrival of steamships and railways, it was the site of one of the greatest movements of people of modern history. Amrith calculates that about 28 million crossed the Bay, in both directions, in this period, a figure that compares closely with the numbers of migrants (26 million) who arrived in the United States between 1870 and 1930, and which exceeds the numbers (19 million) of Chinese who moved into Southeast Asia over the same period. Very many of those, especially from south India, who moved into Ceylon, Malaya and Burma at this time, cleared forests in their sparsely settled frontiers for the benefit of capital, and so brought about both great wealth for the British empire (in which Malaya became the most valuable tropical colony), and enormous environmental change. Yet then, rather suddenly, from the 1930s, and especially with the Second World War and with the decolonization that followed it, this distinct world, with its own social imaginary involving expectations of mobility, broke apart. The Bay of Bengal was forgotten in the later twentieth century, carved up as it was by the boundaries of nation states, within which the citizenship of many of those who had moved across the sea—now treated as minorities—was contested. First in military strategy during the War, and then in academic area studies, it was split apart by the definitions of South Asia on the one hand, and of Southeast Asia on the other. Only in the present, when the Bay has become once again an arena of competition between rising powers—this time the Asian powers, China and India—has it come to be seen again as having some sort of an integrity as a region. Environmentally, too, the pollution of the sea and the over-exploitation of the resources of the Bay that has followed from its “enclosure” by being treated as “an extension of national territory” (260), is bringing about some awareness that it must be seen as a region.

This, in outline, is the story that Amrith tells: that of “The sea’s role in human history—and the consequences of that history for the sea” (31). Though he ranges widely his focus is on the history of movements of labour, of their cultural and political implications, and of their consequences for the environment (though, if I have a criticism of the book it is that its environmental history sometimes seems a little bit of an add-on, nowhere near as well developed as the history of labour). Of course the book treats of trade, and of the commodities that have so much shaped the history of the Bay: spices and rice, Indian textiles, American silver and more recently coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco and especially rubber (of which Malaya produced 70-80 per cent of global supply early in the twentieth century). But this is not primarily an economic history. Relatively little is said, as well, about the role of Chettiar capital—perhaps because this is a subject that has been well documented by other scholars.

The book starts with a short account of the monsoons and of their implications for navigation. It then touches briefly on ancient and medieval history—though those who might look to the book for an account of how Hinduism reached Southeast Asia will be disappointed—and proceeds fairly briskly to the role of the Tamil Muslim merchants in binding the Coromandel coast of south India with Southeast Asia, and then to that of the Portuguese and of the Dutch in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But the focus is really on the rise of English power in the Bay, and on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These take up almost two-thirds of the text, and for many readers of this journal, the book will probably be important mainly for its accounts of labour migration and of its implications, including especially in struggles over citizenship. Scholars interested in the idea of Asia, too, will appreciate what it says about the division between South and Southeast Asia, and Amrith’s reminder of the brief moment towards the end of the colonial period when some nationalist leaders—Subhas Chandra Bose, Nehru and Aung San—had ideas about the possibilities of Asian federalism, smothered though they were by the tide of nationalism.

The book draws on impressive scholarship, combining archival research in the different nation states of the region, oral history and the author’s own observations and experience. His photographs of buildings in different port cities around the Bay help to document his own vision of “what the region does possess, richly, [which] is a practical ethic of coexistence” (284). His wider purpose is to show how the history of the Bay of Bengal constitutes “an archive of cultural resources that might help us to reimagine solidarity across distance” (5). Amen to that, in this age of continuing national and ethnic conflict. Altogether, this is a very fine contribution to the great corpus of “ocean studies,” inspired initially by Braudel’s Mediterranean.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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COMMUNICATING INDIA’S SOFT POWER: Buddha to Bollywood. Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy. By Daya Kishan Thussu. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. xi, 227 pp. (Figures, table.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-02788-7.

Communicating soft power through cultural engagement has gained enormous prominence in contemporary academic discourse, underpinning the “constructivist” shift in the theoretical discussion of international relations that was long dominated by positivism. Rooted in neoliberal and constructivist visions of power, soft power, comprising “ideas” and culture, aims for “harmonizing international relations.”

Anglo-Saxon powers like the US and Europe, with large reservoirs of cultural capital, have traditionally employed “softer” resources for carving benign images. However, there have been disappointments in the scope and strategy of the exercises with desired strategic outcomes often remaining suboptimal. The West, and the US in particular, has been revisiting its soft power strategy post-9/11. In the meantime, major Asian powers like China have also been picking up the narrative on soft power. India, too, is becoming increasingly noticeable in this regard.

China has been pragmatic in honing its soft power wherewithal as a major tool of statecraft for opening new channels of communication and external engagement. Beijing’s economic and military rise has been complemented by commensurate increase in soft power efforts. India is yet to demonstrate a similar correlation. The backdrop urges wider scholarly discussions on India’s soft power. Daya K. Thussu’s Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood is a timely effort to portray and critically examine India’s communication with the world through its soft power.

The book provides an exhaustive and interesting catalogue of India’s cultural outreach, both ancient and contemporary. It traces the historical roots of India’s soft power and how such history can be harnessed in building and strengthening international relations in the contemporary world. The author cautions that possession of soft power is not a sufficient condition for securing a benign national image and making a country attractive on the world stage. He rightly emphasizes effective utilization of national soft power capital. The criticality of the imperative is highlighted in the discussion (chapter 4) on the role of India’s IT, deregulation, liberalization and privatization policies in shaping India’s “software for soft power.”

The book carefully examines India’s cultural engagement in the context of its strategic “rise.” Right at the beginning, while alluding to India’s “rise” both economically and militarily, the author contextualizes India’s soft power as “increasingly becoming an element in its diplomacy.” The organic link between hard and soft power—“smart power”—is a recurrent theme in the book. Thussu’s repeated emphasis on the need for India to combine its hard and soft power for effective communication with the rest of the world on various issues of strategic importance can hardly be overstated.

An engaging read, the book offers an alternative, largely Asian perspective to the academic discussion on soft power, and marks a valuable contribution in this respect. Thussu “de-Americanizes” the discourse on soft power (chapter 2) by emphasizing a clear “element of localization” which is at play. He discusses soft power practiced by European and other non-Western countries moving beyond the “American” examination of culture and soft power. The key point to note in this regard are the media initiatives, enabling countries to expand the national brand-building exercise and obtaining strategic benefits while charting a different course from the predominant “American” communication by offering alternative perspectives, such as the Xinhua, China’s state press agency.

The book is also a harsh reminder about how individual accomplishments have repeatedly dwarfed India’s success as a country in influencing international perception. Chapters 3 and 6 reflect on these aspects of India’s soft power which contribute to the “not-so-positive” international perception of India. Chapter 3 studies the role of the diaspora and distinguished individuals in determining India’s global perception. While prominent economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen contribute to India’s robust global intellectual presence, outstanding business leaders like Indra Nooyi and Ashok Pandit ensure a presence in the global corporate domain. Moving on from individuals, chapter 6 focuses on the Indian state, particularly its limited success in enhancing India’s reputation as a democracy that delivers for its people. Notwithstanding India’s vibrant democracy and successful organization of elections on a gigantic scale, the Indian state is hardly identified with virtuous notions and is saddled with negative perceptions of corruption, social and economic chaos and instability.

An interesting aspect analyzed by the author is the unpremeditated efforts by India’s non-state actors to shape global perception of India. While recognizing that India’s official public diplomacy infrastructure is still at an early stage, Thussu discusses the country’s non-state actors, which are distinctly Indian in character. Chapter 5 examines Bollywood and its cultural heritage in defining India’s attractiveness to foreign audiences. The Indian government probably prefers the “unofficial diplomacy” spearheaded by Bollywood and other non-state actors given its less propagandist character. Readers would have benefited from deeper insights on non-state actor initiatives beyond Bollywood, particularly efforts by industry chambers and business groups.

The book concludes with the author reflecting on India’s potential and its failure to achieve an “ascribed status” consistent with its ambition. The author bemoans that though India has much to offer to the world by encouraging intercultural communication given its wonderfully rich history and heritage, its messages of multiculturalism, secularism and pluralism are not adequately projected. Thussu rightly argues that the best way to communicate Indianness is not just through Bollywood and Indian cuisine but by empowering its citizens and addressing the inequalities that exist within society. It is only by achieving equality that India’s international image will improve and its soft power look attractive and its story be heard worldwide, facilitating its “rise.”

Parama Sinha Palit, Singapore-based Independent Scholar
China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN) Global                     

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THE GOLDEN WAVE: Culture and Politics after Sri Lanka’s Tsunami Disaster. By Michele Ruth Gamburd. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xii, 216 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01139-8.

The author of the book, Michele Ruth Gamburd, ploughs through a deep, rich and thick ethnographic study to highlight important aspects of Sri Lankan post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation such as the ambivalent impact of competitive humanitarianism, its limited outreach, the multiple dilemmas and ambiguities embedded in the recovery process, as well as the frustration of aid beneficiaries regarding paternalistic aid practices and the politics of housing, as well as new challenges for rehabilitation. The work thereby highlights that it is impossible to understand post-tsunami reconstruction without recognizing the wider political, cultural, social and cultural terrain of war, ethno-nationalism and uneven development in Sri Lanka.

The book is organized in three main parts focusing on different stages of the disaster relief efforts. First the book focuses in three chapters on the immediate aftermath of the disaster, illustrating how the natural event created a local solidarity overlooking class, politics and ethnic conflict issues. The ethnographic material also describes very vividly how people tried to make sense and give meaning to the outreach and magnitude of the devastation. Here it becomes evident that class, religion, belief, and local politics related to gender and socio-political status started to regain momentum while power, personal politics, patronage and clientelism prevailed within the society. The second part of the book moves on to bring in the international dimension of post-tsunami aid, elaborating on the political economy of aid within the post-disaster housing sector and business recovery, especially looking into the tourist sector. The last part, again organized into three chapters, illustrates how people constructed their identity and that of others within the immediate and longer-term post-tsunami rehabilitation process. Here the stories the author has chosen clearly show that most of the people see themselves as ethical and generous while others tried to profit and gain personal advantages out of the post-tsunami aid situation. It further underlines that socio-economic and socio-political hierarchies as well as ethnic and class structures only disappeared for a short term in the immediate aftermath of the disaster as all Sri Lankans were under shock as well as due to the fact that nature did not distinguish between ethnicity, economic status, class or gender.

The strength of the book is definitely its rich and thick ethnographic description. The many stories presented make the various post-tsunami phenomena available and visible in a personalized manner. However in this strength I also see the weakness of the book. At one point reading the book and the many stories that are told, the personalized information that is provided confused and distracted my attention. I gained the feeling that many of these stories are not new to what is known of post-tsunami Sri Lanka or what has been written on post-disaster situations in general. What I miss in Michele Ruth Gamburds’ ethnographic achievements is the placement of these stories in a solid theoretical framing and interpretation. Furthermore, it misses an overview of the way in which these stories help to enlighten “how” tsunami aid and relief works and “how” aid affects the everyday life and social community of a Sri Lankan tsunami-affected village. The analysis that is provided at various places in the book, again not in a holistic and detailed manner, does not ground itself using a broad and in-depth understanding and discussion of the concepts referred to, such as Foucault’s concept of governmentality, Marcel Mauss’ theory of the gift or literature on post-disaster housing and brokerage. Similarly, there is no mention of relevant literature, also based on the ethnographic material Michele Ruth Gamburd refers to but that carries more theoretical depth and arguments, particularly those of Barenstein/Leemann (eds), Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Change: Communities Perspectives, Taylor and Francis CRS Press, 2012; Korf/Klem/Hasbullah/Hollenbach, “The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka,” Disasters, 2010; Hollenbach/Ruwanpura, “Symbolic Gestures: The Development Terrain of Post- Tsunami Villages in (Southern) Sri Lanka,” Journal of Development Studies, 2011; Mosse/Lewis, Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Agencies, Kumarian Press, 2006.

Overall the book provides a rich ethnographic insight into how the tsunami changed socio-political structures, identities and how national/international aid relates to and influences to these formations. These ethnographic insights definitely add value to already existing literature. However theoretically and analytically the book does not provide any further enhancement or innovation and fails to provide recommendations on how a future disaster should be managed or governed differently in order to avoid the repetition of existing inequalities, disaster and personal politics.

Pia Hollenbach, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland                                                               

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THE WARRIOR STATE: Pakistan in the Contemporary World. By T.V. Paul. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii, 253 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-932223-7.

Several books have recently tried to shed light on the role of the Pakistan army in Pakistani politics. Paul’s contribution receives strong endorsement from the Washington-based think-tank gatekeepers on Pakistan: Stephen Cohen, Hussain Haqqani, Bruce Riedel, Shuja Nawaz and Teresita Schaffer. The point the author wants to make is that historically war preparation and war in Europe proved to be an engine of economic development, but in Pakistan it has not. So, “the puzzle is why not” (2), he remarks.

However, when he reviews the literature from European contexts the evidence is mixed. Successful were those countries which while facing external threats engaged in economic, technological and political modernization and as a result became centralized, bureaucratized entities extracting taxes and other services from their populations and in return providing not only security but gradually also welfare. Expansion through conquest during the colonial period additionally provided material for economic development. The two examples of war preparation, war and development he gives are Germany and Italy. This is quite peculiar, because the reason they survived as developed states even after being defeated in World War II was that they were helped through the Marshall Plan to remain and grow as industrial powers. He admits that the war preparation, war and economic development thesis does not hold in all cases. Besides mentioning minor European states as failures he refers to Austria-Hungary and the Soviet Union as failed warrior states. What is perhaps most crucial is that in case of defeat the prevailing powers do not let such states fail.

With regard to the developing world, the war preparation, war and development hypothesis becomes even more problematic. The author says that in the developing world “war and war preparation have not produced similar instances of positive results” (8). The reason should not be difficult to guess: no African or Asian state was industrialized when it became an independent state. They were mainly agrarian societies dominated by small urban elites. Moreover, any scope for economic development through conquest and expansion did not exist. So, the relevance of the war preparation, war and development thesis is rather weak when it comes to the developing world.

Paul does not mention the only really successful example in the developing world where not just war preparation but actual war-making, conquest, annexation and occupation have fuelled dramatic development: Israel. The United States and other Western powers’ help and patronage have been crucial for Israel to be a successful developmental warrior state. It has attained a highly sophisticated level of technological competence and has become one of the leading arms exporters of the world. The author prefers to refer to Israel in another context—as a “democracy”—in contrast to authoritarian states such as South Korea and Taiwan, which have, through war preparation, successfully pursued economic development with great determination.

The most interesting part of the book is the comparison between Pakistan and Muslim states such as Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia. Pakistan’s obsessive concern for security deriving mainly from the perceived threat posed by the bigger and industrially more advanced India generated a garrison mentality. Additionally Islamism, with its extremist and expansionist jargon, became part of the national project and identity. Lacking indigenous resources Pakistan exploited its geostrategic location to solicit economic and military aid from foreign powers. Such aid strengthened the military vis-à-vis the civilian branches of the state. It corrupted the military establishment; consequently economic and human development was neglected. Therefore the geostrategic location became a geostrategic curse.

Such a curse, Paul asserts, also afflicts Egypt though the nationalist army under Nasser did not cultivate Islamism. After the defeat in 1967 and particularly 1973, Egypt abandoned its ambition to defeat Israel and be the leader of the Arab world. It established peace with Israel which brought in huge amounts of US military and economic aid, yet the geostrategic location of Egypt proved to be a curse because economic development was not pursued with determination and commitment.

With regard to Turkey, he mentions that the strong nationalist, modernistic roots and traditions of its army and the exclusion of backward-looking Islamism from ideology provided the balance between war preparation and economic development. As far as Indonesia is concerned, the army too has its roots in the national liberation movement. It became the core player acting as the guardian of the country’s security but without hobnobbing ideologically with political Islam. Instead it made economic development a major concern of state policy.

I have shown in my book, Pakistan: The Garrison State—Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011) (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013), that the British military backed Pakistan’s creation (as a dependent state) to act as a buffer against Soviet communism in south Asia. The United States co-opted Pakistan in that role through military pacts with the latter (1954; 1959), but quickly realized that the reason Pakistan wanted to acquire American arms was to assert itself against India and not to help contain the Soviet Union in South Asia. This incongruence of interests had a decisive bearing on Pakistan’s prospects as a warrior state. Thus when Pakistan waged wars against India the United States did not extend it any help because in US calculations India was the paramount power in South Asia and not Pakistan. Therefore India could not be alienated; rather it had to be supported as a counterweight, for the containment of Chinese Communism in South Asia. Pakistan reacted by moving closer to China. As a result US-Pakistan relations remained strained during the 1960s but after the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan their military alliance of the 1950s came back to life and Pakistan was armed and abetted to the hilt: Pakistan could even pursue its clandestine nuclear programme notwithstanding concerns of some members of the US Congress. Some of the Washington-based experts played no small role in extenuating the Islamist character of the Pakistani warrior state. Therefore, the war preparation, war and development thesis needs to be qualified by another pre-condition: does a warrior state in the developing world enjoy the trust and support of powerful external patrons and donors or not? Israel has enjoyed such patronage but not Pakistan. I sent my book to some of the gatekeepers in Washington mentioned above but never heard a word from them. I am not surprised.

My book figures in Paul’s work but only as an obscure reference to the failure of existing literature on Pakistan to take notice of the war and development literature. As I have shown, it is not very helpful to understand Pakistan’s predicaments as a postcolonial garrison state. One chapter in his book is entitled, “The Garrison State.” My work is not reviewed or commented upon, which is a disappointment. On the whole, the book is interesting and instructive. Pakistan’s obsessive focus on security and military preparation has meant a flagrant disregard of economic development. Such remiss should be blamed essentially on the Pakistani power elite’s flawed priorities and ambitions.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan
Stockholm University, Stockholm Sweden 

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AN INDIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY: Integrating Markets, Democracy and Social Justice. Editors: Sunil Khilnani, Manmohan Malhoutra. Box edition. New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2013. 2 vols. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) Rs.1995, cloth. ISBN 978-81-7188-994-5.

These two volumes are the outcomes of the tenth conference organized by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, held in Delhi in November 2010. The conference brought together an extraordinary group of intellectuals, policy makers, activists, and business people—a real galaxy of serious thinkers, rather than of stars—from within India, and from overseas, presided over by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to discuss the challenges and the prospects of an Indian social democracy. As the principal architect of the conference, Sunil Khilnani, puts it in his short introduction, the realization of sustainable growth in India, and in such a way as to ensure that the majority of the people can benefit from it, requires “the renewal of our social contract … (one) … that integrates and renovates India’s foundational commitments to democracy and social justice with recognition of the necessity of open markets for economic growth.” As he goes on to say, “Such a social contract is best described in social democratic terms …” (quotes [I] 15). He, and others, are to be congratulated for their courage in using this language, for the idea of “social democracy” has often been regarded negatively in India, even though it seems to many of us that it is what the Nehruvian state aimed at achieving.

The volumes include 16 substantial papers, of which nine are by major Indian scholars: Sunil Khilnani, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vijay Kelkar, Kaushik Basu, Nitin Desai, Pranab Bardhan, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Sudipta Kaviraj and Yogendra Yadav. Two are by outside scholars, Michael Walton and Steven Wilkinson, who have written important work on India. Four other papers bring in comparative experience from Europe, China and the United States, and a global perspective (this from Pascal Lamy, then director-general of the WTO); while Pierre Rosanvallon of the College de France contributes an historical perspective on democratic society which makes the useful distinction between “relational” and “arithmetic” understandings of equality and presents a strong case for striving to establish a society of equality rather than only seeking to reduce economic inequalities. These papers, supplemented by the text of a memorial lecture given on the occasion by Joseph Stiglitz, on “A Social Democratic Agenda for a More Dynamic Indian Economy,” constitute the core of the two volumes. They also include transcripts of the presentations made by the paper writers and of the discussions that took place and which involved a wider group of comparably distinguished individuals.

As might be expected, the books are a bit of a curate’s egg, though for this reader at least, there is more good than bad in the various parts. The transcripts do include valuable points in addition to the arguments of the papers, though they take some digging out. Khilnani sums up broad conclusions as being, first, that “a sustainable social democracy for India must be based less on directly redistributive policies” than on building people’s capacities for participating in economic growth. As others have pointed out, too, for all the remarkable achievements of the Congress-led UPA governments between 2004 and 2014, in establishing a new rights-based welfare architecture for India, there was an awful failure to improve public education and health services. The second broad conclusion was that India must aim to replace the current
cats-cradle of anti-poverty schemes,” most of them supposedly aimed at particular groups, with “a more simplified set of universal schemes, delivered by more efficient and trustworthy mechanisms” (so easy to say, so hard to achieve). And third, “the state must be wary of assuming large-scale fiscal responsibilities, which in future it may be unable to fulfill.” More generally, what is envisaged is not the kind of welfare state established in the West in the postwar period, but rather a polity based on principles of mutuality “between state, citizen and enterprise” (quotes [I] 17).

It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the richness of the core papers. For me the outstanding ones are those by Pratap Mehta, Pranab Bardhan and (especially) Michael Walton, though I also believe that the paper by Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah on finance and economic policy, is particularly worthy of attention, while Sudipta Kaviraj’s on “Indian Social Democracy and Questions of Culture” brings together ideas of his from writings over many years in an illuminating way. The core of the argument is summed up in his words: “Deep inequalities of culture, rooted in different levels of education, differential access on the basis of language, prevent our democracy from developing a real deliberative culture” ([II] 245).

Mehta’s paper is especially significant, I think, for its discussion of how and why social justice has come to be seen in India so much in terms of caste, and of what the implications of this are. He elaborates upon arguments that both he and Niraja Gopal Jayal have developed elsewhere about how the pursuit of affirmative action for particular social groups has led to a situation in which there is competition for power in order to secure benefits from the state for a particular set of people rather than in order to bring about transformations in society as a whole. Bardhan supplies a trenchant critique of social protection programs in India and advocates—in the spirit of encouraging serious rethinking—the possibilities of the payment by the state of a Universal Basic Income (in place of the “cats-cradle” of programs referred to above).

Walton offers, in short compass, a comprehensive review of arguments about why it does make sense to consider a social democratic resolution for India, what this might require, and its feasibility. The argument is conducted through comparisons with experiences elsewhere, both in Latin America and in Sweden, in particular, and the paper includes some detailed discussion of policy design for equity and growth. Walton’s conclusions about the feasibility of social democracy in India are not very optimistic. In the light of the victory of Narendra Modi in the Indian general elections that were completed shortly before I began this review, Modi’s evident commitment to big corporate capital (in spite of his tearful statements in parliament about serving the poor), and the evidence marshalled by Walton amongst others, of the extent of crony capitalism in India, one wonders whether there is much prospect, for now and the middle term at least, that Indian capital can possibly be part of a social democratic settlement. Walton concludes: “Sound social democratic designs are almost certainly in Indian capitalism’s long-term interest but this would involve a form of long-sightedness and collective action that is not apparent now” ([II] 68).

These books deserve close attention, offering as they do an alternative vision for India than the one that I suspect will be pursued by the new government.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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COMMERCE WITH THE UNIVERSE: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination. By Gaurav Desai. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xiv, 291 pp. US$50.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-231-16454-2.

For centuries, the Indian Ocean has been ferrying people, goods, beliefs, ideas and thoughts across Africa and India. Maritime movements propelled by commercial instincts of traders on either side have not only transported ivory, silk, fruits and other cargo, but have shipped numerous vignettes of trans-continental cultures as well. The African continent is replete with examples of such cultural transplants. Mainstream historical narration of the continent, however, tends to explain its contemporary social and institutional structures largely as outcomes of its interactions with the West. Desai attempts an alternative understanding of the history of the continent by widening the context to include Africa’s sustained unbroken exchanges with the East, particularly the Indian subcontinent.

The radical re-interpretation of the mainstream historical narration and understanding of Africa in Commerce with the Universe proceeds through critical examination of a body of diverse literary work spanning the Indian Ocean trade and experiences of Asians in Africa. The author reviews well-known novels like Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land and M.G. Vasanji’s The Gunny Sack along with a series of other literary works, including several travel accounts, biographies and memoirs. The research covers meticulous inspection of a remarkably diverse range of documents and ideas for gathering inputs in penning a sincere alternative account.

Constructing a convincing alternative is not easy when a powerful mainstream explanation exists. Desai’s painstaking research for discovering new insights from works that are already much-discussed and debated, yields results due to his willingness to view through multi-disciplinary prisms. By giving equal importance to historical narration, sociological and ethnographic approaches, and also occasionally and contextually to political and economic analysis, Desai succeeds in identifying the understanding of Africa as far more complex than what many scholars of the continent and the Indian Ocean have gauged it to be.

A typical example of the complexity is the new insight gathered on outcomes of colonization. The usual explanation of colonization in Africa (and elsewhere) is to interpret it as a binary process in terms of the structural duality between the “settler” and the “native.” Desai challenges the loose application of the construct in the African context. He argues that the presence of Asians in East Africa from well before the beginning of the formal European colonization of the continent makes it difficult to characterize the process in such a typical fashion. Indeed, the history of colonization and its outcomes in Africa become a far more complex process given the involvement of several more actors. The finding corroborates Desai’s hypothesis of the significance of viewing Africa’s history through not only its interaction with the West, but also the intense and varied interactions it had with the East and India.

An alternative account cannot help but grow out of a critique of the mainstream. One of the interesting critiques that Desai successfully builds is in underpinning the salience of cosmopolitanism in the Indian Ocean trade that unmistakably resonates in In an Antique Land, and the possibility of the narrative marginalizing of other significant simultaneous historical processes such as the sub-Saharan exchanges. Desai does not appear to be too comfortable with the passionate interpretation of several historical narratives of the Indian Ocean in identifying its commerce as a key contributor of the cosmopolitanism and religious and ethnic tolerance manifesting on the shores it touched. He is acutely conscious of the caveats that his research throws up in vindicating such passionate endorsement.

Notwithstanding the arduous effort and bold approach, the book falls short of connecting to its contemporary context through its conclusions as effectively as one would have expected. The introduction underscores the historical significance to the backdrop of the book: the struggle for survival between capitalism and socialism as ideologies influencing national development strategies given the cyclical reverses both have suffered in the last couple of decades. The initial context also points to the renewed engagement of Africa by China and India and the revival of the Indian Ocean as a key maritime route in global strategic geography. It is not completely clear how the various findings of the book contribute to a more objective understanding of Africa in these contexts. While the importance of looking closely at Asia and India in understanding both historical and contemporary Africa is well understood—and can be flagged as a success of the alternative discourse that Desai aimed to build—greater connectivity between the discourse and the context is missing. That said, the book deserves careful study by scholars of various disciplines for its commendable effort in throwing new light on important, but largely neglected, aspects of the interactions between Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Amitendu Palit, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE DARJEELING DISTINCTION: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India. California Studies in Food and Culture, no. 47. By Sarah Besky. Berkeley: University of California Press, c2014. xx, 233 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-27739-7.

This is an anthropological study of tea plantations in Darjeeling. This region is famous for its special variety of tea that is known for its specific flavour. The history of tea plantations that are over 150 years old is important for this region. The tea industry is closely linked to the growth of this district as it is its main economic activity. The industry gives the district and its people a unique characteristic that sets the latter apart from the state of West Bengal in which the area officially lies. The book covers different aspects of the district that are vital for its economy and identity.

The author has done considerable archival work that is evident from her second chapter. She gives a new understanding of the district as an entity. She shows how Darjeeling was originally a part of Nepal and was later given to the kingdom of Sikkim. Later, the East India Company took Darjeeling from Sikkim in order to establish a sanatorium for British soldiers because of its pleasantly cold climate. This part of Darjeeling’s history is important because both Nepal and Sikkim have laid claims to Darjeeling after India was free of British rule in 1947. The author’s study provides a clear picture.

The author’s writings on fair trade are important. The author has studied plantations that are endorsed by the fair trade label and finds that they are as exploitative of their labour as the other plantations. Moreover the benefits of fair trade are taken by the planters whereas the conditions of their workers remain unchanged. She also critiques the concept of fair trade because it gives so much emphasis to individual entrepreneurs’ individual entrepreneurs and not on collectives She argues that fair trade operates in the neo-liberal environment and can function best under free trade (chapter 4).

Unfortunately, when it comes to contemporary history she falters because she leans too heavily on what her informants told her. She should have double-checked these views. For example, she is very critical of the role the communists played in the Gorkhaland movement because because this was the view of her informants. As a researcher she should have verified these facts because the communists were the first to recognize that the Nepalese in Darjeeling constituted a distinct identity. She keeps referring to the communists as Communist Party of India Marxist and she describes how the party entered the district in 1943 (77-78). She should know that CPI(M) did not exist at that time, as it was formed only in 1964 after a section split from the Communist Party of India (CPI). The CPI(M) distanced itself from this resolution and strongly opposed any form of autonomy for Darjeeling. The CPI still holds on to its original resolution of autonomy. The author should have tried to understand such differences.

The author’s explanation of the decline of Darjeeling’s tea industry in the post-colonial period is controversial. She states that the workers suffered a setback during these dark days because they were unionized and the planters started rolling back the facilities they had earlier given to them. The author notes that the deprived workers had to resort to violence against the managers and they also burnt down tea factories (79). In other words it was the communist unions that provoked the planters to deprive the workers who in turn retaliated by burning down factories.

The author also hints that the Plantation Labour Act (the only law granting protection to plantation labour) was one of the reasons why British planters left as it increased costs of production and the communist unions pressured the employers to implement the provisions of the Act (78). The Act was passed in 1951, a few years after India was independent of British rule, and its main provisions relate to facilities for plantation workers such as permanent quarters, sanitary and bathing facilities in the labour lines, provision of clean water, hospitals and primary schools for the children. Most of these facilities (except for medical facilities) did not exist in plantations. The Indian Tea Association (an association of mainly British planters) readily agreed to implement the Act. Yet the author feels that it has ruined the industry.

In most cases the author has put together voices of workers, managers, intellectuals, etc. without verifying their authenticity or analyzing their views. As a result we get a compilation of contradictory and opposing views. The views she puts forth on the decline of the tea industry are based on the statements of the managers (157). She has not looked at the living and working conditions of the workers. Though she is sympathetic to the women workers she does not look at their problems of defecating in the open because there are no toilets even though the PLA makes this mandatory.

The author believes the managers when they say that labour unrest is a result of the male population: “Some suggested that ‘too many males’ on the garden created unrest, both in the plantation and in regional politics” (157). She has not verified if this is true. The fact is that a large section of the unemployed males in plantations have been recruited in the military and paramilitary forces.

Despite the contradictory views presented in the book, the author is clear about one view that she keeps reiterating, namely, the decline in tea production started after the British left and the natives took over the plantations. She has admitted that the British “ran their gardens like fiefdoms, but they kept the men under control” (195). Could such a system continue in a democracy? Her concluding sentence—“But workers are keenly aware that in a market for justice, the plantation is not going anywhere” (220)—contradicts what she has put forth in the earlier sections.

Sharit K. Bhowmik, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

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Southeast Asia


LIVING WITH RISK: Precarity & Bangkok’s Urban Poor. Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies, 10. By Tamaki Endo. Singapore: NUS Press; Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 2014. xiv, 333 pp. (Figures, tables, photos.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-782-2.

This book focuses on the informal economy of Bangkok with respect to upward mobility and management of risk, which disproportionately affects the urban poor. The central argument is that risk response is a useful lens through which to understand the life-course of individuals and class stratification in low-income communities. A reworking and translation of the author’s Ph.D. dissertation and a subsequent previous edition published in Japanese in 2011, the monograph describes and analyzes two case studies in depth but also provides copious contextual information and a theoretical framework. The first case study is of women who became self-employed after losing factory jobs in the late 1990s and the second is of a community displaced by a devastating fire, which took place during author Tamaki Endo’s doctoral studies. Fieldwork for Endo’s dissertation was completed from 2003 to 2006 and she includes a thorough literature review drawing from Japanese, English and Thai sources. The booked is organized into 10 chapters, plus an introduction and includes numerous colour photos, maps, diagrams and statistical tables.

This work is a useful contribution to a number of fields including development economics, urban geography and sociology, urban planning, policy studies and anyone with an interest in the “informal sector.” The focus on risk analysis and management adds significant value to the literature in this area and the author makes several recommendations not only for further research but for policy makers as well. The fact that Endo draws upon literature produced in three languages is extremely useful for those who do not read Thai or Japanese and her use of multiple qualitative and quantitative data sources including statistics, maps, structured and informal interviews and surveys makes it a robust analytical resource. She has also made what is a fairly long and complex text easy to navigate by including a list of abbreviations, clarifications on Thai terminology and measurements, as well as an index.

From a theoretical perspective, the author not only has a strong grasp of the classic literature related to Asian urbanization and the informal sector but also gives due credit to the work being done in the areas of gender relations and globalization and effectively bridges high-level concepts to the vast empirical corpus she has put forward. She also brings together the often disparate approaches of focusing on the micro versus macro levels. This is difficult to do successfully.

A few sections of the book that I found particularly compelling were entitled “People I have met in the field,” where the rhetorical style becomes far more personalized and the texture of the author’s experience in Bangkok comes to life. There are four of these entries all dealing with different topics ranging from the fluidity of gender identification in Thailand in an entry entitled “Is this Person a He or a She” on page 101, through living as a community hairdresser to the aspirations of university students.

Policy analysts and policy makers will also find this book extremely useful. Not only does the author do a great job summarizing academic literature, but she also synthesizes policy-related literature from international, regional, national and Bangkok-based organizations (for example, the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific as well as the Thai National Economic and Social Development Board and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration). In chapter 2, she summarizes the important policy moments and draws out the mismatch between policy goals and intent and what exactly emerged as a result on the ground.

My only constructive criticism is the fact that the text is somewhat dry and sometimes loses the attention of the reader. This may be related to the fact that this is a translation and English is not the author’s mother tongue. In addition, I would have appreciated more sections such as “People I have met in the field,” as described above, in order to draw in the reader. Fortunately, the case studies also provide the kind of texture needed to engage the reader in what is, at times, a very heavy and abstract text. There are also some small stylistic issues that might have drawn in the reader more effectively, such as providing false names for some of the individuals profiled in the two case studies rather than simply using initials. This would have made it easier to follow the life courses of the individuals studied as it’s hard to remember and understand someone referred to as “K.”

Overall, in terms of the quality of the literature review, theoretical and empirical analysis and presentation, I highly recommend this book and am very impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge demonstrated by the author. Tamaki Endo is obviously deserving of the 28th Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize for the 2012 Japanese edition and 6th Iue Asia Pacific Research Prize for her Ph.D. dissertation in 2007.

Gisèle Yasmeen, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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REGIONAL DYNAMICS IN A DECENTRALIZED INDONESIA. Indonesia Update Series. Edited by Hal Hill. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014. xxvii, 536 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$39.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4459-84-6.

When the prodemocratic movement had successfully forced Soeharto to step down and ended the New Order regime (1967-1998) in 1998, Indonesians soon faced a daunting challenge: to come to terms with the violent legacy of the regime and to institute post-New Order political, economic and legal reforms. Thirty-two years of an authoritarian and militaristic regime left unresolved cases of gross human rights violations and established a hegemonic, inefficient and centralized state system. Structural reforms carried out by post-New Order governments have addressed these legacies with various degrees of success, from total failure to partial success. Among the efforts, bringing human rights violators to court has been the most difficult initiative to realize. On the other hand, reforming the governance sector has been more or less successful and has led to the creation of various state commissions and institutions to anticipate the diminishing power of the state and the emerging aspirations for more political openness and financial accountability.

This book discusses the different dynamics of institutional reform and how the reform needs to manage a shift in political authority, from a tightly controlled bureaucratic structure to a more democratic form of state governance and less influence of the military in national and local politics. Drawing on the long-term engagement by the Australian National University to study Indonesian politics and economy, the book presents a very detailed picture of the opportunities and problems encountered when Indonesia launched a broad initiative to decentralize its political system, financial accountability, legal structure and norms, and social policies. In examining the process that the Indonesian state has followed to reform the political, economic and legal sectors, the essays in this book identify the centralized system of state governance as the main target of institutional reform in post-New Order Indonesia. In so doing, they locate the threshold that separates the authoritarian from the decentralized form of political, social and economic control in the 1998 political crisis and the ensuing collapse of the New Order regime. As Anne Booth indicates in her contribution to the edited volume, the 1998 crisis is a political “big bang” that has released a plethora of productive and unproductive responses. The essays in this book analyze the tensions and interminglings of the productive and unproductive forces that have framed the discourses and practices of decentralization in the national and local contexts since the New Order regime collapsed.

Apart from Anne Booth’s essay, which traces the historical development of the decentralization debate prior to 1999, the essays in this volume focus more attention on the period after the 1998 political reform. The topics covered in this volume are diverse: the relationship of central and local government, fiscal decentralization, urban planning, special autonomy region (Papua and Aceh), public service, migration and urbanization, human rights politics and environmental management. Hal Hill in his introduction correctly emphasizes that the complex decentralization process has touched upon almost every dimension of state governance and sociocultural life that the edited volume wants to address.

Such a diverse topic has made this edited book an indispensable and important reference to the study of decentralization in Indonesia. In fact the book’s important contribution goes beyond the study of Indonesian politics and economy. It stands as a critical comparative contribution to the literatures on similar processes of decentralization and centre-local relationships taking place in other countries in Asia, such as in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand or India. While some of the features of the social and political dynamics of migration, election, regional development, human rights trial or forestry policy may exhibit local concerns and specific power negotiations among local actors, some features also demonstrate similar trends and tendencies that have emerged from related colonial policies on the regional level.

Despite the important contribution it makes in terms of mapping out and analyzing the complexity of decentralization, the book lacks a long-term historical framework that could explain the emergence of a specific economic or political pattern or the interactions among stakeholders. However, Anne Booth’s essay and a few scattered remarks in Blane D. Lewis’s essay and in those by Cilian Nolan, Sidney Jones and Solahudin provide all-too-rare examples of the contributors’ attempts to touch upon the historical development of the dynamics of decentralization. For a book dedicated to the late Thee Kian Wie, a leading Indonesian economic historian, the lack of such historical analysis that goes back to the period before the New Order is regrettable.

When this book was published in 2014, sixteen years after the New Order regime collapsed, four presidents had appeared on the Indonesian political stage. A very different political climate has emerged, in contrast to the thirty-two years of New Order rule, when Soeharto was re-elected every five years to be the president. Despite the change, the essays in the book also demonstrate that almost two decades of democratic government has hardly brought the legacy of the New Order to rest. Even though the decentralization initiative introduced in the early 2000s was expected to replace the New Order’s system of centralized government, it has failed to escape the legacy of proliferated corruption, political brokerage and extrajudicial violence. The creation of new state bodies to fight corruption has not discouraged corrupt bureaucrats, and the establishment of a human rights commission has not resolved past human rights violations. Therefore, reading between the lines, the essays in this edited volume highlight a less optimistic, albeit realistic, fact: that no political transformation can offer a radical break with the past. What will take place after the political “big bang” is instead a complex dynamics of power negotiation which incorporate and at the same time abandon the structural elements or normative values of the previous political regime. This book has done a good job of portraying and examining this process in post-New Order Indonesia.

Fadjar I. Thufail, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia

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LIEM SIOE LIONG’S SALIM GROUP: The Business Pillar of Suharto’s Indonesia. By Richard Borsuk, Nancy Ching. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014. xiv, 573 pp., [20] pp. of plates (Illustrations.) US$52.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4459-57-0.

Numerous academics and journalists have written about Liem Sioe Liong. This is because it is not possible to discuss or to understand the political and economic history of modern Indonesia without dealing with this pivotal figure. But in this book, Borsuk and Ching have drilled down deeper than others, producing an analysis that is not only forensic in its detail but rich in its picture of the life and times of Liem.

It moves from Liem’s early years in Java and then in Jakarta, tracking his beginnings as a trader and small entrepreneur and looks at how his business life was transformed in the revolution. These early chapters are evocative and read easily as we are taken into the relationships he began to develop with various generals and politicians and within the intriguing and complex world of business in Indonesia and Southeast Asia more generally. The authors paint a picture, not only of the wheeling and dealing that underpinned the rise of Liem and other Chinese Indonesian capitalists in the chaotic days following the ending of Dutch colonialism, but also of how military and political patronage and relationships with regional capitalists, including Chin Sophonpanich and Robert Kuok, became the factors of commercial success.

We are then introduced to the diverse individuals who drove Liem’s business juggernaut through the 1970s and 1980s. It is interesting that these individuals included both political and business figures and also breached the usual divisions between Chinese Indonesian and indigenous, Pribumi, business groups. And we are given the first insights of how the group began to grow beyond its early dependence on generals and politicians to a group operating more globally and which spread its wings into banking and finance, manufacturing, property and agribusiness. The transition from a personalized operation to a more international, business-like and complex stage is well captured by the authors in their portraits of Liem and his son, Anthony Salim.

From here, the book attempts two ambitious tasks. One is to provide a forensic analysis of the rise of Liem’s business empire. The second is to take us on a journey through the broader political and economic environment in which Liem operated. These two aspects are not only treated thoroughly but in a way that brings us close to the people, the deals and the relationships that drove the Liem story. Even though I am familiar with this terrain, the rich vein of interviews and primary sources used meant there was a lot that was new.

But the ambitious scope of the book also has its costs. On the one hand, chapters 8 to 14 are very intensive analyses of the way different companies of the group were established and run. Moving in great detail across Liem’s expanding interests in flour milling, commodity importing, cement, banking, real estate, petrochemicals and manufacturing, the authors show how political influence, state-allocated monopolies and credit as well as financing from international players fitted into the rise of each of the big companies.

This is an excellent assembly of data and insights that brings together an array of primary sources, interviews and other secondary material not matched elsewhere. It is a resource par excellence for researchers seeking to understand the processes of capital accumulation by Southeast Asian Chinese capitalists or for those who are familiar with the people and business groups involved. But even for someone who knows this area well, I must admit the level of detail proved exhausting.

On the other hand, the book also provides an extensive overview of the broader political and economic environment in which Liem operated. This approach is a welcome change from studies that often come out of business schools or are written by economists, where the analysis is offered in technical terms and abstracted from its broader contexts.

Borsuck and Ching show us how Liem fitted into the broader structural architecture of Indonesia’s political economy and how he had to weave his way through the crises that struck periodically, sometimes with devastating effect. We are shown how the fortunes of Liem were affected by the internal political struggles of the New Order and how he had to adjust to these. We are introduced to the threats that arose from a growing resentment of corruption and the concentration of wealth in the hands of conglomerates, which spilled over into anti-Chinese sentiment. Finally, we look at the Liem story through the devastating impact of the financial crisis and the struggle to rebuild the business and through the ultimate fall of Soeharto.

This aspect of the book brings some challenges that are the reverse of those mentioned earlier, with regard to too much detail. Here, the story often wanders away from the Liem story into a more general history. We look in much detail at Soeharto and his family and at some of the other Chinese business tycoons of the period. The financial crisis, the fall of Soeharto and the politics of the post-Soeharto era bring with them the critical insights needed to explain the Liem story but at times tend to become stories in their own right and we sometimes lose sight of Liem.

Nevertheless, the chapters dealing with how Liem was undone by the financial crisis and how he reconstructed his empire through the complex web of asset seizures and buybacks that followed are immensely insightful. The descriptions of the chaos and violence in Jakarta and the flight of Chinese business to Singapore brought the reader into the drama.

In a sense, two books are offered here. One is a detailed explanation of the rise and transformation of a business empire. The other is a sometimes evocative story of the times of Liem.

In the latter parts of the book, the authors raise, directly or indirectly, some of the critical questions of the future that should now be the focus of scholars. To what extent has the fall of centralized authoritarian rule meant that capitalism and the capitalists of Indonesia have moved into a different phase? Is Indonesian capitalism now more thoroughly defined by the rules of global markets or have the conglomerates of modern Indonesia simply become tied into new political networks? Is the Liem experience a thing of the past?

Richard Robison, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia


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EXPLORATION AND IRONY IN STUDIES OF SIAM OVER FORTY YEARS. Southeast Asia Program Series, no. 63. By Benedict R. O’G. Anderson. Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program Publications, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 2014. viii, 166 pp. (Illustrations.) US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-87727-763-7.

This book by renowned scholar Benedict Anderson hardly needs a review. It has an insightful introduction (by Tamara Loos) which can pass as an excellent review. It consists of essays that remain influential and three of them had been published in Anderson’s critically acclaimed Spectre of Comparison. Essays in Exploration and Irony were perhaps not intended to become a book-length study of Siam, as every chapter can stand alone, unique and engaging. Of course, the decision to not meddle with the original text produces some inconsistency, such as Chulalangkorn in one chapter is Julalongkon in another, and there is a missing reference in a piece designed for an edited book, which appears only as “see Chalida Uabumrungjit’s essay” (144). Also, the year of Andreas Bonifacio’s revolution is given incorrectly. Aside from this, the organization of the chapters is well conceived, with the most recent essays at the end and postscripts added for some older essays.

The collection of essays shows that Benedict Anderson responded to the call of time by writing piece by piece following a sense of endless crises in Thailand, a country he has come to love (which he would rather call Siam for a good reason) after his long passionate engagement with Indonesia. How he builds up his new love relation after the first one is perhaps what makes the book a must-read for students of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. Another attraction is that his work is characteristically iconoclastic. He would show the newness of what one would think of as something that is very old, and he could show the continuity of the old (the difficulty in overcoming tradition) in the assumption of the new. He can also deconstruct his own thinking while persuasively defending the validity of his long-standing argument. It is a work that is authoritative enough to see the ups and downs of a generation of Thai intellectuals (whom he personally knew), how they rose up against domination and how they (thirty years later) were co-opted by power. There is a quality of human drama in what is after all a biography of a nation.

For me Exploration and Irony is a haunting text for it releases the ghost of Indonesia, represented by Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia, a book that consists of Anderson’s most influential essays on Indonesia over two decades. He could have made his Indonesia essays a study of the country over forty years had he not been banned from Indonesia from 1972 until the fall of Suharto in 1998. The ban was a blessing in disguise for Thailand, for it now has a study almost equal (as first love can’t be replaced) to Language and Power. Exploration and Irony thus seems to carry a “spectre of comparison” with Language and Power. It is a “spectre” because one can better understand Indonesia through Siam and vice versa even though these two countries are very different. There is a chapter (“Radicalism after Communism”) that makes an explicit connection with Indonesia while showing how different they are, but there are many spectral moments in other chapters. For instance, the insights in the painfully argued chapter “Withdrawal Symptoms” (with footnotes as lengthy as the text), could be productively read by students of Indonesia to better understand the dynamics of the Suharto era. The tormented Thai middle class who demonstrated in Bangkok in 1973 brings to mind the relatively modest (though not less significant) students’ demonstration in Jakarta in 1974, both of which point to the impact of new class formation as a result of collaboration between American and Japanese power and national dictatorship in advancing capitalist modernization in the region. Meanwhile the revival of royal rituals (under Marshal Sarit) recalls the invention of Javanese tradition in Suharto’s Indonesia as both countries sought to build a cultural foundation to stabilize the contradiction of “development.”

To continue, like Indonesia’s incomplete revolution under Javanese rulers (due in large measure to the power of “Javanese tradition”) the roots of Thailand’s “instability” lie in a “stunted and incomplete transition from kingdom to modern nation-state” (34). The modern Thai army resembles the Indonesian army under General Suharto, which never fought external forces. Instead it was mobilized against its own people, for internal order and stability. Thus was the state’s creation of the nation’s internal “others” through categories such as “Chinese,” “communists,” “the masses” and so on. There are episodes of killing in the spirit of public relations in both modern Siam and Indonesia. Meanwhile, “crises,” the key theme of this book on Siam, recalls Anderson’s depiction of the series of “internal” crises Java encountered since the late nineteenth century.

Exploration and Irony is a great country study much like Language and Power, though Anderson seems less tormented by Thailand. Exploration seems more distant as Thailand is analyzed through a series of “objective” historical conditions against other countries, which serves to make the country seem less unique. One gains great comparable knowledge of Siam on a variety of issues, but what makes all those issues matter is the theoretical framework that underlies the study. This theoretical framework stems from what Anderson sees as the difference between the nation and the state, and for those who have been influenced by his Imagined Communities (first version published only in 1983), you immediately get a sense that Southeast Asia has long been the ground for his private reflections on nationalism. His study on Siam has offered him great material to think about “official nationalism” and the state invention of tradition, and his work on Indonesia (and the Philippines) has allowed him to appreciate the power of “popular nationalism,” and its subsequent death in the hands of an authoritarian state. One can already see the seeds of Imagined Communities in the series of early essays on Indonesia and Thailand.

The last part of Exploration and Irony consists of three essays and one set of “two Unsendable letters” which basically say that a true nationalist should be able to feel shame for his or her country’s misconducts. The last three essays, inspired perhaps by his earlier writing on “political communication” of New Order Indonesia, offer his most recent thoughts, with discursive materials from the media and visual environment. His meditation on films teases out a range of subjects (from gender and sexuality to class and ethnicity) that are hard to imagine by the fossilized Bangkok middle class. This cultural production, while (not always) beyond the reach of the state, offers hope for a counternarrative and different consciousness. The title of the last chapter, “Mundane History,” indicates just how much mundane materials from everyday life, which are often looked down on by the big data of the political science discipline and the regime of archival truth in history, can constitute a politically engaging scholarship. This is also a country study with a comparative dimension, as one can learn more about Indonesia through a reading of Thailand.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                                          

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CIVILIAN STRATEGY IN CIVIL WAR: Insights from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Politics, Economics, and Inclusive Development. By Shane Joshua Barter. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xii, 245 pp. (Tables, Figures.) US$100.00. ISBN 978-1-137-40298-1.

The public perception of civilians in civil wars is, commonly, that they are passive victims. The proportion of civilian as opposed to combatant casualties tends to confirm this general understanding. Yet as Shane Barter points out in Civilian Strategies in Civil War, civilians are not always or even often passive in the face of civil war, but have active responses to the environment that confronts them.

Barter seeks to explore civilian responses to civil wars by examining three case studies: Indonesia’s Aceh province, Pattani/Patani in southern Thailand and Mindanao in the Philippines. Within the context of these case studies, he puts forth a categorization for civilian responses to civil war that can be broadly grouped into three, sometimes overlapping, categories. They are that civilians may flee civil war, they may speak out about it, or they may support one or other of the combatants.

Although not stated explicitly, each of these categories can be understood to exist on a sliding scale, from little activity to high activity. One category not addressed by the author, however, is that point at which “civilian support” actually morphs into, and back from, active participation in aspects of the conflict.

A case study of Timor-Leste shows that the underground resistance appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be comprised of civilians, but who in fact were actually members of the ‘Clandestine Front’, as part of the formal FALINTIL command structure. So too in Aceh, where the number of formal Free Aceh Movement combatants was stated in the Helsinki peace talks as only those in formed, mobile units but who, after the peace agreement was signed, were identified as including “civilians,” expanding GAM forces by perhaps 300 percent.

In one sense, the set of categories identified is fairly obvious, as anyone who has experienced such conflict will have experienced one or more of the identified responses. Yet because most people, at least among the audience this book is aimed at, have not experienced such war first hand, they might not be aware of these almost instinctive responses.

From the beginning of the book the author has experience in the three research sites, each located in Southeast Asia and within Muslim communities. This is a useful case study, but would need to be recalibrated if the lessons drawn here were to be applied elsewhere.

It is also worth noting that, while this is a fairly comprehensive account of civilian responses to conflict, it is structured and reads like a PhD thesis, from which it appears to be drawn. Like some PhD theses, it over-reaches a little in the introduction, saying that its approach “promises to lead to new understandings.” Perhaps “contribute” to new understandings might have been more appropriate.

The author acknowledges that his main experience is in Aceh, Indonesia, which, since 2005, has not been the site of civil war. As the author notes, Patani and Mindanao are more difficult sites for research, because of the continuing conflict. He also notes that as being a reason why so little work has been done on the subject, including limitations upon his own research.

The potted histories of each of the conflicts provide some of the most interesting and readable parts of the book. They are succinct and, largely, accurate accounts. However, like all histories that involve conflict, aspects of the accounts presented are contested. Barter relies heavily on Aspinall’s understanding of the Aceh conflict which, while academically respected, is not agreed on by many Acehnese. Similarly, he suggests that there was a lack of continuity in Aceh’s separatist movement, a view that has been rejected by former GAM members themselves.

Barter also argues that the proportion of the Indonesian army that were ethnic Acehnese was higher than for other regions in Indonesia. This reflects a lack of understanding of the territorial organization of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) and the establishment of the regional Acehnese command (Kodam), Iskandar Muda, named after the former Acehnese sultan and, in theory, being entirely comprised of Acehnese (it was not). So, too, the TNI used such a tactic in Timor-Leste, where they recruited Battalions 744 and 745 from the local community, as well as for proxy militias.

In relation to “ethnic cleansing” (52), Barter appears not to acknowledge that, as noted above, “civilians” can segue into combatants and that ethnic minorities in Aceh were regularly recruited into TNI proxy militias.

One other surprising observation of the author, taken from a secondary source, was that “secessionism is not part of the MILF vocabulary” (165). This is factually incorrect, given that the MILF was formed in 1977 with the explicit intention of forming a separate Islamic state.

While no such study can be entirely comprehensive, it is also odd that there is no mention of the communist insurgency in Mindanao. Focusing on civil wars involving Islamic groups is topical and coherent, but seems geographically inconsistent.

In all, however, this is an interesting book and a useful resource for those wishing to understand why civilians in conflict zones do not always, or often, conform to stereotypical patterns of behaviour. Civilians always exercise some degree of agency, if sometimes within constrained parameters, and their responses reveal much about the nature of the conflicts with which they are engaged.

Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia                    

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IDENTITY AND PLEASURE: The Politics of Indonesian Screen Culture. Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies, 13. By Ariel Heryanto. Singapore: NUS Press; Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 2014. xiv, 246 pp. (Col. illus.) US$32.99, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-821-8.

In this fascinating study, Ariel Heryanto continues the line of investigation developed in one of his previous books, the edited collection, Popular Culture in Indonesia: Fluid Identities in Post-Authoritarian Politics (2008). That is, Heryanto sets out to examine the complex ways in which popular culture, especially “screen culture” (films, television, Internet), is intertwined with the production of identity and the politics connected to identity. In this case, Heryanto is most centrally concerned with Indonesian urban middle-class youth in a context of progressive “Islamization” and against a historical background of a rich and extremely varied diversity of peoples, cultures, and continuing creative ideas.

Identity and Pleasure is divided into roughly three broad sections. Following its introductory opening chapter, Heryanto devotes chapters 2 and 3 to an examination of what he, modifying Asef Bayat’s concept, terms Indonesian “post-Islamism”—both a condition and project in which some Indonesian Muslims seeking to correct the exclusions and repressions of the secularist New Order regime of President Suharto, attempt to combine Islam with individual rights, freedom, democracy and modernity. He notes the growth of this strain of Islamic piety together with an industry devoted to Islamic women’s fashion, and dedicates much of chapter 3 to demonstrating the diversity of Islamic positions on faith and identity as represented in several Islamic-themed films, such as Hanung Bramantyo’s 2008 film version of Habiburrahman El-Shirazy’s Ayat-Ayat Cinta (Verses of Love), and the popular reactions to them. Heryanto sees the hero of Ayat-Ayat Cinta—devout, hard-working, well-educated in matters pertaining to Islam, conversant with Western culture, and economically comfortable—as a new icon of urban middle-class “post-Islamism.” Most striking, and complementing work by Daromir Rudnyckyj and others, Heryanto sees this hero as combining pious religious faith and practice with the ability to live a comfortable modern consumerist lifestyle. Heryanto also notes the irony of the creeping authority of political Islamism within the Indonesian political elite at the same time that the relatively more relaxed form of “post-Islamism” has taken root among young urban professionals.

A second section comes to grips with the “losers” in the pre-New Order struggle to define Indonesia’s modern national identity: those accused of being communists or communist sympathizers, many thousands of whom were massacred or imprisoned after the events of September 30, 1965. Chapters 4 and 5 are thus given over to elucidating the continuing tensions arising from this history, and describing the various attempts to give filmic voice to the victims and, in some remarkable cases, the perpetrators of some of the mass slaughters. Certainly, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012) is one of the key films discussed, but it is only one of several, some of which were made possible by the increased availability and low costs of using new digital technologies. Heryanto points out continued resistance to reopening these old wounds and sees this resistance as a key historical evasion that has made it difficult for Indonesians to understand in a more nuanced and meaningful way current social and political conflicts.

In its final section, Identity and Pleasure explores two topics. The first is the immense popularity of Korean and Northeast Asian popular culture (music, television serials, etc.) in Indonesia, including the attraction of Korean pop music idols for many young women, not a few of whom wear the Islamic jilbab (body and hair-covering garments). He views this phenomenon as empowerment for (mainly) middle-class segments of Indonesia’s female population in so far as they are able to consume and express their pleasure in dance and displays of attraction to handsome Northeast Asian male film and music idols, activities which demonstrate a desire similar to that of fans of Ayat-Ayat Cinta—to be Islamic and modern at one and the same time. Enjoyment of Taiwanese and Korean television serials, Heryanto argues, also demonstrates an appreciation for hard work as a moral good in itself, rather than as a strategy to gain material reward as in most Hollywood films. All of this also displays a somewhat mitigated feeling towards “Chinese-looking” people that would have been hard to imagine in Indonesia (where anti-Chinese feeling has run deeply at times) less than two decades ago.

The second topic, to which the book’s last chapter is devoted, is an examination of lower-class participation in Indonesian electoral politics and that group’s current fragmentation and disempowerment as elections have turned towards media-savvy entertainment-oriented styles. Ironically, the lower-class participation in elections may well have been more subversive and powerful, Heryanto concludes, when they were allowed to engage in New Order “Festival of Democracy” parades which often turned quite disorderly in an almost carnivalesque fashion.

Heryanto’s arguments are theoretically careful, nuanced and innovative, always seeking more detailed understandings and explanations for the popularity (or lack of it) of his subjects; Islamic lifestyles and films, films about the tragic events of 1965-66, K-pop, and increasingly entertainment-oriented political campaigns. Throughout, Heryanto continues to explore the production of diverse and often conflicting identities within the Indonesian polity and its varied cultures. A key theme to which he returns several times is that cultural production of identities in what is now Indonesia has long been hybrid and international—from at least the late colonial period when cross-racial groups within Indonesia produced theatre, film, fiction and other products that constituted the forerunners of national culture. Furthermore, Heryanto argues, much of this history and creativity has been consciously erased from memory by Indonesian elites seeking to redefine and control Indonesian identity as a more exclusive preserve of non-Chinese Indonesians with minimal influence from the West.

Taken altogether, and considering the range and depth of the discussions it contains, this is a very rich and stimulating work of cultural anthropology. Identity and Pleasure deserves serious attention from both those interested in contemporary Indonesian culture and politics, and those engaging with theoretical issues of identity production.

Michael Bodden, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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ARCHIVING THE UNSPEAKABLE: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia. Critical Human Rights. By Michelle Caswell. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. xii, 231 pp. (Figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-299-29754-1.

Michelle Caswell’s Archiving the Unspeakable traces the social life of a profoundly haunting set of photographs. Upon entering Tuol Sleng, the infamous Khmer Rouge torture, interrogation and killing center (also known as S21), prisoners were systematically photographed. Whereas almost none of the estimated 16,000 prisoners lived to tell their story, over 5,000 mug shots and other photographs from the prison have survived. The mug shots have since taken on iconic status, giving individual faces to the almost unfathomable scale of suffering and loss of life perpetrated by that brutal regime.

Caswell takes her readers on a meticulously researched and compellingly narrated journey through the making, archiving and contemporary circulation of these photographs. In the introduction to the book she provides theoretical framing, bringing theories generated within the field of archival studies into dialogue with anthropological scholarship on material objects, archives and the production of history. The first chapter examines the making of the photographs and their prehistory in colonial-era police photography. The bureaucratic process of taking photographs served two functions, Caswell argues, performatively transforming men, women and children into “enemies” of the regime and enabling those working at the prison to act as mere cogs in a relentless machine of death. The book’s second chapter details the process of gathering the images into archives. It recounts the often heroic efforts of profoundly committed individuals to preserve the images and make them accessible in the face of local hostility, international indifference, technical and financial limitations, and the ravages of tropical climate and neglect. The third chapter traces how the archived images have been used as prompts for stories, becoming “active agents in the performance of human rights” in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and in documentary films, NGO publications, and photographs showing survivors, descendants and tourists looking at or holding the photographs. Narrative-making and the visual act of bearing witness are intimately entwined here, and the images serve as both documentary evidence and affectively charged proxies for the dead that demand to be given a voice by the living. The fourth chapter addresses the commodification of the images within Cambodia’s emerging tourism industry. Against negative assessments of “atrocity tourism,” Caswell argues that visiting sites like the Tuol Sleng museum can transform tourists into engaged witnesses; the act of photographing themselves with mug shots and survivors—and circulating these images via social media—facilitates this transformation. In the conclusion, Caswell revisits debates about the ethics of looking at atrocity photographs, concluding that the Tuol Sleng images play a vital role in acts of bearing witness and remembering the dead.

Tracing the photographs’ historical trajectories, Caswell approaches them as agentive participants in political processes. She is sensitive to the play of absence and presence that animates them, and she attends carefully to the ways that they take on different potentialities and potencies as they shift formats and contexts. Throughout, Caswell draws on Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s analysis of the “silencing of the past” as it occurs at distinct moments in the production of history, reminding us of the multiple ways in which the images at once testify to and participate in the silencing of victims of the Khmer Rouge. The chapters are replete with fascinating, often poignant moments in the social life of the photographs.

Yet the book’s greatest strength—Caswell’s tenacious focus on the images—will also be a weakness for some readers. At times one wishes for a broader view of the historical and political processes at work in Cambodian society as it grapples with its past. And the question of how the making of the images or their current mobilizations might be inflected by Cambodian or regional approaches to photography, death and memory also goes largely unexplored. Clearly, a purely culturalist reading of the mug shots would have been profoundly misguided, and Caswell is right to situate the images within technologies of modern bureaucracy and surveillance and contemporary human rights campaigns. But what would have emerged from a more ethnographic reading of the Tuol Sleng images along the lines of Alan Klima’s analysis of images of political violence in Thailand (The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002)? What if the instances of mug shots apparently imbued with the spirits of the dead (briefly noted in several places in the text) had received more sustained attention? (I think here of Heonik Kwon’s Ghosts of War in Vietnam [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013] about the role of ghosts in contemporary Vietnamese memories of the American war.)

Finally, the book’s engagement with the photographs as “records” leaves their visual status less deeply engaged than one might expect. Despite reference to W.J.T. Mitchell’s provocative question in his book What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), we learn more about what has happened to the images than about why and how they make such powerful claims on viewers. Atrocity photographs typically show acts of violence enacted on human bodies, or the traces of such acts after they have occurred. How does the peculiar anticipatory temporality of these photographs—images of people “who are dead and who are going to die,” to paraphrase Roland Barthes (Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, translated by Richard Howard, New York: Hill and Wang, 1981)—act upon the viewer? What is the effect of being looked at by the people in these photographs? Why have some mug shots—particularly those showing attractive young women and children with resigned, even serene, expressions—circulated more widely than others?

If such questions suggest that more remains to be said about the Tuol Sleng photographs, the book is nevertheless a welcome contribution to scholarship on photography, human rights and the making of historical memory in Cambodia and beyond. In Caswell’s account, the archive, its material contents and history itself are revealed to be open-ended processes rather than fixed contents. Like the struggle to hold perpetrators accountable, remember the victims, and rebuild a devastated country, the photographs of Tuol Sleng remain unfinished.

Karen Strassler, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, USA

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ADVANCING SINGAPORE-CHINA ECONOMIC RELATIONS. Edited by Saw Swee-Hock and John Wong. Singapore: co-publication between ISEAS and East Asian Institute, 2014. xix, 309 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$39.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4519-18-2.

This well-edited book consists of nine chapters focusing on Singapore-China economic relations since the October 1990 establishment of formal diplomatic recognition between the two countries until 2013.

Chapter 1 by Saw Swee-Hock provides a comprehensive background of the changes to Singapore-China economic ties since the 1970s, covering the areas of trade, investment, services, tourism and education. The writer highlights the historic landmark visit of China’s supreme leader Deng Xiaoping to Singapore in November 1978 (2) which subsequently paved the foundation for symbiotic Singapore-China economic collaboration. Saw’s paper also analyzes the roles Singapore’s top political leadership and governmental institutions played in sharing the city-state’s developmental experience with China (8) in Singapore’s flagship Singapore-Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) project.

In chapter 2, the authors John Wong and Catherine Chong claim that the Singapore-China economic relationship is “special and unique” (31). They maintain that Singapore-China economic relations are broad-based, substantive and complementary to each other (31). They convincingly argue that China has emerged as “the center of global and regional production networks” and as “an integrator of regional and global manufacturing activities” (47).

In chapter 3, Lye Liang Fook considers the SIP as a useful developmental model to transfer economic management and public administration “software” to China (63). Thus the SIP can serve as “a reference for China” (66), since the SIP project clearly delineated industrial, commercial, educational, residential and greenbelt zones (71). Lye’s paper provides a sound argument regarding the confluence of political and economic factors that contributed to the successful establishment of the SIP by the two governments.

In chapter 4, Chen Gang and Zhao Litao analyze the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (TEC) project, which was the second major joint infrastructure development project by Singapore and China after the SIP, and served as a litmus test of whether Singapore could still be relevant to the future development of China. The TEC’s aim—to build a new environmentally friendly and socially harmonious city with long-term economic sustainability (113)—is new for China. The paper highlights the social dimension as an important component in the TEC project (119).

In chapter 5, Yao Jielu argues that Singapore is not as important a destination for China’s outbound investments as other resource-based ASEAN economies like Myanmar and Indonesia. China for instance has invested extensively in resource energy and infrastructure development in Myanmar since 2011 (129, 144).

In chapter 6, Fan Ying and Huang Yanjie highlight the following points: first, Singapore’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in China had a head start in the 1980s (155) even though Singapore had yet to formally diplomatically recognize China. Prior to the 1990s, most of the FDIs were from ethnic Chinese Singapore businessmen, traders and investors. Second, Singapore’s FDIs in China are broad-based, ranging across trade, services, commerce, industrial parks, financial services, real estate, education and health care.

Chen Wen and Zhai Baiquan’s chapter 7 focuses on the structural features of Singapore-China trade and assesses the effects of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) on bilateral trade between the two countries. The chapter highlights the asymmetrical interdependence of bilateral trade in which Singapore constitutes a small portion of China’s total global trade. The authors claim that China is more important to Singapore in trade than vice-versa. The writers analyze the competitiveness and complementarities of Singapore-China trade. China has the comparative advantage over Singapore in labour intensive products but is complementary in electronic and electrical products (210-211).

Chiang Min Hua, author of chapter 8, argues that Singapore has an advantage in tourism because of its strategic location as a business hub, mature tourism management skills and market strategies (217). In order to secure a slice of China’s huge tourism market, the writer suggests that Singapore should adopt strategies to promote gambling tourism, education tourism, health-care tourism and finally medical tourism, in descending order of importance (245-246).

The final chapter by Saw Swee-Hock and Ge-Yun analyzes the complementarity of Singapore-China educational collaboration. Singapore is attractive for China because of its cultural similarity, safe environment and ability to provide top-class university education. The paper shows that Singapore has been instrumental in China’s human capital development through the employment of various programs such as the one for leadership training conducted by the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University. The chapter concludes by arguing that education collaboration has played an integral part in enhancing overall bilateral relations between the two countries (284).

In conclusion, the edited book in the context of economic regionalism contributes to the knowledge of the nexus between states, the economy and markets. In the case of Singapore-China economic relations, the three actors are: first, the top political leaders; second, the bureaucrats in the inter-governmental institutions; and third, the enterprising private businessmen and entrepreneurs who provide inputs to cement the symbiotic economic ties between China and Singapore.

In terms of the structure of the book, the nine chapters are well organized and systematically presented, with the first chapter providing a solid background in understanding the evolution and development of economic ties between the two countries. Subsequent chapters touch on trade, infrastructure development, investment and tourism, before finally concluding with education. There are however two minor shortcomings: overlapping discussions on trade, investment and infrastructure projects such as the SIP project in chapters 1, 2 and 3 and some repetition of data in the different chapters regarding trade and investment (39, 40, 164, 165).

In short, the book is highly recommended reading for its balanced and objective analyses written by specialists on Singapore-China economic relations.

Shee Poon Khim, Tamkang University, Lanyang Campus, Yilan, Taiwan                     

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THE KHMER LANDS OF VIETNAM: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty. ASAA Southeast Asia Publications Series. By Philip Taylor. Singapore: NUS Press; Copenhagen: NIAS Press, in association with Asian Studies Association of Australia, 2014. xvii, 316 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-778-5.

Kampuchea Krom has served for centuries as a much-contested middle-space that occupies the rich Mekong Delta area of southern Vietnam. The Khmer Krom people, who comprise a large demographic in the region, are an ethnic Khmer minority who have called this area home for centuries. Due in large part to centuries of regional rivalry, Kampuchea Krom, which is under Vietnamese territorial domain, has taken on a legendary character. Most famously, a Cambodian story told of an early seventeenth-century betrayal of Khmers by Vietnamese, one which the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) under Pol Pot revived to foment hatred among his people toward the country’s ethnic minority Vietnamese population. As the story goes, despite a treaty between the Khmer and Vietnamese parties that was bound by the marriage of Khmer prince Chey Chetha II (1618-1628) to the daughter of the King of Annam, the Vietnamese occupied the region via mass migration, thereby forcing the local Khmer peoples out as primary inhabitants and rulers. Centuries later, the CPK regarded the Khmer Krom as “Khmer bodies with Vietnamese minds” who might turn their allegiance against Cambodia due to their connections to “stolen” Khmer lands. While oral history and nationalistic narratives about the region are widespread, few scholarly efforts have been made to examine the Khmer Krom people and how they interpret and interact with their environments.

The Khmer Lands of Vietnam by Philip Taylor sheds much overdue light on the livelihoods of the Khmer Krom outside of the nationalist frameworks of Cambodia and Vietnam by exploring “locally contextualized questions about the Khmer Krom … to generate a set of comparable criteria” (6). The book consists of seven readable chapters in between a comprehensive introduction and conclusion. Taylor’s thesis argues that the Khmer Krom are “the rightful subjects of two different nations, neither of which fully accepts them as its own,” and through “recasting Buddhist and folk cosmologies and [by] improvising stories… they have imbued their diverse local ecologies, circumstances and histories with universal significance” (252-253). Each of Kampuchea Krom’s seven main sub-regions receives chapter-length attention. The first two chapters discuss the northern and southern halves of the region complex, respectively, and explore how inhabitants adapt to the ecological setting in which they live. The third chapter employs oral history interviews as well as stories about the region to cast into light various histories of displacement, settlement and flight along the central Mekong Delta. Taylor then draws from stories told by residents to frame a history of the Khmer river basin. He asserts that such tales “embody a unique form of historical consciousness and bring into view conceptions of place, morality, and authority that remain salient for the Khmers of this region of saltwater rivers” (129). He concludes that although the Vietnamese have unquestioned military power over this region, “Khmer sovereignty over the peninsula remains potent, and is made manifest in miraculous events and the telling of stories” (161).

Subsequent chapters also highlight Kampuchea Krom as a locus between two nations, shedding light on the survival, modernity and identity of the Khmer Krom. Chapter 5 examines the lives of Khmer Krom between the mountains and floodplains of the area, which the author describes as “incorporated yet distinct” (189), while the sixth chapter analyzes the inhabitants of the northwest shoreline—their livelihoods, transformations and threats to their security in this unique locality. The final chapter discusses the uplands region, which, the author states, “is considered by Khmers in the Mekong Delta to be the oldest site of Khmer settlement in Kampuchea Krom and is said to remain home to Khmer daem, the original Khmers” (219). In the conclusion, Taylor summarizes his findings and identifies some common threads as well as some contrasts.

Taylor’s study of Kampuchea Krom places needed attention on the Khmer-speaking minority in southern Vietnam, and it satisfies as an introduction to the region, its people, and the ways in which they eke out their survival as a nation between nations. However, the book could have benefited from the inclusion of a theory, or theories, in which to locate the phenomena under analysis. The absence of any engagement with James Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed seems to me an opportunity that the author missed, since Scott’s study examines statelessness and resistance in an area in Southeast Asia that he terms as Zomia. I also would have liked to see Taylor situate his analysis of the Khmer Krom within the scholarly polemics on ethnicity and nation. For instance, Rogers Brubaker’s assertion that groupness is a contextually fluctuating conceptual variable, and Thongchai Winnichakul’s notion of the geo-body and his discussion of lost territories, are both salient theoretical lenses through which one can grasp the complexities that undergird Khmer Krom conceptions of identity as well as their weltanschauung. Although the author succeeds in placing primacy on ecology and cosmology as alternative scopes through which to analyze the Khmer Krom, the absence of any dialogue with these major theories leaves the reader having to navigate through the book and approach loaded terms such as nation, ethnicity and modernity without a theoretical heading.

The Khmer Lands of Vietnam is nevertheless a thoughtful analysis of an important yet oft-overlooked ethnic group that inhabits the rich Mekong Delta. As Taylor makes clear, nationalistic narratives of the region occupy the collective consciousness of Vietnam and Cambodia, and politicians and revolutionaries alike have mobilized its loss and acquisition as a rallying cry for expansion and national legitimacy. Often lost in these narratives, however, are the inhabitants themselves, who, with a dual identity and varied livelihoods in a geographically diverse terrain, remain resilient and somewhat defiant in the faces of both ruling bodies to this very day.

Matt Galway, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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THE ROOTS OF TERRORISM IN INDONESIA: From Darul Islam to Jema’ah Islamiyah. By Solahudin; translated by Dave McRae; foreword by Greg Fealy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xx, 236 pp. (Map.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7938-0.

The Roots of Terrorism in Indonesia is a bestseller in Southeast Asia, stirring interest and even controversy. Solahudin, an award-winning journalist, explores the origins and ideology of violent Islamists in the archipelago and beyond. Thanks to translation by Dave McRae, English-speaking audiences are now able to access this influential book and gain a better understanding of the groups responsible for a range of brutal attacks, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

The book’s primary strength is its ability to piece together a coherent narrative from a murky history plagued by misinformation. It unfolds chronologically, from early Islamist rebellions during the Dutch colonial era, to the Darul Islam (DI) rebellion, and through to more recent groups such as Jema’ah Islamiyah (JI). This highly informative account uses primary documents and interviews with militants in order to illuminate how radicals formed and maintained their networks. Particularly interesting is the book’s discussion of the Suharto era, a time we previously knew little about. Solahudin shows the different directions that DI leaders went under the New Order, with some co-opted by Golkar and state intelligence networks, while others vowed to fight on, all the while maintaining links to former comrades now aligned with the state. Above all, we learn how the jihadist movement responded to a variety of setbacks and political changes, only to emerge again. The ability of this network to regroup, recruit and adapt in their continued efforts to utilize violence to further their religious agenda is as impressive as it is disturbing, and Solahudin deserves high praise for documenting how this has played out.

The picture painted of jihadist networks is a mixture of threat and ineptitude. Along with planning deadly attacks, these networks are also fragile, prone to factionalism, petty disputes and delusion. For example, when DI planned to assassinate Suharto in the early 1980s, they did not just conceptualize how to kill the president, but also dreamed of an immediate victory rally and an aftermath in which the country would flock to them in celebration. They forged a letter from a state Islamic group organizing a rally which would take place as news of the killing would be announced, and when the plot failed, did not really know how to respond. In the deadly Christmas Eve Bombings in 2000, many bombs failed to detonate or killed their handlers as they drove over speed bumps on the way to sites. The network has reached out to international actors such as Libya and Osama bin Laden, volunteering in Afghanistan and creating bases in Mindanao, but at no point has it seemed to be in full control of these exchanges. Solahudin portrays a network that is deadly and resilient, but also weak and delusional, prone to daydreaming and in constant need of recruits and funding.

The strength of this book is clearly its engaging description of the lives of Indonesian jihadist networks. The reader will find it to be more journalistic than academic, unsurprising given that the author is a journalist, but unique for an academic press. This is top-notch, unrivalled journalism, surpassing many academic studies in the quality of its data. Still, the academic reader may long for conceptual development, especially since the book promises to delve into jihadist ideology. The author tries to tie the story together with the concept of “Salafi Jihadism,” which he claims is the core belief motivating these groups. In defining the term, Solahudin suggests that “Salafi Jihadism should not be confused with Salafism per se. What distinguishes the two is the former’s overwhelming emphasis on the important of jihad” (12). Later, the author notes similar views and strategies among traditionalists, Sufis, and even Shi’a groups, making the Salafi elements seem secondary. While it is true that jihadist networks were shaped by Salafi writers who interpreted the broad concept of jihad in strictly military terms, it seems that these were actors in search of an ideology post-hoc, making it difficult to see how this muddy concept motivates violence.

A second shortcoming of this excellent book relates to aspirations versus reality. There is a tendency in the literature on terrorism and armed conflict to privilege primary accounts, and for good reason. However authors rarely intervene and put grandiose plans and organizational schemes in perspective, as elaborate concepts bear little resemblance to reality. The Roots of Terrorism in Indonesia clearly suffers from this shortcoming. In one of many examples, we are told that JI wrote a constitution in 1995, designating members with military and political titles, creating fatwa councils, and dividing Southeast Asia into distinct regions (including Australia!), each with their own councils. For all the rich descriptions of these plans, at no point does Solahudin remind us that these were imagined. They were never really implemented, but were instead created to sound authoritative to internal audiences. It is crucial to move past the acronyms and charts to examine the actual capacity wielded by such groups. Similarly, we are repeatedly provided estimates from terrorists regarding the number of recruits. Besides the fact that these may be exaggerations, it is not clear what membership meant—did an individual simply attend a meeting, or did he help carry out attacks? Without a critical discussion, this method necessarily exaggerates threats and misrepresents reality.

Solahudin and Dave McRae have provided audiences with a uniquely accessible, authoritative account of jihadist networks in Indonesia and beyond. It will be enjoyed by a range of readers, from the general public to experts, as it is both readable and empirically rich. The book provides intimate accounts of how these groups work and how their leaders think, providing a valuable contribution to the study of terrorism, armed conflicts and Islamic politics.

Shane J. Barter, Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, USA

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DEBATING DEMOCRATIZATION IN MYANMAR. Myanmar Update Series. Edited by Nick Cheesman, Nicholas Farrelly, Trevor Wilson. Singapore: ISEAS Pub., 2014. xiv, 381 pp. (Maps, tables.) US$29.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4519-13-7.

Debating Democratization in Myanmar is the latest edited volume from the Myanmar/Burma Update conference held at Australia National University. This volume is evidence that not only is the quality of scholarly work on Myanmar advancing overall, the conference is establishing itself as a premiere academic event for the study of Myanmar. One of the most promising aspects of the work is the significant number of Burmese contributors, something that will hopefully become a trend in other scholarly compilations.

The risk of putting out a volume like this on a country in the midst of a transition is that some of the research that may have seemed innovative a year ago is more commonplace in current analysis. While this is true of a few of the contributions (for example, Thomas Kean’s solid chapter on the surprisingly active parliament), even those pieces that seem dated provide an important record of how actions were perceived at key moments in the transition. Given the mercurial nature of Myanmar analysis (witness the country’s rapid swing from being a prematurely anointed success story to a stalled and disappointing failure), these time-bounded essays are crucial in reminding us just how nascent, fragile and context-dependent this transition process is.

The book opens with an essay by Winston Set Aung, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar; like other government officials who have participated in academic conferences, he isn’t really free to offer insight beyond acknowledging that the reforms continue to face challenges. A long chapter by Morten Pedersen sets up the overall reform context and includes a useful consideration of a number of different explanations of why the reforms have occurred.

From there, the rest of the book is divided into three sections: Encouraging Signs, Anticipating Reforms and Enduring Concerns. The first section contains some of the most interesting work of the whole book. A chapter by Tamas Wells and Kyaw Thu Aung on the role of village networks engaged in land-related activism reflects the increasingly prominent role of Burmese civil society groups in conducting research and empowering local communities. It also contests the common claim that rural communities are mere objects of policy, showing their (albeit still limited) role in democratization “from below” and revealing intriguing alternate understandings of democracy that ought to be further explored. Politician Daw Than Than Nu relates a more personal story of her life in exile (she is a daughter of Burma’s first prime minister U Nu) and her subsequent return to contest the 2010 elections, with reminders of the important role that exiled Burmese have played in maintaining connections between communities. Kerstin Duell’s chapter on the participation of former exiles in Myanmar’s current politics attempts to compress too much of her rich dissertation research into too small a space, but effectively highlights an important potential fault line. Kyaw Soe Lwin’s excellent study of labour protests and related violence argues that, while an increase in political space and support from activist groups has contributed to an increase in labour protests, an additional key determining factor was the concentration of workers, which “produced a feeling of solidarity” (152).

In the second section, a chapter by Anders Engvall and Soe Nandar Lynn on economic reforms is thorough in the subjects it covers yet frustratingly includes no critical perspective on the economic development paradigm that is being unquestioningly pursued in Myanmar. Sean Turnell’s piece is much more sensitive to the political context within which economic reforms are debated. Andrew Selth’s detailed chapter on police reform is similar to his contributions on the subject to other recent edited volumes, but, given the critical role that the police will play in managing conflict and promoting rule of law, the topic deserves to be discussed regularly. A chapter by multiple authors on electoral system changes was likely more impactful in 2013, whereas today the substance of those discussions has largely been lost in political maneuvering.

Renaud Egreteau’s chapter on the continuing political salience of the military ought to be re-read on a regular basis by anyone inclined to put too much faith in the ability of the quasi-civilian government to press reforms. The hard lines taken in recent months by military leaders and MPs on the ceasefire process and constitutional reform remind us that they are not likely to easily give up their constitutionally protected role in politics. It is a discouraging marker of how peripheral ethnic concerns have remained to the reform process that Seng Maw Laphai’s powerful indictment of both the Myanmar military-government complex and the international community seems almost out of place in the volume. Given the Tatmadaw’s recent attack on a Kachin cadet school, her discussion of “institutionalized state terrorism” compels a re-examination of the assumption that the military could be a credible negotiating partner in peace. Dealing with another perennially marginalized population, Khin Mar Mar Kyi looks at the daily struggles of women, demonstrating that developmental weaknesses such as lack of infrastructure or education affect women disproportionately or in unique ways.

While these primarily empirical accounts are a valuable contribution to understanding Myanmar’s reforms, more engagement with broader theoretical paradigms could help extend the utility of the volume. Not only can Myanmar’s transition be better understood by moving beyond empirical descriptions, but studies of the country could also contribute to developing or refining theories of transitions, democracy, military rule and economic sequencing, to name just a few areas. Two notable examples here are Egreteau’s contribution and the thought-provoking concluding chapter by editor Nick Cheesman on democratization and political violence. Framed as a corrective to the fact that none of the chapters address communal or religious violence, the conclusion effectively reviews the book’s essays through this lens, demonstrating the deep interconnectedness between different manifestations of violence. Cheesman ends with the worrying yet timely warning that violence “has the capacity to insinuate itself into whatever nominally-democratic institutions emerge over the next few years” (342). Clearly, what democracy means and how it should be enacted in Myanmar will remain central elements of the debate over its transition.

Matthew J Walton, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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GHOSTS OF THE NEW CITY: Spirits, Urbanity, and the Ruins of Progress in Chiang Mai. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning and Memory. By Andrew Alan Johnson. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. x, 190 pp. (Figures.) US$27.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3971-0. 

A spectre is haunting Chiang Mai: the spectre of progress. Andrew A. Johnson has entered into a project to call forth this spectre, to make it visible amidst the ruins of economic uncertainty and in the thoughts and actions of people of the city. Johnson’s book is about ghosts and spirits (both phi in Thai), but ghosts and spirits broadly construed. The book is as much about the ghosts of bad deaths that haunt high-rise apartment blocks and lordly spirits channeled by otherwise marginalized mediums as it is about the ghosts and spirits of culture (watthanatham) and above all progress (chareon) that inhabit modern subjects of the Thai “educated classes.”

Focusing mainly on the past two decades and based on fieldwork conducted in 2006–2007, Johnson’s account of the “ruins of progress” may not satisfy those looking for a more materialist or political-economic explanation for the fate that Chiang Mai suffered in the post-crisis period from 1997 and post-coup period from 2006. He makes only passing reference to issues such as corruption, cronyism, real estate speculation and the like. In fact, like a medium himself, Johnson does not seek to “explain” progress, so much as channel it: to call forth the spirit of progress, such that his audience, the reader, can sense its presence in many, often surprising, places. For those interested in a cultural, discursive, ideational and ethnographically grounded discussion of how diverse residents of Chiang Mai have experienced the haunting, elusive spirit of progress, the book has a lot to offer.

Johnson effectively, if often implicitly, organizes his arguments around various dichotomies drawn from the social and cultural context of his fieldwork. The most prominent is the dichotomy between phatthana (development) and chareon (progress), which maps onto an engagement Johnson takes up with questions over the importance of surfaces versus substances within Thai society and culture. As Johnson demonstrates at several points, drawing on specific cases from his fieldwork, his interlocutors critique numerous things—from Europe in general to specific newly built gated communities around Chiang Mai’s suburbs—as having the outward appearance of “phatthana” but lacking the (more important) substance of “chareon.” Here and elsewhere, Johnson critiques a range of scholarship on Thailand and readings of Thai society and culture, which will give specialists much to engage with in the text.

A more sociological dichotomy around which the book is organized is that of the “educated classes,” embodied primarily in architects and urban planners, and the socially marginalized, embodied primarily in spirit mediums but also undocumented (Burmese or Shan) migrant workers and others. Another unstated, but obvious, argument of the book is to critique the idea that the educated, professional classes are “modern” and “rational” and the marginalized classes are “superstitious” and “irrational.” Both, Johnson demonstrates, are haunted, possessed and driven by invisible spirits; and both (though this is a more muted point in the book) are occupied with practical, “rational,” material concerns. The master spirit haunting all these subjects (akin to a “master narrative” in other theoretical writing) is that of chareon.

The book is organized into five chapters, bracketed by a very brief introduction and conclusion. Chapter 1, “Progress and Its Ruins,” lays out the general themes and briefly introduces the main protagonists of the book (i.e., the “educated classes” and spirit mediums). It also introduces several theoretical issues, such as Freud’s “uncanny,” though with a light touch. In general, the book is written in a way that is theoretically informed but not overly jargon-filled. Chapter 2, “Foundations,” provides historical and broadly ethnographic information about Chiang Mai, in reference to the issues of progress, development, urbanity, spirit mediums and other topics upon which the work dwells. Chapter 3 provides an intimate and rich, if somewhat brief, account of Johnson’s encounters with spirit mediums, particularly a woman named Kham who channels three distinct spirits. Chapters 4 and 5 turn to a more extended discussion of charoen and the spirit of watthanatham (culture) amongst academics, architects and urban planners, who seek to bring progress and prosperity to Chiang Mai by reproducing an authentic, if “edited” version of Lanna (Northern Thai) culture.

General readers are likely to find the book engaging, as Johnson provides many vivid vignettes and stories drawn mainly from his field work, though they may also find it at times mystifying. Johnson states numerous explicit arguments here and there throughout the text, but in the end his overall argument remains more implied than stated—if indeed the book is meant as an argument rather than a mere description of Chiang Mai during a particular period. Johnson concludes by telling us that Chiang Mai is “haunted, not by its past, but by its present” (156). The spectre of chareon in the end would seem to be something of a trickster, offering substance beneath the veneer of phatthana but revealed here as more an apparition than an essence. In terms of a metaphor Johnson employs in several places in the text, chareon is a phantom pulling Chiang Mai’s subjects down the ladder of advancement rather than an enlightened spirit hoisting them up. For readers interested in the complex uncanny of (post)modern subjectivity, and certainly for specialists of Thai scholarship, the book is a rich contribution on contemporary Thailand from a closely attentive ethnographer.

Eric C. Thompson, National University of Singapore, Singapore            

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THE POLITICS OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: The Dominance of Moral Ideologies. Oxford Studies in Democratization. By Garry Rodan and Caroline Hughes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xiii, 230 pp. US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-870353-2.

This important study offers a constructive appraisal of ideologies informing accountability politics in Southeast Asia, with the authors asserting the primacy of morally conservative notions over liberalism and democracy in shaping demands for responsible governance. While the authors acknowledge that their principal concern is determining whose authority is advanced by accountability practices, they stress a crucial point: neoliberalism and democracy have reached a compromise, a reason for the rise of moral ideologies.

The authors further argue that both democratic and authoritarian Southeast Asian states resort to an exploitation of moral ideologies to contain burgeoning pressures for accountability. Powerful state institutions and actors are able to dictate the form and propagation of these moral ideologies because the middle class is deeply fragmented. State leaders aspire to direct this discourse in order to shape business-state relations that have taken a variety of directions in Southeast Asia and which have, in turn, precipitated differing degrees of elite fracture.

This nexus between neoliberalism and democracy, and how compromise is reached between the two functions is, unfortunately, a fundamental matter that did not secure the multifaceted analysis it merits. An interesting fact about this neoliberalism-democracy nexus is its simultaneous emergence in Southeast Asia in the mid-1980s. Meanwhile, authoritarian states, in response to flourishing democracy in the region, began to expound the idea of an Asian democracy—and values—to offset criticisms of their reluctance to liberalize their political systems.

Having broached this topic about neoliberalism and governance, the authors should have broadened their assessment of different manifestations of neoliberal rule, its effects, and state response to demands for accountable employment of authority. Neoliberal rule touts not merely the importance of freedom but also accountability, and increasingly regulation, a point the authors note. Regulation, however, stifles neoliberal market restructurings such as privatization, practiced by all Southeast Asian governments. These state claims about accountability go on to champion the idea of a belief in civil society and its greater participation in defining political processes. The recognition of accountability under the context of neoliberal governance can thus, paradoxically, enmesh social activists within structures of power, while simultaneously empowering the state to confine accountability to manageable categories, establish the ground for re-inscribing non-accountable rent-seeking practices, and reinforce unjust local power structures that were supposed to have been dismantled with the consolidation of democracy.

Another issue in discourses about moral accountability is respect of private property, a core dimension of neoliberalism. However, private property debates serve as a mechanism to justify the securing of rents. Notions of accountability become new processes of capital accumulation. Crucially therefore, moral accountability has to be presented as a state-social formation, grounded in religion and values. The regime of governance that then emerges melds both neoliberal and democratic concerns, and in the process produces and shapes the conduct of accountability. This is imperative as new state-business alliances inform how rents are created and distributed. In the context of moral accountability, government leaders intensify political and economic pressures on state agencies to consider their interests when determining the particular parameters that accountability should take. Such pressure on the state to serve vested interests is a primary factor for growing intra-elite contestations.

While these ideas run through the book, the key problem is this: the authors provide insufficient insights into their primary query, namely where does authority lie given this compromise between neoliberalism and democracy? Answers are suggested, but not in terms of how neoliberalism works and what this means for society and the economy. Powerful states in Singapore and Cambodia can control how neoliberalism functions. The situation in authoritarian Malaysia is more complex because the government and the opposition advocate neoliberal policies while espousing Islamic-based morality to deal with the repercussions of this economic agenda. Thailand’s business elites promote neoliberalism but are deeply split and at loggerheads with each other over access to state rents, a situation that also prevails in the Philippines. Indonesia is an anomaly as business elites have failed to consolidate control over the state, partly due to the influence of (anti-corruption-based) NGOs.

Clearly, accountability-based claims rooted in morals constitute an unpredictable terrain of politics as they offer the ground not simply for empowerment but also disempowerment, as social groupings navigate through reconstituted rent-seeking-based governance systems. In spite of enabling expressions of aspirations for accountable governance, the empowerment that often accompanies the recognition of accountability has not helped transform the conduct of politics in progressive ways. The most pernicious outcome, despite these accountability debates, is the mounting monetization of politics coupled with weak political institutions. In Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, party hopping is rampant and personality-based politics predominates, issues not expected in countries that are in the process of consolidating democracy. In these countries, strong, well-managed parties driven by ideologies or policies struggle to emerge. It is difficult to consolidate well-functioning political institutions because new oligarchs have captured power. Parties are mere tools to obtain the authority to determine forms of rent creation and distribution. Inevitably, one consequence is growing contestations between society and neoliberals using parties to capture the state, though disputes among neoliberals also disrupt the political system.

Accountability discourses are thus a response to serious and mounting state-society hostilities, with institutions incorporated ostensibly to respond to growing crises of corruption and monetized politics. But society is not convinced by these forms of accountability rhetoric. Deeply divisive protests have emerged all over Southeast Asia, most clearly manifested in recent elections.

In Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia, the electorate is equally split. Thailand is severely fractured, spatially, and with clear fissures over the value of elections. Dominant parties in Singapore and Vietnam, though responsible for rapid industrialization, are losing support. The fundamental point about all elections is their extreme monetization, even in exceptionally poor Cambodia, though not as much in enormously wealthy Singapore, a difference that is not discussed. The question remains: Is this democracy-neoliberalism compromise the reason why a segment of this divided middle class has created alliances with neoliberal oligarchs who have deftly deflected attention from pressures for democratic accountability reforms?

Edmund Terence Gomez, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia                                     

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A KINGDOM IN CRISIS: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century. Asian Arguments. By Andrew MacGregor Marshall. London: Zed Books, 2014. 238 pp. (Map.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-78360-057-1.

The publication of Andrew MacGregor Marshall’s A Kingdom in Crisis has been a much-awaited event among Thai scholars. Marshall, a Scottish journalist who used to work for Reuters, has been releasing large pieces of this study for a number of years now, at his “#thaistory” blog. The book adds something to this material but will not be a huge surprise to those who have read his work at the blog site.

Marshall began writing about the royalist dimensions of contemporary Thai politics in the context of the country’s devolution into military dictatorship since 2006, offering interpretations of Wikileaks cables that exposed unsavoury aspects of the coup plotters’ ideas and machinations—including those of royalist, Democrat Party and Yellow Shirt leaders. Unable to continue working at Reuters, and unwilling to risk imprisonment under Thailand’s harsh lèse majesté laws should he return to Thailand, Marshall settled in to write a book that frames contemporary political struggles through the lens of long-standing struggles surrounding the Thai monarchy.

The take-home message of Marshall’s book is delivered early on, in four parts (3-4). First, he claims that at the elite level, “Thailand’s conflict is essentially a succession struggle over who will become monarch when King Bhumibol dies.” Second, he claims that the political upheaval elites have feared will result from the King’s passing has already begun. Third, the intensity of this upheaval “does not imply that the monarch has significant political power as an independent actor,” since Thai elites have typically used the monarchy to their own benefit. And fourth, most Thais are not so much pro-royalist as loyal supporters of the current King. He then presents an analysis designed to back these claims, including both a survey of current events and a number of historical chapters meant to place the current reign in broader perspective.

Given the relative paucity of accessible and critical English-language writing about the Thai monarchy, and the risks that such writing entails, A Kingdom in Crisis should be considered a significant accomplishment, and Zed Books should be given credit for being willing to publish it. For the many Westerners who continue to repeat outmoded and Orientalist slogans about the Kingdom, the book should prove to be a real eye-opener—not least in its discussion of the events that led to the current King taking the throne and expanding the social and political significance of the monarchy (132 ff.).

For many scholars and people fairly familiar with Thai politics, some of Marshall’s analysis will nonetheless prove fairly thin gruel. It is not only that there has actually been a string of books in recent history that raise telling issues about the monarchy and challenges of succession—for example, the works by Benedict Anderson, Paul Handley, Soren Ivarsson and Lotte Isager, William Stevenson, David Streckfuss and Thongchai Winichakul which the author cites, as well as works by Kevin Hewison, Rayne Kruger and Somsak Jeamteerasakul which he doesn’t cite—but Marshall’s explanation of the current crisis is somewhat one-sided.

Marshall is surely right that succession issues are significant, a claim that he backs with the Wikileaks cables and other sources. But if his own assertion that the monarchy is not independently powerful and is used by elites for their own purposes is correct, as I would say it is, then the succession issue ought to be used as a window onto the larger social struggles that consume the elites. These clearly include not only their obsessive concerns about who controls the wealth and institutional power of the Royal household and its various properties after King Bhumibol dies, but how they can continue to maintain an elite-dominated political and social order without the legitimizing imagery that has been built up around the current monarch. In many ways, it is this elite struggle against rising popular demands, poignantly expressed in various ways by the now suppressed Red Shirt movement, which is at the centre of the present political struggle. Marshall’s book unfortunately provides scant insight into this aspect of the struggle, including the transformations of rural society enabling it, or the ways it is interconnected with the intra-elite machinations around succession. Moreover, this failure to analyze popular struggles is not merely an empirical lacuna in the work since it contributes to one of the rather strained prognostications Marshall forwards when he anticipates that after Bhumibol’s death and some brief upheaval Thailand may evolve toward greater stability, the succession issue having been resolved (214).

This seems to me a highly unlikely scenario, given the intensity of popular struggle against elitist forms of rule, and the intransigence of Thai elites in trying to maintain them. I should note that the version of Marshall’s book I have read was finished before the 2014 coup, an event which has announced in no uncertain terms the will of the military leadership to expunge all popular forces except those that support them, and to rule by out-and-out dictatorial or fascist means if necessary. Perhaps Marshall can be excused for not having written such acts of deep repression into his analysis, or for drawing the conclusion that such acts make near-term reconciliation seem hopeless. Yet an analysis of the popular struggle in Thailand—rather than just the intra-elite succession struggle—might have already commended such an interpretation, independently of the 2014 coup. (Strangely, the book lacks any analysis of the 2008 Yellow Shirt airport blockades, which also attest to the intransigence of elite forces and might have warned against any hopes for short-term reconciliation.)

Despite these shortcomings, A Kingdom in Crisis is a useful read, particularly for those unfamiliar with the roles of royalist-military elites (and their international allies) in shaping Thailand’s ongoing struggles for democracy. It will certainly find its place on the bookshelves of Thai democracy activists—provided they do not live in Thailand.

Jim Glassman, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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ENERGY, GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY IN THAILAND AND MYANMAR (BURMA): A Critical Approach to Environmental Politics in the South. Transforming Environmental Politics and Policy. By Adam Simpson. Farnham, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. xii, 260 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$119.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4094-2993-7.

Mainland Southeast Asian governments have often relied upon a conventional development paradigm to justify the widespread exploitation of finite natural resources, much of which are used to satiate growing regional energy demands. In Energy, Governance and Security, Adam Simpson tackles a series of important questions concerning the politics of energy security and governance in Thailand and Myanmar. With both countries serving as major sites of controversial energy projects, this ambitious book takes as its departure point the “paradox” that surfaces when the pursuit of “improved energy security” comes at the expense of the “environmental security of local communities” (5).

In interrogating the question of “how environmental politics is played out in both the states and transnational spaces of the less affluent South” (5), a key argument advanced here is that “a distinctive relationship [exists] between the level of authoritarian governance and the predominance of local or transnational activism under hybrid or authoritarian regimes” (186). Focusing on four large-scale projects—the Shwe Gas Pipeline and Salween Dams in Myanmar, and the Yadana Gas Pipeline and Thai-Malaysian Gas Pipeline in Thailand—Simpson provides a detailed, comparative study of how local and transnational activism have contributed to raising public scrutiny over these “high-impact” schemes and, in so doing, to filling governance gaps.

The book is comprised of six chapters. Chapter 2 lays out the book’s conceptual underpinnings, which centre on the notion of “activist environmental governance” (28). While a promising idea in some ways, it is not a particularly novel one. Engagement with existing scholarship on, for example, “rightful resistance,” “embedded advocacy” and “civil regulation” would have strengthened this chapter, or at least made clearer the specific theoretical contributions afforded by this model. That said, the book’s typology of the different actors involved in activist environmental governance—namely, emancipatory governance groups (EGG), compromise governance groups (CGG) and environmental governance state (EGS)—is helpful and well-presented.

Chapters 3 to 6 make up the empirical foundations of the study. Chapter 3 offers an overview of the Thai and Myanmar political situations, directing attention to how varying levels of authoritarianism and political competition at different points in time (i.e., the Thaksin period in Thailand and post-1990s Myanmar) have contributed to environmental insecurity. Although containing a meticulous account of environmental politics in these two countries, the chapter could be rendered more succinct, given how the bulk of it is comprised of background information that does not always have a direct bearing on the book’s arguments.

Chapter 4 examines the dynamics of local activism surrounding the aforementioned four energy projects to unpack the role and effectiveness of grassroots actors in engendering “emancipatory” governance. Pointing out how local activism in Myanmar was “extremely limited” (94) in contrast to the Thai case where “bottom-up” activism drove issue creation, Simpson draws upon an impressive array of primary source materials gained from interviews in the region. Indeed, it is in this respect that Energy, Governance and Security stands out. Given the political sensitivity surrounding energy issues in Myanmar and, to a lesser degree, Thailand, the novel perspectives distilled from these interviews are highly valuable, adding empirical substance to the discussion of contentious energy schemes on which reliable information does not readily exist.

Chapter 5 is, in a way, a peculiar contribution to the book. It explores the “central case study” of EarthRights International (ERI), a prominent transnational non-governmental organizations in the region. Simpson justifies this focus by arguing that ERI as an organization “straddling North and South … provide[s] a compelling case study of an [EGG] engaging in activism against environmental insecurity in the South” (124). To be sure, there is truth to this claim; yet, inclusion of the ERI case also creates a slight disjuncture in the book’s narrative flow. Moreover, considering how there is no cross-sectional study of the other organizations active in contesting the energy projects examined, this becomes problematic in methodological terms as well. Other EGGs or, even better, examples of CGGs and EGS ought to have been analyzed to reveal how they assisted or impeded activist environmental governance in comparison. That said, this chapter does reflect the extensive fieldwork that undergirds the book, providing an in-depth account of ERI’s “nuts and bolts” and broader contributions to environmental governance.

The focus of chapter 6 is on the nature and implications of transnational activism in Myanmar and Thailand. Here, Simpson suggests an interesting point: whereas local activism featured more prominently in the Thai cases, transnational activism proved to be a stronger dynamic in the Myanmar examples. Part of the explanation lies with the limitations faced by local NGOs. Due to the country’s restricted socio-political space, the activist diaspora based outside of Myanmar enjoyed greater freedom to maneuver and were thus capable of playing a bigger role.

The volume’s contribution to the burgeoning literature on environmental governance in Southeast Asia lies primarily with its interviews, which yield fascinating insights into the state of environmental activism in the region. The author is also to be commended on his clear enthusiasm for the subject (9-10), though there is sometimes the risk of sounding “too” enthusiastic, such that the analysis appears skewed toward extolling the virtues of activist environmental governance. A more upfront discussion of the potential problems posed by civil society activism is needed. Also noticeably missing is a consideration of how the concept of human security fits in with the book’s overarching framework.

In short, while empirically satisfying, Energy, Governance and Security falls a bit short theoretically. Burdened by a convoluted analytical framework, the book struggles at times to convincingly relate its framework to its cases and arguments. This is evident in the conclusion, where the proposed “critical environmental security framework” (191) ends up obfuscating more than it reveals. Yet, its shortcomings notwithstanding, this book remains a thought-provoking contribution to existing scholarship. The insights and questions presented therein will be of certain interest to students of Southeast Asia and environmental politics.

Pichamon May Yeophantong, Princeton University, Princeton, USA                                            

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BEING MALAY IN INDONESIA: Histories, Hopes and Citizenship in the Riau Archipelago. Asian Studies Association of Australia Southeast Asia Publications Series. By Nicholas J. Long. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xii, 288 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3865-2.

In Being Malay in Indonesia, Nicholas J. Long discusses numerous discourses and behaviours that contribute to a feeling of unsettledness among citizens and officials of the newly created Indonesian province, Riau Archipelago.

To understand the book’s subject and method, it is best to compare its subject – the lives of Malays in Indonesia – with the lives of Malays in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the Constitution defines who are Malays, and together with other indigenous ethnic groups, gives them privileges as sons of the country’s soil, thus constituting a Malay-dominated multiculturalism. However, in Indonesia, the official understanding of nation-building decries the domination of any ethnicity. Upon implementation of regional autonomy in 1999, however the concentration of an ethnic group in a particular territory became regarded, though unofficially, as the basis for redefining the boundaries of that territory or even splitting it into multiple territories. Thus, the creation of the province of Riau Archipelago in 2004 was the birth of a province “for Malays,” although Indonesia is a country where the superiority of any specific ethnicity is not officially acknowledged.

If the definition and privileges of an ethnic group are officially defined, as in Malaysia, it can be a topic for an official discussion (although such public discussion on the definition and the privileges of Malays is restricted in Malaysia). On the other hand, it is difficult to discuss the definition or privileges (if any) of Malays in Indonesia in an official forum, as this ethnic category is ambiguous. However, this does not mean that being Malay has no significance; rather, the issue of being Malay is often raised, and sometimes has a certain influence on determining social status, as the book demonstrates. The author carefully avoids falling into the endless search for a flexible definition of Malayness, instead successfully outlining the stage and performance of Malayness in Riau social life.

The introduction examines the literature of Malayness, and discusses a theoretical framework based on the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud and Slavoj Žižek, followed by a chapter introducing the autonomy-era province of Riau Archipelago. The following chapters spotlight historical consciousness, economy, multiethnic neighbourhoods and otherworldly forces. The book further focuses on achieving mindset and cultural contests.

Each chapter presents two or more differing opinions on its topic. Chapter 2 details different views on the history and make-up of the population, in regard to the understanding of Riau Archipelago as Malay. Tanjung Pinang, the provincial capital of Riau Archipelago, was founded by the Chinese, while the Indonesian rupiah was not used in Tanjung Pinang until 1965, the point at which Singaporean dollars ceased to be used. While the region is understood as having a multi-racial composition, Malays only account for about 30 percent of the population in the whole province and in Tanjung Pinang.

Chapter 3 addresses the issue of who is allowed to discuss the meaning of Malay identity among Riau Malays. A housewife’s offer of a document which had been passed down in her family for generations to the government as a historical resource is rejected by a government official because she’s not aristocratic. The official advises the author who accompanied her to associate with aristocrats if he wants to write a dissertation on Riau Malays. Herein lies an unofficial understanding of who is permitted to discuss Malaynesss: clearly, the housewife is not. Curiously enough, the same housewife criticizes the Bugis people who make a presentation on Malays in a seminar on Malay history.

Tensions are also found in the marketplace in Tanjung Pinang, where the stereotype of lazy Malays, formulated during colonial times, is considered to be true (chapter 4). The author finds that those who are successful in the market tend to be called Keling, or Indian, while those who are not successful are called Malay. Interestingly, the Malays who work at the market tend to claim Indonesian identity.

The uneasiness of living with people of different cultures is expressed in terms of ethnicity and religion (chapter 5). A Chinese newcomer is expelled after being accused of homosexuality when he invites another man to his room during the evening and closes the door, then dims the light.

The boundary between Malays and non-Malays is turbid even in cosmology (chapter 6). When a young Chinese man is possessed after escaping the 1998 Jakarta riot and returns to Riau, the family requests treatment from both Malay and Chinese dukun, as they are unsure if their son is tormented by a Malay or Chinese ghost.

Batam, supposedly influenced by the colonial, foreign atmosphere of Singapore, is regarded as a rival of Tanjung Pinang, in regard to physical and human resource development (chapter 7).

The author plays the lead in chapter 8, in which he is asked to be on the jury of a beauty contest organized by the Tourism Board. He is surprised, through his involvement in the dramatic decision on the male winner, that the judging is not only based on performance on stage, but also participation in previous contests. Selecting the female winner is unproblematic, until she is found to be of Chinese origin the following day, mirroring an episode in the introduction wherein a newspaper reporter claimed the mayor of Tanjung Pinang was Chinese, born of Chinese parents and brought up by Malay parents. The mayor (also a poet) objected to this account, and wrote a poem saying she was raised in Malay culture as a Malay, and so she is a Malay no matter her DNA.

A remarkable feature of this book is in the cinematic style of the description. The author vividly presents the voices of people of various standing and from various places within Riau. Informants appear in the beginning of each chapter as though they are cinematic characters. They talk with officials, bandy about with others, and participate in events such as beauty contests. The author observes and sometimes participates, listening to informants and others, guided by his analysis as voice-over narration. Reading the book, I was given the impression I was “reading” cinema.

By repeatedly exposing the contradictory allegations, the author shows the polyphonic reality of being Malay in Indonesia. The book is a product of extensive research and the author’s theoretical insight into Riau islanders, and should be a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in ethnicity and development in the Malay archipelago and beyond.

Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

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THE GOVERNMENT OF MISTRUST: Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam. New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies. By Ken MacLean. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. xx, 278 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-299-29594-3.

Ken MacLean is interested in the mistrust that has pervaded relations between decision makers in Hanoi and lower-level cadres and peasants since the 1920s. In The Government of Mistrust he interweaves archival material, secondary sources, his own ethnographic research and his experiences working for an international NGO to describe the accretion of bureaucratic processes of documentation and control over time. With a focus on the Red River Delta, he traces the unsuccessful efforts of the architects of Socialist Vietnam to achieve reliable insight into the political, economic and social practices of villages, agricultural collectives and communes. This is a balanced study that is attentive to national and provincial actors that occupy the upper reaches of the party hierarchy, as well as lower-level cadres and rural rice farmers.

The book’s central argument is that bureaucratic processes that were intended to dispel mistrust and facilitate central state authorities’ insight into local political and economic practices, actually produced an opposite effect. They created more mistrust and made local practices less legible for leaders of the Vietnamese Communist Party. These enduring and layered illegibilities buffered interactions between national leaders and local actors. While the socialist state was able to extract resources from the countryside and thereby guarantee its own durability over time and space, its partial blindness impeded it from exercising the power that would be necessary to fundamentally reform local political and economic practices. One result is an unintended (at least from Hanoi’s perspective) flexibility in centre-periphery relations that has persisted through independence and until the present. In this context, key national economic policies (including decollectivization and Đổi mớireforms) are shown to be the outcomes of the protracted and complex interplay of the actions and interests of Party leaders, local-level cadres and peasants. Here, change neither arises suddenly in response to crisis, nor as the result of a single group’s agency.

The Government of Mistrust is organized as six chapters grouped into three historical periods (pre-collectivization, collectivization, post-decollectivization). Each chapter offers a genealogy of a particular bureaucratic process, or legibility device, and analyzes its role in the exercise of power and the obscuring of reality from the view of Party leaders. Chapter 1 examines call and response dialogues as they were deployed from the late 1920s through the 1950s. Vietnamese Communist Party members used these techniques to engage with peasants, identify potential local leaders and (unsuccessfully) nurture new class-based subjectivities. Chapter 2 describes the use of field reports during the 1950s to convey information about the commune upwards in the Party hierarchy and to define exemplary and deviant practices. The next three chapters follow the bureaucratic processes that accompanied the establishment, consolidation and scaling-up of agricultural collectives. During early phases of collectivization the Vietnamese government sought to increase legibility by standardizing the format of field reports using administrative templates (chapter 3). The 1960s brought the consolidation of village collectives into larger-scale collectives with the assistance of labour contracts (chapter 4) that organized and rewarded individuals for specific contributions of labour and material. Chapter 5 follows the implementation of the performance audits that sought to track inputs to and outputs from the Soviet-style collectives of the late 1970s. Chapter 6 addresses the revival of village conventions, a legibility device with pre-colonial origins, to cultivate socialist morality and ideology in decollectivized post-Đổi mớivillages. Throughout the chapters, MacLean offers rich historical and contemporary illustrations of how the state’s accumulation of legibility devices has resulted in “a disorganized assemblage of conflicting policies, plans, and projects” (207).

The main arguments of The Government of Mistrust appear credible. Nevertheless, the details supporting them could be more precisely organized and explained. An example of this is the treatment of facts about collectivization. In some instances MacLean deconstructs the facts produced by Vietnamese legibility devices in order to reveal them as official fictions/paperealities. In other instances, facts that were presumably produced by the same kinds of legibility devices are used to arrive at objective descriptions of the historical performance of agricultural collectives. Missing here is a discussion of how the author is able to discern objective facts from official fictions. For instance, when sources indicate that Vũ Thắng Commune made investments and production changes resulting in 10 tons of paddy per hectare per season in the late 1970s (143), how is MacLean able to determine that this is an accurate and objective fact, and not just another papereality? Taken alone the uncertainty about the status of this fact is a minor detail. But as similar instances accumulate in the text, they call for a more fundamental discussion of the author’s own theoretical and methodological basis for conceptualizing fact, fiction and papereality in his empirical material. The reader is left to wonder whether MacLean is influenced by science and technology studies (STS) approaches to understanding the social/natural construction of facts (as the use of John Law’s work in the introduction seems to suggest), or if he is more committed to a theoretical position where facts and truths exist independently of their social and political contexts (as a brief discussion of the work of Michel-Rolph Trouillot in the conclusion seems to suggest)? One would like to see more clarity about MacLean’s own theoretical standpoint, and how he in turn operationalizes that position in his analysis of his empirical material.

The Government of Mistrust is an ambitious text, both for its creative use of mixed methodologies and its temporal thematic and range. Despite its occasional ambiguities, the richly descriptive text will be of value for graduate students and other scholars who are interested in the dynamic power relations that infuse the innovation and accumulation of state bureaucratic processes, as well as for Vietnam specialists interested in the history of Vietnamese governance, agricultural collectivization and economic policy since independence.

Eren Zink, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden          

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HANOI’S WAR: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam. By Lien-Hang T. Nguyen. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. xiv, 444 pp. (Illus.) US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8078-3551-7.

Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, an associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky, has distilled a decade of research into a tightly constructed work that adds significantly to the political and diplomatic history of the Vietnam War, especially the critical period between the major US intervention of 1965 and the conclusion of the Paris “peace process” in 1973. Nguyen has had unprecedented access to archival material in Hanoi, although Vietnam Workers’ Party (VWP) files remain closed. She has trolled the archives of the former South Vietnam (RVN) government as well as declassified US documents and a wealth of secondary sources. She has also interviewed Vietnamese players, including Northerners who faced purges during the VWP intra-party disputes of the 1960s.

Le Duan, first secretary (later general secretary) of the Party from 1960, is at the centre of this narrative, along with his loyal deputy, Le Duc Tho. Duan progressed from the anti-French insurgency in the Mekong Delta in the 1930s and 40s to pre-eminence in the North Vietnamese (DRV) leadership, sidelining the revered early leaders of the revolution, the ailing Chairman Ho Chi Minh, and, somewhat less successfully, Defence Minister Vo Nguyen Giap. An important factor in Duan’s rise may have been his absence in the South during the draconian collectivization process of the late 1950s, under the direction of Truong Chinh. A rift had opened in the party between “North-firsters,” who advocated building socialism in the North while waging a mainly political struggle in the South, and those who favoured reunification by force. Following the US buildup, Le Duan pursued the overthrow of the Saigon government by means of a strategy of “general offensive and general uprising (GO/GU).” He seems to have been convinced that this would succeed if large unit forces were employed against urban centres. Several senior North-firsters were marginalized, even imprisoned, during this period, many with real or suspected ties to Moscow; some were subordinates of Ho or Giap. Other “right deviationists” and “capitalist roaders” suffered as well, including Catholics. To a degree, Le Duan needed to continue the armed struggle in the South to deflect from domestic dissent in the DRV.

The Sino-Soviet dispute, and the differing counsel China and the USSR offered, along with military equipment and logistical support, was a major source of concern for Hanoi. China in the early 1960s advocated People’s War, with a concentration on guerrilla activity, while the Soviets urged enhanced political struggle, but remained the more important provider of heavy artillery and armour. The situation became complicated by the fact that both Moscow and Beijing were intent on improving relations with the United States. The year 1972 witnessed détente with the USSR and, most important, Nixon’s dramatic visit to China, all of which posed a quandary for Hanoi. By the end of that year, both were advising Hanoi to accept a political settlement and await the withdrawal of US support before actively pursuing unification efforts.

The ultimate test of the GO/GU strategy was the Lunar New Year (Tet) Offensive of February 1968, which was a military disaster for the communists and ended any illusion that the indigenous movement in the South, embodied in the “Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG),” could operate independently of Hanoi. The most important outcome of Tet, however, was the impact it had on public opinion in the West, where media portrayed it as a defeat for the US and the RVN. This perception forced Lyndon Johnson from power, and persuaded him before the 1968 elections to call a halt to bombing north of the 19th parallel and to seek a political settlement of the war through the Paris peace talks.

The election of Richard Nixon changed the picture: he had run on the promise that he would bring “peace with honour” to Vietnam. He was determined to maintain Nguyen Van Thieu in power in Saigon, and this became the major sticking point in the on-and-off negotiations in Paris for the ensuing three years. At his side was Henry Kissinger, and Nguyen draws a parallel between the Nixon/Kissinger team, which made the White House the centre of decision making for Vietnam, and the Le Duan/Le Duc Tho partnership, which was predominant within the VWP.

Far from being dissuaded by Tet, Le Duan ordered a further offensive in May 1968, and several “mini-Tets” throughout 1969 and 1970. With the death in 1969 of Ho Chi Minh, his hand was strengthened further. As the war ground on, Nixon sought to elicit DRV concessions in Paris by the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia and intensified bombing in the North. Thus, 1972 marked a change of strategy on the part of Duan. The intense Easter Offensive, which just happened to take place between Nixon’s dramatic visits to Beijing and Moscow, was thwarted, largely by RVN forces. Nguyen devotes the bulk of her book to a meticulous account of the Paris talks, listing the various proposals put forward by both sides with an eye to mutual troop withdrawals, the release of US prisoners of war and, most important, the fate of RVN President Thieu. Thieu was never fully consulted, and RVN suspicions of a US sellout grew apace.

Although four parties—the RVN, the DRV, the PRG and the US—constituted the official participants to the talks, the real business was conducted in secret exchanges between Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. In spite of the ceasefire agreement of January 1973, Nguyen concludes that “peace never had a chance.” The People’s Army (PAVN) remained in the south, and the ARVN fought on with little or no US support. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, prompting the satirist Tom Lehrer to comment that “Satire is Dead.” To his credit, Tho declined the honour. General Dung’s victorious army entered Saigon just over two years later to end the conflict. Vietnam was, finally, reunited.

Nguyen’s book is not a “primer”: working one’s way through arcane acronyms and unfamiliar Vietnamese names requires at least a cursory knowledge of the history of the war and its origins. It is a commendably dispassionate account, and is recommended reading for any serious study of the Cold War and the interactions among the United States, the USSR and China in the 1960s and 1970s.

D. Gordon Longmuir, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada      

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MOBILIZING PIETY: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia. By Rachel Rinaldo. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ix, 254 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-994812-3.

In a moment of both increased global anxiety about Islam and arguably decreased awareness of misogyny and violence against women generally, scholarship on the intersection of feminist activism and Islamic piety is welcome. Rachel Rinaldo’s book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia analyzes this intersection through sociological fieldwork with four feminist organizations in Jakarta, Indonesia, each of which position themselves vis-à-vis Islam in arguing for women’s rights in the public and private spheres. While these activists do not argue for the same rights that Western feminist activists might, and even reject activism that “smells of America” (77), Rinaldo shows they maintain their own visions of feminism and the future. In the process, Rinaldo depicts activists who are creative, courageous and determined. Rinaldo suggests that feminist activists around the world could do worse than take inspiration from Muslim Indonesian feminists. Rinaldo’s book will be of highest value for scholars and teachers of women’s studies and feminist sociology.

As is often stated yet nearly as often forgotten, Indonesia is the world’s largest majority Muslim country. Because of its geographic and ethnic position outside of the Arab world, non-Indonesian Muslims and non-Muslims alike often perceive Indonesian Muslims as inauthentic examples of piety. Yet since the 1980s, Islamic practices and identity have become important sites of Indonesian political and public culture. Rinaldo builds on this history to suggest that the turn to Islamic piety has had an unlikely outcome: it inspired and mediated gendered activism in the face of the Suharto New Order regime’s authoritarian celebration of housewifery for female citizens (1965-98).

Rinaldo’s research is based on fieldwork in Jakarta in 2005 and 2008 with four women’s organizations, and is in closest theoretical conversation with the sociological literature on agency and Islamic gender politics. She proposes three types of agentive action that the four organizations articulate: pious critical agency, pious activating agency and feminist agency.

Rinaldo’s concepts most closely engage intellectual debates of the past decade about pious agency, particularly in the work of anthropologist Saba Mahmood (Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, Princeton University Press, 2004). Mahmood argues that liberal feminist conceptions of agency foreclose alternative visions of agency that may look docile or repressive, yet are nonetheless choices for pious Muslim women in the mosque movement in Cairo. Rinaldo argues that this is a useful insight, but worries that defining pious agency as docility and submission (to Allah and/or to men), may reflect a narrowly Cairene context, and may over-represent other modes of pious agency that are less docile and more collective. For example, she describes how Indonesian Islamic activists used Islamic law and theology to lobby with the Indonesian Ministry of Religion and Ministry of Manpower over issues they framed as moral justice, not just secular human rights, such as managing polygamy, outlawing pornography or identifying the extraction of usurious fees for transnational female migrants. This strategy involves selective, but not necessarily strategic, embodiment of pious comportment, appearance and language, even as it has concrete policy goals for groups of citizens in the public sphere. As a result, religious morals are not simply a matter of individual self-fashioning but are linked to national progress or regress.

Rinaldo identifies three types of agency with the four organizations she studied. First, she describes two organizations that practice what she calls pious critical agency, Fatayat NU and Rahima. Pious critical agency focuses on religious textual interpretation (itjihad) and women’s religious authority. Fatayat is the women’s branch of the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, Nahdalatul Ulama, while Rahima describes itself as a Muslim women’s rights NGO. Starting from textually religious foundations, activists in both organizations then borrow from global gender rights language to articulate an explicitly pious language of gender equality, including, perhaps surprisingly, sexual education and the right for wives to expect sexual satisfaction in a marriage.

A second type of agency is what Rinaldo calls pious activating agency, which she describes as dominant in the offices of the women’s branch of the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) or Prosperous Justice Party. PKS is a relatively new but influential political party born of the post-Suharto era. As a political party competing for elected office, its official aims are to bring Islamic theology into the political sphere as the ideal solution for corruption and social decay. Its members consider the disconnection in secular societies between public politics and private faith destructive. Women activists within PKS have become publicly active in lobbying for national policies that protect women, but which focus on domesticity and morality campaigns (such as protecting women within polygamous marriages, rather than outlawing polygamy, and outlawing pornography). Rinaldo shows that, ironically, the women who worked to achieve these goals themselves enjoy active, public, professional careers with PKS even as they wish to introduce Islamic ideas of domesticity into national law.

Finally, Rinaldo studied an NGO that might feel most familiar to Western feminists, Solidaritas Perempuan. SP makes no formal religious claims, instead focusing on women’s rights as human rights. The activists focus on protecting transnational migrants who are often vulnerable to agency fees, corrupt Indonesian officials as well as harsh working conditions abroad. These activists directly engage feminist terms, and consider themselves critics of neoliberal political and economic conditions in ways very different from the activists of the other three organizations. In this sense, they may seem secular, in that they appear to treat religion as a matter of personal choice. Yet in practice, Rinaldo offers detailed descriptions of how SP activists carefully and intentionally use Islamic history, Islamic terminology and especially Islamic comportment in their official meetings with government officials and in their training sessions with regional activists. Their blended use of Islamic style and content relays to potentially skeptical Indonesians that feminism and Islam are compatible.

Carla Jones, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

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SQUATTERS INTO CITIZENS: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore. Southeast Asia Publications Series. By Loh Kah Seng. Honolulu: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxvii, 315 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3946-8.

In May 1961 a huge fire ripped through the wooden houses in the urban kampong of Bukit Ho Swee, leaving 16,000 people homeless. Singapore, still a British colony, had two years earlier negotiated a form of self-government that brought the People’s Action Party (PAP) into power, led by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee promised that all victims would be rehoused within nine months by the newly formed Housing Development Board (HDB). The story of how that was achieved has become part of the state-sanctioned historical narrative of Singapore and its extraordinary transformation into the ultramodern global city-state of today, and is the focus of Loh Kah Seng’s engaging book.

Loh, who grew up in the 1970s in the one-room flats built to house fire victims, has written an absorbing and detailed social history of the fire, based on oral histories, official records, photographs and media reports. The book is structured chronologically, moving through the complex neighbourhoods of the kampongs, the fire and the immediate response, to the subsequent rehousing of victims. In so doing, he presents a complex and nuanced analysis of the fire, its consequences and its place in the narration of the nation.

Wooden kampong settlements were common in Singapore at the time, as in many other parts of Southeast Asia, with over a quarter of the population living in what the authorities regarded as slums where disease and the potential for disorder were ever present. Loh turns the stereotype of the residents as backward “squatters” on its head, arguing instead that they usually paid rent, worked in formal and informal employment, were optimistic about the future, and increasingly engaged with politics. He argues that they constituted “an alternative modernity on the margin” (10).

The unplanned nature of the settlements meant that they were regarded by the authorities as an “ambivalent zone, where the state felt its control to be tenuous” (11). Here Loh argues that the government, like the British before them, sought to regularize the settlements and move to a planned, well-ordered urban society. The scale of the fire in Bukit Ho Swee gave the new government the opportunity to demonstrate that it could rehouse families quickly and efficiently. This was the beginning of Singapore’s massive public housing program.Today over 80 percent of Singaporeans live in HDB flats, and of these, over 90 percent own their flat. The housing program is hailed as an early success of the fledgling government and an ongoing and crucial part of nation-building after independence in 1965. In this scenario, the Bukit Ho Swee fire has been described as a “blessing in disguise,” since it cleared the slum and kickstarted the public housing program.

The continued hegemony of the People’s Action Party, which has held government since 1959, has been of ongoing interest to scholars of Singapore. Loh continues this in arguing that the fire enabled the government to remodel the kampong dwellers into disciplined citizens, in planned housing, with regular rental payments and as workers in the new industrial economy. In other words, it tamed the ambivalent zones of the kampongs and wedded the residents to the new Singapore, and in the process, to the government. The transformation effectively became a metaphor for the progress of Singapore under the PAP.

What adds particular interest to Loh’s analysis are his interviews with survivors of the disaster who describe their lives before and after the fire. They express a mixture of views, with some regretting the loss of their former lifestyle, and others grateful for the new housing provided. Perspectives have mellowed too over the years, with many residents now reconciled to the advantages of high-rise living. Their candour is engaging: one informant who prefers life in public housing to the hardship of the kampong, demonstrated an understanding of how the fire had helped the political legitimacy of the PAP, saying, with a laugh, “Now we Singaporeans are obedient like a dog to the government” (251).

Loh argues that the fire and the response have generated three myths that have come to define beliefs about modernity in Singapore. The first is the official celebratory depiction of the public housing miracle of modern Singapore rising out of the ashes of the Bukit Ho Swee fire, replacing the unsanitary and unregulated squatter settlement with a planned modernity. He criticizes this as a selective account which places culpability for the fire with the residents and which ignores the dissatisfaction of many fire victims with the emergency flats. Loh identifies the second myth, which coexists with the first, as the romance of the harmonious kampong. He asserts that the term “kampong spirit” has been used by the government to establish the success of public housing and to rally support for the HBD’s upgrading and en bloc development of older estates. In this way, it is used to showcase the resilience of the fire victims who overcame hardship through the kampong values of neighbourliness, thrift and hard work, values which the government seeks to encourage in young people.

Most interesting, though, is the third myth, or rather the “countermyth,” as he terms it. This is the unwritten and persistent rumour that the fire was an intentional act of arson by the government to clear the kampong and enable redevelopment of the site to occur. The rumour has persisted despite the reluctance of Singaporeans to discuss the possibility openly. Loh argues that its longevity “indicates the deep-seated tension between self and nation” (260), an example of the pragmatic and ambivalent relationship between the PAP and the people, where restrictions on freedoms are tolerated in exchange for continued economic progress.

Loh uses the story of the fire and its ensuing myths to tell a bigger story: one of housing the nation and of the contested nature of modernity. In shining a light on a historical moment at the intersection of the colonial and postcolonial, Loh reveals an important national story, and also one that speaks to the history of Southeast Asian urban redevelopment more broadly.

Sandra Hudd, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia                                                             

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RECOLLECTING RESONANCES: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters. Southeast Asia Mediated, v.4. Edited by Bart Barendregt and Els Bogaerts. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2014. xi, 353 pp. (Illus.) US$162.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-25609-5.

Recollecting Resonances: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters (2014) combines musicological, historical and anthropological approaches to productively explore an array of musical interactions between Indonesians and Dutch, tackling a legacy of Dutch colonialism by taking the reader, through its 14 chapters, to different parts of what is now Indonesia, the Netherlands and Suriname; examining an impressive variety of musical genres and other forms of performance; and exploring musical encounters that have spanned centuries. As the editors Bart Barendregt and Els Bogaerts write in the first chapter, “Recollecting Resonances: Listening to an Indonesian-Dutch Musical Heritage,” their aims include “broadening discussions on colonial and postcolonial migration and its legacies and the role culture, more specifically musical encounters have played in all of this” (26). They highlight the importance of studying music in this endeavour, and emphasize that in understanding colonial life “[m]usical practices cast a light on the customs of both colonizer and the colonized, and the very fabric of everyday life in those days; matters that otherwise might be difficult to untie” (1). They also recognize the unequal power relations that characterize many of the musical encounters explored in the volume (5).

Indeed, unequal power relations between Dutch and Indonesians underpin many of the issues addressed in the volume. In chapter 2, “Photographic Representations of the Performing Indonesian,” Liesbeth Ouwehand analyzes photographs of Indonesian musicians, instruments, and dancers “taken between 1870 and 1910” primarily by Europeans for scholarly or commercial purposes (31-32, 57), taking on issues of race, representation and authenticity. The next three chapters explore processes of localization and hybridization by examining the impact of Dutch music on Indonesian music as well as how and why Indonesians have made sense of Dutch music in their own ways, effectively both reinforcing and resisting Dutch power. Gerard A. Persoon considers the history of the Dutch national anthem in Indonesia in chapter 3, “‘Queen Wilhelmina, Mother of the Mentawaians’: The Dutch National Anthem in Indonesia and as Part of the Music Culture of Siberut” (an island off the coast of West Sumatra).In the fourth chapter, “Past and Present Issues of Javanese-European Musical Hybridity: Gendhing Mares and Other Hybrid Genres,” Sumarsam examines “‘marching’ gamelan pieces” (gendhing mares) in central Java, a genrethat incorporates European drums and brass instruments, and relates this type of music to other hybrid genres such as tanjidor and campursari (87). Miriam L. Brenner examines the impact of Dutch music on the island of Buton (off the coast of Southeast Sulawesi) in chapter 5, “Drummers of the Sultan of Buton: The Lasting Influence of the Dutch East India Company on Local Music Traditions,” starting in the 1600s with the arrival of the Dutch East India Company and the military music they brought (111-112).

Chapters 6 and 7 investigate hybridity in the realms of twentieth-century art music, discussing some of the ways Indonesian and Dutch composers synthesized elements of Western art and Indonesian musics. R. Franki S. Notosudirdjo analyzes the contributions of Indonesian composers—as well as their nationalist ambitions—and Dutch composers living in the Indies in the creation and development of Indonesian art music (musikseni) in chapter 6, “Musical Modernism in the Twentieth Century.” In chapter 7, “Constant van de Wall, a European-Javanese Composer,” Henk Mak van Dijk (translated by Wim Tigges) considers Indisch classical music, a type of music composed by Dutch composers who had lived in the Indies, focusing on the work of Constant van de Wall (1871-1945) (151, 153).

The next two chapters probe encounters between the Dutch ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst (1891-1960) and Indonesian individuals. Chapter 8, “A Musical Friendship: The Correspondence between Mangkunegoro VII and the Ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst, 1919 to 1940” by Madelon Djajadiningrat and Clara Brinkgreve (translated by Aletta Stevens-Djajadiningrat), centres on Kunst’s relationship with the Javanese prince Mangkunegoro VII through their letters to each other. Chapter 9, “Encounters in the Context of Inspiring Sundanese Music and Problematic Theories” by Wim van Zanten, explores Kunst’s relationship with “the Sundanese music teacher and scholar Machjar Kusumadinata (1902-1979)” (203). Together, these chapters demonstrate the different but intersecting social worlds that Kunst and his consultants inhabited, their shared concerns with musical preservation, and the impact that their work together has had upon subsequent specialists of Indonesian music.

The remaining chapters investigate a further assortment of artistic encounters, and continue to explore the cultural results of movement and migration related to a history of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia.In chapter 10, “Indonesian Performing Arts in the Netherlands, 1913-1944,” Matthew Isaac Cohen “surveys the Indonesian performing arts ‘scene’ in the Netherlands” and its social, cultural and political implications, examining a variety of activity and forms of performance, including “Javanese dance and music associations, Indies drama, kroncong [a form of Indonesian popular music] clubs, touring professionals and pan-Indonesian student groups” (232). Lutgard Mutsaers examines Dutch contributions to the development of kroncong in the next chapter, “‘Barat Ketemu Timur’: Cross-Cultural Encounters and the Making of Early Kroncong History.” Chapter 12, “Tradition and Creative Inspiration: Musical Encounters of the Moluccan Communities in the Netherlands,” by Rein Spoorman and chapter 14, “Kollektief Muziek Theater’s Repositioning of Moluccan Issues” by Fridus Steijlen, discuss the arts of Moluccan communities in the Netherlands. Annika Ockhorst analyzes theatre in Suriname in chapter 13, “Multicultural Encounters on Stage: The Use of Javanese Cultural Elements by the Surinamese Doe-Theatre Company.”

Recollecting Resonances is a worthy contribution to a number of fields, including Southeast Asian studies and ethnomusicology, for its subject matter, scope and interdisciplinarity. While it is likely to be of particular interest to specialists of Indonesian culture, it has much to offer others with interests in the affects of colonialism on expressive culture and how people use expressive culture in colonial and postcolonial contexts. The essays are clearly written and the photographs and other illustrations bring the material to life. I very much look forward to using this book in future research, in teaching, and in thinking more about the important issues and histories that the authors of the volume bring to the fore.

Christina Sunardi, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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PRODUCING INDONESIA: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies. Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, no. 76. Editor, Eric Tagliacozzo. Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University, 2014. vi, 370 pp. (Figures.) US$31.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-87727-302-8.

The 25 essays in this volume reflect upon some of the most recent scholarly work in Indonesian studies throughout the globe, but particularly in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The book is organized by six general fields: anthropology, art history, history, language and literature, government and political science and ethnomusicology. All its articles were originally presented at an April 2011 conference organized by the Kahin Center for Advanced Research on Southeast Asia at Cornell University and hosted by Cornell’s Modern Indonesia Project faculty. Besides Eric Tagliacozzo, the leading figure behind the conference and the book’s publication, as well as the book’s editor, 25 other well-known scholars have contributed to this collection.

Essays by Marina Welker, Danilyn Rutherford, Kenneth M. George and Patricia Spyer approach Indonesian studies from an athropological perspective, with Welker, Rutherford and George focusing on more general discussions while Spyer focuses specifically on violence. Kaja M. McGowan, Natasha Reichle, E. Edward McKinnon and Astri Wright assess the importance of contributions in art history and heritage studies to the study of Indonesia. In the field of history, three contributors (Rudolf Mrazek, Laurie J. Sears and Jean Gelman Taylor) investigate various issues surrounding Indonesian historiography, with Taylor focusing more on the Indonesian stream in the study of Indonesian history, while Sears gives much attention to the historical interpretations of two Indonesian novelists, Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Ayu Utami. Eric Tagliacozzo is to be thanked for bringing together all aspects of these three essays in his introduction at the beginning of this section.

Turning to language and literature, five writers—including one Indonesian academician—present to those of us who work mainly in linguistics. Here Abigail C. Cohn, together with Jolanda Pandin, Joseph Errington and Bambang Kaswanti Purwo, provide much information on the study of Bahasa Indonesia. Tinneke Hellwig’s essay is the only one in this section that focuses on the issues surrounding the study of Indonesian literature and literary criticism, both in Indonesia and abroad, although some of her points are also discussed by Sears.

In the section on government and politics, the three essays written by very senior scholars in the field in Indonesia politics focus generally on the state of the field in political studies of Indonesia. Following the introduction by Thomas B. Pepinsky, other essays include that of the guru of most Indonesian political scientists, R. William Liddle, as well as that of senior Indonesianist Donald K. Emmerson, who focuses on political science scholarship in Indonesian politics. Liddle correctly points out how only a “few Indonesians are publishing at an international-quality level” and “well below the needs of Indonesian society” (259), although the numbers are growing. But above all, Edward Aspinall’s essay seems to summarize all the issues of this section into “three generations, three approaches and three contexts” of doing research on Indonesian politics.

The book’s five final essays—on ethnomusicology—add an important social and cultural dimension to this book. Christopher J. Miller, Martin Hatch, Marc Perlman, Andrew N. Weintraub, and last but not least the most senior Indonesian scholar working on Javanese music, Sumarsam, together explore the different issues of how music is becoming an important means for producing Indonesian realities and images.

Obviously, some important topics are not included in this book, but in his introduction the editor points out that “the essays in this volume catalogue, critique, and play with much of the humanities and social sciences disciplines that have been important in deconstructing Indonesian society over a long period, for at least the last 150 years” (15). Therefore, most essays are valuable in explaining “Indonesia as an entity across a large number of fields” (1). This volume is about the birth and development of Indonesian studies from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, a process in which Cornell University—the inspiration for this publication—was a pioneer, and at one time also the most prominant centre for Indonesian studies abroad, other than those in the colonial mother country of the Netherlands. Indonesian studies at Cornell has as a legacy a large number of trained scholars from around the world. Those scholars have gone on to create their own legacies in “producing Indonesia” in different parts of the globe, with or without copying the Cornell tradition. But now, in the second decade of twenty-first century, Indonesian studies is a declining field. Today there is hardly any first-rate centre dedicated to Indonesian studies, notwithstanding those at Cornell and in the Netherlands, where Indonesian studies began during the period of Indologie in order to prepare those for service in the colony. At this point, it is the editor’s expectation that this book might answer, “who are we, where do we come from and where are we going?” within the context of knowledge production. People might benefit from the book to revive Indonesian studies since Indonesia is “clearly moving up in the world” (2), although those studies might not attain the same scale as they had in the past.

Taken together, all the essays raise fascinating notions as Indonesian studies is trying to move away from official