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Forthcoming Book Reviews

The following book reviews have been received at Pacific Affairs and will be published in the print edition within the next 12 months. Please note that minor textual changes may occur before final publication in our print and official online edition (hosted at IngentaConnect).

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Asia General


INTEGRATING REGIONS: Asia in Comparative Context. Edited by Miles Kahler and Andrew MacIntyre. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. x, 320 pp. (Tables.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8364-4.

Continuing globalization has not resulted in a declining interest in regional integration. Quite the opposite: regional integration is analyzed and discussed in a number of regions. Europe and Asia are two large regions that attract the attention of both scholars and policy makers. Miles Kahler’s edited volume examines regional integration processes in Asia, but the book’s chapters also provide a comparative perspective and consider developments in Europe and Latin America.

The book is organized in five parts and ten chapters. After Kahler’s introductory chapter, in part 2, the authors look at the design of regional institutions. The third part is devoted to a comparison of Latin American and European integration, whilst part 4 deals with Asian regional institutions and their potential future convergence. Andrew MacIntyre and John Ravenhill have contributed the concluding chapter, which evaluates the future of Asian regional institutions.

In the introduction, Miles Kahler argues that some frequently made assumptions about regional integration fail to convince. He suggests that there is no fixed sequencing starting with a free trade area and being completed with a political union as suggested by Bela Balassa more than 50 years ago (13). Sovereign states are exploring the utility of regional integration, but neither is regional integration a process without side-effects, nor is deeper integration in Asia a given development. This caution reflects the difficulties that integration projects all over the world have been experiencing in recent years. Consequently, none of the authors in the edited volume is overly optimistic on the prospects for regionalism in Asia. Advocates of regional integration have discarded grand designs and potent declarations, which have been replaced by incrementalism and a search for a (small) common denominator.

Simon Hix is analyzing the institutional design of integration processes, but his analysis is somewhat dated. His suggestion that European “citizens and state officials share a post-national concept of sovereignty” (31) certainly is not an accurate description of the EU in 2014. Furthermore, the assumption that Europe has been able to “progress so far with such a high level of national and political consensus” (37) shows that the text has been written before European societies—from Finland to Italy—have been re-discovering their nation states.

Judith G. Kelly’s piece is looking at regional integration from a different angle. She argues that the challenge for regional integration is to accommodate “heterogeneous preferences, capacities, and beliefs” (79). Indeed, this is a matter that all projects of regional integration are struggling with. Amitav Acharya, by contrast, provides a more optimistic assessment of regional integration processes and argues that institutions in Asia can contribute to the development of common preferences in Asia. He uses a constructivist approach and argues that socialization can lead to a region-wide “taken-for-grantedness” (226). Without the use of force or coercion, new actors are supposed to adopt “the rules and norms of a community on a long-term basis” (225). However, Kelly has pointed out the failure of that approach in Europe, where the Greek crisis from 2010 has not shown a successful enforcement of the existing rules, but has resulted in the socialization of risk and financial losses. (90).

Kevin H. O’Rourke, whose institutional affiliation is not mentioned in the list of contributors, regards the European Union with sympathy and evaluates the integration process positively. However, some of his judgments are not sufficiently clear. He identifies Asia as a single player and suggests that “Asia is not a declining, but a rising power” (146). The decision of the member countries of the European Economic Community to establish a broad integration scheme covering both agriculture and industry reflected the specific regulations of Art. 24 of the GATT (149). In Asia, the interest of Asian states in monetary integration is not caused by their ability to export worldwide without facing restrictions (150), but rather because the countries in the region experienced a devastating financial crisis in 1997/98.

C. Randall Henning discusses economic crises and regional institutions, which is a very interesting debate. However, some of his assessments are not convincing. He suggests that Germany had greater influence than France over the construction of the monetary union in Europe (189). In reality, France had successfully pushed for monetary union, and subsequently Germany contributed to the shaping of the rules in the eurozone. To suggest that the German government or German citizens were eager to give up their currency is a misreading of history. Of course, the principle of the decision for monetary union matters more than the details.

More generally, the edited volume has two weaknesses. The first is that the contributions are not critically evaluating the consequences of the crisis in Europe for the concept of regional integration. Prior to that crisis, regional integration was often understood as a mechanism “to safeguard against future shocks from the global economy” (Kahler, 4). But in Europe, the very process of regional monetary integration has been the source of the crisis. The negative shock came from within, not from abroad. Thus, many observers in Europe have been suggesting that regional integration is not part of the solution, but instead part of the problem.

The second weak point is that the effects of the new mega project in Asia, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), are not discussed in an individual chapter. TPP, in conjunction with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership TTIP, has the potential to reshape international economic relations. Simultaneously, TPP and TTIP weaken the multilateral trade regime and exclude China. These two projects constitute a systemic threat to the WTO and cast a long shadow over all existing preferential trade agreements in Asia and elsewhere. Despite these limitations, the edited volume of Miles Kahler and Andrew MacIntyre makes an important contribution to the already significant literature on regional integration in Asia. The diversity of approaches makes the book beneficial for both students and scholars.

Heribert Dieter, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, Germany

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THE MAKING OF THE ASIA PACIFIC: Knowledge Brokers and the Politics of Representation. By See Seng Tan. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Chicago: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2013. 236 pp. US$62.50, paper. ISBN 978-90-8964-477-0.

This book is in the main a self-reflection of the author’s thinking on the making of the Asia Pacific. He treats such making as a discourse put forward by analysts involved in the so-called Track 2 diplomacy in the region. Track 2 diplomacy is a kind of “semi-official process of multilateral security dialogue and cooperation” (18). It is different from Track 1 diplomacy between governments. Participating in the Track 2 channel are mostly academics, journalists, businesspeople and government officials in their private capacity. Their deliberations are not binding on governments. This situation allows a greater degree of freedom of expression and exchange of ideas valuable to policy makers. The author of this book, Professor Tan of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, calls these participants knowledge brokers. He is interested in how they make representations of themselves and of others towards understanding and promoting their ideas of security in the region, often to the exclusion of interpretations from different quarters.

Professor Tan is a long-time observer of this Track 2 process, so he is telling his story here from experience. He tells his story, however, not from the usual angle of policy making, but from a rather unique perspective of critically rethinking how the discourse of Asia-Pacific security is made and passed on to peers and students. He is not interested in reproducing “a history of Track 2 diplomacy and the policy think tanks and academic institutions that participate in it” (17). Instead, he is interested in the “effects that arise from the discourses on security produced and circulated by the region’s premier knowledge communities” (17; emphasis mine). Tan focuses, with good reason, on knowledge growth and discourse making rather than policy making. He is interested in narratives and ideas rather than political strategies per se. The result is a very well-researched book.

According to Tan, most observers “propose that the Asia Pacific idea had its beginnings in policy discourses in the late 1980s” (13), but the critical period under his study is the 1990s, when “epistemic networks contributed to the post-Cold War Asia Pacific” (17). Many of these networks proliferated during the late 1980s and 1990s, and Tan chooses to concentrate on a few prominent ones such as the Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, and the ASEAN-ISIS.

Tan is not satisfied with the traditional constructivist school of thinking about Asia-Pacific security, which has become a popular discourse developed, paradoxically, out of Singapore, in particular by a group of scholars associated with the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at the Rajaratnam School, of which Tan is at present the deputy director of the Institute. To Tan, the traditional constructivist view has essentialized ideas and norms over material forces; it has assumed the interaction between agency and structure without going deep into the dynamic process involved. Also, traditional constructivism has taken the state as a given, although what makes the state is very much up to the perception of its stakeholders As a result of these shortcomings, Tan proposed to adopt a radical constructivist view. However, he does not seem to have spelt out in very clear and precise terms what radical constructivism is, referring to it as a “text-based methodology” (22). He seems to stress the need to be more dynamic and critical in analysis, more multi-dimensional in understanding, and more pluralistic and democratic in the making of Asia-Pacific security. His proposal is to be appreciated, but the devil is in the details, and what details that Tan has given us do not seem to lend themselves to vigorous empirical testing. The focus on effects is useful, but the processes and practices involved (referred to in 40-4) deserve a much closer tracing. In the end, he seems to have heaped ideas onto ideas, resulting in more polarizations than clarifications. But the contributions that Tan has made are helpful in opening up more different, critical interpretations of the same subject matter.

Another interesting contribution made by Tan is the concept of the “politics of representation.” In chapters 4 to 7, Tan gives us a detailed and elucidated account of how the Track 2 participants or knowledge brokers have represented the “Asia Pacific,” sovereign states, the “in/human” faces of Asia-Pacific security, and the “authority” of knowledge networks. These substantive chapters are preceded by an introduction (chapter 1), the desire for essence (chapter 2, in which Tan sets up nicely the case of essentialism by the knowledge brokers before he proceeds to knock it down, with some success), and knowledge networks (chapter 3). The last chapter (chapter 8) serves as a conclusion, which Tan uses as a platform to encourage us to devote more energy to strengthen the study of Asia-Pacific security

All in all, Tan has made a valuable contribution by offering a different path towards understanding Asia-Pacific security, a path that can potentially open up new avenues for further thinking. This novelty is to be treasured. The book is not for the faint-hearted, because it is written in a style that is couched in more philosophical terms and concepts than many other books in the field of Asia-Pacific security. Occasionally Tan uses long sentences which have to be read and re-read in order to grasp the message he tries to convey. Those who are persistent enough to plough on are likely to find many words of wisdom, although some of them are partially hidden from the surface.

Gerald Chan, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, IDENTITIES, AND CONFLICT IN ASIA. Politics, Economics, and Inclusive Development. Edited by William Ascher and Natalia Mirovitskaya. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, xiv, 347 pp. (Figures, tables). US$90.00, cloth. ISNB 978-1-137-33175-5.

This book tackles an ambitious topic. While economic growth in Asia has received much attention, the relationship between the development strategies pursued in the region and conflict has not. This book attempts to fill the void. Its central question is presented as: “Can Asian policymakers find development strategies that minimize violence while still overseeing healthy economic improvement?” (2). Following an introduction which contains a useful overview of the types of, and trends in, violence in the region, the answers to the central question are to be found in the subsequent nine chapters. One provides an overview of development strategies (state-led, liberalizing and unorthodox) and the links with the forms of violence identified in the introduction (sectarian, ideological, clan and tribal, and nativist-outsider).

This is then followed by seven case studies. The case studies cover a wide geographical area and range of conflicts. There are chapters on: the Maoist insurgency in India; the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan; communal violence in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia; Malaysia; Japanese ODA and conflict in Vietnam; ethnic tensions in Turkey and Uzbekistan; and foreign aid violence in Dagestan and Karadino-Balkaria. All of the chapters are well written, closely argued and informative.

Based on the case studies, the editors provide a conclusion which sums up the research and provides an answer to the question which motivated the volume. The conclusions reached highlight several points. These are: that “governments must be concerned about large gaps between the wealthy and the poor, about restricted social mobility, and about circumstances of economic desperation triggering aggressive confrontations over jobs, natural resources, or other assets and opportunities” (316); that conflict can ensue if “development strategies promote population movement (whether voluntary or forced)” (317); and “the crucial importance of the practical implementation of development strategies, and the role of auxiliary policies and institutions that flesh out how a strategy is enacted and how it is perceived” (318). So inequalities, population movements and implementation matter in limiting the potential conflicts which accompany development. This conclusion is hardly likely to be controversial. Despite the richness of the individual case studies the collective conclusions are rather tame.

One reason for this is the complexity of the cases under consideration, drawn from disparate regions within Asia and exhibiting significant variations in types of conflict and types of development strategies. The scope of the project has perhaps led to only rather high-level and general conclusions. Wide-ranging studies can yield valuable comparative lessons but, in this case, the wideness of the range has limited the conclusions that were available. Perhaps another reason lies in some imprecision in the project itself. While the book is entitled development strategies, these are often lost in the details, which focus as much on specific policies as on strategies. There is an imprecision in the usage of the terms “development strategies,” “development policies” and just plain “development” (which is often reduced to structural change in the economy) and which does not aid the analytical clarity of the book taken as a whole. This is partly reflected in the introduction, which promises a section on “The Challenges for Conflict-Sensitive Economic Development Strategies” (16) but which then proceeds to elaborate on various income inequalities, i.e., development outcomes.

While specific chapters will be of interest to specialists in those areas, the fact that they are not tied closely together by a clearly defined conceptualization and focus on development strategies, means that the collection as a whole is somewhat less than the sum of its parts.

Paul Bowles, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

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WRONGED BY EMPIRE: Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China. Studies in Asian Security. By Manjari Chatterjee Miller. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xiv, 168 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8652-2.

Dr. Miller has written an important book with significant implications for the study of modern India, China and broader Asian and international relations. The clearly presented and sophisticated arguments focus on colonialism and its legacy in India and China. Colonialism is seen to have been a transformative historical event resulting in collective historical trauma that strongly influences the behaviour of these countries up to the present. The collective historical trauma of colonialism is said to cause India and China to emphasize victimhood and entitlement, which dominate their decision calculus. The result is what the author calls “post-imperial ideology” (PII). PII comprises a sense of victimization and a dominant goal to be recognized and empathized with as a victim by others. PII also has subordinate goals: maximizing territorial sovereignty and maximizing status.

Three case studies illustrate the arguments. The first is the failed talks over the Sino-Indian border dispute between Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in 1960. Analysis using previously unknown official Indian documents shows that these talks failed because of the respective PII of the Indian and Chinese leaders, leading to an impasse on territorial sovereignty and status and eventual war. Dr. Miller dutifully examines alternative explanations of the leaders’ behaviour leading to failure and impasse before concluding in support of her analysis.

The second case study is India’s decision in May 1998 to detonate five nuclear devices, which prompted Pakistan’s nuclear tests and a major international crisis. Careful review of Indian media is used to support the argument that PII and victimhood drove Indian decision making. Alternative explanations involving state security, domestic politics and prestige are seen as incomplete or otherwise flawed. The third case study is China’s reaction to Japan’s efforts in 2005 to seek a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The Chinese actions included popular demonstrations, high-level leadership opposition and strong attacks in official and unofficial media outlets. A careful review of commentary from Chinese official and unofficial media outlets shows that Chinese PII and a sense of having been victimized by Japan better explain Chinese behaviour than alternative explanations involving state security and domestic politics.

Whether or not specialists are persuaded by Dr. Miller’s thorough arguments, it seems clear that they will be debating her interesting and insightful analysis for some time to come. The book’s assessment also has major policy implications for contemporary Asian affairs. For one, if the world’s largest states remain driven by a sense of victimhood so long after the demise of colonialism and this sense of victimhood requires provision of maximum territorial sovereignty and maximum status, these two states presumably will have a very hard time resolving their differences. Moreover, their respective differences with neighbouring countries that also suffered the collective trauma of colonialism and to varying degrees have a similar sense of victimization and goals of territorial sovereignty and status strongly indicate that China and India also will have a very hard time resolving the differences they have with many of their neighbours. An overall finding from this kind of study is that Asia will remain unstable with governments dissatisfied over issues of territorial sovereignty and status and thus suspicious and wary of one another.

A major question not fully addressed in the book is why the collective trauma of colonialism has endured and remained so vivid for so long. The study suggests that colonialism was so strong and bad that its negative legacy will last a very long time. This reviewer has investigated the China experience and finds that line of reasoning too simple.

For example, Ja Ian Chong’s award-winning book External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation: China, Indonesia and Thailand, 1893-1952 (Cambridge, 2012), shows that Chinese and other twentieth-century state builders in Asia used and collaborated with external powers in successful efforts to counter and defeat domestic opponents. While they may or may not have had a sense of victimization, these revolutionary leaders reached their goals by collaborating and working pragmatically with outside powers.

Scholarship in recent decades on Mao Zedong’s rise to power belies the publicized nationalistic themes of self-reliance and underlines strongly his Communist-led movement’s close dependence on financial and other support from the Soviet Union. And the Chinese Communists from the outset endeavoured in good Leninist fashion to control and manipulate the nationalist discourse prevalent in China for their tactical and strategic advantage in the struggle to gain power.

Subsequently, once gaining power, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) married its deepened control of and efforts to manipulate the nationalist discourse with pervasive image building regarding the PRC. This state-directed effort duly has emphasized the sense of victimization stressed by Dr. Miller as it also has stressed that Chinese actual behaviour abroad has always been consistent, correct and based on moral principles. The latter has led to the unique status of the PRC as the only large contemporary government never to have acknowledged making a mistake in foreign affairs. While the Chinese image building is viewed as grossly inaccurate by Chinese neighbouring countries and others experienced in the actual behaviour of the PRC, the result of this state-directed propaganda is a society that not only feels grossly victimized but judges that its foreign policies and practices are without flaw. Dr. Miller’s fine analysis highlights a need for further study, notably assessing the creation and sustaining of this uniquely self-righteous Chinese approach and its impact on China’s relations with India, other Chinese neighbours and the United States.

Robert Sutter, George Washington University, Washington DC, USA

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STRUCTURE, AUDIENCE AND SOFT POWER IN EAST ASIAN POP CULTURE. TransAsia: Screen Cultures. By Chua Beng Huat. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012. xiii, 183 pp. US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-988-8139-04-0.

Over the past twenty years academia has seen a burgeoning of new research in the areas of cultural studies, pop culture and visual culture. At the same time, “soft power” has increasingly become a keyword not just in academics, but also in mainstream media. Chua Beng Huat, professor of sociology at National University of Singapore, a scholar who has been at the cutting edge of pop culture studies, offers a fascinating exploration of pop culture and soft power at the crossroads of transnational exchange in East Asia. Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture offers a wide-ranging discussion of pop culture—centreing on television idol dramas and popular music, but also drawing on film, newspapers, websites, social media and other sources—as it challenges national borders and creates new fan-based communities.

The geographical scope of the study includes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore, offering an overview of how East Asian pop culture crosses borders, charting the regional forms that travel, how these exchanges have shifted over the past few decades and exploring why. While individual studies of pop culture in these various regions are increasingly common, Chua Beng Huat’s more comprehensive and embracing approach that bring together scholarship from all of these different regions to trace interconnections, pan-Asian distribution, global audience responses, and the formation of inter-Asia fan cultures is truly cutting edge. Through this approach we are able to better understand the role of pop culture in influencing the geo-political currents of East Asia. While Singapore is often overlooked in many other related studies (indeed, the author acknowledges the city-state’s traditional role as primarily a consumer of pop culture as opposed to a creator), I appreciated the author’s many case studies of Singapore pop culture, such as the discussions of Singapore pop singers who develop their careers in Taiwan and the films of Eric Khoo, which helped better situate Singapore within the context of the Chinese cultural sphere. Particularly eye opening was Chua’s case study comparing regional coverage in the entertainment section of the newspapers United Daily News (Taiwan), Ming Pao (Taiwan), Asahi Shimbum (Japan) and JoongAng Daily (Korea) and seeing side-by-side the radical disparities in different countries’ media coverage of pop culture from other East Asian regions.

Among the book’s theoretical contributions stands the notion of Pop Culture China, which arises out of the author’s discussions of Tu Weiming’s Confucian-based “cultural China” and Shu-mei Shih’s Sinophone. As Chua explains, “The configuration of Pop Culture China is materially and symbolically without center” (39), as it brings together Huaren communities through shared cultural experiences: pop music, films, television dramas, and celebrities who transcend regional boundaries. The attention and detail devoted to various elements of Pop Culture China does, however, ultimately hint at the book’s emphasis on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore as opposed to Japan and Korea. Examples from Mainland China, which Chua argues “had been and remains essentially a location of consumption of East Asian Pop Culture” (137), are also less robust than I would have expected. Nevertheless, Chua does strike a good balance between the examples he chooses, a difficult task given the amount of material he covers in just over 150 pages. But given the relatively succinct nature of the book, I was surprised by how much repetition is present chapter to chapter; often a single example or statistic is repeated several times throughout the book (which might be useful for teaching purposes, but is otherwise unnecessary). Later, drawing on the work of Joseph Nye, Chua offers a solid overview of notions of soft power and discusses its application to the East Asian context. With examples from Korean dramas like Jewel in the Palace and Winter Sonata, Japanese anime and manga, and the PRC’s own attempt to harness soft power in the 2000s, the book maps out a fascinating picture of the regional ebbs and tides in pop culture-as-soft power in East Asia.

While there are several interesting case studies of films, entertainment pages from leading East Asian newspapers, and tabloid-level controversies involving Korean pop singers, all of which help anchor the study, the book’s primary contribution comes from its chapters that trace inter-Asian pop culture exchanges from a macro perspective. It is these chapters that allow the book to function as an accessible introduction to the world of East Asian pop culture from a transnational perspective. Written in a highly readable style, featuring numerous examples and case studies that students should be able to easily relate to, and containing quite a few theoretical insights into the interactions between soft power and pop culture, Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture should also serve as a good preliminary textbook to undergraduate and graduate courses on pop culture studies, as well as more focused courses on China pop, the Korean Wave, and Japanese popular culture.

Michael Berry, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

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AUSTRALIA-CHINA RELATIONS POST 1949: Sixty Years of Trade and Politics. By Yi Wang. Farnham, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. xii, 252 pp. (Tables.) US$114.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4094-3728-4.

Middle age is often seen as a time for reflection on our lives, and the 40-year mark of the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Australia is an apt time for reflection. Yi Wang has written a timely study that joins a number of recent publications on the fascinating relationship between the newest great power of Asia, and an aging middle power.

This book examines the relationship from the Australian perspective, divided into discrete historical chapters roughly linked with Australian prime ministers. Chapters include the 1949-1972 period, the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser years (1972-1983), the Bob Hawke government up until the “June 4” incident in 1989, 1989-1996 under Hawke and Paul Keating, John Howard’s long reign from 1996-2007 and finally Kevin Rudd’s aborted 2007-2010 term.

As the subtitle indicates, the author weaves a careful study of both the political and trade aspects of the relationship, and works hard to bring both parts to light and show the links between the two. Wang demonstrates that while there have been regular diplomatic disputes and political challenges, the overall relationship has significantly strengthened and matured. As Wang notes, this is in large part because Australian leaders and their Chinese counterparts have placed the maintenance of good trade relationships ahead of political considerations. This has not only served the economies of both countries well, it has enabled a deepening relationship where issues such as human rights and regional security politics now have the opportunity to be openly discussed.

Reading through the years, it’s encouraging to see how similar many of the debates and worries about China have been for Australian audiences. Wang’s historical survey shows that contemporary fears about how close Australia should get to China and the relative balance between the security and economic aspects of the relationship are neither new nor particularly fraught today. The book also shines in periods where the author, a former Chinese official now working in Australia, was either involved or at least present for key moments in the relationship. The section on Australia’s human rights delegation visits to China after Tiananmen, and the analysis of Kevin Rudd’s now infamous “zhengyou” or “true friend” speech shine with personal detail and sharp analysis. Indeed, the analysis of the “Rudd paradox,” where a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat oversaw growing mistrust and suspicion between China and Australia, is excellent.

Unfortunately, the wide scope and different levels of access means a varying quality and quantity of analysis. The author has managed to talk to many senior policy makers on the Australian side, but aside from an interview with John Howard in 2011, the bulk of the interviews were conducted back in 1991-1994. This is a shame, as it would have been great to see the author revisit those involved during this crucial period and see how their views have changed or evolved over time. The interviews and the author’s engagement with the early 1990s period also lead to an overly heavy focus on this era. Most chapters, such as the one on the 23 years between 1949-1972 or on the 11 years between 1996-2007 run to about 30 pages in length. The 16 years of the Hawke-Keating government, however, is given 88 pages. In turn, the impact of Whitlam, Fraser and Howard in particular feels under-done. The “findings and conclusion” chapter is also too brief, while raising many tantalizing but unaddressed questions.

It’s also clear that the author’s interest lies more towards the trade side of the relationship, and so several of the political questions which are raised in the introduction are largely sidelined during the book. Most notably, the author sets out to “answer the question of whether Australia has been pursuing its relations with China independently or otherwise” (ix) given its alliance with the US, yet aside from a few half-hearted references the issue is largely ignored. The author doesn’t even really address the topic in the findings chapter, aside from dismissing similarities between Canberra and Washington’s approach to Beijing as a “coincidence of interests [rather] than from blind subservience to great power policy” (211).

This is a shame, as the impact of the great powers on Australian foreign policy is one of the key questions in the field, and Wang’s focus on a non-allied power such as China could have proven an excellent addition to the literature. Certainly careful readers can see a justification for the author’s assessment in the historical chapters and draw their own conclusions, but it would have been useful to see a more explicit engagement throughout. Indeed, while the author sets out to present the book as a work of political science and international relations, this feels at times like a coat pulled over the top of a more traditional piece of diplomatic history—one put on in order to attract a wider readership without necessarily deepening the analysis. Big questions such as whether Australia now faces a “China choice,” for instance, are hinted at by the author, yet left untouched.

Ultimately, this book represents a very useful reference work that will inform and guide any student or scholar of Australian foreign policy. But it also feels like something of a missed opportunity. Given the author’s background, it would have been great to learn more about what the Chinese think of this middle-sized Western outpost with its great mineral wealth and a healthy self-regard on the international stage. Maybe that’s for the next book. Until then Yi Wang is to be congratulated for holding up a mirror to Australia’s approach to China, showing both the growing strength, as well as patches of flab that need further work.

Andrew Carr, Australian National University, Acton, Australia

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HARBIN TO HANOI: The Colonial Built Environment in Asia, 1840 to1940. Global Connections. Edited by Laura Victoir and Victor Zatsepine. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2013. xiii, 281 pp., [16] pp. of plates. (Tables, figures.) US$50.00, cloth, ISBN 978-988-8139-41-5; US$25.00, paper, ISBN 978-988-8139-42-2.

The historic sections of many Asian cities are marked by a distinctive amalgam of foreign- and native-built modern buildings that belie a variety of political, social and cultural conflicts and exchanges that are otherwise unmarked in the contemporary city. This compelling collection of essays augments the normative political narratives of European and Japanese colonial expansion in East and Southeast Asia by examining the social histories of the colonial built environment in Manchuria, coastal China, Hong Kong, and Hanoi. Consisting of an introductory chapter, 11 essays, and one concluding chapter, this volume underscores the formative role of architecture and planning in variously fostering and complicating foreign colonial schemes and fomenting the creation of modern, novel modes of architecture, knowledge and lifeways among the native population that contested the perquisites of foreign powers.

The first three essays explore the confrontation among Russian and Japanese imperialism, Chinese nationalism, and French colonial enterprise in Manchuria. Victor Zatsepine examines Harbin’s success as a Russian economic outpost and notes that Russian and Soviet influence continued after both Russia’s defeat by Japan in 1905 and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Bill Sewell notes that the hybrid Euro-Asian architecture of Changchun bespoke Japanese ambition to distill a modern Asian urban vision in Manchukuo. However, he opines, rather than representing vigour, the city revealed the spiritual emptiness of all imperialist societies, while effectively manifesting the overwhelming state power that propelled Japan’s colonial project.

David Tucker explores the complexities of colonial engagements in Asia in his chapter on the attempts by French investors and the engineering firm Société d’exploitation des établissements Brossard Mopin to pursue business opportunities in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. Although unrecognized diplomatically by the major powers, Manchukuo nonetheless elicited interest from foreign governments hoping to ensure that markets would remain open to their nation’s commerce and from foreign enterprises eager to exploit business opportunities afforded by Japan’s intensive development scheme. The French government was markedly less hostile to Japan’s colonial enterprise than Britain or the USA, while some officials viewed Japan sympathetically as a fellow proponent of the mission civilisatrice in Asia. Brossard Mopin, which was especially active in Indochina, pursued Manchurian contracts, which it won due to Japanese enthusiasm for fostering foreign commercial engagements in Manchukuo. Awarded the contract for the Foreign Ministry in Changchun, Brossard Mopin’s building lacked the tell-tale marks of synthetic Pan-Asian architecture and seems to reflect a desire that Manchukuo be, above all, “modern.”

The following three chapters on Tianjin, Qingdao and Shanghai highlight the diversity of European colonialisms and their influence within treaty-port China. Zhang Chang and Liu Yue emphasize Tianjin’s singularity as a hyper-colony where some nine countries established concessions and where public space, community organization, and cultural politics were distinct from the dominant pattern set in Shanghai. Such international diversity, Zhang and Liu argue, underlay a generally “eclectic” approach to architecture and living for elite Chinese and foreigners alike. Although vague, their suggestive analysis highlights the variety of urban space in semi-colonial eastern China. Klaus Muhlhaun’s chapter discusses the attempts by Imperial Germany to organize Qingdao according to the dictates of military concerns and German imperial ideology, which imposed distinct segregation of different peoples. The number of Chinese living in the city forced some changes so that Qingdao came to represent a new “enlightened” form of the imperial project that was designed to be more efficient, more flexible, and less openly violent than its nineteenth-century variants.

Two chapters explore the construction of the Hong Kong Supreme Court and the selection of a site for the University of Hong Kong and the subsequent building of the main campus. Although intended to serve as edifices of colonial domination, both projects were affected by Asian colonial subjects, who built the structures and also served as benefactors, including, in the case of the University of Hong Kong, the Parsee merchant (i.e., opium dealer) Hormusjee Mody, who paid for the Main Building. Similarly, colonial justice and university education, though serving British privilege, also provided means for some colonial subjects to seek advantages in colonial society. These two notable structures of colonial rule thus complicate our understanding of imperialism as a system of simple foreign dominance.

The final three essays explore the attempts of French urban planners and colonial medical theorists to create ordered public spaces and salubrious hygiene in Hanoi. Like Hong Kong, Hanoi was the seat of a potent colonial regime, yet the vagaries of power and advantage could betray imperial ambitions. The last chapter by Danielle Labbe et al. notes that young Vietnamese architects, whom the colonial administration intended to serve as technicians under French guidance, emerged as significant, autonomous designers and developers of the city. In particular, Vietnamese architects took the lead in creating a hybrid Vietnamese-French modern house that dominated the New Indigenous Quarter of the city.

All of the chapters are clearly written and richly documented. Some essays address broad themes that would appeal to general readers, while others examine discrete topics that would most likely appeal to academic specialists alone. By combining studies on British, French, Russian, German and Japanese colonialism, this volume will be especially rewarding for all interested in modern empires and colonial studies. As such, Harbin to Hanoi will appeal to a variety of readers interested in urban history, architecture and imperialism in East and Southeast Asia during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as those interested in European politics and colonialism as a whole.

Peter Carroll, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

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DIMINISHING CONFLICTS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: Why Some Subside and Others Don’t. Routledge Advances in Asia-Pacific Studies, 13. Edited by Edward Aspinall, Robin Jeffrey, and Anthony J. Regan. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xxi, 296 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-67031-9.

Violent conflict has diminished in the Asia Pacific in the last twenty years, though not everywhere and with differing degrees of permanence.

In some places peace has replaced war or sustained armed conflict. Timor-Leste confronted internal conflict in 2006, when murderous riots swept the capital Dili and displaced more than 100,000 people, yet has since established peace. The Muslim-Christian violence that killed more than 5,000 people in Maluku between 1999 and 2004 ended in interfaith reconciliation and peacemaking. Aceh, for so long Indonesia’s most rebellious region, reached peace soon after the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004, a natural disaster that itself played a small part in creating the conditions for an end to the violent ambitions of the Free Aceh Movement. In the 1980s and 1990s the Sikhs’ movement for an independent state of their own in Punjab caused more than 20,000 deaths, including that of the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, yet it came to an end as a political force of importance and India remained as it was. The civil war in Sri Lanka, responsible for the deaths of 100,000 of its citizens, ended with the total and merciless military defeat of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) by Sri Lankan military forces in 2009. The separatist conflict on Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville, which killed perhaps 5,000 combatants and civilians in the 1990s, ended with a peace settlement that has held ever since. Solomon Islands, wracked by low-level armed conflict between 1998-2003, returned to peace and stability under an Australian-led regional assistance mission. Analysis of these conflicts occupies the first half of the book, addressing the reasons for the subsequent peace in each case.

Diminishing Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific also examines situations where armed conflict is either continuing or dormant before a likely re-emergence. Violence persists against the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, which has practised a policy of internal transmigration of Bengalis in order to outnumber the original inhabitants and drive them from their homes. The wars of eastern Burma between the state and minorities such as the Karen, the Karenni, the Shan and the Kachin have a long history that begins with the independence of Burma itself in 1947 and seem unlikely to diminish even under the newly democratizing national government. The same applies to the long struggle between the Thai state and the mostly Muslim southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, where there are few signs that the insurgency will come to an end, and to the Moro conflict in the southern Philippines, where a separatist movement, despite periodic truces and peace agreements, maintains armed opposition to the national government. The Kashmir insurgency, as Christopher Sneddon reminds us in this volume, might be temporarily at bay but will almost certainly return.

In some places violent conflict is a consequence of the weakness of government authority. As Nicole Haley points out in her chapter on the southern highlands of Papua New Guinea, there are parallels between them and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, the “turbulent frontier of a fragmented state” (204), as it is called here by its chronicler Paul D’Arcy; and they come in the form of “extremely rugged terrain, difficult communications, small communities relatively isolated from each other but sometimes colliding violently, a prevalence of weapons, and a harsh patriarchal culture” (254). Combine those factors with a weak, compromised or absent central government, and the result is “government” conducted locally and by the gun.

Fiji is an outlier in this constellation, as Jon Fraenkel shows. Fiji possesses all the elements that have disposed other states towards violent conflict: a society deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines, an indigenous population claiming political paramountcy, a relatively large military force, and a history of coups. What Bina D’Costa writes in this volume of Sri Lanka, where “different regimes used ethnic outbidding and bi-polar imaginings to mobilize both the Tamil and the Sinhalese communities” (102), applies equally, mutatis mutandis, to Fiji. Yet Fiji has never descended into open armed conflict, and remarkably few people have lost their lives in the course of its unconstitutional transitions. Fraenkel is modestly optimistic that Fiji will remain peaceful, not least because the indigenous Fijians constitute an increasing majority of the population, lessening fears that have haunted Fiji’s politics since before independence.

This book is unusually impressive for a number of reasons. The three editors, Edward Aspinall, Robin Jeffrey and Anthony J. Regan, have imposed a tight template on all contributors, each of whom not only explains the conflict in their particular region but also discusses prospects for peace and the lessons that might be drawn. The book has a purpose beyond analysis, seeking conclusions about success in peacemaking in every chapter and summarizing them in a nuanced and perceptive conclusion. Furthermore, the editors are willing to face facts uncomfortable to the liberal peace consensus. They concede that state coercion, while it might exacerbate some conflicts, has ended others: “In Punjab, Sri Lanka, Aceh, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Maluku – all areas where violent conflict has either disappeared or diminished – suppression has been part of the recipe in each case” (273). What matters, they argue, are the circumstances in which coercion is used and the way it is applied. The heavy hand of the Sri Lanka government in crushing the LTTE, they suggest, will live on in people’s memories for generations. Finally, the book places regional events in a wider, global context, pointing to the key importance—and frequent success—of internationalizing conflict resolution since the end of the Cold War.

In short, this is an excellent collection. The analysis is sharp and the policy implications clearly but carefully drawn.

Stewart Firth, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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GLOBAL FUTURES IN EAST ASIA: Youth, Nation, and the New Economy in Uncertain Times. Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific. Edited by Ann Anagnost, Andrea Arai, and Hai Ren. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. x, 311 pp. US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-7617-2.

Once embraced with optimistic prospects, post-miracle economies in East Asia are currently facing uncertain futures. This book, edited by Ann Anagnost, Andrea Arai and Hai Ren, deals with one of the fundamental questions in the world of the neo-liberal global market: Is globalization an opportunity or challenge? A well-elaborated set of ethnographic chapters of this volume renders much-needed nuanced accounts on how contemporary youth in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan deal with the realities of post-economic miracles in East Asia.

There are three main objectives in this volume. First, the book is “an exploration of how ‘places are made through their connections with each other, not their isolation’” (2). East Asia as a region is captured in terms of “a series of intertwined histories in which ideas—civilization, modernity, development, globalization—have traveled from one place to another and have taken local form while looking at other places as a basis for comparison” (2-3). What the volume tries to reveal is “the resonance across time and space within East Asia” (3).

Second, the volume endeavours to “demonstrate the power of anthropology to trace out the connections between people’s lived experience with larger processes working at the global scale.” This is important as “[e]thnography provides us with detailed descriptions of how people in different locations in East Asia experience their everyday realities in the midst of the new possibilities and constraints that the global economy is producing for their lives” (3). What is emphasized here is the methodological as well as empirical foci on people’s everyday life-making challenges.

Third, the book tries to “illuminate the changing calculus of human worth in the production of subjects as both workers and consumers” (3). While globalization often accompanies “idea of freedom and the promise of self-fulfillment,” also observable in this process is “the cost of greater vulnerability and uncertainty” (3-4). How do the people in East Asia deal with this neo-liberal burden of self-responsibility?

The book has eleven chapters (excluding the introduction). The first three chapters deal with the issue of human engineering. How have “new kinds of spaces, institutional structures, pedagogies, discourses and practices” in this new world generated “new kinds of people” (15)? The volume discusses this by referring to three cases, including China’s newly emerging middle class and its entrepreneurial norms (chapter 1); the Taiwanese obsession with the internationalization of society and its implications for a society in the stage of postindustrial development (chapter 2); and rural migrant workers in Beijing and their everyday struggles without access to adequate health care (chapter 3).

In this conjunction, the next four chapters discuss the issue of affect in contemporary globalized economies. By referring to what Hardt and Negri call affective labour, the importance of social skills to navigate the world of neo-liberal globalization is stressed. This segment of the volume includes the cases on South Korean college students’ new discourses on individual self-development (chapter 4); the attempt of one local university in Taiwan to emphasize happiness and smiles in everyday life on campus (chapter 5); a professional training school in Beijing that provides rural women with necessary skills as domestic workers (chapter 6); and a newly emerging patriotic education program in public schools in Japan (chapter 7).

The final three chapters explore the issue of freedom. This is one of the central neo-liberal dilemmas since “a liberation from structures of the past … are now perceived to constrain individual freedom” (21). More concretely, this freedom problematique is explored by referring to the issue of gender inequality in the Japanese workplace (chapter 8); a newly emerging social realism observable in Japanese TV dramas that questions the very concept of work in Japan (chapter 9); and the issue of economic and political freedom in post-IMF crisis South Korea (chapter 10).

Overall, each case study provides important ethnographic implications of neo-liberal challenges at the level of every day. Capturing neo-liberalism as an underlying framework (or ethos) that drives global market economies, the contributors of the volume skillfully picture life-making processes in contemporary East Asia. The depth and width of their coverage are certainly the book’s strength.

Questions still remain, however. First, while each case is intriguing, are the stories in the volume uniquely regional? Of course, East Asia as a regional economy is dynamic and important. The authors do a good job of addressing the ways in which each economy has been subject to neo-liberal challenges. Also, a neo-liberal ethos has certainly spread to the region, as the book claims. However, it is questionable if the volume successfully documents the ways each economy, society or people interact with each other (or, in their word, resonate) in a unique (or East Asian) fashion as it implies at the onset. Also, the levels of economic and political development in the region are still very diverse, which makes a comparative study challenging, if not impracticable. In this conjunction, another concern lies in the volume’s lack of a concluding chapter. Does the book answer the questions posed at the beginning? Are there any unanswered questions? What would the editors suggest for further study? It would be helpful if the volume concluded with critical self-appraisals of the overall project.

That being the case, Global Futures in East Asia is a notable achievement. The book is methodologically solid and empirically rich. This is a volume to be read by students of international political economy in general as well as those who study East Asia.

Kazuya Fukuoka, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, USA

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DIGITAL MEDIA IN EAST ASIA: National Innovation and the Transformation of a Region. By Carin Holroyd and Ken Coates. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2012. xiv, 265 pp., (Tables, figures.) US$114.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-60497-805-6.

East Asia’s presence in the realm of digital media is one of the most dynamic. Several countries in East Asia, such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, have jumped on the digital bandwagon one after another and quickly become global leaders. Previously, the digital revolution had been primarily American-centric; however, the power has shifted toward East Asia mainly due to the interplay between the governments and corporations. Digital Media in East Asia makes timely and valuable confirmations of this new trend by exploring the emergence of East Asian digital technologies and content. It aptly traces and documents the historical evolution of digital media, including insights and ideas embedded in digital media in the East Asian context.

This book has seven chapters, and the first two chapters present an overview, including concepts and theoretical frameworks. By defining digital media as the transmission of information in digital format, including through digital devices, the Internet, wireless systems, and use of information and content by way of digital technologies, these chapters make a clear connection between digital media and the digital economy as the commercial activities associated with the production of hardware and software, digital infrastructure, and digital content. These chapters especially lay out the importance of the changing role of the government in the digital revolution of East Asia. The authors carefully claim that the new economic mindset certainly challenges governments to rethink their role in managing national economy now emphasizing digital media.

Chapters 3 and 4 detail the national innovation strategies of East Asian countries, and the authors analyze the significance of infrastructure focusing on the Internet. By examining several key innovation strategies, including an “e-Japan strategy” and “e-Taiwan,” they identify the reasons why these countries have quickly moved onto a variety of digital technologies. These chapters also document a few national strategies, such as “The 21st Century Frontier Research and Development National Project in Korea” and “the Decision on Accelerating Scientific and Technological Development in China” in order to articulate the chief causes for the development of leading-edge technologies.

The last two chapters examine software and digital content, followed by the summary chapter. While admitting the difficulties in developing the soft side—the content, design and creative element—of digital content, these chapters aptly deliver in which East Asian countries have advanced their distinctive digital content. After articulating how digital content, including anime, console games, online games, digital music, social media and mobile phones have impacted the growth of the national digital economy, they cautiously predict that East Asia will remain at the forefront of the digital revolution because digital content will likely continue as the core element of the digital economy in the future.

Digital Media in East Asia proves to be an accessible book with rich information. Several aspects highlight the value of this comprehensive book in understanding digital media in the region. First, this book is confirmation that the role of governments in science and technology remains and even intensifies amid neoliberal reform. After juxtaposing the Keynesian views of national economic policies, emphasizing the crucial role of the nation-state, and neoliberal revolution, focusing on the small role of the government to guarantee maximum profits for the private sector, the authors elegantly claim that East Asian governments have initiated the digital revolution as major players. Neoliberal globalization asks that each government takes hands-off policies; however, the authors argue that the combination of government engagement and societal change that supported the new technology-based economies is a key in the growth of digital media in East Asia.

Second, the book’s structure deserves readers’ appreciation. This is technically not a comparative study; however, by paralleling four major countries’ major innovation strategies in the development of digital media, it dexterously provides comparison figures of some key issues so that the readers easily comprehend the nature of the development in East Asia. Last, but not least, this book offers an insightful perspective for understanding the future of East Asia in the realm of digital media. As the authors pertinently argue, the world is moving, at a remarkably rapid pace, into a new level of technological innovation and societal transformation; however, through their detailed documentation, this book argues that East Asia is much more ready for this transition than most parts of the world.

If the book has any shortcomings, the first is that there is no discussion on the role of users. The authors correctly emphasize that the power is shifting from digital makers to digital users; however, they do not give much attention to the users who are not only consumers but also producers. Primarily relying on their consultations with government officials and industry representatives in East Asia, the in-depth interviews or ethnographic interpretations of the behaviour of users would be another asset. Second, it is missing analysis of the smartphone, which is one of the most significant digital media. In East Asia, the iPhone has hugely impacted the marketplace, resulting in the smartphone revolution as Korean smartphone makers, including Samsung and LG, have rapidly developed their own smartphones, which are now competing neck to neck with the iPhone in the global markets. This book sparsely touches on mobile phones and mobile culture; however, it is unfortunate that it does not more deeply analyze the smartphone era. Lastly, the authors could also have detailed several negative issues occurring in the digital age, such as surveillance, copyright infringement, and cybercrime or cyberterrorism. These matters are serious enough to be fully discussed because they are also major parts of the digital economy, and critical engagement with these issues would have enhanced the values of the book.

Overall, this book provides the readers with a generous abundance of information on digital media and content in the East Asian context. It is well-researched and presented and makes a convincing contribution to a growing body of literature on digital media studies, East Asian Studies, and information technology policy. It is highly recommended for a wide range of readers: those interested in digital media in tandem with East Asia.

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

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NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY IN ASIA: Issues, Challenges, and Framework for Action. Edited by Mely Caballero-Anthony, Alistair D.B. Cook. Singapore: ISEAS, 2013. xvi, 349 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$42.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4414-60-9.

This volume is a compilation of works by the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. As the editors explain in the first chapter, the Rajaratnam School’s securitization approach builds on the Copenhagen School of securitization approach (i.e., as proposed by Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan in the mid-1990s). The Rajaratnam School approach, they say, “moves away from the Eurocentric orientation” of the Copenhagen School and asks the “why and how questions of securitization and desecuritization, and identifies the catalysts and motivations that drive such processes” (6). With this approach—a focus on catalysts and motives that makes up securitization processes—this volume takes up nine areas for analysis, utilizing their “securitization analysis,” namely, health, food, water, natural disasters, internal conflict, forced migration, energy, transnational crime and cyber security. To shed light on the processes of securitization, the editors propose a framework to analyze policy processes that reach (or do not reach) final decisions and implementation. This framework, named in this volume “NTS Analysis,” identified eight variables that are foundations for good policy making: participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus-oriented, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.

How successful was this volume in addressing the process of securitization in these nine areas? In general, although this volume addressed how and why these nine areas develop into security problems and how governments, civil society organizations, and international organizations responded to these, the emphasis and analytical rigour to address the process of securitization varies from chapter to chapter. Chapter 2, on health, is one of the more rigorous chapters. For example, despite the acute need to respond to HIV and infectious diseases and improve coordination among ASEAN member states, the authors see a need for further institutionalization in pandemic preparedness. In a nutshell, the authors call for action “beyond discourse” in addressing health security. On the other hand, chapter 3, on food security, did accurately address the impact of sudden food price increases that were often exacerbated by climate change and policy failures, including the failure to combat corruption. The analytical section in this chapter on policy-making, however, falls short by providing only mostly anecdotal national responses to food shortage. Furthermore, chapter 4, on water, ends with “four guiding principles” for sustainable water management, but did not elaborate on the process itself, and is probably the weakest chapter.

The most readable among all, however, is the chapter on forced migration that addressed issues of statelessness by surveying the legal dimension at both the national and international levels, civil society participation, and national government and international organization responses. The chapter soundly limits itself to the case studies in Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, surveys legal instruments and government policy responses to address statelessness, and ends with an analysis of ASEAN’s concrete effort to address forced migration through two relatively new commissions created in 2009 and 2010. These commissions—the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children—were described to be “promising policy entry points” to address forced migration in Southeast Asia. As correctly pointed out by the authors, the establishment of these commissions was possible because of the deeper regional integration after the signing of the ASEAN Charter that came into force in 2008. Throughout this chapter, and to a lesser extent chapter 9 on transnational crime, the importance of regional integration with democratic value sharing to tackle NTS issues becomes clear. ASEAN integration through the landmark ASEAN Charter can become a critical vehicle in addressing NTS issues. Although it is correct that the editors in the concluding chapter call for actual implementations beyond meetings and gatherings in ASEAN, this volume implicitly acknowledges the importance of the meetings buttressed by the ASEAN Charter to address NTS issues. In this sense, the Arab League’s ineffectiveness is a good comparison to ASEAN. For example, when the UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report was rightly calling for people’s security as the first policy priority in its 2009 report (written in 2008), precisely pointing out the same NTS issues such as health, water, food and nutrition, and human trafficking, the Arab League failed to address these issues effectively. What followed in the Arab region was a food crisis that triggered a series of political crises.

Although this volume contributed to explaining how non-traditional security issues were dealt with and why, there were several shortcomings. First, the title that captures “Asia” as a whole is misleading. Most of the examples come from Southeast Asia, probably reflecting the strength of the Rajaratnam School’s research network, built on a long collaboration of the ASEAN-ISIS network. While the chapters on water and energy brought in China and India as examples for their sheer size, and thus higher impact in the region, other chapters predominantly discuss examples from Southeast Asia. Second, more careful editing is necessary. Aside from simple typo errors, such as “issue inkage” for “issue linkage” on page 7, there are inaccurate cut-and-paste sections from a previously published newsletter, reproduced without acknowledgement. For example, a section on Myanmar in chapter 6 has the lines: “this NTS Insight also identifies” (128) and “this NTS Insight tests” (141) indicating the section came from the centre’s newsletter called NTS Insight, published on their website in March 2011. Abbreviation errors include the Indonesian abbreviation of BNPB as BNBP (93), and HKH (Hindu-Kush Himalaya is abbreviated this way) as KHK instead (71). Finally, the materials and examples in almost all chapters date only up until 2010, and are rather outdated for a 2013 publication.

Takeshi Kohno, United Nations Development Programme, New York, USA

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HEALTH TRANSITIONS AND THE DOUBLE DISEASE BURDEN IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: Histories of Responses to Non-Communicable and Communicable Diseases. Routledge Advances in Asia-Pacific Studies, 14. Edited by Milton J. Lewis, Kerrie L. MacPherson. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xiii, 317 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-57543-0.

This informative edited volume addresses the complexities of “the epidemiological transition” in countries in Asia and the Pacific. The epidemiological transition—a theory first proposed by demographer Abdel Omran in 1971—states that as populations “modernize” (i.e., adopt medical technologies, such as childhood immunizations and essential medicines, and improve sanitation and housing), their members go from having relatively brief lives, typically cut short by communicable diseases (CDs), such as measles, tuberculosis, malaria and cholera, to living relatively long lives, burdened by chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. A recent addendum to the epidemiological transition is the “nutritional transition,” the shift towards the increasing consumption of meat, salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined or highly processed foods, with an accompanying decrease in the consumption of vegetables and whole foods.

In wealthy Western countries the epidemiological transition is thought to have largely taken place. Most other countries around the world, however, are experiencing what has come to be called the “double-disease burden.” They are mid-transition, as it were, and thus some segments of their populations continue to suffer from deadly infectious diseases; other segments suffer from the hazards associated with sedentary lifestyles and over-nutrition; and yet other segments find themselves plagued by the ailments of both pre- and post-transition. To use the term “mid-transition” implies that it is inevitable: that the transition will eventually occur for all and that it will look roughly the same everywhere. However, epidemiological transition theory is based on the broad contours of the histories of Western nations. These histories may not be replicable and, moreover, the broad contours tend to hide the internal variability and inequalities that were and continue to be experienced in high-income nations. For example, the very compelling chapter in this volume about Australia clearly shows that the health transition for the Aboriginal population has been markedly different and worse than for the non-Aboriginal population, with Aboriginal populations experiencing a double-disease burden and suffering disproportionately from both CDs and NCDs.

For the most part, each chapter in this volume is devoted to one nation, and each follows approximately the same template of describing the history of the nation’s shift thus far from CDs to NCDs, the nature of its double-disease burden, the health policies and services intended to address the burden, and the challenges encountered. Considering that a whole book could be written about these topics for each of the nations in question, most of the chapters do a very good job of laying out the crucial information in a necessarily succinct yet interesting way. Thus, the volume as a whole is a very valuable compendium of useful and important information about the epidemiological history of each country.

My initial impression of the volume was that each chapter told pretty much the same story: as India (or South Korea or Thailand, etc.) came to provide its citizens with childhood immunizations, better access to clean water, and improved living conditions, the burden of communicable diseases decreased. And, as the citizens of Sri Lanka (or the Philippines or Indonesia, etc.) came to eat more fat, sugar, and salt, and as they became more urbanized and sedentary, they came to suffer more from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer. This overarching narrative is perhaps inevitable when the disease history of each country must be collapsed into 20 pages, thus smoothing out most of the unique vagaries of each case.

However, each case does, in fact, convey some of its singular trajectory. For example, while 21 percent of Papua New Guinea’s mortality is now caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD), in fact coronary heart disease (which ranks as the first or second cause of CVD deaths in other Pacific Island countries) is not the leading cause of its CVD deaths. Rather, CVD deaths in Papua New Guinea are from rheumatic heart disease (caused by staphlyccocal infection) and from cor pulmonale (likely caused by lifelong exposure to domestic wood-smoke, not surprising given that much traditional housing is not ventilated). In other words, fat, sugar, salt and increasing sedentism may have similar effects everywhere, but the details of how a citizenry live (e.g., how they cook, how they build their houses) also matter a great deal.

The edited volume is a lesson in how national economic policies can have profound health outcomes, again contributing to the unique nature of each case. For example, the authors of the chapter about Thailand discuss that nation’s rapid economic growth due to industrialization, the state’s reluctance to discourage foreign investment in factories that produce hazardous wastes, and the consequent increase in ailments associated with industrial pollution in communities living near industrial estates—not only cancers and chromosomal abnormalities in children, but also a very high rate of suicide. The volume is also interesting for the information each chapter provides about how these nations are trying to address their rapid increases in costly NCDs. For example, the authors of the chapter about Singapore note that it became the world’s first country to require adult children to care for their aging parents.

The best chapters for me were the ones that focused a bit more on the social and political histories of health and a bit less on the health statistics. For example, the chapter about Japan nicely explains how Chinese medicine, two centuries of isolation policy under the Edo Shogunate, and Buddhist philosophies all influenced health regimens there. That said, the volume is quite even in the sense that most of the chapters provide a good balance of socio-political history and epidemiological data. In sum, I think this volume will be an extremely useful resource for medical historians, public health practitioners in the Asia/Pacific region, and scholars and practitioners anywhere who are interested in the double-disease burden.

Holly Wardlow, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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MEDIA, EROTICS, AND TRANSNATIONAL ASIA. Editors, Purnima Mankekar and Louisa Schein. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2012. xi, 374 pp. (Tables, B&W illus.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-4577-0.

Asia’s transnational mediascape has increasingly attracted academic attention, as exemplified by the growing number of recent publications on trans-Asian media culture. The academic craze of media flows in Asia seems to have been largely accompanied by macro-level analyses of (inter)national cultural economies with rhetoric such as “soft power,” “Bollywood,” “Cool Japan,” and the “Korean Wave,” while affective dimensions of the changing Asian mediascape have, to a great extent, remained under-researched. In this respect, Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia marks a novel approach to transnational Asia and its media culture. This book comprises 10 engaging essays on mediated erotics in transnational Asia, along with an original introduction by the editors. The essays present not only a wide geographic scope across Asia and Asian diasporas, but also an empirically grounded understanding of the transnational mediation of erotics.

The mediated erotic is a topical lens through which the contributors of the book explore Asia as an assemblage of heterogeneous cultural histories in the process of globalization. In the introduction, the editors, Purnima Mankekar and Louisa Schein, elucidate the book’s perspective, which is to challenge the simplistic approach to Asia as a homogeneous entity while exploring cultural identities in the mediated flows of erotics. Following the editors’ introduction, Martin F. Manalansan examines an emerging insubordinate form of erotics that challenges the hegemonic imagination of homelands. Manalansan’s analysis of the Filipino film Miguel/Michelle investigates the way in which queers’ return migration is represented in the media and interpreted by queer viewers in Manila and New York. Judith Farquhar’s essay on the pleasure of reading health magazines explores mediated erotics as a process of forming a new subjectivity in post-socialist China. The question of erotics in the process of reading is also addressed in the following essay, in which Tom Boellstorff explores the interplay between homosexual desire and citizenship in Indonesian gay zines.

Nicole Constable inquires into the Internet media by means of which virtual communities debate the stereotype of correspondence marriages between American men and Filipino women. Everett Yuehong Zhang’s essay discusses the emerging individuals’ desires for and interests in the body in China by analyzing the media appearance of a popular biomedical doctor in post-socialist Beijing. Purnima Mankekar’s essay discusses how nationalist belonging and erotic desires are represented in the 1990s’ transnationalizing Indian television by exploring the alliances between the nation-state, national industry and global capital. Louisa Schein looks at the reconfiguration of transnational erotics in her analysis of migrant subjectivities constructed in the diasporic circulation of Mmong video texts. Sara L. Friedman examines how film viewers in China, Taiwan and the US interpret mediated erotics through their own cultural contexts by analyzing the reception of the Taiwan–Hong Kong-produced film The Twin Bracelets.

The last two essays focus on the topic of Orientalist gazes on Asian women, which is also addressed, to some extent, by most essays in the book. Heather Dell’s study of the award- winning documentary Born into Brothels explores the tension between the dominant Western narrative of “rescuing Asian sex workers” and Asian sex-worker activists’ discourse that challenges the Western stereotype of Asian women as victims. Anne Allison examines the best-selling novel Memoirs of a Geisha, which facilitates Western fans’ engagement with erotics of a distant foreign place and enables them to masquerade as different subjects.

Engaging with various aspects of mediated erotics across Asia and Asian diasporas, the collected essays constitute an organic whole of solid research. As the editors note in their introduction, Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia is more than a compilation of case studies. It presents the leading Asianist anthropologists’ collaborative effort to initiate a transnational framework for analyzing an affective dimension of the trans-Asian mediascape. Theoretically, it attempts to develop cultural theories to explore how media globalization and (gendered and national) identity intersect. In addition, its engagement with the diaspora as a significant research area in transnational Asian studies is noteworthy. The authors’ theoretical effort is enhanced by their reflexive discussions of ethnographic methodology for media analysis in transnational contexts. The contributors utilize an “ethno-textual approach”—Louisa Schein’s term—so that a close reading of the media is interwoven with ethnographic engagement with media text and its context. This methodological effort situates media texts in their particular cultural histories and thus leads readers toward an engaging understanding of transnational cultural flows as lived cultural processes.

While the cultural histories of the trans-Asian mediascape and its affective dimension are perceptively addressed by ethnographic readings of a wide range of media forms, including films, television, radio, novels, magazines and the Internet, most essays in this collection tend to focus on a form of medium. A further examination of cross-media environments would have made this rich collection even more suggestive for the emerging mediascape of the Web 2.0 era; yet, this is still a highly inspiring collection. In particular, its critically and empirically grounded approach makes Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia a welcome addition to cultural research on transnational Asia. This book can be recommended to any scholars and students interested in the cultural aspects of contemporary Asia.

Kyong Yoon, The University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada

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STATE VIOLENCE IN EAST ASIA. Asia in the New Millennium. Edited by N. Ganesan and Sung Chull Kim. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013. xi, 294 pp. US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8131-3679-0.

The “Note on Romanization” page in State Violence in East Asia offers clues as to the breadth that this volume covers: Korean, Japanese Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Burmese. Not listed here are two additional geographic areas also included: the Philippines and Cambodia. Most readers will be familiar with the skeletal details of the events addressed here. However, the authors expand their meticulous coverage of these events to analyze the efforts by civilians and government officials to negotiate reconciliation and closure to the crimes committed during these troubling times. This latter effort I felt to be the most interesting angle of this well-conceived and tightly organized volume.

The framework for State Violence in East Asia is paved by two excellent introductory chapters, one by the editors and a second by Vince Boudreau that analyzes the “social and political role” of state violence. The chapters that follow, building their arguments on ideas and questions presented in these two discussions, focus on four fundamental aspects of state violence: the reasons behind the state’s decision to use violence; social treatment of this violence in its aftermath; the path(s) taken to push for reconciliation; and the relationship between political transition and resolution of violence (4). Boudreau’s distinction between instrumental and exemplary violence (24-29) serves as an important thread that weaves its way through many of the volume’s case studies. His discussion on “Asian Cases” (34-38) correctly warns that much variety exists within this geographically defined area due to the different historical experiences of the residents. The question then arises as to the value of limiting the discussions here to just East Asian cases.

The question of why the state chooses to commit acts of violence on its citizens is most relevant to distinctions that Boudreau draws between instrumental and exemplary violence: does the state simply act to eradicate a potential or visible threat or does it employ violence as a preemptive warning directed at potential threats to its existence? The two motivations often overlap, as suggested in Jeffrey N. Wasserstron and Kate Merkel-Hess’s consideration of the 1989 Tiananmen Incident in China as “instrumental in the moment” but harbouring “exemplary ends” (chapter 4). The question of why the state targets its own people is closely related to a second question concerning which people it targets: ethnic minorities (Okinawans and non-Khmer Cambodians), and political minorities (politically ostracized Koreans of Chŏlla province and leftists in general). Both groups have traditionally been seen as harbouring less intrinsic interest in central state operations, and thus peoples that pose the greatest potential threat to the state. Many chapters reveal attempts by the state to link radical political movements to citizen protests by describing their acts as communist-directed attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments, a claim that has enjoyed less support since the end of the Cold War.

The diverse experiences found in the case studies regarding popular attempts to reach resolution and gain restitution underlines the difficulty of negotiating closure after the violence has subsided. Boudreau offers two necessary factors that encourage this process: a “balance of power between the regime and its critics,” and the extent to which either side “controls the narrative” (40). Rewriting state narratives is facilitated by, as seen in South Korea, significant political change that allows the victims political space to assume a degree of control over the reconciliation process. Even here, as Namhee Lee demonstrates, the results are never completely satisfactory to all (64-68). Yet, this example is exceptional in that it resulted in powerful heads of state and industry being brought to trial. An insurmountable roadblock found in many cases was the retention of either direct or indirect power and influence by officials responsible for the violence.

This leads to the rather important question raised in a number of the chapters: to what extent is regime change necessary for resolution and narrative correction? Douglas Kammen’s chapter on Indonesia’s 2004 examination of the mid-1960s revolution (chapter 6), and Rommel A. Curaming’s chapter on the mid-1980s overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines (chapter 8) are of particular value in addressing this question. The two authors independently attribute the lack of success of reconciliation to non-ideological factors, namely the social class and economic interests held by those who remained in positions of influence over the periods of state violence and reconciliation. Other pertinent factors include the “relative empowerment of civil society,” “the form of military engagement that accompanied the political transition, and the “proximity of justice” (15-16). An unfortunate, but perhaps inevitable, barrier is the “natural fear” element: the fear that the perpetrators of state violence will be pardoned for their crimes as a compromise toward the “utilitarian premise of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number” (16).

State Violence in East Asia offers eight generally sound case studies that follow rather closely the road map laid out by the volume’s editors. The study on World War II-era Okinawan suicides, however, appears slightly out of place for two reasons: first, the acts under discussion occurred during a wartime situation, and the victims were targeted not as state enemies but for their assumed position as imperial subjects. In other words, it was their Japanese identity that “entitled” them to die for the imperial cause. This diverse collection of case studies might have benefited from a short consideration of similar developments in Latin America or Africa. That said, the structure, cohesion and diversity among the chapters qualifies State Violence in East Asia as a steady anchor for a survey course or seminar on modern Asian issues, a welcome counter to the many publications dealing with East Asia’s miracle economies. Its overall structure demonstrates an excellence in organization that future edited volumes might consider emulating.

Mark Caprio, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan

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HIGHER EDUCATION REGIONALIZATION IN ASIA PACIFIC: Implications for Governance, Citizenship and University Transformation. International and Development Education. Edited by John N. Hawkins, Ka Ho Mok and Deane E. Neubauer. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. xvi, 215 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-00287-7.

One danger for studies of regionalization is that they can become a triumphant (and tedious) parade of acronyms denoting organizations, committees and agreements. The implication, then, is that regionalization is proceeding apace, that there is a shared vision and that goals are well defined and being achieved, or will be with due passage of time. This volume avoids such traps by its use of critical approaches both at the country level and in discussing the broader trends in the region. It is arranged into three sections (each containing four chapters) under the headings: Conceptual Issues; Country Studies; and Regulatory and Governance Dimensions.

The opening chapters provide an accessible introduction to thinking about the dauntingly complex terrain of regionalization. Deane E. Neubauer sketches the key dynamics in the region. Jane Knight sets out a series of definitions of terms that are used (not always consistently) in the field and proposes a scale of types of interaction ascending from weakest to strongest: cooperation, coordination, convergence, integration. She suggests there are three basic approaches—functional, organizational and political—and lists some thirty examples arranged under these headings. Rounding out the section on conceptual issues, in their respective chapters, Molly Lee and Miki Sugimura provide useful snapshots of the array of bodies involved in regionalization and the types of activities they carry out. It is a complex web they delineate well, though a separate glossary of acronyms would have been a welcome addition to the volume.

In section 2, the country studies of Japan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines each provide useful insights. Wen Wen discusses a Chinese approach to regionalization—“province leading with the state approving”—noting that some Chinese provinces are as powerful as some smaller state economies in the region. Anthony Welch studies the challenges facing Indonesia in meeting domestic demand and the limits this places on its regional activities. Akiyoshi Yonezawa and Arthur Meerman look at the demographic challenges facing Japan, and its role in multilateral initiatives in East Asia. Regina Ordonez examines the responses of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education to the global labour market and the lure of overseas employment.

The third section considers regulatory issues at multi-country and regional levels. Commentators observe that countries in the region have more differences than commonalities but that, on the other hand, they have more in common with each other than with Western countries. The editors of this volume distinguish two phases of regionalism. The first, spanning roughly 1950 to 1980, featured cooperative interactions between exclusive peer-country groupings in the fields of trade, security and education. The second phase, dating from the 1980s to the present, features broader-based inclusive groupings and is more characterized by the philosophies of neoliberalism, deregulation and marketization.

In this context, Ka Ho Mok refers to the “tango” between cooperation and competition, as several countries strive to position themselves as education hubs, in the quest both for income generation and for exerting “soft power” through enhanced prestige. He explores the prospects for regulatory regionalism noting that, while such developments are in an early phase, there is the potential to facilitate new models of governance, including “network governance” to address the increasingly transnationalized nature of education offerings. Molly Lee looks at recent events in the restructuring of university governance and how these affect institutional autonomy in eleven countries. In cases where there is greater pressure to justify university budgets in relation to national and local priorities—and the benefits for taxpayers of the country—international projects may be seen as a second or third-order option.

A routine evaluative approach is to compare Asian regionalization projects with those taking place in the European Union. Quite apart from the question of whether this is a useful comparator, the editors point out that recent reports suggest the European project is having its own difficulties and that domestic education is largely unchanged despite numerous agreements, high-level conferences, intergovernmental meetings and inspiring rhetoric. Similar observations are made for Asia. One author notes, for example that the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific Credit Transfer Scheme, the Asian regional version of the European credit transfer system, is seldom used by institutions. This is despite the fact that 34 countries and some 350 Higher Education Institutions have joined UMAP and the scheme has operated for more than twenty years.

John Hawkins analyzes the centripetal forces and centrifugal forces acting to promote or frustrate the regionalization of education. Centripetal forces include: economic and prestige/“soft-power” incentives to strengthening the profile and role of the region in the education sphere; and the mutual benefits of facilitating the mobility of students and academics within the region. Centrifugal forces include in particular: the wide variety of linguistic and ethnic diversity; major variations in systems for admissions, grading and credit; differences in curriculum; lack of common QA standards; lack of commitment at the level of government and HEI; and a lack of financial resources for the organization, promotion and follow-through on regional cooperation projects. There are also historical disputes and potential military tensions between the most powerful countries in the region: China, Japan and Korea. The concluding chapter by Hawkins, Mok and Neubauer draws together the themes and observations of the book, and points to directions for future research.

This volume is valuable for those who want: an introduction to (and disentangling of) concepts in the regionalization of education; an outline of key organizations and developments; illuminating country studies of Japan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines; and an assessment of the current state of play and factors influencing the likely outcomes of higher education regionalization in the Asia Pacific. As such it is recommended for researchers, students and those concerned with the development and analysis of policy development in the field of international higher education in Asia and beyond.

Grant McBurnie, Independent Scholar, Carnegie, Australia

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China and Inner Asia


CHINA’S SECURITY STATE: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics. By Xuezhi Guo.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. xiv, 486 pp. (Figures, tables.) C$100.95, cloth.  ISBN 978-1-107-02323-9.

This book is a contribution to the field of Chinese politics. It is particularly helpful to the understanding of the CCP’s mechanisms for controlling both party members and the general population. Although the author emphasized that it is not a book of “political history of Chinese security and intelligence apparatuses,” (1), the author describes the creation, evolution and development of China’s security and intelligence agencies as well as their role in influencing Chinese Communist Party politics throughout the Party’s history. Of course, the author was trained as a political scientist and he wrote this book in the perspective of a political scientist. His main focus was to examine how the security and intelligence apparatuses and elite politics interplayed in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politics. In other words, the author wanted to look at CCP politics through its way of organizing security apparatuses.

The author stated that he wanted to achieve several related goals, namely, to analyze the evolution and development of the CCP security and intelligence organizations during the CCP revolution before and after 1949, to examine the organizations’ pursuit of social control of the Chinese populace and their influence over elite politics, to explore the function of the security and intelligence apparatuses as paramount shields for protecting the regime and as potent forces guaranteeing compliance to party leadership, and to reveal the manner in which the CCP organizes and motivates the security and intelligence organizations to ensure effective social control and compliance of party and state officials with party discipline.

Given the role played by security apparatuses in Chinese politics, it is easy to understand that over the decades the CCP has developed a very complicated and sophisticated security regime. Understanding this regime is not an easy task. Based on a review of the historical evolution of public security organizations, the author focused on several key components within this regime, including Central Guard Bureau, Central Guard Regiment, armed police, people’s armed police, garrison commands, intelligence agencies and services, and PLA (People’s Liberation Army) security services. While each of these organizations can be a book-length study, the author, based skillfully on chosen historical materials, has investigated patterns of leadership politics from the vantage point of security and intelligence organization and operation. The author also pointed to main trends of changing relations between the CCP and its security regime. For instance, he highlights how professionalism and institutionalization in the security regime have impacted the security regime’s relations with the CCP.

While the book answered many questions on China’s security regime, it could also have brought up many new questions. The author examined how different organizations in the security regime played their roles in defending the CCP, but he did not pay enough attention to how the CCP managed this vast regime. The lack of coordination between and among different organizations within the security regime implies that the security regime is not integrated but fragmented. While fragmentation provides the CCP leadership with the tool for manipulation, thus preventing a major threat from the security regime, it could lead to conflicts between and among them. Changing external and internal environments have called for better integration within the security regime. For example, the Central Military Commission managed the PLA, and thus its security and intelligence services, while the Political and Legal Commission handled security and intelligence services in the civilian sector. But with globalization and the rise of terrorism, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish external and internal threats. This is the main rationale behind the recently established State Security Committee, with Xi Jinping as its president.

The author also tried to make a comparison between the CCP and the Soviet Union. The comparison is justified due to the fact that both were Communist regimes. However, it would be interesting to compare the Chinese Communist regime and its traditional dynasties in terms of the organizational configuration of the security regime. For example, the Central Guard Regiment today is very similar to the Jinwei jun or the Yulin jun in traditional dynasties. It provides protection to the CCP leadership while the Jinwei jun or the Yulin jun protected the emperor and imperial families.

Some key arguments can be refined to reduce misunderstanding of the relations between China’s security regime and CCP politics. For example, the author correctly argued that internal security and intelligence are key components for the CCP’s survival since having a monopoly on power is the only way the party-state can maintain its authority. However, the author also claimed that contrary to Western democracies, China is governed by a monopolistic party whose leaders are not democratically elected, which means that political legitimacy is not based on popular support. As a result, the CCP shielded itself from internal and external threats by instituting a strong security system (418). This statement somehow exaggerates the role of the security regime. Many studies have indicated that in the past decades, China’s economic miracle has served as a major source of legitimacy for the CCP.

In the last chapter, the author tried to predict the future of China by comparing it with other countries such as Singapore, Russia and Japan. This comparison is not necessary and misleading. For example, to review the Singaporean democracy as a combination of “benevolent government and autocracy,” Russia’s as “illiberal democracy” and Japan’s as “democracy with a strong state bureaucracy” is far too ideology-loaded. The comparison does not add value to this important study of China.

Zheng Yongnian, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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COMMUNITY CAPITALISM IN CHINA: The State, the Market, and Collectivism. By Xiaoshuo Hou. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xii, 154 pp. (Maps, tables, figures.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-03046-6.

Based on extensive fieldwork in three Chinese villages, Xiaoshuo Hou shows how local party leaders and villagers successfully promoted economic development and raised living standards during the era of reform. In all three villages—Nanjie, Huaxi and Shangyuan—the author learned that cadre and villagers found different ways to mobilize the resources they needed to finance industrialization and secure investment from state officials and foreign investors, decided who should own industrial enterprises, houses and residual farmlands (collectives, joint ventures or individuals), determined how the benefits should be distributed to participants (as individual wages or as collective/welfare benefits and subsidies), and decided who should get them. It is clear from her account that villagers and local cadre took a lot of initiative and used their relative autonomy from central government authorities to adopt rather different strategies to promote economic growth and advance local variants of what the author calls “community capitalism.”

Although local villagers adopted different approaches to investment, ownership and benefit distribution, they all decided to distinguish between “local” residents and “migrants” and subsequently developed a two-tier system for the distribution of benefits. Because migrants outnumbered locals in Nanjin and Huaxi (she does not provide information about the ratio of locals to migrants in Shangyuan), a majority of residents were denied equal participation in political decision-making or in the distribution of economic benefits. Although migrants outnumbered locals 3 to 1 in Nanjin, the author does not seem to regard their treatment as “second-class citizens” as problematic, though their exploitation by locals was, in effect, part of the villagers’ development strategy. Although she discusses some internal debates about who might be incorporated into the group by marriage and who might be, in effect, exiled from the community, she might have done more to explore the dynamics and tensions between local and migrant villagers.

During the last 25 years or so, villagers managed to promote industrialization and transform themselves from rural farmers to urban workers while remaining in the village. By staying in place, rather than moving to other cities in search of work, villagers were able to keep their social networks, parochial values (collectivist in Nanjin; individualistic in Shangyuan), and families intact. The author and the villagers regard this as one of their most important social achievements. In a sense, they were able to realize Mao’s goals during the Great Leap Forward. During the 1950s, Mao promoted industrialization in rural areas, in part to prevent peasants from moving to the cities, which could not accommodate them. Although Mao kept villagers in place during the Great Leap Forward, he was unable to promote successful rural industrialization. By contrast, in recent years, cadre-villagers have found ways to industrialize and urbanize while remaining in the village, without unleashing the kind of out-migration characteristic of rural villages in other countries. Still, their success has encouraged the in-migration of workers from less-industrialized rural villages.

The author provides a careful account of “Community Capitalism” in all three villages. She discusses problems with corruption in Nanjin and the consolidation and transfer of political power by one cadre to his family members in Huaxi, “what most outsiders would look at as nepotism” (83). She identifies how villagers were able to build “close-knit communities” and provide social-welfare benefits to members that were not being provided by central government authorities.

This upbeat and positive assessment, reminiscent of Jan Myrdal’s Report from a Chinese Village, highlights the agency and relative autonomy of cadre and villagers during the reform era. But how representative was this sample? She chose them because they were successful. But how much can their experience tell us about villages that “failed” to industrialize, about villages that provided migrant workers for other, more successful villages and cities? It is difficult to tell. The author admits that “it is hard to generalize the research findings to the whole nation” (134). Moreover, the author’s reliance on a “grounded theory” approach makes it difficult for her to explore the structures, opportunities and constraints imposed by “the State” and “the Market” on small villages in contemporary China. This fine micro-study would have benefitted from an appreciation of the wider political and economic institutions that have shaped “community capitalism” in Chinese villages during this period.

Robert K. Schaeffer, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA

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MEDIA COMMERCIALIZATION AND AUTHORITARIAN RULE IN CHINA. Communication, Society and Politics. By Daniela Stockmann. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xxii, 334 pp. (Figures, tables.) C$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-01844-0.

Since the early 2000s, many scholars and observers on China have argued that media marketization does not necessarily undermine the legitimacy of the communist regime. The rise of investigative journalism since the mid-1990s, for instance, has seemingly signaled the expansion of the space of critical reporting and discourses in the media. But investigative reporting in China has faced severe constraints and remained “on party leashes” (Yuezhi Zhao, “Watchdogs on Party Leashes? Contexts and Implications of Investigative Journalism in Post-Deng China,” Journalism Studies 1 no. 2, 2000: 577). From the state’s perspective, investigative journalism, as long as it is under control, can be an effective means to present the image of a caring and responsive government. More generally speaking, if the marketized media no longer serve as a propaganda machine, they may nonetheless act like a “publicity agent” promoting the image of the government and its leaders by more nuanced and/or “softer” means (Chin-chuan Lee, Zhou He and Yu Huang, “Chinese Party Publicity Inc. Conglomerated: The Case of the Shenzhen Press Group,” Media, Culture and Society 28 no. 5, 2006: 581-602).

The implication of this line of thinking is that marketized media can actually help the authoritarian regime in China to maintain stability and legitimacy. The literature, however, lacks studies with solid empirical evidence—especially evidence about public opinion—illustrating why, how, and under what conditions marketized media can benefit authoritarian rule. The latter is what Daniela Stockmann’s Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China achieved.

To summarize, Stockmann argues that marketized media can help solve the dictator’s dilemma by serving as a means for the dictator to monitor public opinion. Media marketization entails the need on the part of the media to respond to audience demand. But as long as the Chinese state has the capacity to retain effective control of the media, journalists will also take up the norms and rules about whether, when and how to cover politically sensitive matters. Given the persistence of media censorship and control, the contents offered by official and marketized media outlets in China are actually quite similar to one another. Marketized media do offer content that deviates from the most preferred official stance, but the deviation is often minor and invariably stays within the state’s latitude of acceptance.

Nevertheless, the apparent difference between marketized and official media outlets is enough to help the former build up an image of being relatively independent and even occasionally daring. The non-official media, as a result, enjoy higher levels of credibility among the general public. This higher level of credibility allows the non-official media to exert influence on public opinion. Since the non-official media actually provide information and messages largely in line with the state’s perspective, non-official media effectively lead public opinion to get closer to the preferred government stances on various issues.

In substantiating the above account, Stockmann draws upon data collected through solid empirical research. The range of methods employed is impressive, encompassing in-depth interviews with journalists and officials, content analysis of newspaper coverage of two selected topics (labor laws and foreign countries), and experimental and survey studies about media effects on public opinion. Remarkably, Stockmann also puts China into a comparative framework. She tries to substantiate the point that media marketization can help the Chinese state to maintain stability and legitimacy because China is a strong one-party state. This move broadens the appeal of the book substantially and makes it valuable reading to all political communication scholars interested in issues of media-state relations under different political systems.

Of course, the study is not without limitations. Two questions are particularly worth noting because of their implications on how one should judge the validity of the book’s account. First, the empirical studies focus on the topics of labour laws and foreign countries (the US and Japan), which are, as the author acknowledges, not particularly politically sensitive. It also means that these are not issues or topics that are most likely to present challenges to the state’s legitimacy. In association with this, in the empirical studies on public opinion, the dependent variables are people’s attitudes toward labour laws and the US/Japan, instead of their trust in the Chinese government or perceived legitimacy of the Communist regime. Does the ability of marketized media to generate acceptance for the government’s preferred stance on relatively non-sensitive topics entail the ability of the media system to maintain social stability and government legitimacy in face of serious crises and/or when the truly politically sensitive matters are dealt with?

Second, the content and public opinion data reported in the book are somewhat dated (mostly in the early to mid-2000s), and yet the empirical situation in China is continually evolving. As the author noted, even the marketized media could not reflect the audience’s perspective when the audience’s perspective falls beyond the state’s latitude of acceptance. With the rise of the Internet and social media platforms, the limitations of the mainstream media—both official and non-official—may become clearer to at least the politically aware citizens. Then, over time, what can prevent the media themselves from losing their own credibility if they repeatedly fail to cover important matters in line with what the people want to see? In other words, is the strategy of using marketized media to promote state legitimacy sustainable in the long run?

These two questions are not meant to undermine the value of the book. It is practically extremely difficult to directly tackle public opinion on regime support and highly sensitive political matters in China, and the author herself has acknowledged the uncertainty in how the situation of China may evolve. The book also offers some useful discussions about the Internet and public opinion in China. The above questions simply suggest certain issues on which more and continual research is needed. The book, on the whole, is a significant contribution to the literature on changing media-state relations in China. Readers of the book should find their reading time well spent.

Francis L.F. Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR , China

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THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA: A History from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Asia/Pacific/Perspectives. By Dong Wang. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013, xi, 377 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7425-5782-6.

Few observers will contend with the assertion that the relationship between the United States and China has, in general terms, become the most significant bilateral relationship on the world stage. Just what does this mean? First, the United States and China, respectively, currently hold positions as the world’s two largest economies. If these giants somehow fail to manage their economic conflicts, there most certainly will be dire implications for the global political economy. Second, while the United States continues to occupy the position as the world’s top military power even more than two decades since the end of the Cold War, China has emerged as the most important potential challenger, especially throughout the Asian region. Arguably, these two giants have become too big to fight, as occurred during the Korean War (1950-1953). Third, with the possible exception of the European Union (EU) and some emerging powers like India, no other country is on par with the United States and China in terms of global political influence and the projection of soft power.

The United States and China: A History from the Eighteenth Century to the Present examines this all-important bilateral relationship. Dong Wang provides a comprehensive treatment of US-Chinese relations, from the late-eighteenth century when the American colonies won their independence from England, to the present period. She examines the economic, political, military, and social and cultural dimensions of this relationship, illustrating how these dimensions have affected and are affected by various domestic and external forces at play for both parties. The author reveals how the past and present are connected for Sino-American relations, a dynamic which charts their future course. This is a story about two global actors whose bilateral relationship must be viewed in the context of their respective worldviews (and views about each other) and their rise as world powers. Perhaps more than any other factor, the starkly diverse historical experiences and social and cultural peculiarities of these two giants tell the story of their bilateral relationship. Dong Wang illustrates this quite well throughout her book.

Wang’s study is organized into three parts, the early period (1784-1911), the period of the World Wars and turmoil in the Asian region (1912-1970) and, the period of the opening to China (1970) to the present. Each epoch reveals an important aspect of the story, from America’s missionary activity in China and the World War I era, to the triumph of the Communists on mainland China and the Korean War period. At each juncture, Wang carefully examines the particular historical context of the bilateral relationship and the various factors at play. Many lessons are revealed along the way, and these will be familiar to the informed reader. I will list four such points here. First, the respective political and economic development experiences of the two countries, and their rise to regional and global prominence, are and have been a major dynamic in the bilateral relationship. Second, China’s relations with the United States, indeed, with the West, reflect China’s longtime quest for stability at home and regionally, and, to be respected as a sovereign actor in world affairs. Third, various actors have, at times, found themselves to be significant players in the US-Chinese bilateral relationship. Dong Wang highlights the complex role of England in the earlier period as the United States was attempting to establish a commercial presence in China. She also examines the role of Japan, which becomes particularly important beginning in the early-twentieth century. Finally, it is arguable that the social and cultural dimension of Sino-American relations has, over time, proven to be the most significant dynamic even in their official bilateral relationship. I believe that Dong Wang demonstrates this quite well in chapter 3 on Chinese immigration to the United States, and, in chapter 4, which deals with the spread of American Christianity in China. These two chapters, which are especially well researched and written, reveal much about each side’s perceptions of and interest in the other.

It is a challenge to organize and present a narrative that deals with so vast an amount of material that covers such an expanse of time, but the author does it admirably. While I believe Wang’s treatment of the modern (nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century) period to be the overall strength of her study, she devotes ample attention to the issues, events and trends of the contemporary (post-1950s) period: the path toward normal relations in the 1960s and 1970s, and, various contentious issues such as Taiwan, Tibet, trade, human rights, and China’s growing defense spending. There is a good balance of historical and contemporary sources, as well as Chinese and American perspectives, and the Further Reading section at the end of each chapter will be especially useful for classroom settings. I would offer one critical observation. While the author covers a lot of terrain and does it in exemplary fashion, I would have liked to see more treatment of some third parties. Obviously, regional actors such as Japan, the Koreas and Taiwan, and even Russia, at times, occupy American and Chinese attention in ways that affect their bilateral relationship. This is more and more evident for actors such as India, Iran and Pakistan, who are increasingly important to China and the United States in different ways. This is worth exploring further in the study.

In conclusion, The United States and China is well researched and written. This ambitious study is a useful contribution to the literature on the history of Chinese-American relations. This book stands out for its comprehensiveness and balance, and students of history and international relations will find it to be accessible and insightful.

Gregory O. Hall, Morehouse College, Atlanta, USA

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THE GREAT MANCHURIAN PLAGUE OF 1910-1911: The Geopolitics of an Epidemic Disease. By William C. Summers. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2012. xiii, 202 pp. (Maps, B&W photos., illus.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-18318-1.

Summers’ monograph on the 1910 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Manchuria that killed 60,000 is a welcome addition to studies of the Chinese northeast. The monograph’s goal is to record the regional and colonial geopolitics of a Manchurian epidemic in a region whose political identity and natural resources were claimed by China, Russia and Japan. Summers’ work demonstrates how epidemiology, as both a study of plague and a means to contain it, was used by all three powers to strengthen their claims to Manchuria. The monograph is a contribution to the growing historiography on the interaction between modern medicine and colonialism. The short monograph (153 pages of text) introduces Manchuria’s complex political, economic and colonial identity in chapters 1 and 2. Chapters 3 and 4 examine the progress of the plague across Manchuria and the 1911 International Plague Conference that met in Shenyang (Mukden) under Chinese sponsorship. The final two chapters outline the plague’s origins and its intersection with Manchuria’s complex early twentieth-century political landscape. Summers argues that the plague’s outbreak and the subsequent jockeying among Russian, Chinese, Japanese, American and British diplomats, administrators and doctors was due to Manchuria’s new-found place in the global transportation and fur trade. China’s political weakness, according to Summers, coupled with Russian and Japanese colonial aspirations, shaped the plague’s management. Summers illustrates this strategy in three cities—Harbin, Shenyang (Mukden) and Dalian—using them as stand-ins for Manchuria’s aforementioned three competing powers. Ultimately the plague’s outbreak, containment and transformation into formal administrative bodies of management (international conference, medical schools, and government supervision) served the three powers’ competing colonialisms.

The monograph’s strongest sections are those on the plague’s origins and ecology, as well as its intersection with the global fur trade, since it was said the plague originated in the fur trade of the Mongolian marmot. Summers also does a fine job examining how Russian and Japanese colonial strategies, such as the use of medicine and modern medical administration justified their political claims, as well as obstructing the claims of others to Manchuria. Summers argues correctly that the plague, its outbreak, management and institutionalization cannot be understood separately from claims each power was making in Manchuria.

The monograph’s shortcomings are perhaps because this very complex situation is examined in few pages. The source base is all English; Japanese, Russian and Chinese sources are in translation or credited to other sources. For example, the work of Russo-German Dr. Roger Budberg-Boenninghausen, Harbin’s only doctor who spoke Russian and Chinese, is only briefly noted. I would direct readers towards Marc Gamsa’s article “The Epidemic of Pneumonic Plague in Manchuria 1910-1911” (Past and Present no. 190, Feb. 2006: 147-183) for Budberg-Boenninghausen’s contribution to plague’s management, as well as a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of plague management between Russian and Chinese territory, through the adjoining cities of Harbin and Fujiadian.

Readers of Summers’ work may also come away with two erroneous conclusions. The first is the plague’s origin with the Mongolian marmot, for which there is no proof. The monograph’s extensive coverage of the marmot trade, and the global fur trade as a “plague reservoir,” is fascinating and does contribute to the debate on Manchuria’s incorporation into a global economy. Summers could also draw on the growing literature of Russian and Japanese scientific observation of Manchuria’s wildlife as part of a bigger project to justify their tenuous claims to Manchurian territory. This Russian and Japanese work produced the incorrect conclusion of marmot-to-human transmission, a conclusion that was one lap in a race, between competing colonial powers, to claim the plague’s origin. Summers’ discussion of the plague reservoir needs to be placed into the context of these competing claims.

The second fuzzy conclusion concerns the nature of claims, political and otherwise, to Manchurian territory. Perhaps because Summers uses Russian and Japanese sources in translation, he takes their claims at face value. These sources sought to justify and extend the privileges of what were essentially economic concessions, the Chinese Eastern Railway and the South Manchurian Railway, through claims of modern administration, city governments, education and health care. For example, Summer’s discussion of plague management in Manchuria’s three biggest cities of Harbin, Shenyang and Dalian—Russian, Chinese and Japanese controlled, respectively—praises Harbin and Dalian’s management but has little good to say for Shenyang as the older and presumably less well-administered city. He gives no proof beyond straight roads and more coercive Russian and Japanese plague management, and does not explore the impact of management on the population. A photo on page 60 of a Russian doctor examining a man identified as Chinese who has been tagged ignores that the man was tagged like an animal, measures that did not apply to the Russian population. The power relationship between the Japanese, Russians and Chinese, so clear in Summers’ account of the competition over who would mount the 1911 international conference, is absent from the description of plague containment. These measures, such as quarantining, at gunpoint, Harbin’s Chinese population on Chinese territory, and the destruction of Chinese property, were measures not uncontested by Russians and Chinese, and perhaps partly an explanation of why Chinese authorities were unwilling to harshly enforce quarantine. See Ruth Rogaski’s “Vampires in Plagueland: The multiple meanings of weisheng in Manchuria” (Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia, Duke University Press. 2010) for more insights into Chinese perceptions of Russian and Japanese colonial medicine.

Qing China, since the late nineteenth century, modernized Manchuria’s administration, incorporated it as three provinces, and sponsored Chinese settlement and economic development. China was not a helpless bystander to either Russian or Japanese colonial projects (Summers uses both colonial and post-colonial without defining them). Summers’ work unwittingly reproduces the troupe of Chinese tradition and Japanese and Russian modernity. China, like Japan and Russia, was colonizing a frontier but politically it was their frontier and the Chinese state was very much in the game. Summers’ work is certainly the best introduction to this event but should not be taken as the final word.

Blaine Chiasson, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada

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THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY AND CHINA’S CAPITALIST REVOLUTION: The Political Impact of the Market. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 61. By Lance L.P. Gore. New York; London: Routledge, 2013, c2011. xx,180 pp.(Figures, Tables.) US $44.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-85526-6.

Gore’s book represents a renewal of scholarly interest in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a topic which has been neglected for two decades. This persuasive study analyses the transformation of the largest ruling communist party in the world, which, despite its contradictions with marketization, and unlike its Eastern European counterparts, gained 72 percent of its current membership in the past thirty years (4). However, the CCP is experiencing an atrophy of its grassroots organizations in urban and rural areas, undermining its vertical integration. The CCP’s role in enterprise is declining, although, unlike the East Asian developmental state, it plants itself inside the businesses (128). The CCP is adapting by reformulating its goals and roles along pragmatic lines, and picking up the characteristics of market institutions. However, the different living conditions of party members make ideological unity impossible, as party membership holds no common meaning beyond its role as a label. The party is independent of any class, as, despite its rhetorical claims to represent and focus on the recruitment of the proletariat and peasants, these groups have been the biggest losers in the reform era and have not been a source of party expansion since the 1950s (20, 57). The CCP is no longer an avant-garde party. It is evolving into a corporatist-elitist party of the middle class, striving to serve the community in exchange for loyalty.

In one theoretical and four empirical chapters, Gore approaches the transformation of the CCP through the sociological lens of institutional isomorphism on the basis of a wide range of materials, both central and local, from across the country. These include newspapers, statistical reports, and party-building publications, as well as materials from government and quasi-governmental non-profit organizations, state-owned business corporations, and local party organizations, such as party-building websites, investigative reports, recruiting plans, meeting minutes, self-evaluation forms, online courses for potential party recruits, and works by scholars from party schools and research institutes.

Gore examines the adaptation of the CCP in China’s new mass society, new market-era institutions and job and residential patterns. Except for on college campuses, which are a focus of CCP recruitment efforts and which provide over one-third of new members each year, the party is struggling to stay relevant in corporate governance, in the private sector, and among the middle class, that is, the “managerial personnel” and “technical and professional specialists,” i.e., professional intellectuals who have always been crucial for party building (66). The CCP has adapted by professionalizing party cadres and creating interlocking positions in party- and state-owned enterprises. As the motivation for party membership among students is often not ideological but nationalist, pragmatic (for recruiters, party membership indicates quality and connections), and social (due to family pressure), Gore raises the question whether the CCP still recruits communists (79). The CCP’s efforts to recruit capitalists who can provide jobs and stability—and one-third of whom are party members (65)—present the danger of creating a hybrid ruling class, not unlike the “bureaucratic capitalist class” that the CCP overthrew in 1949, that can undermine the party’s autonomy in policy making (127).

Gore’s conclusion that the CCP is now pressed to revive the tactics of the United Front, which it used against the GMD before coming to power in 1949 (65), brings to mind other commonalities with that time of struggle for survival of the underground CCP in China proper and overseas. These similarities are the synergy of lineage and religious associations with grassroots party organizations in the countryside (50-56); the dilution of ideology; the struggles to overcome the party’s irrelevance to the private sector; and the attempts to relate the party to this private sector through social organizations and public events, finding new “carriers” among market and administration organizations (such as trade associations) (62-65). Much like the Malayan Communist Party—which was, organizationally, a branch of the CCP—did in the 1930s, the CCP now facilitates employment, as well as business ties among mobile party members whose mobility today challenges party recruitment strategies (113). Moreover, this synergy of the party with migrant associations was not only manifested in the organizational and functional similarities between the Malayan Communist Party and Chinese associations which I found in my own research, but in some of the early party organizations in mainland China, which emerged as adaptation organizations among youth migrating from rural areas to the city for their studies (Yeh Wen-hsin, Provincial Passages: Culture, Space, and the Origins of Chinese Communism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

Gore concludes that the future direction of the CCP’s current transformation is uncertain. The CCP is once again becoming, as in its pre-1949 underground times, a nationalist party with large student participation and flexible ideology, facilitating migrant adaptation, and recruiting capitalists. This important study of the CCP adaptation shows the need for new questions about the organizational nature of the CCP, as well as about Chinese organizations broadly, since the CCP’s structure is already being appropriated as an organizational model for other institutions, such as protestant home churches (Karrie J. Koesel, “The Rise of a Chinese House Church: The Organizational Weapon,” The China Quarterly 215, Sept. 2013, 572-589).

Anna Belogurova, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA

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HONG KONG UNDER CHINESE RULE: Economic Integration and Political Gridlock. Zheng Yongnian, Yew Chiew Ping. Singapore; Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2013. xii, 274 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$92.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4447-66-9.

There are few edited volumes in scholarly circles more fulfilling than those that sew the chapters together to present a single theme and dynamic evaluations. The present edited volume could be counted as one of those. There are altogether 13 contributors to this volume, including the two editors. Out of the sixteen chapters, nine are co-authored. One contributor alone wrote four chapters while also co-authoring two other chapters. Eight contributors are affiliated with institutions in Singapore, two are with Hong Kong, two are with Macau and one of them works in Melbourne. This edited volume represents both insiders and outsiders’ views of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) since its return to China in 1997. Interestingly, it is a product of mostly Asian scholars’ collaboration with one another. It offers original and critical insights into Hong Kong’s developments throughout the years and analyzes the future prospects of the implementation of the “one country, two systems” concept.

This volume recounts the 15 years of Hong Kong’s return to China. It is divided into three parts: the first part, “Integration and Interdependence,” studies Hong Kong’s economic development and the substantial integration of the SAR’s economy into mainland China. The second part, “Governance Crisis and Social Discontent,” explains the social anxieties that have mounted resulting from the popular dissatisfaction with the chief executive and the SAR government. After finishing the first and second parts, readers come to a partial conclusion that the success of the economic integration between the SAR and the mainland was of no use in building a stable society. Instead, the Hong Kong society has witnessed increasing tensions. The third part, “Electoral Reforms and Democratisation,” further points out that various parties have asked for faster and genuine political reforms. Not only has the SAR government failed to meet public demands, the legitimacy of the political authority reached an all-time low. In sum, this edited volume delivers the warning that Hong Kong’s economic integration into the mainland has not produced confidence among the local population, who are highly skeptical of the government’s policies and willingness to deliver political reforms.

The contributors of this volume ask the question of why Hong Kong people have lost their trust in the implementation of the “one country, two systems” concept. This edited volume is an important source of information and critique for Hong Kong people and Hong Kong watchers, who are concerned about the future of the SAR. One question leads to another: how would the decline in hope of the operation of the concept of “one country, two systems” influence the SAR? Of particular significance are the relations between the society and the government as well as the communication between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Two contributors of the volume, Wang Gungwu and John Wong, alert that Hong Kong has not developed any feasible institutional change that can facilitate closer social and political bonding with mainland China. John Wong further raises the question of whether the advantages of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) can bring about the real incorporation of Hong Kong society and government within the “one country” of China. Other contributors question if the economic integration of Hong Kong into the mainland further reduces the SAR government’s ability to reform and to address the grievances of the society. The inertia of the governance of the SAR has amounted to increasing social discontent and even crisis. Moreover, the chapters of the second part, “Governance Crisis and Social Discontent,” argue that social disturbances have adverse effects on the identification of the Hong Kong people with mainland China.

The third part, “Electoral Reforms and Democratisation,” puts forth the same argument as the previous chapters. Contributors question whether the ascendance of the present SAR chief executive has provoked further political discontent and problems of legitimacy. The political inertia concerning the SAR’s government structure and civil service, and the lack of capacity for genuine reform lead to worries regarding the future of Hong Kong. The selection of the chief executive remains the crux of the political problems of the SAR government.

Studying the economic, social and political developments, this edited volume is valuable to scholars, graduate students, researchers and Hong Kong watchers who truly care for the future of the SAR. It would be of most use if readers could get some suggestions as to how the Hong Kong government should break away from the inertia, so as to tackle possible political crises in the future. One wonders how the Beijing leaders will react to future crises. There are three parties involved in the implementation of the “one country, two systems” concept: Hong Kong society, the SAR government and the Beijing government. This edited volume warns the readers of the future of Hong Kong. It is important to know how this warning will affect the Hong Kong government and the Beijing leaders. The actions of the SAR government and the Beijing leaders will be critical to the stability of Hong Kong society and the legitimacy of the chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR.

Cindy Yik-yi Chu, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

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CHINA AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The Green Revolution. Asian Arguments. Edited by Sam Geall; with an introduction by Isabel Hilton. London; New York: Zed Books, 2013. vii, 256 pp. (Map.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-780-32340-4.

This well-written and insightful book explores the brave new world of environmental activism in China. It is essential reading for anyone interested in how journalists, lawyers and ordinary citizens are using a variety of strategies and tactics in their struggle to prevent health-harming pollution, fight grievous environmental injustice, and preserve vital ecosystems. The brief introduction sets out the context within which environmental activism takes place, and then the five extremely rich chapters examine, in turn, the role of environmental journalists, the key campaigns that have formed the contemporary environmental movement, the use of the legal system in struggles for environmental justice, urban middle-class environmental protest, and the struggle against dams in China’s Southwest region. What makes these chapters especially powerful is how they use detailed descriptions of cases to illuminate the bigger picture. The engaging nature and empirical richness of this book is not surprising given that four of the six contributors are editors at the outstanding online environmental newsmagazine chinadialogue, while the other two are a China-based journalist and a legal scholar with extensive experience in China.

In the introduction, Isabel Hinton argues that new government policies such as freedom of information regulations have dovetailed with the emergence of a new generation of younger and more confrontational activists to create an energetic environmental movement. Yet she wisely eschews the temptation to herald the coming of age of a robust civil society, instead noting that there still remains a deep contradiction in the state’s handling of environmental NGOs and activism—these activities can be useful to the regime, but they can also be dangerous. Hinton concludes that “the potential for a robust and vibrant civil society is clear, [but] whether it is allowed to come into being is less certain” (13). The five following chapters provide vivid pictures of the efforts of activists at the centre of this struggle.

Chapter 1 by Sam Geall explores the changing media landscape in China and the ability of journalists and citizens to use the media to fight pollution and protect the natural environment. He hones in on those journalists who advocate for environmental causes, arguing that they actually benefit from the often chaotic or confused media environment as they work the murky ground between what is obviously acceptable and what is clearly off limits. Geall introduces the reader to a variety of activist journalists, concluding that they have “helped to create more environmentally aware citizens, bring light to murky back-room politics and foster a feistier, more responsive public sphere” (38).

In the next chapter, Olivia Boyd reviews some of the key campaigns of the past two decades of environmental activism in China, giving a fast-paced tour through campaigns to save endangered species, to stop the building of dams, to get pollution data made public, to force multinational corporations to pay attention to the environmental record of their suppliers, and to improve animal welfare. While this review yields no neat conclusions, it does illustrate that the field of action has expanded and that “Chinese citizens are becoming players in an effort to build a greener, cleaner and more open society” (93).

The legal arena has become an important site for environmental activism, and in chapter 3 Adam Moser uses an examination of one legal case—the Yangzonghai case—to open a window on the state of environmental law and governance in China. Following a useful review of the overall situation, Moser explores the clashing interests involved in the Yangzonghai case, ultimately concluding that the judiciary is still too weak to play a constructive role in environmental enforcement.

The last two chapters each focus exclusively on one case study. Jonathan Ansfield’s “Alchemy of a Protest: the Case of Xiamen PX” is a tour de force of reportage. While many have heard about the middle-class protests against a chemical plant that erupted in Xiamen in 2007-08, Ansfield takes the reader on a journey behind the scenes, illuminating the complex machinations that went on before, during and after the main protests. The protests were unprecedented and were followed in subsequent years by similar upheavals in other cities. While this has seemed to be a momentous development, Ansfield’s account suggests that whether or not such protests can achieve citizens’ aims is still unclear. In contrast to this, in the next chapter Liu Jianqiang tells the story of the successful campaign to stop the damming of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Liu’s position as a reporter who followed the case from its beginning to its end enables him to tell the story with rich detail. Liu argues that “its success showed that a group of stakeholders joining forces to defend their rights—with the support of the media, civil society and the public—can defeat a formidable alliance between government and business” (203). It must be said, however, that it is still unclear whether the outcome of this case (at this point in time) is a one-off result or a harbinger of things to come.

China and the Environment deserves a wide readership. While it does not make a theoretical contribution to the literature, it offers an accessible, interesting and insightful look into the world of environmental activism in contemporary China.

Kenneth W. Foster, Concordia College, Moorhead, USA

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RENEWAL: The Chinese State and the New Global History. By Wang Gungwu. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2013. xi,159 pp. US$30.00, cloth. ISBN 978-962-996-536-5 .

This thoughtful and accessible book by one of the most prominent senior scholars in the history of China and its relations with the rest of the world will be of interest both to academics specializing in the history of Chinese nationalism and to many ordinary readers who want to understand more of China’s history and culture. It will also be a welcome addition to reading material for undergraduates since it combines a pleasant prose style with a deeply scholarly approach to the subject. However, readers should be aware that, despite the title, this is primarily a book about the history of Chinese nationalism and identity, rather than about the new global history.

The book is made up of lectures given on various occasions and a previously published essay. In each chapter Wang Gungwu reflects on a different theme in the history of modern China’s changing ideas of the nation by analyzing a particular term or idea. The first chapter considers the vexed issue of how to write global history. Wang focuses on the question of how Chinese writers can understand their own history in its global context given that global history as a genre remains centred on the rise of the West, while Chinese history has long placed China at the centre of the story.

The ideas of empire, sovereignty, and revolution form the subject of the three subsequent chapters. In each case Wang meditates on the changing relations between the English term and its Chinese equivalents. One of the nicest features of the book is the depth that this gives as we learn the classical origins of the terms and how their meanings in the twentieth century and today have continued to hold elements of those roots despite becoming the apparent equivalent of English terms. Using this methodology Wang argues that “empire” and “imperialism” are not very helpful terms to apply to China. The Qing were not the rulers of an empire that was equivalent to the Dutch in the East Indies, and both the Qing and the Dutch were very different from the earlier Malay networks of the southeast Asian archipelago. This comparison with the history of southeast Asia is no doubt a natural one to a Singapore-based scholar, but it is one of the book’s most attractive features, making a refreshing change to the general tendency of Chinese, American and European authors to deal with the Qing strictly in comparison to the nation states of Western Europe. It also draws our attention to the wide range of potential meaning in a term such as “empire” and the political implications of different uses through time. The next essay argues that sovereignty, as a Western European legally based understanding of political legitimacy, has been alien to the Chinese tradition, even though the twentieth-century Chinese state adopted the idea of sovereignty and has used it effectively in international negotiations. Nevertheless Wang argues that the Chinese state has long been more comfortable with more flexible ideas of legitimacy in their relations with foreign states, whether that took the form of the tributary states in the Ming and Qing or the Soviet idea of a family of socialist states in the 1950s and 1960s. The final essay looks at the idea of revolution and its relation to the traditional concept of geming by asking the provocative question: Why are the changes that have taken place in China since 1979 never described as a revolution? This leads into a discussion of how geming was connected with ideas of violent dynastic overthrow, which makes it very different to the Western conception of an industrial or social revolution.

The book ends with a pair of alternative concluding chapters. The first looks at efforts to create a modern Chinese civilization, mainly since the 1980s, and gives some of Wang’s own ideas for necessary changes, such as the eradication of Han chauvinism in government policies and efforts to avoid discrimination against the religious practices of minority peoples. The second and more interesting concluding chapter is curiously labelled an appendix. In it Wang returns to his longstanding interests in the overseas Chinese to look at how ethnic Chinese outside China have related to the idea of China as a universal Confucian value system (tianxia) or as a modern nation state. By telling the stories of Ku Hung-ming and Lim Boon Keng, Wang argues that ideas of tianxia were hopelessly outdated and irrelevant by the middle of the twentieth century. He then contrasts Ku and Lim’s political failure with the success of Liao Zhongkai and Eugene Chen, who were loyal to China as a nation state, and Tan Cheng Lok, a prominent Chinese community leader loyal to Malaya as a nation state. He suggests that the concept of tianxia gave a space for forms of identity (pre-nationalism or trans-nationalism) that was eradicated in the world of the nation states. Thus the book ends with the somewhat wistful concession that the modern nation-state can be as problematic a unit for its inhabitants as an empire.

The book’s weakness lies exactly in its greatest strengths: this is a work at a high degree of generalization. It is intellectual history dedicated to great men, great thinkers and widely shared ideas. Wang also consciously and explicitly adopts the “point of view of an ethnic Chinese” (x) in his writing. As a result, to a Western reader the book may seem at times disconcertingly supportive of Chinese state nationalism, for example in its treatment of the Tibet and Taiwan issues. Nevertheless Wang Gungwu is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field; the book is clearly the product of a lifetime of thinking. It is well worth reading.

Henrietta Harrison, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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EURASIAN: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies. By Emma Jinhua Teng. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xvii, 331 pp. (Illus.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-27627-7.

Border crossings of many kinds flow through this highly readable, interdisciplinary exploration of miscegenation and mixed-race individuals on their journeys between the United States, Canada, Great Britain, China and Hong Kong during a century of particularly fraught Sino-American relations. Emma Teng dissects variations in theories and practices regarding racial mixing, which were influenced by local contexts and power structures, social practices, socioeconomic class, paternal and maternal descent, size of Eurasian population, physiognomy, and individual choices and adaptations. She probes the porosity of racial lines ideologically, institutionally, socially and economically to demonstrate that past interpretations of miscegenation—perhaps the ultimate transgression of racial boundaries—and the resulting biracial descendants were understood not only as violations of nature and thus portents of civilizational decline, but also as vehicles for managing unavoidably hybrid societies and economic activities and even as vessels for merging and thereby enhancing the superior traits of different races with the additional possibility of eventually eliminating inferior attributes. Although such views tended to be held more by Chinese theorists of race, they nonetheless demonstrate that contemporary celebrations of hybridity bear roots in early twentieth-century social science.

This approach enables Teng to dexterously track the many impossibilities of imposing absolute racial segregation through legal and institutional practices, projects undone by the messiness of competing theoretical conceptions of racial difference, the unevenness of lived experiences, and the contingent nature of individual self-representations and identity claims. As illustrated by the author Sui Sin Far, born Edith Maude Eaton of a Chinese mother and British father in England, census counts that acknowledged only one race failed to account for biracial subjects, as did citizenship and immigration restrictions adhering to competing principles of jus solis, jus sanguinis, or dependent citizenship, in which women assumed the status of their husbands. Although she chose to identify as Chinese both socially and professionally, while her sister Winnifred gained fame as the Japanese Eurasian author Onota Watanna, Sui nonetheless occasionally encountered and took advantage of opportunities to pass for white even as she gained visibility in representing the experiences of Chinese and Eurasians. In Sui’s case, as with many other mixed race individuals, physical appearance and social presentation proved an unreliable guide to ancestral origins.

Teng systematically engages with anthropologist Melissa Brown’s observations that ethnic identities emerge more from social experiences than from ancestry or shared culture (78, 224) in processes that allow individuals to negotiate between generally accepted orders of racial and ethnic signification which then constrain individual identity claims more so than any inherited, essentialized, bundle of racial or cultural traits. When racial and ethnic contexts shift, individuals can make new identity claims. By mining the details of family histories, Teng reveals the different ways in which vectors such as class could shape Eurasian claims regarding being Chinese or European. Thus Mae, the Euro-American wife of Tiam Hock Franking, a Chinese student and then official, represented herself as aspiring to the role of dutiful Chinese wife during their residence in China with his family. Location and varying social practices also shaped options for Eurasians. Despite the tremendous respect enjoyed by Yung Wing of the Chinese Educational Mission (1872-1881) and his wife Mary Kellogg, a descendant of Plymouth Puritans, their sons’ generation confronted the hardening of racial lines and anti-Chinese sentiments, with the passage of Chinese exclusion leading them to choose to pursue careers in China. In Hong Kong, however, Sir Robert Ho Tung chose to identify as Chinese, probably to enhance his standing and economic opportunities despite his evidently Europeanized appearance. Within Chinese circles, Sir Ho Tung could advance further than among the more discriminatory British, while in Shanghai, the Eurasian community was sizable enough to establish its own school and comprise its own community. In predominantly Chinese places such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, where racial boundaries were less absolute, Eurasians gained some advantage by acquiring bicultural abilities that could be used to bridge and negotiate between Chinese and Western worlds.

Theoretical considerations of hybridity also varied across time and place and ranged from Louis Beck’s warnings based on the criminal career of New York’s George Appo during the 1890s, the contrasting views of Robert Park’s students Herbert Lamley and Wu Jingchao, to reformist leader Kang Youwei’s assertions of the evolutionary potential for racial mixing in the grand text One World Treatise. Social Darwinism was the most influential conceptual framework, although Chinese intellectuals also drew upon long-standing Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian principles that held out practices of “barbarian management,” providing for cultural adaptation as a means of incorporating disparate populations. Racially, Chinese views of difference hardened with the twentieth-century emergence of nationalism based on claims of Han racial origins.

The specificity of Teng’s emphasis on discourse and individual trajectories does not provide broader historical contexts such as demographic and other kinds of quantitative contexts. Readers must rely on Teng’s reassurance that the case studies presented do in fact reflect a full range of possible experiences and encounters of Eurasianness. However, the scrupulousness and depth of Teng’s readings of the lives of her representative Eurasians produces nuanced insights that illuminate many contexts and options for operating at the interstices of monoracial conceptions of society. In its transnational scope and multilingual archives, this volume is a highly persuasive and insightful accounting of Eurasian lives and possibilities.

Madeline Y. Hsu, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA

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WILL THIS BE CHINA’S CENTURY?: A Skeptic’s View. By Mel Gurtov. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013. xi, 205 pp. (Tables, B&W illus.) US$19.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-58826-874-7.

In this overview of America’s difficult relationship with China, Mel Gurtov sets out to challenge the notion that the new century belongs to China in the same way that the preceding century was said to belong to the United States. Professor Gurtov looks at the different schools of thought prevalent in both China and America and argues that it is too easy to overstate China’s strength, ambitions and capacity to lead. He also says it is wrong to exaggerate the likelihood of a decline in the United States’ global role. He regards it as important to keep engaging China as a respected partner and to avoid treating China as a threat and creating a new Cold War. He wants to strengthen US engagement with China and makes a series of suggestions as to how this should best be done. At the end of the book, he adds various documents such as excerpts of China’s National Defense policy document.

The book certainly serves as useful background to stimulate debate and he covers many bilateral issues which make the news. Occasionally, he slips up, such as when he says that the Asian Financial Crisis took place in the 1980s instead of 1998. The serious drawback to the book is what is left out rather than what is included. Professor Gurtov presents himself as a skeptic against the establishment hawkish view of China and as a dedicated advocate of engagement. As such he recommends reducing US military spending, abandoning Taiwan, giving China a greater power to veto humanitarian intervention wars and recommends a regional security forum which would put China in a strong position to influence US traditional allies in the region. This is very much what Beijing would like too. It would like Americans to underestimate China as a threat to its interests and its representatives are always warning Americans not to start a new cold war.

Throughout the book Professor Gurtov takes the liberal or left-wing position on China, or rather the Chinese Communist Party, and this has invariably been the default policy of the American establishment since the 1940s. The reason why this encounters a great deal of mistrust is that the promises and predictions of the engagement faction have failed to come true. Ever since Nixon went to China, we have been assured that the Chinese Communist Party would lose power, or at least get weaker, as it would be obliged to undertake political reforms, but China has not become a democracy nor has it even made a meaningful start in that direction.

We were also told that economic engagement would bring mutual benefits but it is China which has grown hugely prosperous, and America which has become dangerously indebted to China, with no appreciable rise in living standards. And many concerns about the wisdom of continuing the huge transfer of technology and know-how to China are justifiable because the country is an ally but a rival.

We were also led to believe that as China became a pillar of the global economy it would become a peaceful and positive player. In fact, we know China continues to back all the worst dictatorships around the world: Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Syria, Sudan, Ghaddafi’s Libya, Milosevic’s Serbia, and so on. Its belligerent posture on regional issues, including claims to all of the South China Sea and dramatic military build-up, is frightening all the other small countries in the region and has started a regional arms race.

At every critical point in history, the United States has made mistaken and misinformed choices on China. Washington first gave support to the Communists in Yenan during the Second World War, it forced the Nationalists to negotiate with the Communists in 1946/1947 and then withdrew support from Chang Kai-shek. It did not expect the Communists to win the civil war, nor invade North Korea, nor back the Vietnamese Communists. During the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA reports denied that tens of millions perished from famine in China so it rejected Taiwan’s calls for an invasion. Rather, it asserted that the Chinese economy was growing by 10 percent a year, faster even than Japan, so when Kissinger went to China, he failed to realized that he was dealing with a bankrupt failed state in the midst of a civil war. In 1979, the United States gave its support to Deng Xiaoping when he posed as a democratic reformer and again renewed that support after the 1989 Tiananmen student protests.

As such his underlying assumption—that engagement has worked so well in the past that the answer to current problems is simply to have more of it—needs to be addressed and defended more directly.

It is open to question whether we are any the wiser about the ambitions and policies of China’s new leaders than we ever were. The CCP remains a secretive Leninist organization which produces a great many opaque statistics about its activities. For all these reasons, the public has every right to be extremely cautious about accepting the views that Professor Gurtov articulates in this book. It’s surely not because anyone wants a new cold war, as he suggests, but because American experts and politicians have been wrong so often in the past. Some may also recall just how wrong the CIA and the Sovietologists were about Mikhail Gorbachov, the state of the Soviet economy and the proportion of its economy devoted to military spending.

Professor Gurtov also argues that our key concern should be about the challenges to China, not the challenges from China. You can see what he means but many of these challenges which he talks about are not so much challenges to China but to the absolute rule of the Chinese Communist Party. It is surely important to distinguish between the two. If a different party were in power with different priorities, perhaps environmental issues, minority ethnic unrest or worker protests and so on would not pose a threat to stability but enhance it.

Jasper Becker, Independent Researcher, Bath, United Kingdom

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RESTLESS EMPIRE: China and the World Since 1750. By Odd Arne Westad. New York: Basic Books, 2012. ix, 515 pp. (Maps.) US$32.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-465-01933-5.

For the contemporary student of China in recent centuries the idea of it as the “Immobile Empire” seems utterly ancient. Everyone seems to know today that the notion of China as stagnant and immobile is nonsense. Yet, it is always a surprise to realize that Alain Peyerfitte published L’Empire Immobile only 23 years ago. Peyerfitte, the distinguished French diplomat and statesman, thought that China was “asleep.” But he always believed that it could one day “wake up” and “shake the world.” His 1973 Quand la Chine s’éveillera … le monde tremblera, promised just that. The problematic nature of the notion of China’s “immobility” or “sleepiness” confounded earlier generations of scholars, so they stuck with the “immobility” paradigm at the same time as they insisted that the sleeping China has somewhere in its huge body a grain of radioactive matter. The great French Sinologist Etienne Balazs expressed this confusion nicely in 1968 when he remarked, “Hegel’s idea that China was mired in immobility is easily refuted… Yet Hegel was right.” It is astonishing to think that this comment was made when China was in internal turmoil, feuding with both the US and the Soviet Union, claiming leadership of the “Third World,” and deeply dividing the French Left. One should add to this strand of thought about China the numerous times that the “giant in the east” was called upon “to awaken”—by many Chinese intellectuals since the early 1900s—or declared “waking up”—by many, oftentimes petrified, observers since 1949 and the rise of Mao, or since its recent economic surge.

Restless Empire, discussing and presenting over more than 500 pages of new international history of China, should be viewed first and foremost against this image of “immobile” and “sleepy” empire. Lucidly written for both amateur and expert readers, this fine book makes an impressive case for a different image of China—a China that is restless rather than restful. Westad’s major achievement in this book is not only the story he tells, but also the way in which he organizes it. Tacked between an opening statement on “Empire” and a conclusion on “Modernities,” are 11 thematic chapters with self-explanatory titles that any “Modern China in the world” course covers or should cover: metamorphosis, imperialisms, Japan, republic, foreigners, abroad, war, communism, China alone, China’s America, and China’s Asia. Loosely chronologically organized, the book takes us almost to the 2000s with each chapter covering a different aspect of China’s history of foreign affairs. This reader regretted not seeing the first decade of 2000s represented in the book. Two events—China’s celebration of the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s maritime expeditions in 2004, and the festivals around the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci’s death in 2010— projected exactly how China wants the world to see it, thereby illustrating Westad’s point. The first celebration projected confident might, the latter a desire to have a “dialogue” between equals with the West. It is interesting to note, however, that both events look back to the Ming dynasty, and not to the Qing period within which Wested locates the “metamorphosis” of the empire.

The book does not address the 200-year-old history, since Hegel, of China’s image as a stagnant polity. But it is clear that Restless Empire runs against it. The author refers only once to past perceptions: “Qing China is often presented by historians, even today, as insular and inward looking. But nobody within their region who came up against Kangxi or Qianlong in real time would have viewed them as looking inward. The Qing were continuously expanding outward” (9). China’s current aggressive pursuit of resources all over the globe, and its increasing involvement, for instance, in the goings on in Africa, the Middle East, and South America, remind us that China, not only the Qing during the times of Abundance Prosperity (Kangxi) and of Strong Prosperity (Qianlong), was always looking outward. In this regard Westad is correct in presenting the few historical moments that China was not looking outwards as instantiations of “weakness” rather than “immobility.” Weakness, better yet the consciousness of weakness, affected China’s international conduct in ways that made it look stationary at times. Weakness sometimes drove some of its leaders into action. The Emperor Guangxu (b. 1871, r. 1875-1908) declared on the eve of the failed 1898 reforms: “when compared with other countries we soon see how weak we are … [w]e must substitute modern arms and western organization for our old regime … obtain a knowledge of ancient and modern world-history, a right conception of the present-day state of affairs, with special reference to the governments and institutions of the countries of the five great continents” (105). That was in 1898. Commenting on Deng Xiaoping’s policies in the late 1970s, Westad remarks: “Deng often said that there would be a time for China to take a more prominent position in international affairs. But that time was not now, when China was weak and needed to grow fast” (373). These are but two examples. The theme of weakness, or the perception of weakness, as a major factor determining Chinese foreign conduct, runs throughout the book. In so doing, Westad reshapes the grand narrative of China’s international history in a very interesting way. The notions of immobility, sleepiness, stagnation and, conversely, awakening, were all born out of early nineteenth-century European perceptions of China that Marx once summarized poignantly. For Karl Marx China was “a giant empire . . . vegetating in the teeth of time.” Westad uses here Chinese, rather than Western, ways of thinking that place, since the Warring States period, a great deal of emphasis on internal “strength and wealth” as the basis for proactive, mobile, foreign policies.

Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, New York University, New York, USA

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FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE PRC: The Legacies and Constraints of China’s International Politics since 1949. By Robert G. Sutter. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. xi, 355 pp. US$89.00, cloth, ISBN 978-1-4422-2015-7; US$35.00, paper, ISBN 978-1-4422-2016-4.

Robert Sutter is one of America’s leading students of Chinese foreign relations. In addition to teaching at Georgetown and George Washington University, he spent many years as an analyst for the CIA and the Congressional Research Service and two years as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and the Pacific. His publications are legion, several of them cited in his footnotes and listed in his bibliography. In brief, this is an important book that will be extremely valuable for anyone who wants to know more about the PRC’s current policies, the historical background of China’s place in the world, and the meaning of China’s ‘rise.”

My only caveat is that it is not well written and is very repetitious. Many editors hesitate to tamper with the work of much-published senior scholars. A determined editor might have shortened the book by as much as 25 percent, bringing Sutter’s arguments into sharper focus.

Sutter’s principal argument is presented clearly on the first page. He rejects the various theories by analysts who postulate a China threat and urge the United States to either appease or oppose China. He concludes that China’s rise “has not and probably will not” lead to a shift in the world balance of power. China’s foreign policy apparatus, he notes, has been incoherent over the years since the establishment of the People’s Republic. Its strategies have constantly vacillated between assertiveness, sometimes violent, and efforts to win the confidence of other nations—especially those of East Asia, as well as the United States. The result has been apprehension about China’s intentions and hedging against it. Its behaviour has limited its influence in the arena that matters most to it: the Asia-Pacific region.

In the pages that follow, Sutter provides a comprehensive review of the history of China’s foreign relations since 1949: Mao’s policies 1945-1969; efforts to maneuver between the United States and the Soviet Union, 1969-1989; and policies after the Cold War. He has a chapter on patterns in Chinese decision making, another on the increase of China’s importance in world affairs, and chapters on relations with the United States, neighbouring Asian countries, and the rest of the world.

In his initial assessment, he makes an important observation about the Chinese public’s ignorance of China’s transgressions and the leadership’s emphasis on Chinese exceptionalism. All of us who study China have been told again and again, by Chinese scholars as well as government officials, that China has always been peaceful, that Chinese culture precludes aggressiveness, that China has always been a victim of malevolent foreign powers—and despite ample evidence to the contrary, most of them believe it. The obvious result is that whenever China becomes involved in a controversy, virtually all Chinese are convinced of their country’s righteousness. As Sutter notes, Chinese exceptionalism greatly exceeds the exceptionalism many Americans imagine for their own country. The kinds of revelations of atrocities and torture by Americans, constantly revealed in US media, are unimaginable in China.

The efforts of the Communist Party to retain power, obviously its primary goal, have led it to stimulate nationalism as a substitute for ideology. To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb, once riding the nationalist tiger, it is difficult to get off. An aroused public has proved to be a restraint on the leadership, most obviously in relations with Japan. Trade with Japan and Japanese investment in China are enormously important, but it has proven all too easy to arouse anti-Japanese sentiment, anti-Japanese demonstrations, that complicate life for policy makers in Beijing.

Sutter is very good at describing the shift in US policy in 1983 when George Shultz took over as secretary of state after the departure of Al Haig. Haig, a Kissinger acolyte, was primarily concerned with maintaining good relations with China, less focused on Japan and other friendly nations in East Asia. Shultz’s team—Paul Wolfowitz, Gaston Sigur and Richard Armitage—were not especially interested in keeping the Chinese happy. They were determined to strengthen ties with Japan, Indonesia and other states on China’s periphery. A few years later, with the fall of the Soviet Union, China was less important to the United States, and the US was less important to China.

The Taiwan issue remained a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington. Many American policy makers, including Kissinger, Brzezinski and Scowcroft, would have abandoned the island to maintain good relations with China, but as Sutter notes, increasing public support—on the left as well as the right—for the burgeoning democracy there precluded that action. There were a number of tense moments over the years, especially whenever Taiwanese leaders appeared to be moving toward independence. The election of Ma Ying-cheou in 2008 and his subsequent reelection have reduced the likelihood of conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

Among the reasons Sutter gives for limited Chinese influence is Beijing’s consistent unwillingness to accept international norms on human rights. In discussions with Chinese scholars and officials over the last thirty years, I have found a stubborn defense of Chinese practices and the suggestion that the rest of the world adopt China’s model. Sutter is also critical of the PRC’s refusal to commit to policies for the “global common good,” and its narrow pursuit of its own interests. He never denies concerns about a rising China’s impact on the world economy, but points to China’s dependence on the world economy. He recognizes the PRC’s increasing military power, but invokes what political scientists would call the “security dilemma”: every step Beijing takes to “defend” itself against the United States prompts American responses, military and diplomatic, to protect US interests.

Strengthening his argument about the limited prospect of China’s rise shifting the world balance of power is his discussion of the overwhelming domestic problems Chinese leaders face. Unrest is widespread. Corruption is widespread among officials, often at or close to the top of the government and party apparatus. The state-owned enterprises suck up funds needed elsewhere—and the banking system is a shambles.

Sutter has written a book that will be enormously useful as a reference for anyone who wants to know more about China’s past role in the world—and its likely role over the next decade or two.

Warren I. Cohen, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar, Washington DC, USA

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IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE: Striving for the Rule of Law in China. The Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series. By He Weifang. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2012. xlix, 269 pp. US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8157-3390-8.

In his words, Professor He Weifang, a prominent lecturer and researcher at Peking University, argues that there exists a certain division of labour among scholars. Some scholars would like to immerse themselves in academic research; others, like him, “believe that there is a need for people to disseminate the knowledge developed in the ivory tower among the public in a manner welcome and easily accessible to them” (66). As an admirable public scholar, Professor He Weifang has long been both a conscientious scholar and an indefatigably intrepid fighter who has been fighting for a China with judicial independence, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and a constitutional government. Mostly because of his outspokenness and boldness, Professor He was “banished” in 2009 to northwest China for two years (42), a region which used to be an exile venue for criminals who committed felonies in the Qing dynasty.

The book entitled In the Name of Justice: Striving for the Rule of Law in China is a collection of published articles and interviews conducted by Professor He Weifang from 2001 to 2011. Aside from a fascinating introduction authored by Li Chen, this book has been aptly classified into five parts, with each part specifically focusing on one topic that Professor He has advocated, such as Judicial Independence, Constitutionalism, Legal Education, Free Speech, and Human Rights. Throughout the book, we can find Professor He’s humour, insights, and a scholar’s conscience and concerns about China’s judicial and political problems.

As Li Chen correctly writes in the introduction, Professor He has “both idealism and pragmatism in his search for a constitutional China” (xlvii). Chapter 4, “Constitutionalism as a Global Trend and its Impact on China,” mirrors the idealism of Professor He, as he believes that there are four trends related to constitutional government in the contemporary world: 1) increasing justification for constitutionalism; 2) the end of the socialism-capitalism dichotomy and its impact; 3) supranational organizations’ restrictions of sovereignty; and 4) global expansion of judicial powers (101-118). All of them, he argues, will be “significant for China’s legislative and judicial development” (123).

In chapter 3, “China’s First Steps toward Constitutionalism,” a lecture he gave at the Southwest University of Political Science in 2003, Professor He becomes an outspoken and cogent critic of the judicial and political defects in China. Not only did he denounce the Chinese constitution as “empty lip service” (67) because such civil rights as the freedom of press, speech, protests and religious belief promised by the constitution did not exist in reality (67-9), but he also sharply chastised the National People’s Congress as useless and urged the Chinese Communist Party to register and publicize the usage of the national treasure (84-6). In addition, he lauded the tradition of constitutionalism in the West and attributed the tradition to the existence of natural law and Christianity (77-80).

Professor He’s scholarly conscience is best manifested in chapter 10, “Challenging the Death Penalty: Why We Should Abolish this Barbaric Punishment.” He states that there are a total of seven reasons that could justify the abolition of the death penalty in China: 1) the death penalty cannot bring about the “intended effect of curbing crime”; 2) the death penalty fails to “deter crimes but actually incites them”; 3) tortures are often used in decisions of death penalty; 4) the practice of open executions are “actually encouraging cruelty”; 5) the government is not justified in enforcing executions; 6) the death penalty “destroys a person’s dignity”; 7) economic crimes should not result in the death penalty because “man’s life is beyond price” (191-208). At the end of the chapter, Professor He concludes “the human world cannot go on without compassion and sympathy for one another” (215).

Like all books, however, this book contains some minor factual flaws and questionable claims. For example, chapter 1 claims that the “traditional legal and political systems” of China “had been in place for more than two thousand years” (16). As many studies in both China and the West have shown, China’s legal and political system have undergone significant changes through its long history, and the word “traditional” is a cliché and tends to be problematic in generalizing Chinese history. Likewise, Professor He’s assertion that China did not have judicial independence seems incompatible with the historical facts (21). In the Han, Tang and even the Ming dynasties, there were rulers who could respect the independence of the judiciary and some judicial officials could use their independence to reverse rulers’ decisions on punishment. Moreover, the view that sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England had “embraced the democratic system” likely overlooks the class struggles as shown by historian E.P. Thompson in his book The Making of the English Working Class and the Charters movement that called for voting rights for the workers in the nineteenth century (219).

Those minor scribbles, however, do not lessen the significant value of this book. Professor He’s unique insights in Chinese judiciary and politics and especially his scholarly conscience and valour will make this book a useful source for university students and people in the West who are interested in modern Chinese law and politics.

Qiang Fang, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, USA

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CHINA GOES GLOBAL: The Partial Power. By David Shambaugh. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. xvi, 409 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-986014-2.

This summer my son and I visited an air show in coastal Maine. World War Two-era planes were displayed alongside a small number of vets who discussed the war, their planes, and the political context in which America triumphed over fascism. A side exhibit on science caught my attention and there I noticed the only display of modern technology was an exhibit about the Mag-Lev train in Shanghai. The lesson that was, perhaps unwittingly, taught to the crowds of summer-camp children: American power is in the past; China’s is the future. David Shambaugh’s examination of the parameters and limits of China’s power is written with exactly this problem in mind. Americans’ knowledge about and understanding of China is limited. If we only understand Chinese power in the context of its most recent achievements and its most high-profile successes (the Beijing Olympics, advanced infrastructure, rapid growth), we are likely to overestimate its true power and its capacity to become either a global partner or a global competitor.

Shambaugh does not mince words when he discusses the current contradictions and almost psychological complexes that hound the worldviews and aspirations of China’s elite. Insecure, paranoid, defensive are a few adjectives that he uses repeatedly to describe some corners of the Chinese government, punditry and academia. His core argument is that China is, as the title states, only a “partial” power. In each realm of power—economic, cultural, political and military—China is hampered by material constraints but even more so by its own internal disagreements and its own deeply held beliefs and principles about China’s role in the world. These internal constraints are also embedded in the institutions of the Chinese Communist Party and government. Change will be difficult.

The volume is comprehensive, examining Chinese power from nearly every possible angle and providing an interpretation of the debates within China about everything from the high power of diplomacy and foreign policy to the soft power of Chinese films, art and tourism. Shambaugh is fair and gives space to viewpoints from the hypernationalist far-right (that is, confusingly, in the China the “new left”) to the liberal internationalists who see China having a benevolent effect on the West and global governance. It is striking, however, that even this liberal side of the elite no longer openly professes much deep admiration of Western political institutions or sees China as progressing along a path of convergence and modernization as happened to China’s neighbours, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, over the past century. So while China may be confused, it is clear that it remains ambitious in forging new political and economic models for itself, if not for other developing countries. Unfortunately for China, there is no consensus as to what these alternative models might be. This also makes China a deeply insecure power.

Shambaugh’s aim is straightforward: to show how China’s power is constrained and less than often imagined or represented in the West. Chapters on diplomacy, global governance, the economy, culture (soft power) and security each provide a wealth of information to make this case. While he also examines the internal debate and divisions in China about the nature of its constrained power and the possible paths forward for greater power projection, he does not and perhaps cannot tell us which opinions hold more sway, which direction is more or less likely for China in the future. His analysis is also necessarily centred on China’s elites: government officials, business and media leaders, leading academics, etc. While he acknowledges that mass public opinion has an increasing impact on how the elite behave, how policies are made and packaged for public consumption, the elite focus may mask the importance and the diversity of public opinion in contemporary China. Each school of thought among elite opinion leaders realizes that there are strong incentives to reach out to the public, to cultivate public support, and to mobilize the public when elite disagreements emerge in policy making. While Shambaugh is mostly concerned with the international implications of China’s “identity crisis,” his analysis of the disagreements, the divisions, and the confusion among China’s elite decision makers and thinkers led this reader to worry about China’s domestic political capacity to manage elite differences and rising public demands for greater projection of China’s power.

Mary E. Gallagher, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

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BURNING MONEY: The Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld. By C. Fred Blake. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2011. ix, 276 pp. (Figures.) US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3532-3.

Blake has written a remarkable book on a ubiquitous Chinese practice. Ethnic Chinese peoples, including the reviewer himself, have at some point in their life, if not currently practicing the ritual, folded and burned paper money as offerings to ancestors, spirits and close family members who had passed away. In the first instance, the book is remarkable for trying to explain a phenomenon that defies emic interpretations because the Chinese are either coy or disingenuously polysemic when voicing the meanings involved in the ritual. This does not prevent Blake from venturing into holistic theoretical interpretations that go beyond current understandings of burning money as pre-capitalist epiphenomenon, codified ritual performance and expressions of Chinese identity.

Blake’s theoretical venture is a dizzying one, taking us through a survey of the paper money species, an account of its origins in ethnology, history and folklore, semiotic analysis of liturgical structure, historical materialist analysis of its dialectical relationship with an advanced feudal mode of production, phenomenology of sacrifice, to the last chapters on hypertrophy and simulacra in the current transition to consumer capitalism. Regretfully, but understandably, there is no concluding chapter to wrap up the ambitious foray. There is only a brief postscript that points us to the thin but strong thread holding the book together: the Cartesian separation of the material and the spiritual does not apply to the Chinese lifeworld, which dialectically unites both in the material spirit of creating value by infusing nature with the social, producing a mysterious cosmos of immanent spiritual and organic beings to situate the self in.

The book’s strength lies in the recombination of historical materialism and anthropological structuralism in the analysis of value being created, burned and transmuted as the Chinese constantly switch back and forth between socioeconomic and religious-spiritual registers. It is refreshing, which says a lot about contemporary anthropology, to see the semiotic structuralism of Arnold van Gennep, Victor Turner and Terence Turner being revived to map out the five phases of Chinese ritual service. The burning of paper is convincingly placed as a threshold practice of sublimating handcrafted value to restore it to eternal nature through fire – humanity looping back into its universal essence.

The liturgical structure thus presented is persuasively situated as ritual mystification expressing the moral quality of labour in the sumptuary order of Chinese late feudalism. Unlike the ideological reification of money in modern times, paper money mystifies the social relations in the imperial order, pulsating through complex networks of differentiated labour and its mediating cash nexus. In a brilliant synthesis of Marx and Mauss, Blake explains money as gift in the Chinese cultural economy.

Crucially, Blake’s analysis of the religious superstructure is augmented by the phenomenological interpretation of burning money as a work of sacrifice. This grounds the practice in the commonsense and everyday consciousness of the Chinese lifeworld. In the folding of baskets of paper money, work in the production of value projects the interiority of the intending subject into the sensuous materiality of the outer world. When burned, with repeated stoking of combusting materials, hand-worked paper money is sacrificed for the sake of the extended family and the imperial order, thereby manifesting the interior space of the Chinese subject attuned to the cosmology of the ancestral paterfamilias. This is how the religious superstructure takes on a life of its own, persisting through the harshest Maoist purges and reviving into the capitalist present.

The last chapters speculating on the revived practice in the capitalist present and its explosion into spectacular forms, including the burning of paper replicas of commodities such as automobiles, luxury handbags and mansions, are disappointing. Blake makes a postmodern turn of sorts and enters into the conceptual headwinds of simulacra. Despite the detachment and irrelevance practitioners accrue to the proliferation of ghost bill designs mimicking and mocking the currency fetishes of late capitalism, Blake reads the ghost bill symbolisms to indicate the transition from the exchange of use values to the exchange of signs.

China, it would seem, is leapfrogging from late feudalism to late capitalism, in which rationalization quickly turns into irrational exuberance and burlesque parody. Despite Blake’s disavowal of the recent turn in American anthropology “towards a politics and poetics of consumption expressed in pathos of resistance, identity politics, and a ‘deconstruction’ that abjures the older possibilities of human enlightenment, emancipation, and reconstruction” (7), he walks right into it by seeing “native satire” as representing the ability of ordinary Chinese in seeing through the mystifications they create and reenact (196).

Nevertheless, there is method in the madness in the heady mix of Marcel Mauss, Karl Marx, Georg Simmel and Jean Baudrillard. The book is less about the specificity of Chinese civilization than it is the continuation of philosophical interrogations of the one fetishism that has inflicted much soul searching in Western civilization: the generalized commodity that is money. It so happens the Chinese civilization, the other of capitalism that is now infecting capitalism with its mystified social forms, likes to burn paper money, making the Chinese custom good to think with to understand the alienating magic of globalizing capitalism.

I have doubts about the linear historical materialism projecting from the gift to the simulation of money underlying Blake’s narrative. But it is truly ironic that we find postmodernity in China in the exemplary premodern religious practice that made one Chinese. Again, the mysterious Oriental, now knowingly mystifying himself, is pressed into service, this time, to give material flesh to the sublime object of desire of the West in the age of financial crises: value.

Daniel P.S. Goh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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TAIWAN’S POLITICAL ECONOMY: Meeting Challenges, Pursuing Progress. By Cal Clark, Alexander C. Tan. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012. xi, 203 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-58826-806-8.

Cal Clark and Alexander C. Tan begin this book about Taiwan by clearly stating the paradox that defines the central problem they address: “the very same institutions and strategies that worked in the past have become counterproductive in the present” (3). Taiwan’s economic and political miracles have now been well-studied, and this book’s contribution, as a work of political economy, is to analyze how the two miracles are interrelated and have brought about a new set of challenges. This is nothing new: over the course of the past six decades, Taiwan has repeatedly been a victim of its own success, and the leaders and people have demonstrated an exceptional flexibility in meeting and surmounting these challenges to take Taiwan to a new level. And in good dialectical fashion, this then creates a new set of problems to confront.

The second chapter reviews Taiwan’s economic development from the 1950s through the 1990s. It breaks it down into five main transformations: agriculture to light industry; export orientation; light to heavy and high-tech industry; mature industries moving offshore to remain globally competitive; and the search for new industries, such as biotech, to take the economy to a new level. The authors pay attention to the concomitant changes in social structure, especially the rise of the middle class and improving standard of living with relatively equal income distribution. There are very useful charts illustrating the changing role of the state in the economy at each stage, and how each stage created a new set of social resources which formed the basis for the next upgrade of the economy. They emphasize that the state had no grand design for the economy but met each challenge with admirable flexibility, not bound by any orthodoxy.

Chapter 3 covers the road from authoritarianism to democracy, a process which lagged the rapid and relatively smooth economic transformation. It culminated in the democratic consolidation of 1995-1996, marked by the direct election of the president. They do not neglect the harsh repression, but do highlight the contribution of the constitution, which, although suspended, did set up democratic institutions, and the role of local competitive elections. They step back to observe the democratization process, identifying three stages: removal of authoritarian institutions; exercise of popular sovereignty; and defining the terms of political competition. Going against the conventional approach, which stresses demonstrations and conflict, they conclude that the process actually involved a series of pacts among political parties and factions, with the important contributions of Lee Teng-hui as a “creative policy entrepreneur” (63). Again, a very helpful set of tables lays this out quite clearly. Along the way, they relate Taiwan’s experience to theories of democratization.The next three chapters expose the challenges currently facing Taiwan. One is whether or not Taiwan’s economy has become “boxed-in,” by which they mean the island faces dramatically curtailed opportunities for rapid growth. This is a clear case of a factor contributing to early success: small and medium enterprises (“guerilla capitalists”) now facing a new world of competition and a lack of ability to adjust or respond to government incentives to reach economies of scale. And then there is the rise of China, which presents a whole new range of challenges. Here in particular, economics and politics are deeply intertwined. The authors are not pessimistic about Taiwan’s chances to adapt once more.Chapters 5 and 6 look at the political side. One is political gridlock, a situation hardly unique to Taiwan, but definitely very serious due to the island’s precarious international standing and relations with China. The weakened state has also lost its capacity to guide the economy as in the past, further hampering Taiwan’s ability to successfully meet the many challenges before it. Democracy cannot solve all political problems and has left Taiwan in what they call an “institutional imbroglio” (111), namely the ambiguity as regards the center of power: the president or premier. They illustrate the economic consequences with a detailed look at the politicization of the financial sector.The final substantive chapter examines how the political system has become polarized—again, not something unique to Taiwan—but with serious implications as it involves matters of national identity and cross-strait relations. Based on opinion polls, they conclude that there is a disconnect between polarization among the elite versus more consensus among the citizenry at large.In the concluding chapter, the authors say they “have presented something of a schizophrenic view of Taiwan’s political economy” (157). I prefer to call it dialectical: each advancement produces a new set of contradictions to resolve. For all that, they still end up cautiously optimistic about Taiwan’s chances, given its legacy of “flexibility and eclecticism” (162) and willingness to confront the serious challenges it faces.This is a very smart book. It condenses a huge amount of material and never loses sight of its central argument. It addresses a number of issues in political science, bringing the discussion of Taiwan into larger debates in the discipline. It regularly situates the discussion in the sweep of Taiwan’s history to highlight trends as well as discontinuities. The many charts are particularly helpful. I would have liked more discussion of geopolitics, especially Taiwan’s involvement in the East and South China Seas conflicts with China, as well as the role of the overseas Taiwanese diaspora in domestic politics. I was surprised to see virtually no Chinese-language sources in the bibliography, which is regrettable as Taiwan has a vibrant community of academics, opinion makers and activists actively discussing these same issues, in Chinese as well as English, and many of them also participate in public life.

Thomas B. Gold, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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REINVENTING MODERN CHINA: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing. By Huaiyin Li. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2013. xii, 338 pp. US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-82448-3608-5.

One of the refreshing things about UT-Austin Professor Huaiyin Li’s latest book on historical writing in China, Reinventing Modern China, is that roughly three-fourths of the more than four hundred references cited are from Chinese publications. many of them written by members of Li’s own cohort, Chinese social scientists and historians who didn’t enter academic circles until China’s economic reform era in the 1980s. The rest of Li’s Chinese sources cover a wide range of scholarship from the early twentieth century to the present. Not that he ignores Western scholarship on the subject; far from it. He delves deeply into Western accounts of modern China and theoretical works on history-writing to elucidate cross-cultural influences and contrasting interpretations of historical events.

Welcome too is the tight, logical organization of his arguments that Li offers. What could look like an unfathomable tangle of views and interpretations is made crystal clear, so that the specialist and generalist alike can grasp the arguments with ease. This clarity is achieved in part through what some might call too much repetition, but I took it rather as an opportunity to “review as I went along.”

Professor Li’s overarching argument revolves around the construction of “grand narratives” about modern Chinese history over the course of the twentieth century, and the need to fashion a more balanced and nuanced narrative for the future, if we are to better understand the continuing development of modern China in the age of globalization. Simply put, the book may be read as a history of historiography in (and of) modern China, and a call to continue the project by adopting a more objective approach that is not driven by one ideological construct or another, as has been the case in the past.

Li follows chronological order in describing the origins, proponents and ideological/political motivations behind each of the narratives presented. After a comprehensive introduction that lays out the elements of the arguments to come, two chapters explain in exhaustive detail the origins of the pre-1949 Modernization Narrative (Nationalists) and Revolutionary Narrative (Marxists). Beginning with Liang Qichao’s call at the start of the twentieth century for a “new history,” Li introduces the backgrounds and views of those “mainstream historians” who succeeded Liang in the 1920s and 1930s, and who constructed the modernization narrative in support of the Nationalists and advocated cooperation with the Japanese, both as pragmatic moves more than anything else, according to Li. He points out this modernization narrative’s Western origins, the fact that at the time it was adopted by most intellectuals, in large measure for the sake of the survival of the Chinese people in the competition among nations, and that it was all about Western “Enlightenment values,” ruling elites and governments, ignoring ordinary people altogether.

Equally clear and detailed is Li’s account of contrasting views among Chinese historians that gave rise to the revolutionary narrative before 1949, and became orthodoxy in the PRC. Two intriguing points elucidated here are, one, how Fan Wenlan, a “poor” Marxist because of his lack of interest in class struggle and emphasis instead on Han-Manchu conflicts within Qing society, became the most influential historian during the Mao era instead of the “better” Marxists Li Dingsheng and Zhang Wentian; and two, Mao’s ongoing “struggle against the monopoly on orthodox Marxism by the Comintern” during the first half of the century.

The early 1950s, when the PRC was newly established, saw the disciplinization of historiography and several different schemes for the periodization of modern Chinese history. Li decodes the perspectives of the important historians of the period: Hu Sheng, Sun Shouren, and Jin Congji, among others, and the striking contrasts among them. He also points out how much (relative) freedom of debate existed in China during the early 1950s, before the clamp-downs of the late 1950s and early 1960s leading up to the Cultural Revolution.

Here Li’s story begins to read like a chilling and poignant thriller. Chilling in that the “historiographical revolution,” which began during the Great Leap Forward in 1958, involved intrigue and power struggles between older and younger generations of intellectuals, various factions within the CCP leadership, professionalizers and politicizers, those with higher and lower positions in educational and government institutions, those with liberal values and the more radicalized rebels, and privileged seniors vs. those out to “destroy existing hierarchies and establish their domination in the field of historical study and beyond” (134). Poignant because of the lengths to which intellectuals had to go just to survive, to say nothing of maintaining their dignity and integrity. When even the use of original source materials was called into question, or attempts were made to delete the names of dynasties from history books, or the idea that “theory [rather than empirical evidence] guides history” was in fashion, one sees emerging an Alice-in-Wonderland world. Li vividly describes many aspects of this world, and how it led to the even more chaotic world of the Cultural Revolution.

In the late 1970s and 1980s era of economic reforms, an ideological shift known as the “New Enlightenment” took place. As Li describes it, this period was characterized by dramatic reversals in interpretations of historical events, depending on the dizzying shifts in social conditions and political aims. Once again, the reader is fortunate to have Li’s able guidance through the myriad players and issues in this complex game, the result of which was the defeat of the revolutionary construct built by dogmatist Marxists, and the dominance of the “capitalist construct,” which paved the way for capitalist economic development in the 1980s. An interesting note that Li elaborates is how Western liberal ideas survived the Mao era and were “revived” by New Enlightenment scholars in historiography and the social sciences.

Bringing his argument full circle, Li introduces key figures of the “new generation” of historians, who he says are just as ideologically driven as those of the revolutionary narrative, and who further developed the modernization narrative over the past 20 years by occupying themselves solely with empirical studies of what Li calls “trivial details,” or by adopting Western theories wholesale without offering concepts or theories of their own. Li laments that two Western historians whose work he admires, Paul Cohen and Prasenjit Duara, offer nothing to take the place of the narratives they debunk either. Thus Li’s urgent call for construction of a new narrative of Chinese modernization in the era of globalization, if we are to understand how far China has come in the process and speculate about how it will continue.

On the final page of the volume, Li reiterates the challenge to create a new narrative of modern China that is “non-teleological,” “within-time” (seen from the perspective of actors on a particular stage at a given time, without viewing the results as pre-determined), “open-ended” (without putting closure on the historical record), and most importantly (in this reader’s opinion, at least), “transcends any presumed ideologies and conjectures.”

A worthy project, indeed. And Professor Li’s book is an excellent place to begin the journey.

Nancy J. Hodes, Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, USA

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THE RISE OF THINK TANKS IN CHINA. China Policy Series, 28. By Xufeng Zhu. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xiii, 210 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-66900-9.

Xuefeng Zhu, a professor at the Zhou Enlai School of Government in Nankai University, maintains that think tanks are a window for the outside world to observe the Chinese political system and its processes. In The Rise of Think Tanks in China, a detailed study of China’s think tanks, Zhu provides the reader with empirical evidence of the rise of think tanks, as well as a comparative analysis of seven prominent think tanks. The book also makes use of a nationwide survey of think-tank leaders.

Zhu attempts to answer the questions: how do different types of think tanks operate in China and to what extent do they actually influence policy making? While the second question remains clouded in conjecture because policy makers will often draw on multiple sources, the book does provide a pioneering account of think tanks’ administrative structure and influence, the strategies adopted by leaders, and the resources on which they draw. The overall argument confirms the view that the closer one is to government the more likely one’s voice is to be heard. While this is unsurprising, the book does provide an insider’s view on the machinations of influence in China’s policy circles.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section provides a comparative theoretical analysis in respect to how think tanks are positioned within China’s policy circles. In contrast to Western counterparts that seek to maintain a high degree of autonomy from government, political parties and interest groups, China’s think tanks benefit from close relationships with their ideological sponsors, whether these are the party-state apparatus, elites or universities. Zhu argues that it is necessary to redefine the concept of think tank in order to understand their role in China.

Zhu classifies China’s think tanks into two broad categories: semi-official think tanks and non-governmental think tanks. He investigates three influential semi-official think tanks: the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), and the China Centre for Information Industry Development (CCID). The China Development Institute (CDI) and the China Center for International Economic Exchange (CCIEE) represent “nongovernmental think tanks with governmental sponsorship.” A third category is the so-called “independent” non-governmental think tank. The examples are the Unirule Institute of Economics (Tianze), and the Beijing Dajun Center for Economic Watch and Studies (Dajun Center).

Zhu proposes three levels of influence on decision making: the first is the decision maker nucleus, whereby think-tank participants are effectively advisors to government; the second level of influence takes in social elites. This “centre” constitutes academic and other policy actors, including special interest groups. The third level of influence is the public and is called the “periphery.” The periphery includes inputs from the media and from the Internet as well as a range of academic and non-academic publications. Zhu makes the point that whereas the periphery is powerful in democracies, that is, where the media acts as the fourth estate, its function in China is also to circulate decisions made in the inner levels.

The second section set out the seven cases in the book. The analysis of semi-official think tanks tends to get bogged down in lists of responsibilities, channels of dissemination and functional linkages. Chapters 5 and 6 provide detail on the expansion of think tanks outside the protected umbrella of state institutions. In these cases such semi-autonomous bodies have drawn attention, resources and linkages from outside China.

Chapter 6 focuses on the most independent category: smaller think tanks. These smaller operations are plagued by financial difficulties and a higher turnover of staff. Zhu concludes that these smaller institutional formations are marginalized in terms of their influence on decision making, their main sources of income being consultancy, keynote speeches and reports. The influence of think tanks is proportional to their public identity. Semi-official think tanks function as the most important components in the policy research and consultation system. Non-governmental thinks tanks are variously registered as CNPIs, social groups, enterprises and university-run research institutes.

Section 3, “networks, influences and social consequences,” draws on empirical research and considers how influence is calculated. The research draws upon surveys sent to the leaders of 1,124 institutes. While this was obviously the most appropriate means of soliciting a response, the questions in the survey were not likely to elicit deep responses about the political landscape. In fact they were more likely to flatter the egos of think-tank leaders. The results confirm that the personalities of think-tank leaders are a decisive factor in building the reputation of the team and bringing in research contracts. The leader might be a person who has returned from overseas or who has strong connections with overseas returnees. Unsurprising, the higher the administrative level a think tank inhabits the more advantages accrue in access to China’s decision makers. However, Zhu points out that many think-tank leaders lack a high level of educational achievement.

Zhu maintains that the influence of all think tanks ultimately depends on their networks. Because of China’s special administrative system, relationship networks are configured differently to what one generally finds in the West. Having a high administrative ranking translates into direct influence; think tanks’ administrative level generally falls one level below their direct supervisory institution. Semi-official networks have the inside running thanks to their well-developed administrative networks. Hence the Chinese Academy of Social Science sits directly under the State Council. In contrast non-governmental think tanks rely more on personal social networks to realize influence. In addition such non-governmental think tanks are popular with social elites.

The Rise of Think Tanks in China is a welcome addition to scholarship. It will be a much cited reference for observers of China’s political reforms, particularly scholars of political transition, and it will be essential reading in courses on Chinese and international politics.

Michael Keane, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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BAREFOOT DOCTORS AND WESTERN MEDICINE IN CHINA. Rochester Studies in Medical History. By Xiaoping Fang. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press; Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2012. xii, 294 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-58046-433-8.

Since the late nineteenth century, states have increasingly taken it upon themselves to provide basic health care for their populations, but this goal has often been thwarted by limited finances and personnel. With up to 90 percent of China’s 1949 population living in rural areas, the question for the state was how to spread resources in an effective, yet efficient manner. A tiny group of elite Western-trained physicians tried to implement rural medicine before and after 1949, yet even sixteen years after Liberation, Mao Zedong famously accused the Ministry of Health of serving only privileged, urban party elites. As Xiaoping Fang tells us in his important monograph, free services for civil servants made up 33 to 73 percent of total health-care expenditures between 1955 and 1965 in a single county, despite covering only 2 percent of the population (29). The barefoot doctor movement of the Cultural Revolution saw the first sustained penetration of the countryside by state medicine, and Fang’s book analyzes the movement through extensive interviews and documentary research. If official propaganda proclaimed that the barefoot doctors primarily brought herbal medicines to the doors of Chinese villagers, Fang demonstrates the opposite—it was Western medicine and mass-produced pharmaceuticals that these paramedical professionals promoted. The barefoot doctor program of 1968 to 1983 was “a pivotal stage in the displacement of Chinese medicine by Western medicine in rural China” (181).

From 1949, Chen Hongting and his Jiang village clinic become the reader’s interlocutors to explore these revolutionary changes to the medical field in rural China. In chapter 1, Fang demonstrates the plural medical ecology in rural China that included family businesses of Chinese medicine like Chen’s, but also folk healers, bonesetters and religious healers. In 1952, Chen and other medical practitioners formed a union clinic that was responsible for doing public health work, but with no funding. These union clinics “represented a significant downward extension of the state medical system” (27). But a comprehensive system based in Western medicine was not introduced to the countryside until the Cultural Revolution.

In the late 1960s, Chen Hongting and his colleagues began to introduce Western medicine and spread the barefoot movement (chapter 2). To one prospective disciple he said: “I find you clever and good at studying. I choose you to be a barefoot doctor. I will come to stay at your home. You will study under me” (48). These doctors were mostly young, between 17 and 26 years old, often semi-literate. The movement notably expanded medical work to include women in a significant way. For the first time in rural China, a standardized system of medicine was spread through a corpus of textbooks and journals, many of them well illustrated. These included the Manual for Barefoot Doctors. Contrary to common belief, the book is not primarily about herbal medicine, but is one-third about public health, epidemic prevention, first aid, family planning, basic surgical skills and human anatomy. The remaining two-thirds is therapies using a combination of herbs and Western drugs. Basic Western medical technology in the form of blood pressure metres, thermometres and stethoscopes, along with IUDs were spread widely, along with basic operational skills that included injections, disinfections and intravenous drips. Why did they focus on Western medicine? Chinese medicine was too difficult. Barefoot doctors studied on average only two to four months, although some studied up to one year, and this was not long enough to learn the classical Chinese necessary to read Chinese medical classics.

Chapter 3 describes how the early PRC saw medicine shops folded into the union clinics, the end of the division of doctors and pharmacies that had existed for thousands of years (75). Yet Western medicines were completely out of reach: a single bottle of basic antibiotics cost three years’ salary for a villager in 1957. A proclamation by Chairman Mao in 1969 saw pharmaceutical prices reduced and standardized nationwide on over 1200 basic drugs so that prices in 1971 were one-fifth that of 1949 (78). This massive state intervention saw a complete turning point in reducing mortality from infectious diseases by 1970. Mortality for measles dropped from 22 to 4 per hundred thousand and fatalities from 2 percent to 0.46 percent. Chapter 4 demonstrates how Western medicine continued to triumph over Chinese medicine in propaganda films of the barefoot doctor movement, although there was a resurgence of emphasizing use of local herbs when state expenses grew too fast in the 1970s. Nonetheless, the success of Western drugs was so significant that it led as early as 1978 to the over-prescription of Western medicine among barefoot doctors (121).

As the movement spread, it began to create increasingly institutional spaces that governed the medical encounter (chapter 5). Fang describes how the three-tier system of brigade, commune clinics and county-level institutions of the early PRC were transformed by the barefoot doctor movement to a dumbbell-shaped structure as the middle commune level (now township) became increasingly redundant (145). By developing brigade-level (now village) medical service at villagers’ bedsides, barefoot doctors undercut the role of commune clinics as patients would go straight to county hospitals for specialist care. Once established, barefoot doctors became increasingly professionalized (chapter 6) and survived as a class into the reform era, but lost their official title in 1985 to become either more highly qualified “village doctors,” or merely “health workers” (175).

Fang Xiaoping’s book demonstrates that the very success of the barefoot doctor movement at bringing state medicine and its public health benefits to the countryside had two interrelated effects, the marginalization of Chinese medicine and the overuse of Western drugs and technology. This book will be of wide interest to anyone wishing to understand the state of health care in China today and the roots of its successes and dilemmas.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

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Organizing Rural China—Rural China Organizing. Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development. Edited by Anne Bislev and Stig ThØgersen. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012. vii, 240 pp. (Tables, graphs.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-7009-0.

This engaging collection of essays by Scandinavian and Chinese scholars explores new organizational initiatives conditioned by marketization, privatization and migration. Contributors examine “top-down” of state authorities to orchestrate institutional change, as well as grass-roots institution-building by rural actors. The first part, “Political Framework, Discourses, and Experiments,” looks critically at how Chinese elites have construed rural organizations as fundamentally problematic for social and political development, and consequently have envisioned new institutions to address the perceived dysfunctional character of rural communities. The second half of the book, “Local Actors and Practices,” explores more specifically contextualized organizational initiatives “from below.”

In part 1, Stig ThØgersen offers a discursive analysis of alternative remedies prescribed for China’s rural malaise. Against the backdrop of the “Building a New Socialist Countryside” policy initiative, he juxtaposes the arguments of two prominent intellectuals: one advocating establishment of independent “peasant associations” as political interest organizations, the other calling for a new rural reconstruction program focused on a spiritual revival of social and cultural associations. In a somewhat similar vein, Christian Gobel addresses official prescriptions for an ideal countryside and the proper relationships between “peasants,” local cadres, and central authorities. He argues that unfavourable policy outcomes are rarely addressed by substantive modifications in policy, but rather by alterations in rhetorical propaganda: the “strength through unity” narrative tempered by motifs of “rule by division” that portray rural residents and the central government allied against predations of corrupt local cadres. Unn Malfrid Rolandsen considers the direct deployment of urban cadres to rural areas as educated specialists and role models: tasked with fostering new local understandings of how village society ought to be organized and with eradicating ideas and practices party-state authorities deem undesirable. She interprets the development initiatives of such “sent-down cadres” as conscious efforts to create ideal “civilized” village communities conducive to the construction of a “socialist modernity.” Xu Yong and Ma Hua discuss their experience with three rural reconstruction experiments: introducing village electoral institutions, establishing cooperative organizations, and developing expressive and participatory skills among “peasants.” They conclude that the construction of a modern democratic state can only be successful if it is predicated upon human development, respects subjective mentalities, builds upon local initiatives, and fosters the skills and competency of the rural populace. Liu Yiqiang concludes the first part of the book with an overview of China’s dystopian communities: “failed villages” where social order and cohesion have broken down and development has lagged. He identifies a number of problems exhibited by such communities, which he attributes to the “rapid process of modernization” (112).

Part 2 presents more detailed and nuanced case studies of rural organizational initiatives. Mette Halskov Hansen describes how rural boarding schools condition students to abide by authoritarian rule while becoming capable, assertive and innovative participants in a market economy. She argues that the student cadre system, official student associations, and informal spontaneous student networks represent some of the “most important examples in contemporary China of how young people are trained to organize and be organized” (137). Mikkel Bunkenborg explores organizational responses to the dysfunctional rural health-care system, suggesting that the rise of folk healing, spirit mediums, and religious movements spurred the government to launch a new medical insurance scheme in an effort to regain some purchase over rural health care through indirect control. Marina Svensson cautions against viewing lineage revitalization as inherently antithetical to official ideology or threatening to social stability. She describes how ancestral organizations have embraced cultural heritage as an entrepreneurial venture, and how party-state authorities co-opt and appropriate lineage practices for nationalistic patriotic narratives. Cuiming Pang examines a rural migrant cyber-community to illustrate how the Internet may be used to construct collective memory of native place, articulate agency, and express power. She focuses on the techniques used to organize offline public activities, describing how organizers work with authorities rather than trying to evade government controls. The innovative strategies of this marginalized population of rural migrants enable them to create new opportunities by manipulating official institutions to their own advantage. Ane Bislev examines microcredit development programs focused on promoting women’s empowerment, community development, and social cohesion. She highlights the critical interstitial role of local staff as well as the difficulties external actors encounter in attempting to engage in local social structures, particularly the need to balance local sympathies with outside directives. Finally, JØrgen Delman and Yang Minghong use the infamous melamine-tainted milk scandal of 2008 to look critically at the organizational function of large agribusiness in control of extensive value chains that link agricultural producers with consumer markets. They argue that such “dragon head enterprises” are often co-opted by government authorities for purposes of political, economic and social integration. Delman and Yang attribute the melamine scandal to a “lack-of-fit” in the interests of private and public stakeholders. Local producers and middlemen were treated dismissively, denied shareholding rights, and prohibited from forming self-organized cooperatives. Consequently, they failed to become responsible stakeholders in a vertically integrated value chain, opting instead to cope with market stress by adulterating milk.

Loosely framed, theoretically, around the notion of “individualization,” this volume addresses the “re-imbedding” or reintegration of individuals in new collectivities. This common theme could be more fully developed in some chapters, which reveal an uneven quality to the collection. It is also odd to see China’s farmers of the twenty-first century still referred to as “peasants.” Nevertheless, the essays presented here demonstrate quite effectively that there are many different stakeholders with an interest in rural China, and a diverse array of ideas about how rural communities ought to be organized. This informative collection offers thoughtful insight on contemporary development trends and will be of interest to many scholars concerned with the rhetoric, and dynamics, of new organizational forms in the Chinese countryside.

Gregory A. Ruf, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, USA

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A HISTORY OF LAND USE IN MONGOLIA: The Thirteenth Century to the Present. By Elizabeth Endicott. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. xi, 228 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-26965-2.

This short but richly informative book is an important work for anyone interested in contemporary Mongolia, or concerned with Eurasian pastoralism. Those familiar with Elizabeth Endicott’s seminal early work on the Yuan dynasty might be surprised to find that the primary focus of the book is the recent past and current condition of Mongolian pastoralism, rather than the deeper history of the region. Of the seven chapters only one is concerned with periods prior to the twentieth century. This book, then, builds on Endicott’s later work on Inner Asian modernization and the persistence of pastoral nomadism, but goes well beyond a narrow focus on land use to provide an overview of Mongolian pastoralism, agriculture, rural society and its use of the environment in historical perspective. As such it also provides a very good introduction to a country in which some 80 percent of the territory is pasture land.

The writing is lucid and accessible, suitable for general as well as specialist readers. There is a short but useful glossary of Mongolian words transliterated from the new script (although, somewhat strangely, the text also includes transliteration from the old script), and a well-organized bibliography. Since her main focus is contemporary rural Mongolia, Endicott is content to give a brief digest of existing literature on the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, rather than presenting any critical new history, and she does not indulge in exploring recent historiographical debates regarding the Qing or other periods, or offer any new interpretations of earlier works. Instead, she provides an expert compilation of existing literature, illuminated by insights gleaned from the author’s long personal experience of the country. Inevitably, she raises questions that could be explored more fully in specialist historical literature; whether ritual practices such as the ovoo cairn rites predate Buddhism, for instance, or whether Eurasian imperial powers such as the Qing and the USSR “sought to settle nomads and transform them into agriculturalists” (95) or “avoided disturbing a deeply ingrained way of life” (79).

Rather than probing any one question too deeply, Endicott provides an expert review of relevant literature on her subject and, with a historian’s eye for evidence and illustration, shapes it into a clear narrative of her own. Good use is made of early twentieth-century accounts, for example, such as the writings of Andrei Simukov (1902-1942?) whose research represents the most detailed accounts we have of Mongolian pastoralism in the 1920s and 1930s, before the transformations accompanying collectivization in the 1950s. Simukov proposed a typology of pastoral movement types based upon different geographical regions of Mongolia, which Endicott neatly summarizes. Although a trifle unclear with respect to the “western” movement type, this is fascinating material and, in my view, could have been explored even further. Alongside his general typology, for example, it would have been interesting to read more about Simukov’s other writings that show the variations within regions and between different sorts of household, such as his 1935 study of Bayanzürkh Uulyn Khoshuu.

But with such a broad canvas Endicott cannot be expected to satisfy every reader’s curiosity on every topic. In any case, it is the present and future of Mongolian pastoralism that really concerns her in this work, rather than its historical backdrop, and she has mastered an impressive body of literature on the subject. She is sensibly sceptical of the recurrent predictions of imminent pastoral collapse as a result of overstocking, but she seems to remain open to the idea that, along with climate change, dwindling water resources and the impact of mining, very high livestock numbers might represent a threat to the sustainability of Mongolian pastoralism. This raises the question as to whether we should see the collective period as one of pastoral “stagnation” simply because the national herd numbers were maintained between 22 and 25 million head. Pastoral productivity can be measured in terms of output, which was relatively high at that time, rather than livestock totals, and many pastoral specialists recommend higher off-takes to reduce herd sizes. This work also raises a number of points for further research and debate: such as the real nature of the malchdyn büleg “herder groups” and belcheer ashiglagchdyn kheseg “pasture user groups” that are the target of various development projects, and the extent to which romantic notions of nomadic “tradition” and “custom” colour our understandings of pastoral practice and the lifestyles it supports. Endicott’s own approach favours the vision of ancient nomadic traditions, surprisingly resilient in the face of modernization; however, she takes seriously the perspectives of those such as Ole Bruun, who is wary of casting practice as tradition and sees pastoralism as dynamic and contingent, shaped by the particular institutions operating at any given time.

But debates of this sort are not the real target of this book, which aims to offer contemporary relevance and historical breadth rather than enormous depth, and Endicott proves to be an expert guide to the wide range of relevant literature on topics ranging from winter livestock enclosures to mining, tourism and foreign aid. By analyzing and illuminating so much of this scattered literature, this book provides a wonderfully handy and informative reference work for both the specialist and the generalist reader.

David Sneath, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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TROUBLE IN THE MIDDLE: American-Chinese Business Relations, Culture, Conflict, and Ethics. By Steven P. Feldman. New York; London: Routledge, 2013. xii, 493 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-88448-8.

The relentless march of US-China economic interdependence has been led by a drumbeat of commercial self-interest, punctuated from time to time by dissonant chords of mutual suspicion. In recent years, distrust and disaffection has increased, in part due to the growing sophistication and ambition of Chinese firms looking to be more than low-value sub-contractors for multinational firms, and who are in many cases competing head-to-head with US and other Western companies. The optimism that greeted China’s WTO accession in 2001—thought to be the turning point to a more level playing field for foreign firms in China—has all but faded. Under the leadership of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, Chinese state control over the economy has increased, especially after the 2008 global financial crisis. The new president Xi Jinping has spoken forcefully of the need to fight corruption, and Premier Li Keqiang has embraced “rebalancing” as a key priority, but slower growth in the economy (hence less new “pie” to be shared) will in all likelihood exacerbate tensions with foreign firms, at least in the near term.

In this context, Steven Feldman’s book on American-Chinese business relations is well-timed. Trouble in the Middle is a sweeping volume that touches on cross-cultural management, business law and ethics, Chinese political and economic history, and international relations. It is extensively researched and—consistent with the broad coverage of issues—eclectic in its scholarship. There is original material by way of 84 interviews (37 with American executives and 51 with Chinese executives) conducted by the author between 2006 and 2010. In addition, the author interviewed 21 Chinese “middlemen,” who come to occupy a central role in the book. The Trouble in the “Middle” does not refer to the middle kingdom that is China but to middlemen who facilitate transactions between American and Chinese partners.

The book boils down to a critique of the middleman who, according to Feldman, performs a bridging role between Chinese and American companies that often results in corrupt activities. It is, on the one hand, a way to address the pervasive culture of “gift-giving” in China while allowing the American firm to maintain a stance of plausible deniability (and hence avoid prosecution under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). Feldman deplores this activity as doing “damage to both cultures, despite the fact that the two parties do nothing wrong, because their moral faculties are suspended as the middleman transforms the lack of trust, cultural conflict, and possible moral violations into instrumental success” (40).

Feldman introduces the concept of a “cultural middle” which he defines as a place where there can be moral resolution of cultural conflict, and that he believes should be occupied by the parties directly involved in the relationship rather than by a middleman. The role of the middleman in China is explained in historical-cultural terms with an extensive discussion of the “low-trust,” “high context,” “hierarchical” nature of Chinese society, which according to Feldman is compounded by the authoritarian politics and economic domination of the Chinese Communist Party. The book devotes an entire section to “culture and history”, which consists of “brief histories” of Chinese culture and innovation, and American-Chinese cultural relations. Another section, on “Government and Corruption,” consists mostly of a discussion on political and economic reform in China.

While the extent of Feldman’s scholarship is not in doubt, much of the discussion on history, culture and politics seems tangential to his thesis, and is in any case highly repetitive. The treatment of “religion,” “ethics,” “political system,” “economic system,” “perceptions of the Government,” and “modernization” in China is cursory at best, with each topic covered in barely a few pages.

The original research that Feldman has conducted shows up mostly in the second half of the volume, by which time the reader can be in no doubt as to the conclusions that Feldman has already drawn. Quotes from his various interviews in China and the United States are used not so much to support or underline his argument, but as illustrations of the types of issues encountered in US-China business. Using an alternate framework of analysis, the reader might well have drawn different conclusions from the quotes used.

At nearly 500 pages, the volume reads like it was intended to be a number of different books. The central message—on the ethics of using middlemen to carry out corrupt activities—could have been conveyed in a far more compact and effective manner. Indeed, that thesis could have been communicated even without the use of field interviews conducted by the author. On the other hand, the insightful and nuanced chapters on intellectual property did not resonate with the thesis and would have benefited from stand-alone treatment. Feldman acknowledges as much in his summation: “American-Chinese disagreements over IPR . . . go far beyond cultural incompatibility to include political, economic, and historical conflicts. The problems are so broad, numerous, and contradictory that it is difficult to ethically evaluate the legitimacy of IPR in the China context” (345)

As a practical guide to the ethical challenges of doing business in China, this book is too long and discursive to be helpful to most executives. Nevertheless, Feldman issues an important reminder to US and other Western businesses operating abroad (and in home markets) that the use of intermediaries to carry out corrupt activities is morally unacceptable, even under situations of deniability. And he is right to advocate a kind of cultural “fusion” based on mutual respect, trust and openness as the long-term solution to US-China conflicts. How to bring about that fusion will be a challenge for both sides for many years to come.

Yuen Pau Woo, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vancouver, Canada

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HANDBOOK OF CHINA’S GOVERNANCE AND DOMESTIC POLITICS. Routledge International Handbooks. Editor, Chris Ogden. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xxi, 326 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$300.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-85743-636-5.

This is an excellent handbook that makes a unique contribution to the market of books on China’s government and domestic politics. It provides brief, but comprehensive overviews on a wide range of important topics; its 23 chapters include virtually every subject that might be covered in an undergraduate Chinese politics course. The volume’s strength also comes from the involvement of contributors that include some of the top names in China studies, and hail from a wide range of places (the United Kingdom, Australia, China, the United States, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong) and disciplines (political science, sociology, the geosciences, law, management, and economics). Altogether, the book is a valuable resource for students and instructors looking for concise, and generally clear and accessible accounts of the many facets of China’s political system. In addition, scholars may find it to be useful as a reference work that synthesizes most of the scholarly literature on the various topics covered therein. Yet, as a handbook, the volume is not designed to break new scholarly ground, and China specialists should not expect to learn anything new from its pages.

The text is divided into four sections. The first looks at “organizational principles,” and includes chapters on the structure and history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese Communist state, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The second section focuses on “policy areas,” including economics, justice, health and social policy, education and culture, internal security, and defense and foreign policy. Section 3 examines various “political processes,” with chapters on political representation, political participation, political opposition, center-local relations, and nationalism. The final section covers “contemporary issues,” such as social change and inequality, corruption, human rights, the environment, social unrest, separatism, resource shortages, media and the internet, and globalization and individualism.

The volume’s main focus is China’s post-Mao or Reform era, but most chapters also discuss the Maoist era to some degree, and some also include sections on the Imperial era. Each chapter is quite short—about ten pages—which means that a great deal of material must be covered in a short space. Some chapters do this quite well (in particular, those by Blasko, Bo, Economy, Saich, Tang/Shen, Wedeman, and Weatherley), while others feel too brief and are chopped up into very small sections that are not always adequately connected (e.g., those by Guthrie and He). The chapters also vary in the degree to which their content and prose is engaging and accessible to a non-specialist audience. Some (e.g., those by Guthie, Li, and Reny/Hurst) are not well-pitched for undergraduate students and/or non-specialists. These read more like literature reviews or condensed scholarly journal articles, and refer to theories that may not be familiar to general readers. While not a problem for specialists, because of the short length of each chapter, broader academic theories related to the chapter’s specific topic cannot be discussed in enough detail for the general reader to fully comprehend.

The editor (Ogden) provides a very brief preface and conclusion (roughly five pages each) that attempt to connect the chapters to one another. As with all edited volumes, achieving coherence is a difficult and often elusive task. In this case, a number of different themes are presented, but they are somewhat vague and not clearly linked. Ogden states that the book’s central theme is increasing codependency, complexity and interconnectedness within China’s political system. Other themes mentioned in the preface and/or conclusion are China’s scale, its (re)becoming a great power, history/memory as crucial factors in understanding China, the ongoing search by China’s political elites for internal stability and security, and the longevity, resilience and adaptability of the CCP. These are all interesting and important themes, but they do not cohere in a clear over-arching argument. Further, there is no real attempt on the part of the authors to include transitions or explicit linkages across chapters. One could also quibble with some small points regarding the book’s organization; for example, it is not clear how “nationalism” can be considered a “political process,” and the chapters on the “environment” and “resource shortages” could easily be merged.

But these are quite minor issues, and they do not materially detract from the volume’s fulfillment of its central aim: to serve as a handbook that provides a comprehensive overview of Chinese politics and governance. I do not know of a book that better fulfills this goal. The chapters cover topics that are important and timely, and they generally do an admirable job of synthesizing a great deal of information in a small number of pages. As such, the volume provides an instructor of a course on Chinese politics with a smorgasbord of concise, clear, engaging and accessible chapters from which to select for student reading materials and lecture supplements. I intend to utilize a number of the chapters in my own course, and I have no doubt that my students will benefit as a result.

Teresa Wright, California State University, Long Beach, USA

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SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS AND THE AUTHORITARIAN STATE IN CHINA. By Timothy Hildebrandt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xv, 217 pp. (Tables, figures.) C$91.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-02131-0.

This is an outstanding study, highly recommended for a wide variety of audiences. For China scholars, the book provides valuable and original primary data on various kinds of social organizations within the PRC; for specialists in comparative politics, it sheds new light on the persistence of authoritarian rule and the role of civil society; for students of social movements, it lays out a clear, useful and novel framework for understanding “opportunity structures;” for new researchers, it includes a detailed discussion of data collection and research methodology; and for practitioners, it reveals important and often counter-intuitive information regarding the specific and nuanced ways in which foreign funding can have both good and ill effects. The book is a pleasure to read, from start to finish. It is carefully researched, exceptionally well-organized, convincingly argued, and written in clear and engaging prose.

Hildebrandt investigates the ways in which Chinese NGOs adapt to changing political, economic and personal opportunities, focusing on NGOs involved in environmental protection, HIV/AIDs prevention, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender rights. He blends qualitative and quantitative data and methods, drawing on eighty in-depth interviews with NGO leaders in Beijing, Yunnan and Sichuan (conducted in 2007-2008); a thorough and well-thought through web-based survey; and official news stories. Rather than focusing on one type of NGO per chapter, the book is divided into three thematic sections: one on political opportunities, one on economic opportunities, and one on personal opportunities. The three types of NGOs are compared within each section.

Hildebrandt consciously chooses NGOs focused on these issue areas because they are “profiles in success”; by and large, they have avoided repression and effectively adapted to the opportunity structures within which they operate. Through these case studies, Hildebrandt uncovers how social groups can succeed even within China’s authoritarian political system. However, he also emphasizes that the adaptations that these groups must make in order to persist undermine their ability to thrive in the long-term. Moreover, he finds that the limited success of these groups actually serves to strengthen the authoritarian political system, not to weaken or change it. In this sense, Hildebrandt challenges predominant understandings of the role of civil society in fomenting democratic political change.

The book’s first section, on political opportunities, looks at how ever-changing policy decisions and government institutions at the central and local levels shape the behaviour of Chinese NGOs. The main adaptive response to China’s political opportunity structure is to be “self-limiting;” these groups do not question or challenge the boundaries imposed on them by the state, but rather accept these as givens, and do what they can to succeed within these restrictions. Perhaps the most important and surprising finding in this section is that these NGO leaders express a remarkably positive attitude toward both central and local governments. Moreover, when a group does come into conflict with the state, NGO leaders almost universally blame the organization (and more specifically, the organization’s leader), and not the state. A further implication of this mentality is that when a group is repressed, instead of rallying around it in sympathy, other groups distance themselves from it, and fault the group’s leader for engaging in unwise behaviour that is seen as having elicited the negative state action.

Another interesting finding in this section concerns the Chinese government’s official registration system for social organizations, which on paper all such groups are expected to follow. Somewhat surprisingly, NGO leaders report no perceived relationship between registering and having good relations with the government. To the contrary, both local government leaders and NGO leaders sometimes believe that it is more advantageous to not become registered. Because a lack of official recognition allows these groups to exist “under the radar,” it can give both group leaders and local officials more flexibility in their actions.

The second section of the book, on economic opportunity structures, is perhaps the most intriguing and novel; although most studies of social movements emphasize political opportunities, Hildebrandt stresses that for the groups in this study, economic concerns far outweigh political concerns. Simply put, social groups need money in order to succeed, and money is in exceedingly short supply. Because domestic charity giving is almost non-existent in China (in part, Hildebrandt suggests, due to unsupportive tax codes), the NGOs in Hildebrandt’s study rely largely on international organizations for funding. These organizations have their own goals and requirements, and Chinese NGOs wanting their money have no choice but to abide by them. This, then, constricts the ability of NGOs to pursue their own self-defined aims, and to do so in the way that they deem most effective.

The third section of the book, on personal opportunities, is also innovative and illuminating. Across issue areas, personalistic patron-client relations (wherein a particular government official acts as the former and a particular group leader acts as the latter) characterize virtually all successful groups. The more “deeply embedded” a group leader’s relationship with a particular leader, the more potential success and protection the group may enjoy in the short-term. But in the long run, such relationships are very vulnerable and idiosyncratic, and are not sustainable. This feature of NGOs also explains why, when a group comes into conflict with the government, it is not seen as a failure of the political system, but rather as an interpersonal dispute.

Although the groups studied in this volume were chosen due to their demonstrated success, Hildebrandt concludes that their long-term future is “bleak.” They show little prospect of becoming institutionalized, or of working with one another. Moreover, they appear to be quite content with—and indeed may prefer—the authoritarian political status quo. Further, to the extent that these NGOs actually do solve China’s pressing social problems, they may strengthen the regime’s legitimacy.

Teresa Wright, California State University, Long Beach, USA

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FROM MAO TO MARKET: China Reconfigured. By Robin Porter. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. xviii, 288 pp. (Map.) US$40.50, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-70190-7.

The avowed purpose of this book is to examine the historical, economic and political background to China’s transformation since 1978 from the Maoist system of totalitarian politics and centrally planned economy to the more market-oriented characteristics of the economic reforms introduced in the last forty years. “[T]his most recent evidence of change,” the author suggests in the preface, “must be seen in the context of China’s overall struggle for modernization if it is to be more fully understood” (xi). While political circumstances in the late 1970s were obviously critical to the radical changes brought forth first by Deng Xiaoping and his line of successors, “the manner and rate of progress from Mao to market, … could be said to be influenced by factors dating from much earlier in the twentieth century, or in the nineteenth century, or even 2,500 years ago” (xiii). Over the course of the book’s 11 chapters, the author explores this thesis from a variety of historical, political, economic and cultural perspectives.

Central to the author’s approach is a belief, quite appropriate in this reviewer’s view, that the essence of any society becoming “modern” is the adoption of advanced technology. What separates the developed regions of the world in North America, Europe, Japan and comparable societies from the world’s “backward” regions is, indeed, the application of increasingly sophisticated forms of technology in virtually all societal realms from military power, to economic production, communication and, most importantly, scientific advance. To the extent China has become increasingly “modern,” it is primarily because of the mobilization and organization of human capital and material resources for developing and absorbing technology, often from abroad.

As a thesis for examining China’s transition from the state-centred structures and policies of the Maoist era (1949-1976) to the more open and market-based institutions of the reform era, the author’s judgment is a sound one. The problem is that throughout the book’s subsequent chapters this thesis often gets lost in a rambling examination of all facets of Chinese history from the very beginnings of the centralized state during the early dynasties to the formation of the Chinese communist government in 1949. Virtually every aspect of Chinese history and culture, from the evolution of the Chinese bureaucratic state to its philosophical underpinnings of Confucianism and ancillary doctrines, to the cultivation of a highly refined literary style, is examined, usually in very short order, with no clear-cut and analytical link to the book’s central thesis. Along the way China’s development and absorption of technology from ancient times to the recent past is given some attention but without linking it to the central concepts that informed the author’s goals. At times, the book reads like a simple compilation of major works on China, virtually all in English, again without any common thread or analytical focus, as the main focus of the book—China’s transition “from Mao to market”—generally gets lost in the shuffle of largely unrelated and well-known material. (This is one of the first books I have ever read on China where I can honestly say I learned absolutely nothing new!)

This fatal flaw is most evident in the chapters that seem to have virtually no organic relationship to one another or to the book’s announced focus. While the first three chapters providing historical background to the 1978 reforms seem appropriate enough, though again without the tight analytical treatment that this subject deserves, the next eight come across as a hodgepodge of topics that lack any organic linkage and often seem completely unrelated to the book’s supposed focus. Chapter 5, for example, examines China’s “Confucian heritage,” followed in chapter 6 by a discussion of “orthodoxy, ideology, and law” and then in chapter 7 by an examination of “technology and political power,” again with very little if any linkage to the goals of the volume outlined in the preface. While some discussion, though very general, is made of topics relevant to the subject of “from Mao to market” in subsequent chapters on “command structures,” “management of China’s enterprises” and “public policies, private goals,” the overall focus on technology as the essence of modernization and how that played out in China gets lost. This culminates in the last chapter’s discussion of the “fifth modernization,” namely democracy, which is rather ancillary to the issues of technology and modernization since, as we know, many societies have adopted democratic institutions and yet remain hopelessly backward technologically and decidedly non-modern. Once again, the topic and goals outlined in the beginning of the book seem to disappear in a fog of sweeping generalizations and little specificity.

Published by Columbia University Press, which has a long record of producing some of the most well-researched works on China, this book, the reviewer was surprised to find, relies, according to the bibliography, on virtually no Chinese-language sources. While the author has had extensive personal experience in the People’s Republic, the book draws entirely on English-language works and indeed comes across as simply a rendition of their findings, which raises the question of why it was published in the first place. Just how it was that China managed to carry out the transformation from one of the most ideologically driven and repressive communist societies under Mao Zedong to today’s second-largest world economy with world-class corporations and enterprises is a fascinating issue that this volume provides little insight on. Such a topic, in this reviewer’s view, requires a very in-depth and extensive research project, with perhaps a few case studies of such highly competitive companies as the telecommunications giant Huawei and the first-class genomic sequencing firm of Beijing Genomics Institute and the policies that made their dramatic advances possible. Instead, the book is filled with well-established and frankly well-worn nostrums—Chinese people fear “chaos”/Confucianism preaches loyalty to the family—that explain little or nothing about one of the greatest social-economic transformations of our time.

Lawrence R. Sullivan, Adelphi University, Garden City, USA

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EUROPE AND CHINA: Strategic Partners or Rivals? Global Connections. Edited by Roland Vogt. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012. xvi, 283 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-988-8083-88-6.

Not that many years ago, the rise of China was just the rise of China in Asia. Since China’s accession to the WTO, and particularly reinforced by the economic crisis that began in 2008, this is no longer the case. Now the rise of China is the rise of China in the world. This book attempts to capture a crucial part of this process, the bilateral/multilateral relations between Europe (the EU and its member states) and China.

This important book consists of ten chapters clustered in two main parts, the first one focused roughly on the international relations of Europe-China and the second on relevant topics, such as human rights, global warming and energy, and “China in Africa.” An unusual but quite interesting chapter on Sino-Vatican relations, by Beatrice Leung, is included. The book’s editor, Roland Vogt, has written a balanced introduction and conclusion, as well as an important chapter on the limitations of Europe’s partnership with China.

Xinning Song’s comprehensive first chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book. A common theme underlying most contributions is a critical examination of the official rhetoric of the Europe-China relationship, for example, the idea of “strategic partnership,” and a sober evaluation of the multiple constraints for the development of a more robust and constructive relationship.

A serious problem in preparing any complex volume like this one is that it is a slow process. In the context of a major European, and developing global, economic crisis some of the issues treated here become, by force, moving targets. For example, the analysis of the repercussions of Li Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize in 2010 and the incident of Chen Guangchen in 2012, which highly impacted the whole human rights disagreement, is virtually absent, as well as any evaluation of the leadership change in China in 2012–2013 and the potential impact of Obama’s reelection in the United States in November 2012. Certainly many of the book’s core ideas will likely remain relevant tools for students, scholars and analysts. Vogt’s conclusion tries to update the analysis. Additionally, no single book can capture all the complexities of the relationship and all the issues on the table, and all the ones analyzed here are indisputably relevant.

This useful book provides a nuanced and balanced analysis of the structural aspects of Europe-China relations. Yes, Kapur’s notion of “distant neighbours” (Kapur, 1990) and Rosenau’s of “distant proximities” (Rosenau, 2003) help us to understand the kind of world we are now living in, but it is China that is increasingly becoming less “distant” for everybody. Yet paradoxically, despite this increasing weight and assertiveness of China, the structure of this carefully researched book done by a balanced team of scholars still reflects a mostly European agenda, more “Europe-China” than “China-Europe.” The lack of a thorough analysis of differences over the question of the full market recognition, an important issue for China, is a good example of this. For this reason, the value of Lai Wang’s chapter on China’s perceptions of Europe is increased.

In recent years there has been a major shift in mainstream discourse in Europe about China, from China being a potential partner and balancer “that could be useful for diminishing or even challenging America’s influence” (1) to China as an economic threat or a rival evolving finally into China s an investor and financial helper, something that might put China in the de facto position of a lender of last resort. More confusing, the three aforementioned visions coexist and quite frequently different countries and the EU express contradictory points of view on them.

A salient issue in the relationship is the EU’s normative power, or mission civilisatrice, an approach that is critically examined in Chengxin Pan’s chapter. The global economic and sovereign debt crisis created an additional dilemma: how can Europe project its normative power (an essential, if quite problematic, identity component) vis-à-vis China when at the same time many of its members are desperately seeking Chinese economic support? There is no easy solution to this dilemma, but at least better management is required. The question of European pressure regarding human rights issues is touched upon by several contributors, and the comprehensive chapter by Tin Wai bravely focuses on it. The importance of this issue is reflected in the fact that Wai’s chapter heads up part II devoted to special issues.

Richard Balme and Steve Wood address two complex issues that have a greater need, and probably more potential, for cooperation: climate change and energy. Linda Jakobson and Jacob Wood take on the daunting task of making sense of the myriad instances of China’s intervention in Africa. Europe has been rapidly losing ground vis-à-vis China in Africa and Latin America, and the economic crisis has reinforced this trend.

Reuben Wong recognizes and skillfully analyzes the grave effect of the US on Europe-China relations, and the chapter is still relevant in helping us understand more recent developments. The US pivot to the Pacific and the rebalancing announced at the end of the first Obama administration, and the new effort for the establishment of a EU-NAFTA Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have the potential to deeply influence the dynamics of Europe-China relations in coming years.

Gonzalo S. Paz, American University, Washington, D.C., USA

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DEFENDING RIGHTS IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA. Routledge/Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) East Asian Series, 12. By Jonathan Benney. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xi, 197 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-69430-8.

Jonathan Benney has written an important book that shows how talk about weiquan, rights defense, became embedded in official discourse and policies, and then was taken up, challenged and modified by different groups in society, such as ordinary citizens, consumer activists, lawyers and dissidents. The book adds to our understanding of how norms and terms develop and travel both among different groups within a given society as well as across national borders. Within the field of human rights studies, several scholars have drawn attention to processes of vernacularization of ideas, and this book, albeit not drawing on this strand of literature, nevertheless can be seen as contributing to the debate. Benney should also be commended for going beyond earlier more static cultural/intellectual studies of rights and human rights towards a more ethnographic-based study that shows how rights are understood, debated and embedded among different stakeholders and in diverse struggles in a rapidly changing Chinese society. The book builds on earlier works on the fragmented nature of the Chinese state, addressing how state-society relations have changed during the reform period, and how new stakeholders such as NGOs, social campaigners and lawyers have emerged and use new strategies and methods such as information and communication technologies (ICTs) to identify and defend their rights. Whereas many earlier works have addressed the history and debates on human rights in China, legal developments, rights struggles as part of protests and social movements, and the views and struggles of special groups of individuals, such as lawyers and dissidents, Benney’s book shows how these debates and struggles are connected. The author accomplishes this by taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws on insights from sociology, media studies and legal studies.

Benney’s book thus aims to provide an overview of the complex development of both the notion and practice of weiquan. The book consists of an introductory chapter addressing the development of the term, and subsequent chapters discuss how the major actors, identified as the government, ordinary citizens and lawyers, separately and in negotiation with each other have understood, used and shaped weiquan. Weiquan, thus, is not a static or uncontested notion, but ambiguous and evolving, and it is used strategically by different actors in specific and ever new contexts. The emphasis on different stakeholders’ “strategic” use turns our attention to the practice rather than the theory behind the notion. By focusing on rights defense as a strategy and framing device, the author avoids getting too bogged down in more abstract discussions on the sources of rights and whether or in what way Chinese citizens’ understanding of rights differ from citizens in the so-called West—a debate that has been raging for some time.

Benney provides a convincing argument for how the government’s own initial use and advocacy of weiquan opened up a Pandora’s box that encouraged Chinese citizens to use and couch their own activities and demands in those terms. Given the prominence and widespread use of the term today, and bearing in mind that according to Benney it was not used at all before 1992, it is interesting how little we actually know about its origin and early developments and the rapid dissemination and appropriation by different groups in society. Despite Benney’s own discussion of the rise and use of the term in the Chinese media and in different policy statements, there is still much left to explore about how and why different official institutions and individuals pushed the notion of weiquan, and how their understanding and use of the term has developed with time. It seems that weiquan developed more as a domestic discourse initiated and pushed by the Ministry of Justice, and thus in some isolation from the official Chinese human rights discourse where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs played a more prominent role. Be that as it may, certain groups such as dissidents and lawyers soon came to relate weiquan to the international human rights discourse, showing how a certain term can get new connotations and be adopted for other uses than originally intended.

The rapid diffusion and adoption of weiquan is in no small part due to the diffusion and growth of the Internet in China. The Internet has, despite tight control and censorship, opened up a space for Chinese citizens to conceptualize, demand and fight for rights, as well as get support from others, thus challenging the official discourse. The diversification and commercialization of the Chinese media has also meant that journalists in the more critical media outlets today are able to report and spread the language of weiquan by publishing successful cases of rights defenders such as the consumer activist Wang Hai, discussed by Benney.

The book’s empirical part draws on a selection of case studies that show how different individuals have appropriated the state-sanctioned notion of rights defense and then used it to legitimize their own struggles, although very often in the process challenging the state. One could argue that Benney’s selection of cases focuses too much on well-placed and informed middle-class citizens whose struggles have been given good coverage in the media, and that their topics, consumer issues and property rights, thus reflect this group’s particular concerns. Although Benney briefly discusses areas such as labour rights and women’s rights, more studies of how other groups of citizens with grievances use weiquan, or if they prefer other concepts, and how successful such appropriation really is, and in what circumstances, are much needed. Benney’s also address the special role of lawyers in rights defense and their more vocal role in society today. The book’s conclusion and recent developments in China reveal an official retreat and backlash for weiquan both as notion and practice, which serves to further alert us to its ambiguous status and the precarious situation for those who try to practice it.

Marina Svensson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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TOMBSTONE: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962. By Yang Jisheng; translated from the Chinese by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian; edited by Edward Friedman, Guo Jian and Stacy Mosher; introduction by Edward Friedman and Roderick MacFarquhar. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. xxvi, 629 pp. (Map, tables, figures.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-374-27793-2.

The English translation of Tombstone, which retains fifteen of the twenty-eight chapters of the book’s Chinese version, mostly those chapters examining various aspects of the Great Leap Forward Famine at the national level, explains the famine’s effect from the perspective of the political centre. Leaving out the other thirteen chapters that largely recount provincial famine stories, the translation more cohesively represents Yang Jisheng’s central argument: that Maoist totalitarianism was the basic reason for the thirty-six million deaths during the famine. In Yang’s view, this totalitarianism, in combination with the Soviet-style autocracy and ancient Chinese despotism, and dominated by Mao Zedong’s emperor type of dictatorial power, caused the greatest famine in human history as a result of its ruthless suppression of political dissenters in China and of different policy opinions within the Communist Party. Eventually, as Yang sees it, the political system, after criticizing, dismissing or imprisoning the officials at every level who had doubts about the Leap, was able to drive its entire body of cadres to frenziedly pursue Mao’s industrialization targets, during which the cadres competitively exaggerated grain production to an absurdly high level, relentlessly pressed the peasants for the last bit of the so-called “surplus grain” for funding industrialization, strictly restrained food quotas distributed to the rural residents through commanding communal kitchens where hundreds of millions of these residents were force to dine, shamelessly or fearfully concealed local hunger reality, and heartlessly prevented the starving refugees from running away or practicing any other survival strategies. Yang obviously regards the catastrophe as “Mao’s famine.” In early 1959, as Yang’s chapter “Turnaround in Lushan” recounts, Mao was aware of the grave consequences of his leap programs and ready to take “corrective measures.” Yet, when he felt that defense minister Peng Deihuai’s criticism of his erroneous polices, made at the Party’s leadership meeting in Lushan in summer 1959, challenged his authority, Mao punished Peng and abandoned the corrective measures. The result of the continuation of the Leap was the death of tens of millions of people in 1959-61, for which Mao was ultimately responsible.

Tombstone’s greatest contribution to the existing literature of the Great Leap famine is its detailed account of events, people, statistics and policies that took place during the famine. Before Yang’s book, political scientists Roderick MacFarquhar, Frederick Teiwes and Warren Sun wrote about how Mao and the central leadership took the road to the Great Leap disaster; economists Justin Lin, Gene Chang, James Wen, James Kung and political scientist Dali Yang debated over whether the communal dining or agricultural collectivization was the major cause of the famine; American and Chinese demographers estimated the Great Leap mortality; and journalist Jasper Becker reported on “Mao’s secret famine” based on the stories he gained from a few Communist documents and from interviewing a number of Chinese villagers and famine survivors. Yet, due to the difficulty in accessing China’s archives, none of the aforementioned people were able to write on the Great Leap events in a manner as genuine and persuasive as that offered by Yang.

Using his privilege as a senior reporter of China’s state-run news agency, which permits him to read secret internal reports stored in archives and to interview Communist cadres at almost all levels and all walks of life, Yang spent two decades searching for source materials and talking to the officials who were in charge of some of the worst events during the leap or involved in the process of national economic planning or responsible for collection of the nation’s population data. Supported by hundreds of original documents and a large number of memories of those officials, Tombstone records in the most authoritative manner the reality of the Great Leap famine, including not only several notorious major events such as the “Xingyang Incident” in Henan that resulted in the death of one million out of the Xingyang Prefecture’s 8.5 million people but also many less-known events such as the “Bo County Tragedy” in Anhui that ended in the death of 200,000 of the county’s 737,000 rural population. For decades scholars have tried to uncover, with only partial success, the terrible truths of the Great Leap famine, which the Chinese authorities have made every endeavor to cover up, and with Tombstone these truths are now made known to the world in the most reliable manner. Tombstone is unparalleled in the existing literature of the Great Leap famine. Although a few recent works on the famine have also been able to dig out some archives, none of them has been able to compare with Tombstone in terms of the scope of subject coverage and the depth of source materials.

One astounding reality Tombstone has revealed in unprecedented detail was how Mao and cadres at high levels evaded the responsibility of the famine. When terrible deaths occurred, Mao often laid the blame on landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries or bad elements because their alleged takeover of local political power had enabled evil events to take place, or on some local cadres who, in Mao’s eyes, due to the decay of their revolutionary spirit, had become spokesmen for the landlord classes. As happened in the disastrous Xingyang Incident, grassroots cadres at the village, county and prefectural levels were the ones who took the blame, while Henan’s provincial party secretary and Mao’s policies remained intact.

Since Yang has written his monumental Tombstone more in the style of a journalistic report than an academic work, his book has not answered a certain number of questions with regard to the famine. One would wonder why there was a great discrepancy in mortality across provinces or across counties within a province, and this issue apparently cannot be interpreted solely by the fact of the oppression of totalitarianism because other factors such as natural conditions might have played a significant role. Similarly, one may also ask why mortality was drastically different across villages or even why in one village some peasants died of starvation while others survived. These questions call for further studies beyond Tombstone.

University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, USA Yixin Chen

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TECHNOMOBILITY IN CHINA: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones. By Cara Wallis. New York: New York University Press, 2013. xiii, 264 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8147-9526-2.

How have China’s national efforts for development affected the daily behaviour of its people? How are the conditions behind migrant labour different for women than for men in China? Are there avenues of social mobility available to these migrant workers? Cara Wallis answers these questions in her book, Technomobility in China, using one common item, mobile phones, to provide insight into the lives, struggles and accomplishments of young female migrant workers. Her study was conducted between 2007 and 2011 and included a number of ethnographic techniques such as interviews, online communication, comparing informants’ phone address books to their social media contact lists, as well as having a select few subjects keep journal accounts of their mobile phone use. The most poignant contribution of Wallis’ arguments is the agency she shows of individuals whose social status is otherwise reified as passive in Chinese society. The actions of these young migrant workers are conditioned by the ideological and economic constraints surrounding them, but as Wallis hints, the self-actualization these women engage in may be part of wider “transformations in the attitudes and values of China’s young people … contributing to … changes in how migrants might fare” in the future (115).

With a thorough explanation of particular social and historical contexts in contemporary China, Wallis isolates the “dagongmei” (working little sisters) as the subject of her study. Dagongmei are born in rural areas and break the confines of family security and government hukou (household registration) regulations to make a life in the city. Unlike their male counterparts and the first wave of migrants in the 1990s, these women often leave home for personal reasons, such as delaying marriage, rather than to provide financial support for their families, and often start their rural to urban migration as young as sixteen years old. Due to perceptions surrounding their education and abilities, these female migrants are limited to “three Ds” jobs; those which are dirty, demeaning and dangerous. Their birthplace, gender, age and economic status all serve to make these women a salient group which is often considered passive and compliant. Wallis drives this point home with examples of paternalism such as: a customer scolding an employee, a manager calling an employee to make an hour return trip to find misplaced inventory and other similar accounts.

Despite the sociopolitical barriers and unappealing “three D” labour, the numbers of migrants have continued to climb alongside an increase in the diffusion of mobile phones in China. With the stories of her informants, Wallis shows how mobile phones have been used to maintain and build relationships as well as to fulfill self-aspirational goals. Mobile phones make communication with family and other relations more convenient by providing a stable means to access these individuals who frequently relocate for employment. The camera function of the phones, while also noted as a means of keeping home close, was mainly highlighted in chapter 4, as a way for these women to demonstrate their aspirations. This was depicted by accounts of women associating with luxury goods by photographing magazine pictures, of purses and travel destinations, with such perfection that their photos could not be detected as copied images.

While Wallis challenges the idea that migrants’ desire for mobile phones, which was recorded in chapter 2 as many migrants’ first big urban purchase, represents false consciousness, she analyzes the desire as part of migrants’ self-regulation, a practice premised on the principle of “su zhi” (quality). “Su zhi” describes one’s mannerisms and is practically used to rate how “civilized,” “modern” or “cosmopolitan” one appears to be. Improving su zhi, one of the primary “mobilities” phones help migrant women act upon, is shown to operate in much the same manner as Foucault’s theories of governmentality and bio-power. Wallis argues this by demonstrating how the narratives which the Chinese Communist Party uses to describe their efforts to develop and modernize the nation operate at the level of individual self-regulation and personal fulfillment. This ranged from the very motivation to migrate to only taking fashionable pictures of one’s self, thereby digitally hiding one’s rural and marginalized status.

The mobility offered by phones, in terms of easing the migratory experience and providing an avenue for self-articulation, is shown at every turn to be limiting and socially confined. Wallis describes this concept as “immobile mobility.” She shows that although these migrant workers might use their phones to expand their social network, there was no serious indication that these networks were breaking social boundaries. Migrant workers primarily know other migrant workers. Wallis explains that while women use phones to find additional jobs there is little to capitalize on: with no examples of a job offer being leveraged, or any hint of better conditions elsewhere. Mobile phones are shown to be exploited by employers to exert a new means of surveillance and power over vulnerable workers.

In Technomobility in China, Wallis brings the story of young female migrant labourers to public attention. Their aspirations and the different strategies they use to “get by” in the city cuts through the stereotype that they are passive vessels waiting for instruction. The thick descriptions accompanying Wallis’ arguments of the ideological, social and economic barriers which tend to limit the success of the migrant workers’ efforts drive this point home: these barriers are neither necessary nor deterministic. Perhaps, just as Wallis gave back to the community while conducting her ethnography, her book will contribute to the improvement of the social and political conditions migrant labourers face.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada Byron Rigel Hauck

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SPEAKING OF EPIDEMICS IN CHINESE MEDICINE: Disease and the Geographic Imagination in Late Imperial China. Needham Research Institute Series. By Marta Hanson. First paperback ed. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xx, 265 pp. (Tables, maps, figures.) US$44.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-83535-0.

If you will read only one book in your lifetime about medicine in China, this should be it. For policy analysts, historians of (bio)medicine, or sinologists, this “biography of wenbing” (warm diseases) ties together past and present, and social, cultural and clinical histories to a sophisticated understanding of China’s regions and epidemiology. After reading this book you will have learned something new, connected disparate concepts, and clarified misconceptions. Hanson’s book is at once an introduction to the basics of Chinese medicine, an advanced course on its developments in late imperial China, and an explanation of its ongoing relevance seen through the application of wenbing theory and remedies to the SARS epidemic in 2003. Hanson demonstrates as clearly as anyone how Chinese medicine did not become “stagnant” in the Ming and Qing dynasties, as its modernizing opponents have declared. Instead, Chinese medicine continued (and continues) to create new nosologies that were (and are) clinically effective and flexible enough to take into account regional variation and even biomedical explanations of disease.

Although most Chinese today will tell you that shanghan is equivalent to typhoid, mafeng to leprosy, jiaoqi to beriberi, nüe to malaria, and huoluan to cholera, Hanson will have none of it: “[b]efore the nineteenth century, not one inhabitant of China suffered from plague, cholera, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, or malaria” (7). So what did they, in fact, die from? Hanson argues persuasively the historical anthropologist’s position that we need to understand pre-modern diseases with pre-modern categories. This “biography of disease” approach has become an important subfield in the history of medicine. Like Angela Leung’s work on li/lai/dafeng/mafeng/leprosy, this book traces a Chinese disease category through its history. But wenbing is particularly remarkable because it has not been displaced by biomedical nosology.

The book does not stop with merely a biography of wenbing, but uses this as “a heuristic device” to explore the Chinese geographical imagination of disease, and through these, epidemiology in late imperial and modern China. Although wenbing appears in the Basic Questions (half of the medical classic, the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) and in Zhang Ji’s Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders, it did not emerge as a distinct disease category until a millennia and a half later during the epidemics associated with the fall of the Ming in 1642. At this time, Wu Youxing (c. 1582-1652) claimed that a regionally specific contagion was responsible for the epidemic, rather than a vague “unseasonable qi (16-17). Wu began a school of thought that continues to this day that elevated wenbing from a mere variation of an underlying Cold Damage disorder (102). This process of doubting received interpretations of diseases and cures becomes for Hanson “Ming medical skepticism,” a massive and ongoing innovation in the late imperial period that has usually been characterized as “stagnant.”

The second theme is the connection between disease and geography. Hanson demonstrates how the early directional imagination of Chinese medicine stated in the Basic Questions was governed by the five directions (wufang)—the center and four cardinal directions. Each direction was associated with a particular form of climate, foods, diseases and therapies (26). Hanson’s discussion here of Chinese medical cosmology—of yin-yang, the five phases, the five climates—is one of the best I’ve seen (I do not know how Chinese medical concepts, usually presented as fully formed and unchanging, can be understood without such historicization). More specifically, the two major geographic divisions became the northwest (cradle of Chinese civilization) where “heaven is insufficient,” and the southeast (Jiangnan area), where “earth is incomplete.” Later, in the northern areas conquered by the Jurchens and Mongols, private physicians critiqued Song medical orthodoxy and innovated on the old formulas and nosologies. These medical innovations eventually became incorporated into southern medicine, but the north-south split in the Chinese medical imagination remained. Northern bodies, diseases and cures would be distinct from southern ones.

The geographical imagination of medicine became especially important in the Qing when the Qianlong emperor’s massive encyclopedia project, the Emperor’s Four Treasuries, elevated Wu Youxing’s book to the status of a medical classic. In the late nineteenth century, even some foreign physicians praised Wu’s work on disease nosology and epidemics, although this shifted to denunciation by the early twentieth century (150-151).

All of this becomes particularly interesting for students of contemporary China when Hanson demonstrates that wenbing has come to include what biomedicine now calls acute infectious diseases. The key example is SARS, which was not only prevented but also treated with wenbing nosology and drug formulas, depending on whether the patients were in the northern epidemic region in Beijing, or the southern in Guangzhou.

I am completely sympathetic with Hanson’s project, but the historical anthropology approach leads to a problem of consistency. The temptation to shorthand Chinese disease categories is too great, even for Hanson. So guangchuang, “literally Cantonese sores,” becomes unproblematically associated with “venereal diseases and syphilis” (70). Later Hanson again makes simplistic equivalencies between older Western disease conceptions and contemporary nosology “agues (shaking fits of malaria and other diseases) … [and] phthisis (various types of tuberculosis)” (149). To this inconsistency I have no solution to offer because even the historical anthropologist has to communicate using language and disease conceptions her reader can understand.

Despite this conundrum, this book sets a new bar for research on the history of medicine in China. This short review is hardly able to touch on all of Hanson’s main points connecting wenbing, the geographical imagination, and epidemiology. In 169 concise pages of text, Hanson demonstrates conclusively that “China’s wenbing remains a meaningful disease concept,” that Chinese medicine never became stagnant, and that it continues to be an effective and evolving therapeutic system today.

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA David Luesink

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PAX SINICA: Geopolitics and Economics of China’s Ascendance. By Y.Y. Kueh. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; New York: Columbia University Press [distributor], 2013. xxi, 437 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-988-8083-82-4.

The eleven essays in this volume were first published in different journals and collections. Gathered together with a new introduction and a concluding chapter, they are carefully researched articles that highlight three main stages in China’s development story over the past two decades.

The first two published in 1993 mark the great surge that followed Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour. One of them reminds us of the remarkable turnaround after the Western world’s reaction to the tragedy of Tiananmen Square in 1989. The other records the impact of China’s reforms on Hong Kong and reminds us how the colony, as it was then, adjusted to the thrust of China’s challenges.

On the eve of Hong Kong’s return to China, Professor Kueh examines key aspects of change that have wider repercussions both for China and the region and for Hong Kong. His 1996 study of Guangdong’s transformation supports the case to view the province as the “fifth dragon” in eastern Asia. Clearly, it has been the greatest beneficiary of China’s new reform policies. Another essay provides a close examination of the overall effect on Hong Kong’s links with its most important external market, the United States, and shows that Hong Kong has acted as a stabilizer in that relationship. And in the third essay, chapter 10 of this volume and also of 1997, there is a preliminary look at the outreach of the PRC into the APEC framework, one that would accommodate both Hong Kong and Taiwan as thriving economies in the larger region.

Professor Kueh has made important contributions to our understanding of the consequences of the 1997 financial crisis in Asia. Three years after it began, he published his studies on how that sudden downturn that happened only days after the Hong Kong handover led to a near meltdown of several key economies in the region. The four essays republished here describe the various ways Hong Kong dealt with the series of financial shocks that followed. The first shows that the optimism at the handover was justified by the way the SAR coped with the unexpected banking collapses and withdrawals in several partner countries. A helpful chronology of the events from July 1997 to January 1998 has been included here.

Another essay outlines what the PRC authorities did to assist Hong Kong’s financial restructuring despite moments when Beijing wondered whether Hong Kong might become a burden on the PRC. Together with some technical scrutiny of the data pertaining to the “US Dollar Peg,” the third of the essays also explains how “the China factor” served to help Hong Kong overcome some immediate challenges. The fourth of the essays, focusing on what has been called “the Greater China Triangle,” demonstrates the value of the connections that Hong Kong has established over time with both Taiwan and the PRC.

Chapter 11 deals with a decade of two special developments. It is a substantial report on China’s advances since the 1990s into new industries: the electronics and IT industry and the automobile industry. Much of the report details what began well before the 2008 financial crisis and before the report’s first publication in 2009. But, in many ways, this meticulous study of the rapid progress of the industries prepares us to understand both the precariousness of their links with the American market as well as the strong resilience of the Chinese economy when the global crisis struck. The stress in the report on how the industries enabled China to realign its policies towards the Asia-Pacific provides clues to what China may plan to do in order to deal with the recent US-Japan rebalancing. The report was published in Manila and is not easily accessible. Its inclusion here should be welcome to scholars concerned with post-2008 economic readjustments in the region.

The final essay follows the evolution of Chinese policies towards the “open regionalism” favoured by its regional partners. It updates an earlier study of how China’s WTO accession impacted on a number of larger regional arrangements and suggests why that may not hurt the close economic relations that China still wants with ASEAN.

The book’s title Pax Sinica is a little misleading. It implies that the geopolitics in the subtitle might have played a greater part in Chinese policies than we think. By comparing it first with Pax Britannica and then Pax Americana, one could be led to believe that geopolitical factors dominate the changes of the past three decades. Professor Kueh’s essays, however, follow Deng Xiaoping’s emphasis on economic development and how he focused on that almost to the exclusion of everything else. And the book as a whole shows how decisive that emphasis has been. The essays collected here, therefore, provide a great deal of data that point to the fact that it was not until after Deng’s death that geopolitical concerns surfaced as a matter of wider interest. This has more to do with the response of other countries to China’s economic success than any deliberate shift on China’s part. It is not surprising, whether rightly or not, that Professor Kueh is inclined to believe that economics is more likely to prevail over geopolitics.

National University of Singapore, Singapore WANG GUNGWU

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FIGHTING FOR BREATH: Living Morally and Dying of Cancer in a Chinese Village. By Anna Lora-Wainwright. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2013. xv, 323 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) US$52.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3682-5.

Anna Lora-Wainwright’s Fighting for Breath: Living Morally and Dying of Cancer in a Chinese Village provides an ethnographic account of how Chinese cancer sufferers and their family members alike make sense of cancer causality, struggle with medical treatment, and practice care and mourning. Based upon her fieldwork between 2004 and 2005, Lora-Wainwright focuses on the experiences of villagers, with special attention to Gandie and Uncle Wang—both cancer patients from Baoma village of Langzhong in Sichuan province. She not only recounts detailed narratives about cancer as individuals’ lived experience but also offers analyses that treat illness as collective life in the sense that the battle with cancer involves family negotiations and thus recapitulates moral-social life. Her bottom-up case studies outline “an emergent moral economy [of cancer] that combines past and present,” namely, the historical memory of socialism and contemporary experience with state capitalism are intertwined, especially as they clash inter-generationally (42).

The book is divided into three sections, each comprising two or three chapters. Part 1, “Foundations,” lays out a theoretical framework and situates the ethnographic site of Langzhong historically and geographically within China’s political economy. Taking a cue from Arthur Kleinman’s emphasis on the social nature of suffering, Lora-Wainwright in chapter 1 calls for a cross-examination of individual subjectivities and social interactions in the study of cancer in rural China. To understand forms of social relations, she emphasizes the concept of morality (especially family relations), placing it at the heart of her analysis. In the second chapter, Lora-Wainwright explains Langzhong’s situation as a cancer village, delineating its historical trajectory from Mao’s era to Deng’s reform and then to Hu and Wen’s post-socialist China.

Part 2, “Making Sense of Cancer,” seeks to trace the contending ways in which villagers perceive cancer etiology “within the intersecting contexts of the state, the family and local community, and the moral economy of the market” (92). In the first chapter, Lora-Wainwright analyzes three perceptions of cancer etiology: water pollution, strenuous labour work (xinku), and farm chemicals. First, the view about the causal relationship between polluted water and cancer, though well-reasoned, does not register with the villagers because the water problem has structural obstacles that the local officials are incapable of addressing due to financial conditions—hence a problem too common to mobilize local agency. The failure to politicize water, moreover, can be explained by the fact that two other perceptions of cancer cause—hard work and food chemicals—make better sense to the villagers. People had to sacrifice their health in harsh times to work hard for their families’ well-being. The villagers thus recuperate their historical memories of hard work and hardship to explain cancer. Lora-Wainwright suggests that this perceptual link enables the villagers to make the cancer victims into moral subjects. Food chemical as cancer cause also resonates with the villagers because it allows for their agency to avoid cancer by avoiding chemicals to grow foods for their own consumption. The remaining two chapters examine the discursive formations of blame (often gendered) and morality in the context of the village’s changing social reality. The emphasis is placed on how inter-generational differences—a result of China’s economic transition—restructure gender dynamics and perceptions of cancer cause.

Part 3, “Strategies of Care and Mourning,” investigates the various practices and strategies of care and mourning in order to “unpack family relations as always in process, renewed or challenged through social practices” (199). Chapter 1 takes on Gandie as its case study, examining how the extended family practices care and affection. Due to the financial situation and inter-generational divergence, family members differ in their care practices. In chapter 2, Lora-Wainwright first explains healthcare provision in both national and local contexts before arguing that the skepticism and rejection of marketized medicine reflects the family’s moral reasoning. Gandie’s rejection of expensive surgery, for instance, represents his care towards the family, “reproduc[ing] a moral universe in the face of market challenges” (228). In the last chapter, she examines how contested religious and ritual moralities change family relations in the course of mourning.

Lora-Wainwright’s monograph represents ethnography at its best in the sense that her bottom-up studies demonstrate local and inner workings of power relations otherwise not readily available to casual observers. As an ethnographer, she values human experience, not reducing individuals to mere data, because “an anthropology of cancer is not simply another form of cultural critique. This would deny the reality and poignancy of suffering” (262). Lora-Wainwright is persistent throughout the book in her humanistic sensitivity. Moreover, deploying Kleinman’s intersubjective framework in her treatment of suffering as socially negotiated, Lora-Wainwright views cancer as a crisis moment for reconstituting family relations. To help the reader make sense of social suffering, her heuristic use of morality and moral reasoning is highly effective. The book also enjoys a sufficient level of analysis. Lora-Wainwright’s cultural critique is sharp and nuanced. She engages rigorously with cultural critics like Susan Sontag and Pierrre Bourdieu.

The book, however, not only draws from cultural and social theory, but also uses China as a case to modify existing theories. In her effort to investigate consumption and health, for example, Lora-Wainwright, while benefitting from Bourdieu’s habitus, insists on using the Chinese concept of xiguan instead of habitus in order to better understand bodily habits in the Chinese context. This level of conceptual nuance and respect for local context should be applauded. One small reservation that I have concerns Lora-Wainwright’s conceptualization of morality in mostly confining it to family life. Although family relations are central, one may wonder about the extent to which the social and moral life among villagers figures into the political economy of morality. Social pressure and the concept of Chinese face (mianzi), for instance, might materially change the dynamics of family negotiations in cancer treatment. Regardless, Lora-Wainwright’s monograph makes a theoretically sophisticated and empirically nuanced contribution to medical anthropology and the ethnography of rural China. Although it focuses on one Chinese village, the cultural work the book performs will shed light on the moral complexity of contemporary Chinese society.

Stanford University, Stanford, USA Hangping Xu

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THE MIDDLE CLASS IN NEOLIBERAL CHINA: Governing Risk, Life-Building, and Themed Spaces. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 91. By Hai Ren. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xv, 192 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-50135-4.

With China becoming one of the largest economies in the world, the rising Chinese middle-class citizens and their astonishing consumption power have become popular topics in Western media. Yet, in academic circles, the urban middle class as an emerging social group has fallen under the radar, unlike migrant workers, whose work and lives in big cities and industrial towns have received consistent careful examination. Dr. Ren’s timely empirical study allows readers to glimpse the framing processes of the middle-class subjectivities in contemporary China, with an unconventional perspective that elaborates on the performances and effects of an ethnic museum and theme park-based ethnic tourism.

Inspired by Foucault’s “dispositif” in his study of biopolitics, Dr. Ren defines the Chinese middle class as “a dispositive class”: an ensemble of forces, practices and discourses that is “both strategic and technical” (12). To unravel this dispositive class, Dr. Ren follows a three-prong framework: the normative formation of the middle class as a governing strategy; the institutional framing of middle-class subjectivities by cultural industries including museums, theme parks and media; and the self-making process of middle-class individuals as rational, responsible consumer citizens.

Specifically, Dr. Ren starts his discussion by tracing the rhetorical transformation of class composition in official documents in China (chapter 1). When a socialist state was transformed into a neoliberal state since the late 1970s, the “from-cradle-to-grave” planned economic system was replaced by a market-oriented system that redistributed risks and responsibilities to individuals. The proletariat was no longer the leading class as stated in the old constitution. Thank to surveys and statistics as tools that articulated the newly established truth of the existence of the middle class and other classes, a new class structure recognizing the effects of the new self-making processes was inscribed in official speech and documents. Thus the formation of middle class is more than a result of economic growth, but is itself a political strategy of the neoliberal state in legitimizing its rule ideologically and institutionally.

In the next three chapters (chapters 2, 3, 4), Dr. Ren extrapolates the framing of middle-class subjectivities from his ethnographic examples of a Yi ethnic minority museum in Sichuan Province and the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park in Beijing. Museums and ethnic parks illustrate the transformation of cultural institutions that served propaganda purposes to cultural enterprises in China’s neoliberal transformation. As themed spaces, museums and ethnic parks provide controlled built environments to present different temporal and spatial narratives about lives that deviate from those in the socialist period. The adaptation of TV media further promotes the new narratives by bringing the spectacular, including ethnic festivals performed in the ethnic parks, to a broader audience than those who can afford to go to the pricey ethnic park. The new narratives communicate the idea of life as a strategic response to external changes and of nonlinearity and heterogeneity as constitutive of human quality and community life. These narratives resonate with the new configuration of social stratification that is drastically different from the poor but relatively even past. In this sense, with the help of media, ethnic museum and theme parks form part of the governing apparatus that manages risks in the neoliberal order, on the one hand, and teaches the middle class “what living a Chinese everyday life means, should mean, and will mean” on the other (72).

Dr. Ren then continues to explain self-making processes by examining the tourists’ as well as the ethnic workers’ experiences in the ethnic theme parks (chapters 5, 6). He depicts how the tourists took costumed photographs and how they sought to maximize the value of the tour by participating in as many ethnic performances as possible. Seeing these occasions as illustration of the do-it-yourself way of individualizing living, Dr. Ren argues that they are also stages that demonstrate middle-class civility and cosmopolitism, and training grounds that orient individuals to be rational consumers. Yet, the middle-class tourists’ self-refashioning would not be possible without the ethnic workers’ affective labour. Despite their precarious lives in and outside the ethnic park, Dr. Ren argues that these workers’ performance of being “authentically” ethnic enables the framing narratives of the middle-class subjectivities.

The Middle Class in Neoliberal China is theoretically engaging and ethnographically interesting. It is thought provoking for Dr. Ren to argue that the middle class in China can be understood as a statistical fact and a political strategy in articulating a new political order. Inspired by the Frankfurt School and later cultural studies scholars, Dr. Ren’s investigation of ethnic tourism goes beyond the conventional framework of ethnic studies, and probes into the realm of subjectivity in tandem with new forms of governmentality. The propositions of China as “a neoliberal state,” and of identifying the hand-over of Hong Kong in 1997 as the transitional moment from socialism to neoliberalism, which Dr. Ren developed in his previous book “Neoliberalism and Culture in China and Hong Kong: The Countdown of Time” (Routledge, 2010), will continue to be a touchstone for scholars grappling with neoliberalism and China’s transformation. Nevertheless, while the book poignantly analyzes the changes in the framing processes of the new class structure, the readers might still wonder whether the potential framing effects of the new political representations through work and leisure are unique to the middle class or in fact equally applicable to all social strata. As other scholars have demonstrated, the values of individualization as required by neoliberal strategies are well articulated among migrant workers as well as the new rich. Yet, after all, a class structure is inherently built on distinction, if not confrontation. That said, Dr. Ren’s book contributes greatly to the ongoing discussion of China’s structural transformation.

Jun Zhang, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China 

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Northeast Asia


CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE POLITICS: Institutional Changes and Power Shifts. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Tomohito Shinoda. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xvii, 328 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-15853-4.

Contemporary Japanese Politics, by Tomohito Shinoda, is the most up-to-date English-language account of contemporary Japanese politics. It covers both the 38-year period of the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) stint in power (the so-called 1955 regime) as well as the changes that have occurred since the 1990s, culminating in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) becoming government party in 2009. Since thus far there have been only analyses of specific aspects of this change in government (e.g., elections) available in English, a detailed treatise discussing this three-year “DPJ interregnum” is welcome. The facts have been well known, so a reader well versed in the history of party politics and administrative reform will probably not have to readjust his understanding of the developments. That being said, so far nobody has spent the time and effort to put the facts and the substantial existing literature together and present it all in a coherent and concise way. In that sense, the book is a good overview for readers seeking a summary of postwar politics with an emphasis on institutional changes and their effects on political leadership. What is more, the author’s categorization and diligent citation of the existing literature should help those looking for further readings.

Shinoda’s specific aim is the analysis of the power balance between Cabinet, bureaucracy and the Diet against the backdrop of institutional change and what effects these changes had on the government’s operation, more specifically the prime minister’s leadership. He starts out by describing the institutional framework and workings of the government and the LDP under single-party rule. While LDP Cabinets traditionally maintained an effective working relationship with the bureaucracy, they were lacking in leadership. This traditional setup did not last, however, as a series of changes such as the electoral reforms of the 1990s as well as administrative reforms strengthening the prime minister’s authority, thereby paving the way for more prime ministerial leadership. According to Shinoda, these institutional changes were merely a “necessary” but “not a sufficient condition” (7), as “institutions do not produce leadership; they only enable it” (7). To prove this point, he discusses the effects of the reforms on the decision-making process, paying particularly close attention to the Koizumi administration and the DPJ Cabinets. The former is seen as the best example of effectively using the bureaucracy, while exercising the prime ministerial leadership afforded by the new institutional framework. Meanwhile, the three DPJ PMs were unable to effectively use the bureaucracy and/or exercise strong leadership. The same, to a lesser degree, was true for the three LDP PMs that followed Koizumi. Meanwhile, current PM Abe in his second stint is tentatively praised for exercising leadership and making effective use of the bureaucrats, being favourably compared to Koizumi.

While the underlying argument is certainly deeper and more differentiated, the book occasionally comes across as suggesting that the institutional changes of the last two decades created a framework in which all that was needed to succeed in realizing one’s political agenda as prime minister were leadership skills and experience, while ensuring that the bureaucracy cooperates. There, we are told Koizumi and maybe Abe during his second term have excelled, whereas the post-Koizumi PMs, in particular from the DPJ, had  failed by either being unable to secure the cooperation of the bureaucracy and/or exercising leadership. There is a pattern here, though, namely that with the exception of Hatoyama, all five PMs between Koizumi and the second Abe Cabinet faced a twisted Diet (nejire kokkai) which was abused by the respective opposition at the time to derail the government regardless of cost. Shinoda discusses various issues pertaining to bicameralism, e.g., the balance of power between the two houses and the different election systems in various chapters, but I believe the book could have benefited from singling out this issue more clearly as one key institutional variable that determines the ability of the PM to exercise leadership.

The second issue that has to be pointed out is a certain selective view towards leadership. Koizumi is described as the golden standard, while in particular the failures of Cabinets headed by non-LDP PMs are described and criticized in much detail. I would have welcomed a slightly more balanced analysis of the latter. For instance, given that the author discusses foreign and national security policy in quite some detail elsewhere in the book, the lack of any reference to the re-approachment initiatives in the 1990s could be viewed as an important omission. Arguably, Hosokawa and Murayama (successfully) showed considerable leadership in pushing the government to attempt to settle Japan’s long-standing disputes over the interpretation of and reflection on modern history with neighbouring countries, in spite of considerable domestic criticism. Similarly, the critique of the DPJ’s post 3.11 disaster management “excessively” focusing on the nuclear incident in Fukushima, which is contrasted to “each ministry tried hard to respond to the needs of the damaged areas in Tohoku” (220) could have benefited from a more balanced assessment. In this context, more background information on the inefficient nuclear oversight regime which the DPJ had inherited from previous LDP administrations would have been helpful. This system had not only placed the regulatory body (NISA) under the umbrella of the ministry most strongly in favour of nuclear energy (METI), but also provided the veto players like the utility companies with the means to avoid more costly, tougher security measures which may have prevented the meltdowns in the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. Without this information, the book conveys the message that slow post-disaster management was primarily the result of the Kan administration’s ineptness, which against the aforementioned backdrop is questionable.

Irrespective of the aforementioned issues, Contemporary Japanese Politics is a worthwhile read. While various aspects, such as the effects of electoral reform and the rise of the two-party system, have been explored by many authors in detailed studies, Shinoda has to be applauded for presenting the overarching storyline of changing postwar politics and prime ministerial leadership against the backdrop of institutional change in an accessible and concise manner.

Chris Winkler, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, Japan

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ISAMU NOGUCHI’S MODERNISM: Negotiating Race, Labor, and Nation, 1930-1950. By Amy Lyford. Berkeley: University of California Press with the assistance of the Getty Foundation, 2013. viii, 273 pp., [8] pp. of plates (Figures.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-25314-8.

Isamu Noguchi’s Modernism: Negotiating Race, Labor and Nation, 1930-1950 provides compelling evidence to reconsider the work of the artist within larger social, economic and political contexts of pre- and post-World War Two. Amy Lyford brings fresh insight towards a much-needed corrective of the binary of identity that has manifested itself throughout discussions of Noguchi’s work, obscuring larger issues of race and identity. With hindsight as its backdrop, Lyford recontextualizes the early work of Isamu Noguchi within a compelling and nuanced interpretation foregrounding racial and identity politics. This approach is central in decoding both the choices in artistic form and the places through which the artist laboured.

Noguchi was anomalous in many ways. His identity as a Japanese-American, artist, furniture maker and landscape designer, who worked in Paris with Brancusi and voluntarily interned himself at Poston Relocation centre during the Japanese-American internment, has provided rich fodder for analysis. No identity is singular, and yet the racial discourse of the first half of the twentieth century was part of a very different ideological understanding of race, identity and community, which may account for its apparent lack of sophistication now.

The book is driven by the social and political discourses of the 1930s to the1950s, to which Noguchi’s work is responding.  Divided into two main areas, the first half of the book is dedicated towards his integration of notions of labour, work and the artist and the second focusing on his identity as Japanese-American during World War Two. Part 1, titled “Labor,” provides detailed discussions and documentations of Noguchi’s works and unrealized plans that all foreground the notion of artist as social agent. These works, including Monument to the Plow, the Carl Mackley Memorial, and the design for the Associated Press mural, are developed as the forms through which Noguchi can express the collusion of identity of artist as labourer. Particularly for the Associated Press mural, located at Rockefeller Center where Diego Rivera’s iconic Man at the Crossroads mural was censored, Noguchi’s left-leanings would have to manifest themselves in other ways.  Lyford uses these plans and sculptures to illustrate how Noguchi invested himself in the production of his work, the subject of which conflated the individual and the labour through the physical representation of the sculpture, and where the production of the work itself provided labour and collaboration among artist and worker.  This beautifully crafted argument draws attention to lesser-known and unrealized Noguchi works and plans, as well as the reinterpretation of well-known ones.

While previous literature both by and about the artist has rooted much of the analysis of his work in his Japanese and European ancestry, implicating identity as a biological constant arbitrating his work, this analysis resituates the complexity of identity and community. Part 2, “Race,” focuses on Noguchi’s nisei identity and his voluntary internment at Poston, as well as an analysis of his group, the Nisei Writers and Artists Mobilization for Democracy (NWAMD). Noguchi’s own ambivalence towards his identity as nisei is examined through his work with the NWAMD and his essay I Become Nisei (appendix 2), as well as through recently uncovered FBI documents and letters.   While race is the overarching theme, it is subtly divided into two sections, internalized and externalized racial identification. Section 4 draws out potential psychologies of Noguchi in his response to the sudden foregrounding of the Japanese part of his identity during World War Two. While always present, as indicated through reviews of his work, Lyford offers more critical analysis of how those reviews continue to mark the artist in gendered and racialized ways.

Particularly apt is her own analysis of both Thomas Hess’ and Clement Greenberg’s critiques of Noguchi’s work in the last sections of the book. Here she utilizes the contemporaneous reviews of his sculpture and exhibitions to delicately, almost surgically, dismantle the Eurocentric and misogynistic construction and conception of the modernist artist as white male, and how that may have impacted Noguchi’s own self-presentation, discussed at the end. This book also illuminates the social and political importance of the shifting relationship between Japan and the US, and its impact on labels of race and nationalism. Lyford’s work is an important reminder that identity, community, race and nation shift over time and important new information often comes from neglected sources.

Lyford makes it easy to see why Noguchi has been interpreted in the ways that he has, but also, why that may not be sufficient. This book surveys the cultural environment to portend precisely why such difficulties and distinctions about both his work and identity will never be fully answered, but can continually be mined to garner a deeper understanding of social and political influences that both compel and restrict both actions and interpretations.

All writing is culture-bound. It reflects the sensibilities and ideologies of its time and place. Noguchi’s work can easily be reconsidered through an analysis today that has articulated hyphenated and hybrid identities, through more sophisticated and nuanced understandings of community, race, ethnicity and identity. His time provided little of that ability, which makes it no surprise that certain aspects of that were either knowingly or unknowingly concealed by the artist, or misunderstood, willfully or not, by his critics.  Lyford’s research has provided a more cultivated analysis that may bridge many of his earlier unresolved acts that culminated in the artist so well-known today. It provides new opportunities for examining Noguchi’s political alliances, his work itself and overarching social agendas of the time.

Stephanie Takaragawa, Chapman University, Orange, USA

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TYRANNY OF THE WEAK: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Charles K. Armstrong. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013. viii, 307 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5082-2.

Despite the recent emergence of interests in North Korea, historical monographs about its foreign relations have been lacking. Armstrong’s book admirably helps to fill this gap. Drawing on archival materials from former communist countries in Eastern Europe, China and the Soviet Union, he reconstructs North Korea’s foreign relations in the global context.

In chapter 1, Armstrong first shows the context of the North Korean attack on South Korea in June 1950, drawing on Soviet and Chinese documents. Then, he offers an original account of the occupation policies of South and North Korea, along with brutalities committed by both sides, as zones of occupations changed during the war. Kim Il Sung developed suspicions about the Soviet Union and China by the end of the war, and wished to pursue a policy of self-reliance (50). However, for the post-war reconstruction, North Korea had to rely heavily on Soviet assistance. Chapter 2 offers vivid accounts about the reconstruction of Pyongyang and Hamhŭng city, which was rebuilt with assistance from East Germany.

In chapter 3, Armstrong shows the process through which Kim Il-sung consolidated his leadership in the 1950s by purging the Soviet-Korean and Yanan groups (99). While blocking the destabilizing effects of de-Stalinization, Kim’s regime began promoting its nationalistic Juche ideology, and began distancing itself from China as well. With the emergence of the Sino-Soviet split in the late 1950s, Kim skilfully maintained a diplomatic balance between them.   Armstrong confirms that the signing of two similar alliance treaties with Beijing and Moscow in July 1961 were the outcome of Kim’s masterful manipulation through phased secret negotiations, rather than an outcome of trilateral cooperation in the communist bloc (125). The author shows that this method of carefully steering “a course between the Soviet Union and China, refusing to take sides” continued until the end of the Cold War. Through such skilful diplomacy, Pyongyang gained economic assistance and pledges of military aid from both sides.

During the 1960s North Korea made progress in securing support from newly independent countries in Asia and Africa as a seemingly successful example of postcolonial nation-building, as shown in chapter 4 (143). During the Vietnam War, North Korea covertly provided a small number of pilots and medicine to North Vietnam while South Korea openly sent combat troops to support the US war efforts. From the late 1960s, Pyongyang embarked on a series of provocative actions in its policy toward South Korea and the United States. In particular, detaining a US intelligence vessel and its crew during the Pueblo Incident was regarded as too provocative by Moscow. But with the start of détente diplomacy between China and the United States, North Korea reached a short-lived agreement with South Korea in July 1972, which pledged to refrain from mutual criticism and to pursue unification through dialogue and without foreign interference.

During the 1970s, North Korea exerted its efforts to reach out to the United States, Japan and western European countries. But chapter 5 shows that such efforts could not achieve much success, with the decline of detente mood within the Korean peninsula and in Asia more widely since the mid-1970s. Pyongyang’s provocations, exemplified by its brutal murder of two American officers in August 1976, further tainted the North Korean image. Its efforts to expand economic interactions with Japanese and European banks also ended with it defaulting on its foreign debt by the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, North Korea continued its efforts to gain support in the Third World.  While expanding its diplomatic reach in Africa, Pyongyang also supported rightwing dictators Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Idi Amin of Uganda. North Korea also gave support to Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic after the Iranian revolution in 1979 (185).  Despite such a diplomatic drive in the Third World,  Juche was never an attractive model for the Third World, though it remained more useful for domestic propaganda and diplomatic rivalry with South Korea (205).

In chapter 6, Armstrong shows how Kim Jung Il came to consolidate his position as the successor of his father through an elaborate personality cult beginning in the early 1980s. Based on the synthesis of scholarly literature, the author also explains how the transformation of North Korean official ideology, emphasizing Confucian virtues of filial piety and “revolutionary lineage,” justified such a feudal power transfer. But, in the international arena, the non-alignment movement lost momentum while the military balance with South Korea turned against Pyongyang in the second half of the 1980s. The author explains that the marked rise of North Korean terrorist attacks on South Korea was driven by its weakness and fear of a declining correlation of forces (236). Chapter 7 shows how North Korea, faced with the disintegration of the Soviet bloc at the end of the Cold War, chose to pursue fervently nationalistic Korean-style socialism.

In the epilogue, the author succinctly shows how North Korea has struggled to secure its regime survival though “military-first politics,” while failing to emulate the Chinese model of economic opening. He also offers a sharp critique of the approach towards North Korea of George W. Bush’s administration. In his assessment, the Bush administration’s unnecessarily hawkish policy and “Rhetorical Conflation,” defining North Korea as a part of the Axis of Evil, further emboldened North Korea’s resolve to pursue nuclear weapons capability.

Tyranny of the Weak is a welcome addition to the literature on North Korea and the broader history of international relations. It is well couched on small state theory, which underscores the ability of weak states to secure autonomy and influence through a skilful use of diplomacy. While often assuming a sympathetic view of North Korea’s unique situation, the author does not turn a blind eye to the brutality of the North Korean regime.

Armstrong successfully shows North Korea’s interaction with the world based on a masterly use of new historical sources as well as secondary sources in many languages.  Nevertheless, when discussing the twists and turns of North Korean diplomacy, the author could have consulted the South Korean foreign ministry archives and American archives further. Still, Armstrong admirably achieves success in showing the evolution of North Korea’s foreign relations in a truly global context, much in line with the mainstream approach in historical scholarship today.

Seung-young Kim, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom

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POPULIST COLLABORATORS: The Ilchinhoe and the Japanese Colonization of Korea, 1896-1910. By Yumi Moon. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2013. xiii, 296 pp. (Tables, maps, B&W photos.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5041-9.

The most notorious Korean organization, denounced by many (then and today) for its  “treasonous” role in the 1910 Japanese annexation  of Korea, was the Ilchinhoe, translated by the author of this full-fledged study as “Advance in Unity Society.” Yumi Moon’s is a bold and meticulously argued study, with incontrovertible evidence filling up all its substantive chapters. Yet ultra-nationalists on either side of divided Korea today are not likely to take kindly to her findings, for while never questioning the Ilchinhoe’s  odious role in Japan’s takeover of Korea, the author also shows it to have been a reformist organization that was able to rapidly build a truly mass following, ranging anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 members.

It combined a sharp critique of the corruption, incompetence, and “tyranny” of the Chosŏn dynasty’s moribund years with concrete actions for reform, designed not only to ameliorate grass-roots economic distress but also to empower the dispossessed and disenfranchised sections of society, especially in the rural areas. Its early reform platform, stressing people’s “natural” rights, popular participation in government, a limited monarchy, and a national assembly,  recalled the writings of Western-inspired reformist elites in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, especially the failed movement of the Independence Club (1896-1898). The Ilchinhoe also incorporated, however, the more widely based elements of another failed movement called the Tonghak Uprising (1894-1895).

During the late nineteenth century, the Chosŏn Dynasty feebly limped along due to internal factional squabbles, foreign meddling and plots, palace upheavals, assassinations, revolving-door politics of rather bewildering sequences, and reforms announced and reforms quashed. Amidst all this, many Koreans came to admire the Japanese achievements in political, social, educational, cultural, economic, technological and military advancement. The weakness and defeat of Qing China in the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War had made China an unreliable ally for the Korean reformists. Russia, looming large, was aggressive, untrustworthy and beyond the average Korean’s cultural pale. Japan, with its Confucian-Buddhist-Daoist threads of affinity with Korea, which in ancient times had served as an intellectual and cultural bridge from continental Asia to the island nation, assiduously cultivated Korean supporters for its own ambition in the country and on the continent by presenting itself as a model that Koreans could profit from. Beyond that, many Japanese leaders, some inside the government and others outside, and some more subtly than others, also championed the concept of Pan-Asianism, under which Japanese tutelage would offer Korea shared prosperity and progress over time while keeping the predatory Western imperialisms at bay.

Thus when the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) broke out, the Ilchinhoe emerged as a vocal and  active supporter of Japan while steadily gaining adherents for its tax-resistance, tax reform and other significant economic plans for the masses. And plans quickly translated to action. Though inevitably there was some disarray in its rank and file, some uncoordinated action at the bottom with its central leaders, some heavy-handedness by its followers bordering at times on wanton behaviour and lawlessness, the Ilchinhoe  in some areas acted like a mini state within a state, flexing its political muscle through both legal and extra-legal means, collecting taxes according to its own pragmatic definitions of right and wrong, and channeling funds for its own aims, including modern educational schools. In all this, its activists from below commanded as much power as its national leaders. In this respect, it seemed to be Korea’s first modern mass organization. Moon does not go to the extent of calling the Ilchinhoe a democratic organization, for its ideology was not articulated beyond some rhetorical flourishes in that direction, but she justifiably calls its campaign a “populist” movement.

Awakening to the overwhelming power of Japan in the wake of its victory over Russia and then seeing its relentless political juggernaut in Korea, the Ilchinhoe leaders ultimately took the path of least resistance to Tokyo. Persuaded by Japanese professions of friendly goals for Korea, they naively opted for calls seeking Japan’s annexation of Korea. They had made so many enemies among the traditional conservatives as well as among modern nationalists that they almost seemed to have left no other choice for themselves. The new Japanese rulers of Korea decided, on the other hand, that having softened up the Korean monarchy for their own machinations, the Ilchinhoe had exhausted its usefulness to them. After all, any organization aimed at reforming Korea from below could easily challenge the highly centralized structures and methods of Japan’s own designs for Korea. The Japanese rulers could not countenance such a fraught possibility. Thus soon after their goal of annexing Korea was accomplished, they ordered the disbandment of the Ilchinhoe. With various blandishments added, its leaders were neutralized by the Japanese, though many of its followers were not. Neither were masses of other Koreans who now had to decide how to face the prospect of their national identity becoming nothing but a hand-maiden of Japan. Pan-Asianism seemed only a cover for Japanese empire-building.

Upon reading this book’s section about the Ilchinhoe’s dealings with Japan, one is left with an impression not so much of any nefariousness on the part of its leaders as of their folly. And though in its domestic reformist activity, this body clearly had its villains and rogues, one could just as easily put together a rich portrait gallery of crooks and thugs on the other side as well. Overall, this book revalidates my own research years ago, when I wrote a short, preliminary article on this body (in Occasional Papers on Korea, The University of Washington, Seattle, 1974). Author Moon makes a gracious reference to it in her extensive, richly documented book.

Finally, other than some repetitive parts causing a bit of tedium that better editing could have easily reduced, Moon has written a very nuanced work that is sure to be the subject of many animated discussions in Korean history circles.

Vipan Chandra, Wheaton College, Norton, USA

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JAPANOISE: Music at the Edge of Circulation. Sign, Storage, Transmission. By David Novak. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. x, 292 pp. (B&W illus.)US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5392-8.

Engaging and lucidly written, ethnomusicologist David Novak’s Japanoise offers a dynamic analysis of Noise: an underground experimental music formed through transnational circulation of recordings, discourses, cultural imaginaries and creative agents, ranging from listeners to cassette tape collectors, record shop owners, and performers. The book’s title refers to the common view that Noise hails from Japan—an origin myth the book complicates through a series of incisive cultural analyses. Based on extensive fieldwork in Japan and North America spanning the past two decades, Novak weaves lively ethnographic narratives with archival, discursive and sonic analyses to provide innovative theoretical insights into global media circulation.

At first glance, the focus of Novak’s study seems dauntingly elusive. As an aesthetic practice, Noise is characterized by its ambiguity as neither genre nor music; it is defined by its “antisocial, antihistorical, antimusical obscurity” (15). Furthermore, the Noisicians and Noise fans who comprise the “scene” often lack self-identification, social cohesion or geographical foundation. This poses the methodological challenge of tracing the global movement of the loose assemblages of Noise fans and Noisicians, musical media and meanings. Rather than proposing an explanatory model for capturing this moving target in transnational circulation, Novak calls for an open-ended analysis that takes into account unanticipated consequences, productive misunderstandings, and new possibilities.

Despite these challenges, Japanoise maintains coherence through the notion of “feedback”: the conceptual anchor and the most innovative and productive contribution of the book. At once an ethnopoetic lens into the aesthetic principles of Noise and an analytic for describing social processes of cultural exchange and reciprocity, feedback foregrounds how circulation is not simply a movement or process but rather an inherent constituent of creative cultural formation. In Noise performance, feedback is generated by overloading a circuit, often made with guitar effect pedals, microphones and other electronics, by feeding output back into input. The result is an increasing intensification and distortion of sound that reaches the threshold of disintegration. This acoustic principle works as an effective metaphor as a “critique of cultural globalization, a process of social interpretation, a practice of musical performance and listening, and a condition of subjectivity” (17). Rather than conceiving circulation as a passive background against which cultural exchange happens, this powerful concept puts relational analysis of global circulation into constant movement, enabling us to see the productive forces of the messiness of circulation.

The impact of this innovative conceptualization of “feedback” spans various fields, including cybernetics, anthropology, economics, media studies, and popular music studies. Two areas of debate where Novak’s notion of feedback makes a significant contribution are highlighted here. First, while the notion of feedback has already been in use in various social scientific fields to analyze cultural circulation as a mechanism for social equilibrium, Japanoise animates this self-contained notion of feedback by highlighting inherent dynamisms and their potential for producing new possibilities, as well as failures. Secondly, Novak’s notion of feedback challenges Jacques Attali’s canonic work on noise by complicating his mutually exclusive formulation of music and noise, and showing the limitations of his monolithic conception of noise as a totalizing category of difference. Feedback, dynamically conceived, generates differences as it spins out of control; Novak’s insistence on ethnographic attention to the micropractices and individualized embodiments of Noise is a valuable reminder of the importance of recognizing differences within Attali’s “noise.”

Japanoise also challenges the presumed binary between recorded music and live performance, between musicians and audience—analytical variables that are, despite some critical misgivings, still pervasive in scholarship on popular music. Rather than simply assigning agency to consumers, as many cultural studies scholars have done, Novak shows how participatory listening is constitutive of Noise performance, and how the circulation of musical media is a productive culture-making practice. Whereas creative repurposing of technology has been examined in popular music studies, Novak’s take on the agentful role that technologically mediated listening plays in the formation of Noise is a fresh perspective, one sure to impact how creative agency is conceptualized in popular music studies and ethnomusicology.

Echoing the acoustic principle of feedback, the well-crafted book’s key themes loop back to reveal layers of meaning—a case in point being the way the aesthetic description of Noise in the earlier chapters leads to a nuanced analysis of the political potential of the practice in the later chapters. Chapter 1 establishes the idiosyncratic aesthetic principle of Noise, which is based on producing feedback until reaching a breaking point; Noisicians seek to be subsumed by technology, rather than to exercise control over technology. The next three chapters familiarize the reader with the esoteric Noise scene by locating the subterranean distribution networks of Noise recordings (chapter 2), examining the recursivity of listening and playing among Noise fans (chapter 3), and providing a nuanced account of the paradoxically constitutive politics of genre-labeling (chapter 4). In turn, the aesthetic logic of Noise lends itself as a metaphor for the political possibilities of revealing the human confrontation against an overwhelmingly technologized society (chapter 5), a critique of the self-destructive trajectory of technocultural capitalism in Japan (chapter 6), and a form of resistance against the anonymity of online culture and excessive consumerism (chapter 7).

One question remained unanswered for me: precisely what kind of concretely situated social “differences” are embodied and experienced by Japanese Noisicians in contemporary Japan? With a few exceptions, Noisicians portrayed in the book are primarily middle class and male. The lived differences of Noise fans and Noisicians within Japanese society are somewhat obscured by the radically individualized and gender-ambiguous notion of “technocultural subjectivity.” In what ways might social unevenness and difference be implicated in the Noisician’s radical cultural politics? By tenaciously staying underground, what kinds of exclusionary politics might the Noise scene produce, and how does this exclusivity—in terms of access to technology or cultural capital—play into one’s ability to critically engage with/against Japan’s capitalist technoculture? In light of the author’s commitment to the embodied differences among creative subjects of Noise, readers might benefit even more if Japanoise pushed its analytical insistence on differences further to show how the individual embodiment of Noise articulates with social differences in everyday lived experience.

A remarkable display of scholarly integrity, Japanoise is grounded in deep commitment to the aesthetic drive of an expressive culture, locally grounded intellectual insights, and theoretical interventions with broad interdisciplinary implications. As Novak recuperates the productive culture of Noise from—or rather, through—obscurity, he offers significant cross-disciplinary analytical contributions. It won’t be long before we start to hear the amplified echoes of Novak’s analytical insights, resonating in the feedback loops of future scholarship on global media circulation, underground cultural movements, critiques of technocultural subjectivities, and other aesthetic forms of creative destruction.

Marié Abe, Boston University, Boston, USA

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AN IMPERIAL PATH TO MODERNITY: Yoshino Sakuzō and a New Liberal Order in East Asia, 1905-1937. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 346. By Jung-Sun N. Han. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributed] 2012. viii, 231 pp. (B&W illus.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06571-0.

International historians of twentieth-century Japan have understood for a long time that liberals found ways to accommodate the colonialism and expansionism of Imperial Japan. This is usually portrayed as a reluctant compromise with ascendant authoritarian ideologies and behaviours. The contribution of Jung-Sun N. Han’s new work is the assertion that leading liberal political theorists, notably Yoshino Sakuzō, embraced the goal of Japanese expansion on the continent and advocated achieving this goal through liberal internationalism. Japanese imperialist stature abroad would enable at home a political life that met the needs of people regardless of pedigree.

An Imperial Path to Modernity fulfills two purposes. First, it is an intellectual biography of Yoshino. It treats Yoshino as a thinker while a student at Tokyo University and in Europe, as a Christian of Hongō Church and disciple of Ebina Danjō, as an on-site observer of the human and political realities in China and Korea, and as a scholar at Tōdai and a publicist for Chūō kōron and the Asahi newspaper. Han does not take the reader on excursions into Yoshino’s childhood, his family, his personal religious faith, or his final years. Second, it is an account of the journey of a set of notions, labeled variously by Han as “liberal imperialist expansion.” These concepts solidified in Yoshino’s mind during the Russo-Japanese War and the Great War, persisted through the Manchurian Incident in the hands of the Japanese Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations, and culminated in the Shōwa Kenkyūkai ideology of the late 1930s. Despite the prewar timeframe of the narrative, these ideas are not posited as causes of war, but rather as considered responses to the continental violence, political chaos, economic change and big-power hegemony that confronted Japan.

Jung-Sun N. Han is on the faculty of International Studies at Korea University in Seoul. The present study is an outgrowth of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington. He utilizes a wide range of primary and secondary Japanese and English-language sources and conducted research at the Yoshino Sakuzō Memorial Museum in Miyagi.

Han reminds us that in the early twentieth century the notion of “ethical imperialism” was embraced by liberals throughout the world, including Yoshino and his associates Tokutomi Sohō and Ukita Kazutami. Yoshino’s education at Tokyo University grounded him in a Hegelian, nation-state-centred view of human progress in which government was the primary agent for betterment. Under the preaching of Pastor Ebina Danjō, Yoshino came to understand this as a secularized Christian cultural order. It was at Hongō Church where he listened to Shimada Saburō’s liberal rationale for colonization, wherein Korea could be lifted from its backward torpor and transformed by a rigorous and progressive Japan. Throughout his scholarly career ran a consistent commitment to the Meiji ethos of constitutional monarchy to which Yoshino applied the term minponshugi, or government in the interest of the people. He was a liberal in the sense that he wished to cleanse the Meiji spirit of the absolutist influences of bureaucracy and transcendental cabinets. After the First World War, Yoshino was drawn to the labour activism of Suzuki Bunji—also a Hongō congregant—as a means to spread economic benefits among the working classes and to the democratic socialist movement which called on the government to be the mover for economic reform and efficiency.

Drawing from the reports Yoshino sent back to Hongō Church, Han vividly depicts the field experience of Yoshino in China. The recent university graduate spent three years after the Russo-Japanese War in Tianjin as the private tutor of the son of Yuan Shikai. What he saw in China convinced him of the educational role Japan could play to bring China into modernity. When the Qing Dynasty abdicated in 1912, Yoshino was disappointed that China embraced the republicanism of America rather than the constitutional monarchy of Japan. In 1914 Yoshino supported Japan’s Twenty-one Demands, even the notorious Fifth Group of requests. Throughout his career Yoshino accepted the common wisdom that China was incapable of the polity and borders of a modern state. Nonetheless, he welcomed rising nationalism in both China and Korea as signs that, with patient guidance by Japan, these societies could be cleansed of repressive social institutions and throw off the shackles imposed by Western, and even Japanese, commercial exploitation.

Yoshino’s sensitivity to the interest of colonials increased noticeably after World War I. In his writings he enjoined a debate on the application of the Meiji Constitution in Korea and Taiwan, and was critical of condescending attitudes toward colonials among his compatriots. The Reimeikai – a liberal student organization he inspired – promoted yūwa (amalgamation) as a colonial policy alternative to dōka (assimilation). Yoshino believed that, in the postwar settlement and the founding of the League of Nations, the might-is-right ethic had been uprooted, and Japan should follow suit by eschewing naked militarism and selfish interest. By applying the new tenets of international morality, Japan could mount liberal internationalism to an elevated stature among nations. At the same time, he warned that the new world order was conservative in that the powers retained their dominant role.

In the final two chapters of the book, Han moves away from Yoshino to address how Yoshino’s brand of liberalism played out in the hands of others during and after the Manchurian Incident. Here the focus is upon the Japan Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations, which wrestled in the IPR’s biennial conferences with Japan’s military action in Manchuria, the form of Japanese leadership in post-Mukden Manchuria, and an East Asian order to succeed the demise of League of Nations influence in the region. In his many references to the IPR, it is surprising that Han says nothing about Nitobe Inazō, chairman of the Japanese Council from 1928 until his death in 1933 and head of the delegations to the IPR conferences Han treats. Han does rightly focus on an intellectual, Rōyama Masamichi, who was Yoshino’s student and successor at Tōdai and a leading theorist and spokesman for Japan at IPR meetings. As a member of Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro’s brain trust, Rōyama after the opening of the China War laid the intellectual foundations for kyōdōtai, or “East Asian cooperative community,” which rationalized aggression. Here we see in full bloom what Eri Hotta terms meishuron Pan-Asianism, or East Asian integration under deliberate Japanese instigation.

Han’s work on Yoshino Sakuzō’s thought adds immeasurably to our understanding of early twentieth-century Japanese liberals and how their benevolent impulses were folded into the self-serving imperial project.

Thomas W. Burkman, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Buffalo, USA

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CHANGING LIVES: The “Postwar” in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs. Asia Past & Present: New Research from AAS, no. 10. By Ronald P. Loftus. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2013. 206 pp. (Figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-924304-69-9.

In Changing Lives: The “Postwar” in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs, Ronald Loftus applies feminist critic’s Kana Masanao’s argument that men and women experienced Japan’s emergence into the postwar era differently. Indeed, the personal essays and memoirs that Loftus elegantly interweaves reveal Kano’s contention that for women, the heavy weight that had been lifted after the war was indeed the “albatross” of “the very concept of the Japanese ‘male’ (otoko)” (2). But it is much more. As memoirist Yoshitake Teruko explains, the era represents “a revolution in consciousness” for women through their active participation in the antiwar movement of the 1950s and 1960s and women’s lib movement of the 1970s. Casting in relief Yoshitake’s notion that “defeat in war had been, for women, the most wonderful treasure imaginable” (2), Loftus traces moments of historical and personal reflexivity that allowed women to redefine themselves in resistance to a culture that continued to make inhabiting their newfound rights as equal citizens under the law an ongoing challenge.

Introducing some of the “Endings and Beginnings” that these women faced immediately after hearing the “imperial broadcast” (gyokuon hōsō), the garbled words of the emperor who explained that Japan must accept defeat, Loftus opens his analytic translation by juxtaposing this important historical moment with an array of personal moments that function as sites of self-discovery within the lives of women: for example, Okabe Itsuko’s retrospective embrace of the meaning of her fiancé’s final words to her, “this war is a mistake” (11); and Yoshitake’s ability, years after being gang-raped by American GIs during the Occupation, to confront her feelings of hatred and fear through the women’s movement.

Loftus convinces us of the value of these women’s writings as not only personal, but historical writings as well, providing us with telling details of women’s experiences and perspectives that histories so often lack. Knowing that Japanese women were granted the right to vote in April of 1946, for instance, is not the same thing as knowing that girls like Yoshitake “dragged” their mothers to the polls because they knew that “if you do not exercise this important right, then the status of women is likely to revert to what it was in the prewar period” (45). Loftus reminds us that the early postwar women’s movement represented a commitment to peace that spanned the Korean and Vietnam Wars, a torch passed “from woman to woman” through consciousness-raising (62), especially as women struggled to recast their roles as wives and mothers against their new roles as (often token) career women. Yoshitake’s narratives provide the transition between the antiwar and women’s movements so often missing from the histories of postwar Japan, the notion that women’s participation in these important protests paved the way for the Women’s Lib Movement in 1970, in which women unfurled their flag of resentment (怨) in the streets of Tokyo.

The idea of the transformative moment is extended to the writing process in Loftus’ focus on journalist Kishino Junko, who came to see her battle with breast cancer as “the inevitable rebellion of my own body against … me placing work above all else” (115) in a journalistic career that eventually caused Kishino to feel “haunted by recurring feelings of regret that I had virtually erased a part of me that is woman … and had made myself just like me, for whom competition and one’s success in the workplace are everything” (137). And yet it is the transformation of experience into language that becomes the sense of “consciousness” that Kishino craved as a feminist in the 1970s. As Loftus observes, Kishino “occupies that moment of reflexivity” through her writing and, “in effect, not only encounters her own agency but transforms it as well” (117).

Following up on a previous collection of women’s memoirs from the interwar years, Telling Lives, Loftus wisely foregrounds the voices of the women whose lives he chronicles in this new volume, rather than let his analysis get in the way of the women’s writing. My one minor criticism is that I think that Loftus could have retained this primacy of the women’s voices even while weaving his analyses a bit more subtly into the fabric of his chapter, rather than saving the bulk of the analysis for the end of the chapter under the subheading “analysis,” which too radically marginalizes his strong interpretive abilities.

What intrigues me as a scholar of the postwar and contemporary women’s literature is the way in which the authors’ postwar experience is examined through the lens of the contemporary, with Yoshitake and Okabe’s memoirs both being written as recently as 2006, for instance. Looking at history through both ends of the telescope, we find ourselves in the present day in the final chapter, “Framing Gender Questions,” in which Kanamori Toshie, whose professional career allowed her an active life and way of supporting herself after her husband’s death, discusses very current women’s questions revolving around male participation in the domestic sphere. Claiming that women must let go of the “curse” that they must be the sole caregiver of elders, for instance, Kanamori asserts that increased social services should play a role, but so too should men themselves. Males who participate in caring for elders not only allow women to play more significant roles outside the household, but in doing so, men can also glean “the very human experience of understanding how fragile and precious life can be, which comes with the act of caring for another” (164). This “horizontal” personal experience, as opposed to the vertical “chain of command” experience that many men are accustomed to in their working lives, allows men to expand their own frame of reference as human beings. While it would appear in some ways that women are still struggling to free themselves from the heavy weight of the otoko, Changing Lives offers compelling evidence for just how the transformation of women’s lives has been taking place in Japan for nearly three quarters of a century, moment by moment, story by story.

Lee Friederich, University of Wisconsin-Barron County, Rice Lake, USA

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3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan. By Richard J. Samuels. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xv, 274 pp. (Maps, B&W illus.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5200-0.

The massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off Japan’s northeast shore on 11 March 2011 set off a 20-plus-metre tsunami which not only devastated coastal villages in the Tohoku region but also resulted in the fuel meltdowns of three of the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. More than 18,500 people perished in the tsunami and 300,000 residents fled their homes. Some two years later, in the fall of 2013, reports of radioactive contamination in the food chain and the environment continue to proliferate in the media even as experts reassure the public that the health risks are minimal. With some estimates predicting that the total damage will reach more than $300 billion, the disaster is among the most costly in history: four times more costly than the Gulf Coast’s Hurricane Katrina and twice as expensive as the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Samuels’ slim new book provides one of the first wide-ranging English-language scholarly accounts focused not on the disaster itself, but instead on the political and rhetorical responses to it.

The book uses interviews with 70 or so Japanese and US government officials and hundreds of Japanese and English books, newspaper articles, and government publications to map out three main discourses about the catastrophe. Samuels classifies these as “put it in gear,” “stay the course,” and “back to the future.” The “put it in gear” camp hoped to use the disaster as motivation to try out innovative policy approaches, while the “stay the course” camp envisioned the event as a one-in-a-million, black swan-type anomaly which did not require a change in direction. The third camp believed that “Japan must return to an idealized past … by returning to the country’s basic values” (x).

The strength of the “stay the course” camp is remarkable. Across the areas of security, energy and local governance Samuels shows how, time and again, rather than opening windows for new opportunities, the 3.11 disaster magnified normal political processes and reinforced status quo responses. Despite the hype about the unprecedented scale of destruction leading to system-level change, few new perspectives emerged in the post-disaster discourse. While some observers predicted that 3.11 would result in a paradigm shift in areas such as nuclear power promotion, local autonomy, and independent foreign and military policy, few of the players in these areas moved dramatically from their pre-disaster positions. For example, while US military planners hoped the disaster would provide impetus to revise and adjust the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism that synchronizes mobilization of US and Japanese forces, “the government was unwilling to risk sowing panic among the public” (105). Antinuclear activists hoped the Fukushima disaster would cause a sea change in the approaches to nuclear energy from both private industry and the government but “3.11 had virtually no effect on the larger national strategy” (150). Some mayors and governors hoped to “supersize” local governments by amalgamating political units into wider jurisdictions while others believed that Tokyo had already centralized too much power. In the end, government committees suggested only “incremental recommendations for improving disaster response” (178).

Samuels does find some evidence of change in these sectors. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces—an institution often distrusted by many Japanese—gained new legitimacy by demonstrating effectiveness under crisis conditions. Conversely, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) lost its legitimacy, share price, and independence (with the government stepping in to bail it out and ending up owning over half of the firm). Local governments saw that the innovative tactic of counterpart support, where localities unaffected by the crisis sent in personnel and logistical assistance to those at ground zero, worked particularly well. Despite such shifts in public opinion and policies, 3.11 “did not cause structural change to the Japanese body politic” (200).

As with any good book geared to generating theories rather than explicitly testing them, this one raises some questions that require further consideration. First, much scholarship has tackled the question of why some governments stick to standard operating procedures while others set new agendas following major crises such as the Challenger shuttle explosion, the 3/11 Madrid bombing, and 9/11 (Boin, McConnell, and Hart, Governing after Crisis: The Politics of Investigation, Accountability, and Learning, Cambridge University Press, 2008). The book references these studies along with various well-known works on political and institutional change (such as Pierson, Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis, Princeton University Press, 2004 and Mahoney and Thelen, Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, Cambridge University Press, 2009). Future scholarship could use Samuels’ work to test the politics of post-disaster management with a focus on themes he raises, namely institutional inertia, policy entrepreneurs, and political leadership.

Next, while the book considers a number of post-disaster cases from other nations, it opens a tremendous opportunity to look closely at paired case comparisons that might shed more light on why politics-as-usual prevailed in Japan. For example, in stark contrast to the current Japanese government’s ongoing attempt to restart its nuclear power program in the face of widespread public opposition, the German government under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel used 3.11 to halt Germany’s nuclear power program and put in place plans to shut down the 17 nuclear power stations there by 2022. Some potential starting points for investigation include the role of Germany’s Green Party (no such analogue exists in Japan’s party system), the independence of the German media (in contrast to the club-system used in Japan, which generates less scrutiny and criticism), the tighter ties between industry and government in Japan (through institutions such as amakudari), and a more active German civil society (although there are signs of more activism recently in Japan).

Samuels has moved quickly to plot out how an advanced democratic nation has handled a massive, compounded disaster. This book—written and published with astonishing speed compared to the typical glacial pace of academic publishing—properly warns us to look for continuity, and not change, following major catastrophe.

Daniel P. Aldrich, Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA

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NORTHEAST ASIA AND THE LEGACY OF HARRY S. TRUMAN: JAPAN, CHINA, AND THE TWO KOREAS. Truman Legacy Series, v. 8. Edited by James I. Matray. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2012. xiv, 362 pp. (Illus.) US$28.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-61248-014-5.

Edited books tend to come in two forms. Some volumes collect together ground-breaking work on new areas of research; others focus on the familiar in order to provide a synthesis of the existing historical consensus. The volume under review, which is part of a series on President Truman’s legacy sponsored by the Harry S. Truman Library, leans towards the latter approach. Drawing together scholars from the United States, China, South Korea and Britain, its aim is to provide an overview of the record of the Truman administration in regard to one of its most problematical areas of activity, its policy towards East Asia. This is an important topic, for, as James Matray notes in his introduction, this region during the period between 1945 and 1953 witnessed the end of the Pacific War, the Chinese Civil War and the start of the Korean War.

The book is divided into fourteen chapters, three each on various aspects of policy towards Japan, China and Korea, four on intelligence and the conflict in Korea, and lastly a historiographical review of the literature on the opening of the Korean War. The contributors are in the main established scholars who are experts in the field of American and Chinese international history. The essays are accordingly well-written and authoritative, but many of them are also rather predictable, for they are content to follow well-trodden paths. In particular, the decision to include four chapters on intelligence is curious, for their contents overlap too much – one good comprehensive overview would have been sufficient. The best of the essays is the most original, namely the fascinating chapter by Charles S. Young on the way in which prisoners-of-war from the People’s Republic of China and North Korea were forcibly tattooed with anti-communist slogans in order to deter them from seeking repatriation. This is genuinely innovative research, which raises important questions about the nature of the Korean conflict. In addition, the chapters by Gallicchio and Casey contain fresh material and as a result enliven old debates.

In part, the problem with the volume’s predictability is simply in the nature of the beast, but considering the fireworks that this area of research used to stimulate back in the 1970s and 1980s, one cannot help but think that it might have been possible for the organizers of the original conference to have taken a more daring approach. For example, it would have been interesting to hear how some of the survivors from the generation of “revisionist” Cold War historians, such as Walter LaFeber, John Dower, Bruce Cumings or Ronald McGlothlen, viewed Truman’s presidency in retrospect. As it is, despite the fact that the “revisionist” school raised interesting questions about the forces that helped to shape American policy, most notably by looking beyond the American concern with national security to investigate the role of commerce and finance, by reading this book one would, by and large, not know that any controversy had ever existed. One does not need to believe the “revisionist” version of history to find this disappointing, for surely a volume such as this could have allowed for different schools of thought to have been represented and for reflection on past debates in the light of both experience and new sources.

The only exception to the ignoring of the “revisionists” is the historiographical essay by Kim Hakjoon, which deals with the literature on the outbreak of the Korean War. It argues that some of the speculations that the revisionists postulated about the origins of the war have proved to be unsubstantiated and implicitly leans towards the orthodox line that the conflict arose out of the machinations of Kim Il-Sung and Stalin. That may well be the case, but, giving credit where credit is due, it is disappointing that this essay does not address the main contribution that Cumings made to the debate, which was that the Korean conflict began in the summer of 1948 and only escalated into a conventional war in 1950. One can infer from Kim’s chapter that possibly even that is too much for conservative Korean historians to admit, for it is clear from his essay that, while the conflict may be history to the outside world, it is still highly political within Korea.

In conclusion, this is an edited volume that, while containing a number of perfectly well-executed chapters, does not add greatly to the existing literature and, accordingly, leaves the impression of being something of a missed opportunity.

Antony Best, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom

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EDUCATION REFORM AND SOCIAL CLASS IN JAPAN: The Emerging Incentive Divide. Routledge/University of Tokyo Series, 3. By Takehiko Kariya; translation edited by Michael Burtscher. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. x, 221 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-55687-3.

This book by sociologist Takehiko Kariya on education and social inequality is a translation from its 2001 Japanese original. It is the third publication within Routledge’s new University of Tokyo Series, which features translations of Japanese works of University of Tokyo past or present faculty, and it is a particularly readable translation. It is laudable that this book features a new afterword and has added some important information to bridge the gap of 12 years between the original publication and its English translation, but it could have benefitted from updated data, as most of it is by now 15 years old.

Today not a day goes by that Japan’s unequal society (kakusa shakai) is not discussed in the press. More than 2400 Japanese books have been published on the topic, with almost 500 specifically on the topic of education and class or social stratification. Yet Kariya’s original Japanese book was published three years before the term kakusa shakai was coined (in 2004 by fellow sociologist Yamada Masahiro), making him one of the early scholars to argue for the importance of class formation and class reproduction in postwar Japanese society.

Kariya’s book, clearly written for a Japanese audience, argues repeatedly how the educational system, educational reforms and policies, as well as discursive “myths” about Japan’s education and society have contributed to social inequalities and their further increase. He blames the government for deciding quickly on new educational reforms that were poorly if at all researched and for having created a “lost decade” within the educational system.

The book was quite influential when it hit the market in 2001. Reviews at the time in Japan were mostly very positive, yet some questioned the limited scope of some of the data used. Some datasets were not nationwide and only sampled high school students, thus raising questions about generalizability.

The book is a critical account of the historical development of Japan’s postwar education system and educational policy. It is divided into eight chapters and provides in all but one chapter quantitative analyses of data on education and social class. It is a sociological study, employing methods such as cross tabulations, multiple regression, factor analysis as well as path analysis. Data comes, among other sources, from the Social Stratification and Social Mobility (SSM) surveys. The data analysis is thorough and convincing.

In the introduction and chapter 1, the author gives a historical macro-level overview of the changes in Japan’s postwar education and the employment structure. He points to the country’s unique synchronicity in the 1950s and 1960s of fundamental changes in the occupational structure, namely the severe decline in the agricultural sector and the rise in manual labour, coupled with the expansion of secondary education. Chapter 2, entitled “The age of meritocracy,” describes the growing importance over time of educational credentials and the type of high school attended, once high school entrance examinations had turned into a “mass phenomenon.”

A discourse analysis is at the heart of chapter 3 and in my view is the most fascinating part in this study. Kariya looks at longitudinal shifts in teachers’ discourse using the records of the National Education Research Conference of the Japan Teachers’ Union from the 1950s onwards. He analyzes the social construction of “educational problems” in this rich, qualitative data. He describes the discussion of students’ differential treatment based on individual ability in terms of “meritocratic discrimination.” Whereas correlating scholastic achievement and social class background was rejected as causing a “sense of discrimination” in students, only in regards to Buraku education was it acceptable to problematize social inequalities. Kariya calls this the “double standard of inequality,” showing through his data analysis that the influence of social class on scholastic ability is far more pronounced than the influence of a Buraku background.

Chapter 4 once again looks at historical changes, here in regards to Japan’s prewar educational aristocracy, finding status consciousness to have disappeared by the 1970s, despite the fact that students from prestigious universities come from well-off backgrounds and that there is a clear reproduction of social class. In chapter 5 Kariya analyzes data on study effort outside of school, what he calls “learning time,” and chapter 6 looks at data on study motivation, convincingly showing how class disparities in study effort and motivation have expanded during the 1980s and 1990s, with learning time and motivation having declined most significantly among the lower class. On the eve of the implementation of the yutori kyōiku (relaxed education) educational reform of 2002 to reduce learning time even further, Kariya criticized the reforms and predicted a further widening of disparities in scholastic ability.

The analysis of high-school student survey data from 1979 and 1997 is at the centre of chapters 7 and 8, in which the author develops his argument of the “incentive divide.” Kariya finds that in 1979 the greater the level of self-esteem, the higher the level of schooling sought and the longer the study time. In 1997, these correlations had disappeared, with students from low-class backgrounds having developed high self-esteem with decreased study effort on the one hand, and highly motivated students from high social background showing long study hours on the other hand. At this point Kariya’s analysis partially drifts into speculation about class differences in study motivation of students and thus the study would have benefitted from additional qualitative data.

Altogether, this book can be understood as a strong statement against the 2002 education reforms, drawing a bleak picture of the development of the education system in Japan. The book wraps up with a newly added afterword, in which the author describes the impact his study had, with the Ministry of Education revising its curricula for the better in 2010.

As the book was originally a collection of previously published essays and articles, it is slightly repetitive in driving home its argument. Surprisingly, supplementary cram school education is only mentioned very briefly and did not enter any analysis. As the author mentions, the growing trend towards private schools and the growing role of cram schools as shadow education have contributed to the widening of the educational gap. These issues deserved some more attention. Finally, some of the data only sampled male students; we do not learn about the effect gender had on the findings, which could have added some more diversity to this class-based view.

If one keeps in mind that the book was published in Japan a decade ago and included articles published even earlier, this English translation can nonetheless be highly recommended for a general audience as well as scholars on comparative education and Japan scholars. It provides access to a centrally important, classic study on education and social class in Japan.

Barbara G. Holthus, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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THE AESTHETICS OF SHADOW: Lighting and Japanese Cinema. By Daisuke Miyao. Durham, NC; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xi, 381 pp. (Figures.) US$27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5422-2.

Jean-Louis Comolli, building on the work of Jean-Louis Baudry, has argued that cinema functions as a mechanism for the imposition of Western or Eurocentric ideology precisely through the mechanical, chemical and aesthetic components necessary for its production (see for example essays by both in Philip Rosen’s Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology (Columbia University Press, 1986.)) The very equipment of cinema, from lenses to projection apparatus, by necessity, the argument propounds, accepts the underlying ideologies of aesthetics which grow forth from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment to the present, in terms of what constitutes the look and the sound of reality—perspective, camera placement, the specific contrast ratios of film stocks, depth of field, even developments in stereophonic recording and playback—these exist not as universal givens in art but have come to project a dominant way of seeing through the medium of cinema. The cinemas of diverse countries, while presenting narratives in perhaps distinguishable ways, or articulating specific responses to specific social, historical or “national” situations, nonetheless and unbeknownst even to the works of art themselves, accept and adopt a form of hegemonic control: the domination of European-derived visuality.

It is against this backdrop of a technological/ideological analysis of film history that we must situate Miyao’s volume, for in it Miyao explicitly argues “that lighting technology in cinema has been structured by the conflicts of modernity in Japan, including the struggles over how to define cinema, subjectivity, and nationhood” (5). As Miyao himself suggests, his book is a valuable approach to film history, looking not at thematic issues—a valid and vital approach in itself—but at the technical history of cinema’s development as represented by one central studio, Shochiku, here in particular focussing on light, and even further: on the complex, powerful relationship between light and shadow.

Miyao writes well, placing his technical film history within a solid theoretical discourse on the nature of Japan’s tense negotiation between “kindaishugi (the ideology of modernisation, industrialisation, rationalisation, and scientific progress, modeled upon the West) and modanizumu (discourses of newness in everyday life and materials of consumer culture)” (7): that is, the process by which Japan throughout the early part of the twentieth century attempted to determine for itself the nature of its “modern” existence. Along the way, Japanese arts too underwent a self-reflective transformation, balancing their traditions against their current social contexts. Cinema, although a “new” art form—in Japan as well as Hollywood—participated in this transformation, and interestingly, did so in a way which quoted heavily from a “traditionalist” approach to beauty. The substance of Miyao’s film history is to describe the “process of how the aesthetics of shadow has been invented, developed, naturalised, and publicised in the discourse of modernity in Japan” (8), but in so doing, his work also describes the process by which a new, indeed even foreign, art form became “Japanese” through flirtations with Nihonjinron, the “theories of Japaneseness” which were emerging themselves throughout the same period of cinema’s explorations of light and darkness.

The volume is comprised of four chapters with an introduction and a conclusion, each chapter situating Shochiku Studios within a specific context: Hollywood; jidaigeki (period films); Germany; and Shochiku’s main rival, Toho Studios. Miyao highlights the contributions of specific cinematographers, utilizing frames not only from their work but also photographs of them at work, to illustrate his argument. Along the way, we have rich discourse on the Japanese film industry as a capitalist enterprise; the star system; textual analyses of films and their aesthetic and ideological implications; and a discussion of “how and why the aesthetics of shadow, arguably the most significant manifestation on lighting in Japanese cinema, emerged in the late 1930s to 1940s” (12)—the most intense period of Japanese fascistic nationalism. As we can see, Miyao focusses most effectively on an extremely important, formative period in Japan’s still-evolving film history, a period which has received considerable critical attention from both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars, but which still requires much further investigation. Abé Mark Nornes’ Japanese Documentary Film: The Meiji Era through Hiroshima (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and Iwamoto Kenji’s Nihon eiga to nashonarizumu (Japanese Film and Nationalism, Shinwasha, 2004), for example, cover the same period, from very different vantage points, but both provide a good context into which we may favourably situate Miyao’s contribution. This is a solid work, creating an insightful and persuasive argument for the relationship between a particular aesthetic and a particular ideological environment. That Miyao has directed his energies and our attention to the role of the cinematographer in the creation of film meaning is an overdue aspect of Japanese cinema studies. So, too, is his focus on the ways in which aesthetics can both cooperate with and challenge ideological assumptions. Even while working within the confines of an imported, mechanical process, and so partaking of the ideologies which underpin it, filmmakers have the power within their art to articulate specific responses, specific resistances, to those ideologies and others which inform their contexts. Miyao’s volume is an excellent analysis of how they may do so, along the boundary between light and shadow.

Timothy Iles, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

JAPAN’S SECURITY IDENTITY: From a Peace State to an International State. Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series, 45. By Bhubhindar Singh. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. xiv, 212 pp. US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-46336-2.

Japanese security policy has been a subject of heated debates between constructivists and realists. Constructivists, on the one hand, argue that Japan has not developed full-fledged military capabilities despite its economic and technological potentials because it has been constrained by so-called antimilitarism, the political culture shaped by Japan’s disastrous experiences before and during World War II (WWII). Realists claim, on the other hand, that Japanese security policy is well within the explanatory scope of realism and offers different types of realist explanations. Bhubhindar Singh joins this ongoing debate from the constructivist side, but offers a view uniquely different from others in this camp.

Singh puts forward two main arguments, the combination of which makes this book unique from others. First, he differs from other constructivists, who tend to detect continuity in Japanese security policy, by claiming that the changes in Japan’s security policy are real (22-32). Second, he argues that this policy shift has resulted not from changes in Japan’s external security environments, as realists claim, but from the change in Japan’s security identity. In his view, Japan’s security identity has transformed from a peace state to an international state (2-5, 41-74).

Singh defines security identity as the collective image of Japan held or proposed by the security-policy-making elite in the area of security policy (42). He defends this elitist definition by arguing that the identity construction process is largely controlled by the security policy elite (43). He then elaborates on Japan’s identify shift. While his concept of a peace-state identity is heavily derived from the previous constructivist works that emphasize the historical legacy of WWII, the Japanese Constitution, and the so-called Yoshida Doctrine, his concept of international-state identity may require some explanations. According to him, the origin of the international-state identity dates back to the late 1970s, when Japan’s role in the world became increasingly contested due to its increased economic power, and its consolidation process has accelerated in the post-Cold War period (58-61). This international-state identity centres upon Japan’s role as a responsible stakeholder that participates militarily as well as non-militarily in international peacekeeping and disaster relief operations but that does not use force in conventional warfare. This identity transformation is reflected in the three aspects of Japan’s security policy: Japan’s conception of national security, the degree of its involvement in regional and global security, and Japan’s security policymaking regime (69-72). The empirical chapters (chapters 4 to 6) elaborate on the changes in these areas respectively.

While making a unique argument, the book suffers from several shortcomings. First, the elitist conception of security identity seems inadequate to capture what constructivists and other IR theorists usually regard as a collective identity. Identity formation is not a one-way process from the elite down to the mass. Singh’s definition does not capture the other important pathway through which ordinary citizens exert pressure over the elite due to their shared image of Japan’s identity. Second, Singh’s conception of security identity is too inclusive to be useful. This inclusiveness allows him to refer to North Korea’s first nuclear crisis in 1994 and its 1998 Taepodong missile launch as the turning point of Japan’s conception of national security (85-86, 93-95). The author is right to point out that both material and non-material factors contribute to identity formation (42). If the aforementioned factors are significant contributing factors to Japan’s identity change, however, the margin that is left to explain by cultural and normative factors seems rather thin. Third, Singh’s empirical analyses seem more of subjective narratives rather than systemic hypotheses testing or causal (or constitutive) explanations. For instance, Singh elaborates on how Japan’s security policy institutions have changed, but does not pay sufficient attention to why such changes have occurred in the post-Cold War period but not earlier. This may be explained by the change in the normative context in Japan, as the author implies, but it may also be linked to the changes in external security environments.

But the most controversial aspect of this book, and the reason why I believe that this book may be criticized more severely by constructivists than by realists, is the author’s claim of Japan’s identity shift. This claim reminds readers of a fundamental and largely unanswered question for constructivism. That is, how and when can one know a state’s collective identity has changed, independent of its behaviour? After all, other constructivists find continuity where this author finds change, and readers are left unsure of which claim is more valid.

This book’s greatest contribution is the uniqueness of its claim for Japan’s identity change, but this is its most vulnerable point as well.

Yasuhiro Izumikawa, Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan

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JAPAN AND GERMANY AS REGIONAL ACTORS: Evaluating Change and Continuity after the Cold War. Routledge Politics in Asia Series. By Alexandra Sakaki. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. xiv, 209 pp. (Figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-69749-1.

Japan and Germany have been an object of comparative studies in terms of not only their economic power and regional status, but also their historical trajectories in the twentieth century. Yet, there have been few systematic studies comparing these two countries in the area of post-Cold War security and foreign policy, although plenty of works abound focusing on either one of them. This book helps fill the void. In tracing and evaluating the foreign policies of Japan and Germany—using the notion of “national role conceptions”—the book refutes the view that post-Cold War Germany and Japan have followed divergent paths.

In chapter 1, Sakaki explains the theoretical and methodological frameworks, as well as discusses such German and Japanese national role conceptions as “exporter of security,” “promoter and defender of universal values,” “non-militarist country,” “reliable partner,” “regional stabilizer,” “contributor to regional cooperation,” and “respected, trusted country” (this applies only for Japan). In chapter 2, Sakaki isolates national role conceptions through the content analysis of foreign policy speeches made by political elites in Japan and Germany. She then applies the national role conceptions to the analysis of the foreign policy behavior of Japan and Germany in two cases: missile defense policies (chapter 3) and textbook talks with neighboring countries (chapter 4).

Sakaki focuses on the issue of change and continuity in German and Japanese foreign policies in the post-Cold War era, which has attracted much attention but has not been compared in a systematic manner. Her attempt to address this lacuna presents a persuasive explanation of missile defense policies, but less of the respective textbook disputes. Political elites in Germany were reluctant to consider the strategic need for US-led missile defense system while remaining remarkably receptive to Russia’s criticism of the US plans. Sakaki posits that Berlin’s policy was based an emphasis on multilateralism and negotiation as a way to ensure the overall strategic stability of Europe. In terms of national role conceptions, so the argument goes, this German behavior was associated with the “regional stabilizer” role conception, which in its turn contradicted with a competing role conception, i.e., “reliable partner” of the United States and other NATO allies. In contrast, Japanese policy-makers tended to evaluate the US-led missile defense system rather positively. The Tokyo government argued that the missile defense system in question was conducive to the stability of Asia. Sakaki claims that the Japanese attitude was based on a group of the national role conceptions that were not necessarily mutually consistent: “reliable partner” (i.e., demonstrating the loyalty to the United States), “regional stabilizer” (i.e., seeking deterrence and balance of power as a key policy measure for regional stability in a traditional manner), and “non-militarist country” (i.e., stressing missile defense as a non-offensive measure that corresponds to Japan’s defensive, non-militarist strategy). She uses this missile defense case to counter the assertion often made by political realists that post-Cold War Japan has been undergoing drastic changes in its foreign and security policies. Sakaki thus successfully delineates the specific and complex features of the policies of Germany and Japan, and thereby offers insightful comparisons.

On the other hand, Sakaki seems to be less successful in applying the same analytical approach to the case of textbook disputes. She argues that whereas a successful German policy owes to Berlin’s strong and consistent political leadership in solving the textbook disputes, Tokyo’s lawmakers have been more hesitant or even opposed to addressing the problem head-on. This lack of political leadership in Japan stems from the fact that no strong consensus exists , according to Sakaki, among Japanese political elites on contrition and self-critical reflection on the past. Consequently, the Japanese decision-makers have been reluctant to pursue reconciliation efforts, fearful of domestic backlashes which in turn might elicit suspicions among neighbouring countries (Sakai focuses on South Korea).

Sakaki then points out that while Germany’s proactive stance can be explained by such role conceptions as “contributor to regional cooperation” and “regional stabilizer,” Japan’s passive attitude and rightist-nationalists’ opposition to textbook reconciliation seem at odds with the role conceptions of “contributor to regional cooperation” and “reliable partner.” According to these role conceptions, Japan would have played a more positive and supportive role in the textbook issue, especially in the context of recent security tension in East Asia. Sakaki attempts to solve this seeming puzzle by adding one more role conception: “respected, trusted country.” That is to say, she suggests that the nationalist tendencies among Japanese political elites are a reflection of this role conception. But this analytical strategy seems problematic: the more precisely Sakaki tries to explain the Japanese case, the more factors she has to examine in an ad hoc manner.

A part of the problem, in the view of this reviewer, is that the textbook disputes are inherently bilateral in nature: their solution involves South Korea and the Tokyo government’s policy on them inevitably is influenced by the attitude and behavior of South Korea, as well as of Japanese political elites. As such, analyzing Japan’s role conception alone is not sufficient; such an analysis would remain incomplete at best. In this regard, the reviewer wonders why Sakaki disregards nationalistic tendencies in South Korea. More generally, we have to take into account the different policy environment between Europe and Asia when considering the textbook question. The lack of consideration of the regional differences between Europe and Asia on the question of nationalism makes Sakaki’s explanation less persuasive as far as the case of textbook disputes is concerned.

Which general tendency better characterizes post-Cold War German and Japanese foreign policies, change or continuity? Sakaki’s answer to this key question is that “modified continuity” characterizes these foreign policies in spite of some gradual adjustments. Despite her well-balanced and elaborate analysis of Japanese foreign policy, however, Sakaki tends to describe Germany’s regional foreign policy in a too static manner, perhaps because of her efforts to counter political realists as noted above.

Despite of such shortcomings, this book should be strongly recommended as a solid comparative study of post-Cold War Germany and Japan foreign policies, not only for the students and experts of the two countries but also for the broader audiences interested in international relations and comparative politics.

Aya Kuzuya, Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

THE SOUL OF ANIME: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story. Experimental Futures. By Ian Condry. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. x, 241 pp. (B&W illus.) US$23.95. ISBN 978-0-8223-5394-2.

This book explores the development of anime as a social phenomenon where a range of different actors inside and outside the Japanese anime industry work together, collaborating (sometimes facing tension and needing to compromise) at the various stages of the life of anime, from its planning, production and distribution to consumption. The author argues that the “soul” of anime emerges throughout the process and lives of participants’ hard work and devotion and the creative connection and synergy among them. The soul is not fixed, static and textual but it is evolutionary, dynamic and contextual. Thus finding and examining anime’s soul would be more of an anthropological inquiry than a textual or political economic one. I think the term soul is an excellent metaphor that aptly captures social energy, excitement and commitment that are strongly felt by participants in this field but difficult to be theorized and scientifically explained. Similarly, “dark energy,” another metaphor, cleverly conveys social meanings and dynamics generated by interactions among overseas anime fans, anime text and the industry.

While providing lay readers with a good introduction to anime with many interesting findings, the book would also serve as a helpful reference point for academic researchers who study anime, media, media production and distribution, cultural globalization, fan culture and copyright. The author skilfully combines his insights into these issues and neatly interweaves them throughout his narrative. The narrative is engaging so readers can easily follow the main arguments of the book and feel the social energy in the field (or “world”) of anime, however indirectly. As seen from the table of contents, the book’s organization does not show a clear thematic development. Yet, it is visible that the book moves its weight from the culture of anime production to participatory consumption over the chapters while keeping its focus on the collective nature of these activities. The middle part takes historical angles to discuss the emergence of anime during the postwar decades, its growth as a franchise business with close relations with toy merchandising in particular and the co-existence of different orientations of anime aesthetics, production culture and business. Throughout the book, anime’s trans-media and border-crossing life across the fictional, real and virtual has been explored via relevant examples and cases. Overall, the book is informative and engaging, and succeeds in making a persuasive argument that contextualizing anime from social perspectives would be the most fruitful way to understand its multi-dimensionality as a medium, practice and culture.

Meanwhile, I want to point out the book’s two limitations, which apparently stem from its two key threads remaining as threads only rather than acting as theoretical arguments or frameworks that evolve over chapters. The first thread is the usefulness of the anthropological approach for investigating the social world of anime. Although the introduction gives us an effective guide to this approach and the main premises of it are revisited when key anthropological findings are discussed in the main chapters, I seldom feel a strong sense of theoretical development here. The book repeatedly highlights social relationships, settings and meanings found “within” the field of anime. I wish that it could stretch its anthropological investigation outward and explore what happens “in between” anime and society, explaining wider social structures and fabrications that underpin the social side of anime. The second core thread of this book is the idea of the collaborative creativity and social energy involved. The issues of collaboration, co-creation, connectivity and convergence have been hot topics for researchers in media, cultural and consumer studies. Indeed, anime and anime fandom would be an excellent example that vividly demonstrates how these phenomena emerge and evolve, shaping media text and media culture beyond national and linguistic borders. Instead of rather repeatedly arguing the importance of collaboration among participants in the field of anime, the book could make further efforts to help readers understand the social conditions that allow and nurture the prevalence of collaborative creativity. At the same time, the book could generate more concrete intellectual contributions to the ongoing debates around co-creation and convergence by exploring the implications of affective, immaterial and often free work/labour of anime production, distribution and consumption, connecting them to the issues of knowledge, training, management, hierarchy and ownership. Paradoxes, conflicts and dilemmas in this regard are commented on but mostly remain to be captured by relevant metaphors, explained and theorized.

Throughout the book, I can sense the author’s genuine excitement about taking part in the world of anime as researcher and fan. In a way, the book itself can be seen as a part of creative collaboration to expand and deepen the collective knowledge of anime and anime culture. It seemingly chooses to fit comfortably within and add new empirical findings to the existing knowledge while being reserved about unsettling and challenging it and proposing alternative perspectives.

Hye-Kyung Lee, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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NORTH KOREA: Beyond Charismatic Politics. Asia/Pacific/Perspectives. By Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2012. xii, 219 pp. (B&W illus.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7425-5679-9.

More than fifty years after its foundation, North Korea continues to command the attention of scholars and elude current paradigms and theories of social development. Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung’s North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics endeavours to call some of these paradigms into question through an engaging analysis of the country’s changing socio-political system. Drawing on Max Weber’s notion of charismatic authority, the two anthropologists set out to resolve why the North Korean case of charismatic revolutionary rule seems to defy the Weberian model, which assigns it a role of historical ephemerality.

The study is largely concerned with the issue of what Weber calls routinization of political charisma and hereditary transfer of personal charismatic authority from one political leader to another. In trying to understand how this process played out in the North Korean scenario, the authors employ Clifford Geertz’s concept of the theatre state, originally applied to the analysis of a traditional polity, in their effort to extend it to modern revolutionary states such as North Korea. In fact, Kwon and Chung are following in the steps of Wada Haruki, who was the first to apply Geertz’s notion of the theatre state to North Korea. Our authors, however, emphasize that the idea must be situated “more squarely in the context of what Weber calls conflicts between personal and hereditary charisma” in order to grasp its full implications for the field of North Korean studies (45). Pursuant to this objective, Kwon and Chung undertake a series of forays into a kaleidoscopic array of material related to the concept of the theatre state, spanning visual art, architecture, drama, music and cinema to convey the scope of this concept at work. Much of this information, however, comprising the book’s second chapter, is hardly new, derived mostly from well-known secondary scholarship on the subject, although Kwon and Chung do an admirable job presenting it with a fresh new spin.

The work’s more interesting and original insights, however, come from the authors’ elaboration on the culture of gift exchange and its constitutive nature in North Korea’s political economy in chapter 5. Kwon and Chung suggest that the gifts presented to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il by foreign heads of state and individuals, which are housed in two museums in the vicinity of the scenic Myohyang mountains, play a crucial role in the state’s “theatrical politics” (128). They argue that the very organizing principle of North Korea’s modern political sovereignty is based on an idea of the gift in relation to the international community. Thus, the tokens of international protocol courtesy become routinely reinvented as objects of foreign admiration and diplomatic tribute, adding to the domestic prestige and political charisma of the country’s leaders. Above all, the gifts signify North Korea’s aspiring role as the leader of the postcolonial world, providing material evidence of the country’s respected place in the family of nations.

Perhaps, the book’s greatest strength is a consistently careful and thoughtful analysis of a number of key indigenous concepts, essential for our understanding of contemporary processes in North Korea, such as sŏn’gun (“military-first”) and ch’ongdae (“barrel of a gun”). Kwon and Chung identify the sŏn’gun politics, inaugurated by Kim Jong Il in the wake of his father’s death in 1994, as another key element in the drama of charismatic succession. Chapter 3 carefully documents this retroactive “production of historicity” (88) by showing us how the renewed efforts since the mid-1990s to reanimate the myth of the partisan state (which, perhaps, could be more accurately rendered as a guerrilla state) have both enabled and validated the institutional transfer of charismatic authority between the three generations of the Kim dynasty, ensuring its unprecedented longevity. According to Kwon and Chung, the hereditary transfer of charismatic authority was made possible through being vested in a material relic—a gun—which had been handed down from father to son over several generations. In this manner, the legendary revolutionary gun becomes both a transcendental symbol and an actual vehicle for charisma, so that its legitimate owner can wield his charm while in possession of it.

In the book’s closing chapter on North Korea’s moral economy, the scholars discuss the inherent contradictions between the theatre state and the partisan state models operative in the North Korean political system, which were eventually made manifest by the dire economic crises of the mid-1990s, euphemistically referred to as the “Arduous March” in official parlance. The symptomatic failure of the government distribution system during the crisis to provide for the population’s economic needs, which led to a widespread famine, they argue, betrayed the nation’s foundational telos based on the paternalistic idea of a family state, effectively compromising the state’s political legitimacy. As the work’s title suggests, the authors harbour skepticism as regards the future of North Korea’s charismatic politics, which they so masterfully dissect in this study, calling upon Pyongyang to move beyond its narrow confines.

While North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics sets out by taking up an apparent challenge to the Weberian model, in the end, it concludes that an exception only proves the rule, arguing that even North Korea cannot much longer resist “the natural mortality of charismatic power” and escape its inevitable end (192). The authors seem to assume that charismatic authority has been the sole motor of North Korean political life and the real glue that has kept the nation together for the past half-century without giving much consideration to the thought that it may have actually existed alongside and been buttressed all this time by other forms of political authority, such as traditional and legal-bureaucratic. Unfortunately, the majority of primary sources on which the authors rely are mostly limited to the last decade, which makes it difficult to see through the self-devised smokescreen of charismatic politics installed by the North Korean state. If, however, postsocialist studies are any indication, there must be, at least, some legal-bureaucratic mechanism in place behind the dazzling façade of charismatic politics to be accounted for, on which the authors remain silent.

Dima Mironenko, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

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SUPERHUMAN JAPAN: Knowledge, Nation, and Culture in US-Japan Relations. Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, 40. By Marie Thorsten. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. x, 172 pp. (Figures.) US$150.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-41426-5.

This is a new book that covers old ground for the Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, albeit with a slightly different focus. The “superhuman” reference in this case derives from John Dower’s description of Western imagery from the World War II era as presenting the Japanese as both superhuman and subhuman (John W. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, Pantheon Books, 1986). Thorsten revisits the 1980s and early 1990s when Japan was at the height of its postwar economic power and, as a consequence, had become the subject of much torrid debate about the alleged threat that Japan posed to the United States. While the perceived continuity of the “threat” of Japan to the earlier “threat” of the Soviet Union (or to the present “threat” of China) is well known in this field, Thorsten’s focus on the unexpected Soviet launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1957, and how its technological achievement on the one hand and threat on the other were presented as a catalyst for an educational renaissance in the United States, is unusual. Thorsten argues that in the 1980s and 1990s, many American policy makers, commentators, scholars and authors of cultural works tried to put forward Japan’s apparent economic superiority as another “Sputnik”-like moment in American history in order to similarly motivate change and development, particularly in the fields of education, science and technology, so as to solve the equally apparent problem of American decline. For example, author Michael Crichton, in his 1992 novel Rising Sun, offered, in Thorsten’s view, an “unambiguous polemic on why Americans need to ‘wake up’ to the reality of Japan,” with the solution to Japan’s economic threat being to “to learn about, then kick ‘em [the Japanese] out” (30-31). As Thorsten concludes, much American discourse on Japan in this period “called attention to Americans’ need to study and work harder by comparing their inferior performance with the benchmark of Superhuman Japan” (35). She is careful to acknowledge, however, that, at the same time Japan was being presented as “superhuman,” many others in the United States were perceiving and engaging positively with Japan, including those who flocked to learn Japanese, ate sushi, read manga, watched anime and those who drove Toyotas instead of “bashed” them. Thorsten is a strong critic of the myriad presentations of Japan as “superhuman” in the period in question, as she submits that such “reductive pedagogies of fear … constrict imagination and limit our understanding of the world we share” (20). While they also, at least in the Japanese case for the United States, generally failed to produce the outcomes sought, they also allowed “almost dormant obsessions about ‘superior’ others” to be “reincarnated into today’s insecurities,” (2) of which we are all too familiar. In what must have been delightful timing as she undertook the research for this book, she draws attention in the introduction to President Barack Obama’s description of “our generation’s Sputnik moment” in his State of the Union address in January 2011, his connection of “educational performance with international power and prestige” and his comparison of the United States against other, especially Asian, nations (1-2).

The book contains five chapters entitled “America’s Superhuman Japan: from Rising Sun to globalization rising”; “You are Number Two: the awe doctrine from Sputnik to the Japanese economic miracle”; “Supermoms: Kyōiku Mamas’; ‘Super-inhuman: youth and international relations in Battle Royale”; and “Super cool from Sputnik to Japan.” While the chapters on kyōiku mamas [education mothers] and Battle Royale (the 1999 novel by Takami Koushun and two films by Fukasaku Kinji and Fukasaku Kenta in 2000 and 2003) work as separate thematic studies (the first of which arises out of her MA thesis), the other three chapters are, more or less, parts of the same ongoing narrative and argument, so it is unclear why Thorsten has chosen to structure the book and title the chapters as she has. The subtitles, which are not listed in the contents page, are sometimes just as unclear; for instance, there is both a “Superhumanizing” and a “Superhuman” in the introduction, which offer little enlightenment as to their contents.

Perhaps the only failing of the book, however, is that it lacks a conclusion that brings together the strands of argument that permeate a very dense, strongly researched work that, notwithstanding its overt focus on the 1980s and early 1990s, ranges back in time to World War II and well past September 11, 2001 and also deals with similar Japanese discourse about superior “others,” which could have merited more analysis. Instead, one must revert to the introduction, which is admittedly comprehensive. While there is only a selected bibliography, the reference notes, too, are comprehensive. This is a book which offers a good overview of the period in question, without devolving into the nitty gritty of the trade disputes between the United States and Japan, and one that will interest a wide array of readers.

Narrelle Morris, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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ORIGINS OF NORTH KOREA’S JUCHE: Colonialism, War, and Development. Edited by Jae-Jung Suh. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013. viii, 184 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-07391-7658-0.

Jae-Jung Suh’s edited volume Origins of North Korea’s Juche: Colonialism, War, and Development, is a much welcome addition to the field of Korean studies. The essays in the volume, most of which appeared in a 2006 edition of the Journal of Korean Studies edited by Suh, analyze the origins and evolution of the “Juche Institution,” a system that, according to Suh, “has resulted from interactions between North Koreans and outsiders, that has evolved in response to shifting conditions and as a result of anticipated and unanticipated outcomes of choices, that structures not just the North’s political, economic organizations but also constitutes social order, and facilitates certain choices and impedes others as North Koreans continuously respond to indigenous developments and exogenous shocks” (7). The volume thus correctly attaches much more significance to Juche than recent treatments of the idea, and makes important corrections to the narrative of Juche’s origins and application. The essays trace the development of Juche from the colonial period through the 1970s, suggesting that the Juche Institution emerged not purely as a tool of suppression in a brutal leadership competition—as the standard narrative in the English-language historiography has long suggested—but also as a device to limit the impact of North Korea’s putative allies (China and the Soviet Union) on the trajectory of political and economic developments. This developed out of the experiences of North Korea’s leaders with China and the Soviet Union, both proving to be unreliable, and worse, at times exploitive and overly intrusive. Two additional essays in the volume are less explicitly tied to the theme of the Juche Institution and examine the history and collapse of North Korea’s agricultural sector and leadership dynamics in what many incorrectly consider a one-man dictatorship.

This volume makes a very valuable contribution to the existing literature on North Korean history by introducing the work of Korean scholars who have made significant contributions to the Korean-language historiography on the postwar development of the North Korean political and ideological systems. For this fact alone, the volume should be on the reading lists of students of North Korea. For decades, the research of Korean scholars working on North Korea had been hindered by South Korea’s infamous National Security Law, which restricted the access of scholars to North Korean materials. Restraints were lifted, to a degree, in the early 2000s at a time of improved relations between the two Koreas under the progressive governments of Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun. Given the opportunity to work more freely with the available North Korean materials, Korean scholars, primarily political scientists, made significant contributions to the field of North Korean studies. The work of some of these scholars, including Gwang-Oon Kim and Young Chul Chung, are nicely summarized in the essays presented in this volume.

The first three essays (tied together in the editor’s introductory essay) in the volume deal directly with Juche’s origins and evolution. Hongkoo Han’s essay nicely summarizes the findings of his pathbreaking University of Washington Ph.D. dissertation on the so-called Minsaengdan incident that led to the massacre of hundreds (and possibly thousands) of Korean communists at the hands of their Chinese comrades in the early 1930s because of suspected ties to a pro-Japanese organization. Han’s dissertation was already well-known by most students of North Korean history. Han argues that the seeds of mistrust between Korean and Chinese communists were sewn as a result of this incident, over two decades before the founding of the DPRK, during which the future leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, himself narrowly escaped persecution.

Gwang-Oon Kim’s essay, which summarizes the argument in his monumental work Bukhan Jeongchisa yeongu 1 (The Political History of North Korea 1), identifies crude and transparent attempts by Soviet officials to assert their hegemony over and exploit Korea in the years immediately following the country’s liberation. Kim argues that the Soviet influence on the North Korean system should not be overstated. The North Korean state that emerged was not a Soviet puppet regime, but successfully indigenized a variety of influences; Soviet, Chinese, and homegrown.

The argument presented in Young Chul Chung’s essay is largely absent from the English-language historiography, despite representing a developed historiographical line on North Korea’s post-Korean War development in Korean. The essay goes beyond the “power-centred” narrative of the introduction of Juche in 1955 as an instrument of suppression that has long dominated the English-language historiography to reveal significant differences among leading North Korean government and party officials over postwar economic development. Chung’s essay in this volume is representative of the work of a number of Korean scholars working on this critical period in North Korea’s history, including Taeseop Lee, Younchul Kim, and the late Dongman Suh.

The last two essays in the volume are less explicitly connected to the origins and evolution of the Juche Institution. Chong-Ae Yu’s article provides an historical overview of North Korean agricultural development, from the redistribution of land and subsequent collectivization (or as the North Koreans called it, cooperativization or hyeopdonghwa) through its spectacular collapse in the 1990s. Yu describes some of the many triumphs of North Korea’s agriculture prior to its collapse, noting that it was once considered a “poster child for socialist modernization.” One important component of this was the successful mechanization of agriculture, which was carried out both for practical (labour shortages in a country that put so much emphasis on industry) and symbolic (mechanization symbolized modernity) reasons. Unmentioned in the early history, however, was the country-wide famine of 1954-1955 that was a result of the chaotic (and often violent) process of cooperativization. Yu’s comprehensive explanation of the tremendous failure of the agricultural system in North Korea in the 1990s, however, convincingly argues that the eventual collapse of agriculture was in part a result of its earlier successes with mechanization and the interconnectedness of agriculture with energy production and industry.

Finally, Patrick McEachern’s essay challenges the notion that under the leadership of the late Kim Jong Il, North Korea was a one-man dictatorship. He suggests instead that there were divergent and even competing interest groups in the military, Korean Worker’s Party, and cabinet. McEachern’s essay summarizes the argument of his 2011 book Inside the Red Box.

While not enough to diminish from the value of the volume, there are a number of minor errors and inconsistencies between the essays that could have been addressed before going to press. Suh’s essay inaccurately places the North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo in 1969 instead of 1968. Inconsistencies in the volume include the use of different styles of citation in essays and references to Kim Jong Il in the present tense. The latter is less forgivable considering the fact that the volume was published approximately eighteen months after Kim’s death.

While Suh’s very theoretical introduction might discourage those other than political scientists from reading further, the volume as a whole presents much that should be basic knowledge for anyone with even a passing interest in North Korea. The editor should be commended in particular for assembling works by scholars who primarily write in Korean. The volume will be of interest to both political scientists and historians.

James Person, Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars, Washington DC, USA

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DEATH AND DYING IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN. Japan Anthology Workshop Series. Edited by Hikaru Suzuki. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xviii, 240 pp. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-63190-7.

Death has a bad rep. No one likes it, yet it comes to us all. Books on death are, therefore, generally gloomy and depressing, making us further abhor dying. Although Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan is not a particularly cheerful book, it is not only about death but also about the authentic cultural traditions and cosmology of Japan that are intricately related to this subject. Based mostly on ethnographic case studies, the research presented in each chapter stimulates enough of our intellectual curiosity that the grim subject seems to lose its sting. In the end, one feels not depressed but enlightened.

In past centuries, Japan experienced dramatic shifts in demography (e.g., lower birth rate, higher life expectancy, decrease and delay of marriage), economy (e.g., unprecedented prosperity after WWII and the economic bubble/ bust), politics (e.g., feudal system to imperialism to the current democracy/capitalism), and social/environmental (e.g., near environmental-collapse and dissolving of traditional family/community cohesiveness). As a result, according to editor Hikaru Suzuki, death-related ideologies and practices also went through a series of transformations, and this book attempts to answer why and how these changes occurred.

The book consists of three sections: meaning of life and dying in contemporary Japan, professionalization of funerals, and new burial practices in Japan. The first section focuses on the concept of ikigai (“that which makes one’s life worth living”). Mathews claims that ikigai is achieved through either individual self-realization or contribution to a collective whole. This is a refreshing perspective on Erik Erikson’s classic theory: we become who we are through a contribution to a collective whole by leaving a legacy (generativity vs. stagnation in middle adulthood) or individual self-realization by accepting one’s life as is (ego-integrity vs. despair in late adulthood). Interestingly, after her husband’s death Joan E. Erikson decided to add another dimension: gerotranscendence, characterized as moving away from the rational and interpersonal to a more cosmic and spiritual focus during the final stage of life. How might ikigai be manifested in relation to gerotranscendence? Long suggests that a person may find ikigai (or maybe we should say shinigai) by choosing a meaningful place to die. A place of death is not, after all, “merely empty space,” but filled with symbolic meanings of and for the dying person that transcend the rational and interpersonal.

Kurotani’s chapter adds another layer to the discussion of ikigai by introducing a broadly defined Durkheimean interpretation of sarariiman (middle-class white-collar men) suicide in 1990s. She argues that its prevalence was intertwined with a loss of self-identity in contemporary Japan where the once tight-knit community/company and collective moral framework had been replaced by fragmented formal networks and urban, individualized values. Without the traditional social network and strong spiritual beliefs, many boomers chose the ultimate path of taking control of their own death via suicide.

The second part of the book explores the transformation of funeral ceremonies and surrounding professions. Tanaka’s ethnographic study of a funeral home in Tokyo illustrates professionals’ day-to-day activities ranging from savvy marketing to handling a decomposing body. The success of this industry eventually replaced conventional community-centred funerals with “McFunerals,” a mass-produced, efficient, industry-centred funeral system. However, a new trend is emerging which focuses less on efficiency and more on the dying individuals. The new types of funeral ceremonies and burial styles are regarded as an expression of the self (“jibun rashiku”) without strict constraints of religious, ideological or societal obligations. H. Suzuki illustrates “funeral-while-alive” in which a deceased-to-be creates a mock death and celebrates his/her life with people who will remember him/her, thus creating a sense of immortality. Although these ceremonies are not widespread, Inoue (chapter 6) claims many people prefer these non-traditional ceremonies and burials which give the deceased-to-be more control and a sense of belonging.

The last part of the book expands on the previous section, elaborating on changes in mortuary and burial practice. I. Suzuki explores a new form of relationship between the deceased and the bereaved through an in-depth investigation of changing attitudes toward the Buddhist altar and display of the photographs of the deceased at home. Kawano describes a group from the “War Generation” (senchūha) who chose to have their ashes scattered in lieu of a conventional Buddhist burial. These individuals feel that their lives have already been blessed and that having a proper Buddhist burial for themselves would be inappropriate and unfair to their cohort who perished in the war. Boret also reports on the phenomenon of Tree-Burial, which has been gaining popularity since the 1990s. In addition to the sense of survivor guilt, he maintains that the Japanese affinity to nature, partially rooted in traditional Shintoism, plays a significant role in the desire to place cremated remains in a secluded mountain spot and plant a tree above it.

Finally, Hood’s historical investigation of the 1985 crash of JAL 123 into a remote mountain cliff describes a unique memorialization process. A huge facility with stairs and a parking lot had been built for the bereaved (izoku), not at the crash site, but at a more “convenient” nearby location. Hood claims this shows that Japanese ways of memorialization are not so much about religion, but cultural practices which are often amenable to pragmatic needs.

Some may argue that the publication of a book focusing on death and dying in Japan is not appropriate now, because it has been only two years since the 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, an unprecedented tragedy with more than 15,000 deaths and many more still missing. Yet, it is also the 3/11 tragedy that has ignited a discussion on a topic that has been marginalized in both secular and spiritual dialogue. Along with H. Suzuki, I believe that it is extremely poignant and sensitively important to bring up this subject, now. With rapid changes in many aspects of our lives, it is enlightening to see that the society as a whole is eager at last to undertake a definition of what constitutes a “good death” in contemporary Japan.

Masami Takahashi, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA

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INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY IN JAPAN IN AN AGE OF GLOBALISATION AND RISK. By Robert W. Aspinall. Leiden: Global Oriental (imprint of Brill) 2012. xiv, 207 pp. (Tables.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23528-1.

This book has come out of Robert Aspinall’s long-standing research on policy for, and the practices of, English-language education in Japan. His critical views on this theme remain in this book: Japan’s dealing with language education as part of its educational internationalization project is a failure. As stated in the foreword by Roger Goodman, the book tries to offer a “full examination” of the mysteries of Japan, i.e., “how, in a country which is so embedded in the global economy and networks of communication, the level of spoken English is so low” (ix-x). By exploring the theme of education in Japan from a variety of perspectives, Aspinall maintains that “Japan’s international education policy at all levels has failed” (5).

Empirical examination starts with Japan’s coping with foreigners and their languages from the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1960s. In chapter 2, the author suggests that the origin of the malfunction of English education in Japan is traceable in, along with its cultural isolationism, old-fashioned educational methodologies, which he indicates as one of the core problems of English education in Japan in the latter chapters as well. Chapter 3 analyzes internationalization policy at the national level—including English teaching methodology, textbooks, the entrance examination systems, school curricular and the day-to-day use of foreigners in the classroom—as a basis of the failure. Although chapter 4 focuses on problems in the teaching side, many of those problems stem from the Japanese education system as such, which is, as Aspinall rightly argues, a reflection of the national policy. The point of his analysis moves on to classroom behaviour and attitudes towards foreign culture and languages shown by the Japanese youth. Their lack of enthusiasm and motivation for learning English is, as argued in the previous chapter, related to the internationalization policy pursued by the state. The focal point of the book shifts to the private sector in chapter 6, while chapter 7 goes back to criticisms about national policy regarding study abroad programs. Those analyses shown in above-mentioned narrative chapters go along with the notions of “risk,” drawn from the ones of Ulrich Beck, which are explored in the theoretical part, chapter 1. Indeed, this book explains many questions about the failure in English education and, to some extent, internationalization policy in Japan. As shown in his previous writings, Aspinall’s analysis of national policy for English education in Japan is very insightful and justifies his severe criticisms about the policy. His investigation on it is also precise. For instance, questions about English pronunciation asked in the Centre Exam are not only meaningless for actual conversation, but crucially hinder the development of communication skills of young Japanese students, as he argues (79). In addition to analytical parts, the author refers to a number of interviews he conducted with those who have been involved in language teaching in Japan. His arguments are also supported by his own experience as an English teacher in various schools and universities. In fact, examples brought up by Aspinall are convincing evidence of the formidable difficulties for most Japanese in their English communication.One must note, however, that the scope of this book, the whole-scale examination of why Japan has long kept failing in its policy for international and English education, is a challenging one. This question deserves a number of complex explanations. Aspinall provides analysis not just of ministerial policy, but also history, culture, social structure, and sometimes people’s behaviour or attitudes. To make those analyses sustainable, a wide range of academic disciplines and perspectives must be adopted. It is, at the same time, a huge undertaking to complete a thesis out of multi-disciplinary investigations. For a more comprehensive analysis, each of the cases brought up in the book requires investigation at full length. If the author looks at a slow genesis of failure in foreign-language education, for example, the past experience of oppression on a native (national) language, which Japan has had little of, unlike its neighbouring countries, should not be underplayed. Moreover, readers can occasionally find a heavy reliance on a limited sample of literature on topics addressing a broad range of Japanese education and society. Most analysis about the JET program comes from David McConnell’s book. Critical views about Japanese higher education are often cited from the work of Brian McVeigh and Gregory Poole. Issues about Japanese returnees from abroad (kikokushijo) are based on Roger Goodman’s work. In addition, the issues described by Aspinall are largely, though not completely, outdated as Goodman and Aspinall himself admit.

In sum, nonetheless, the book is a product of extensive research and the author’s professional experiences in Japan and the UK. English has now undeniably become the world’s language, including in education by displacing German from science (The Economist, May 29, 2010, 87). In this age of English as “Globish,” this book is not merely an entertaining read for those who are puzzled by Japanese troubles with English proficiency, but a gift of a set of useful reform proposals for English education in Japan which should be taken seriously by policy makers in the country.

Masako Shibata, The University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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THE GREAT ENTERPRISE: Sovereignty and Historiography in Modern Korea. Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics and Society. By Henry H. Em. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xi, 265 pp. US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5372-0.

A quest for sovereignty, or Korea’s validity and equal standing among the nations of the world, is an important feature of modern Korean history, and many political movements unfolded in the process. The “Great Enterprise” that Henry H. Em discusses in his book, however, is not about politics; it is about the writings of modern Korean historians who imagined Korea as a historically valid sovereign nation.

In part 1, Em discusses how Korean elites’ quest for national sovereignty began in tandem with Western and Japanese imperialism in the late nineteenth century. For example, Em analyzes the influence of Western ideas, language and perspectives casting a shadow on Yun Ch’i-ho’s diary entries in English during his years of education in the United States. Likewise, Em finds links between Western Christian missionaries’ search for Korean national language and the Korean vernacular script han’gŭl’s ultimate promotion as a national icon, beginning with its use in the first modern Korean newspaper published by Sŏ Chae-p’il. Japanese influence was evident in the political arena. King Kojong’s acts of declaration of independence and oath before his ancestors were in fact prompted by the Japanese statesman Inoue Kaoru, who sought to ensure Korea’s departure from its historical ties with China and entrance into the global nation-state system. Em emphasizes that Japan served not only as a conduit for modern Western civilization but as a translator of international law and the meaning of sovereignty to Korea.

Em further demonstrates how profoundly Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) contributed to the formation of Korea’s sovereignty. The colonial authorities not only supplied infrastructure and education to Korea but fused the entire Korean population into homogenized subjects beyond the barriers of class, education, gender and geography. Interested in Korea’s past, the Japanese even presented the Sŏkkuram Grotto in the ancient city of Kyŏngju in full restoration, an example of Korea’s achievement in Buddhist art, long forgotten by Koreans. Japanese colonial historians, inspired in part by Western academia, advanced their theories concerning Korea’s alleged dependency on the Asian continent, economic stagnation, factional divisions, and common ancestry with the Japanese. These studies, in retrospect, laid the ground work for Korean studies and provided emerging Korean scholars with opportunities to articulate their antitheses.

In part 2, in his reference to many colonial and postcolonial Korean historians, Em pays special attention to Sin Ch’ae-ho and Paek Nam-un, who advanced revolutionary historical views. Sin’s groundbreaking historical work, published in 1909, argued that the Korean nation began as an ethnic entity minjok from the time of the legendary progenitor Tan’gun and continued to develop in perpetual fight against the forces of the surrounding peoples, such as the Chinese, the Japanese and the Mongols. Sin’s placing the Korean minjok at the centre of Korean history left a lasting impact, particularly on Korean nationalist historiography. Em sheds light on the less known details of Sin’s later shift to minjung, the opposed and exploited majority of the Korean people, and his work as an anarchist in the 1930s. Em then moves on to Paek Nam-un, a Marxist socioeconomic historian who considered class struggle a key to understanding Korean history. Paek was the first scholar to apply historical materialism and its stages of development to Korea’s past, identifying primitive communal society in the early tribes of the peninsula, slave society in the Three Kingdoms, feudal society in Koryŏ and early Chosŏn, and emerging capitalism in the late Chosŏn period. Paek thus rejected the particularism in both Korean nationalist and Japanese historians and instead depicted Korea as a nation in the path of universal historical development and part of the mainstream of the world.

What is the reason behind Em’s focus on Sin and Paek out of many Korean historians who challenged Japanese views and fostered national identity? One may find an answer in his last chapter on “Divided Sovereignty” discussing Korean history writing following the liberation of 1945. He sees two important groups of historians in postcolonial South Korea: Paek’s Marxist group that soon chose to move to North Korea and the group led by Yi Pyŏng-do who had inherited the Japanese methodology of textual criticism. While Yi’s tradition was passed on to Yi Ki-baek, who became linked to US academia through his incorporation of modernization theory, Paek’s scholarship was passed on to Kang Man-gil and Kim Yong-sŏp, the progressive historians who maintained a strong sense of class, anti-colonialism, anti-collaborationism and anti-dictatorship. Their theme of minjung as the primary subject of Korean history dominated South Korean scholarship, especially after the Kwangju uprising of 1980. According to Em, however, the predominance of minjung-centred historical writing is now giving way to the rise of the New Right historians, defensive of South Korea’s political past and critical of the biases of the progressives.

The readers should note that the book does not offer a comprehensive survey of historical writings related to Korean sovereignty. Em’s primary focus, particularly in part 2, is on the genealogy of class-conscious historians from Sin to Paek to Kang and Kim, who imagined Korea’s past centred on the oppressed and underprivileged minjung. Although the book begins with those who sought Korea’s sovereignty in the world, it ends with those interested in popular sovereignty within Korea. Em’s account of Paek’s scholarship and impact on South Korea makes one wonder what contributions he made in North Korea, the home of historical materialism and Marxism. Em is silent on history writing at the other side of the “Divided Sovereignty.”

The book is studded with references to studies by Western scholars, including Bruce Cumings, John Duncan, Andre Schmid, Stefan Tanaka and many more, showing Em’s mastery of the subject. His detailed analysis of the interaction between Korean sovereignty and imperialism/colonialism is convincing, and his overall genealogy of modern Korean historians is plausible. In sum, Em’s book is an important addition to the study of modern Korea and Korean historiography.

Chizuko T. Allen, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, USA

IMPERATIVES OF CULTURE: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era. Korean Classics Library: Historical Materials. Edited by Christopher P. Hanscom, Walter K. Lew, and Youngju Ryu. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2013. xxi, 230 pp. (Tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3281-8.

Imperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era is composed of an introduction and twelve chapters, each of which contains a translation of a text written by a major Korean writer or intellectual and a translator’s introduction both to the author and the work in question. The essays included in this volume cover a temporal range from 1922 to 1948, with a focus on the 1930s. These essays cover an impressive range of disciplines, topics and concerns, including, among others, nationalism, race, imperialism, capitalism, historiography, gender, socialism, proletarian culture, literary form and history, modernism and realism. Imperatives of Culture will for the first time provide an English-speaking readership access to the most important intellectual currents making up the Japanese colonial period in Korea (1910-1945).

The essays by key colonial-period intellectual and literary figures such as Yi Kwangsu, Ch’oe Namsŏn, Paek Namun, Kang Kyŏngae, Chŏng Inbo, Mun Ilp’yŏng, and Ch’oe Chaesŏ are central not only to an understanding of pre-1945 Korea, but postcolonial Korea as well. As Seung-Ah Lee points out in her introduction to Chŏng Inbo’s mid-1930s essay, Chŏng’s tracing of 5000 years of Chosŏn’s ŏl (spirit), influenced President Park Chung Hee’s formulation of nationalism in the 1960s. The inclusion of two post-1945 essays by Kim Tongni and Son Chint’ae further serves to highlight the important connection between the colonial-period intellectual and literary history presented in the first ten essays of the volume and the beginnings of post-1945 South Korean cultural production. At the same time, essays by leftist thinkers and writers such as Sin Paegu, Paek Namun, Kang Kyŏngae and Kim Namch’ŏn will allow readers interested in North Korea to situate post-1945 developments in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula in relation to a history of leftist thought going back to the early 1920s. The works included in Imperatives of Culture, moreover, possess significance well beyond Korea’s borders. Essays by Ch’oe Namsŏn and Kang Kyŏngae concern themselves centrally with the metropole (Japan) and the periphery (Manchuria), while Kim Kirim’s and Kim Namch’ŏn’s works negotiate Western literary forms in complex ways. All of the essays in Imperatives of Culture, in fact, address, in different ways, a global modernity.

Imperatives of Culture provides the opportunity for non-Korean-speaking scholars engaged in transnational, interdisciplinary research on East Asia and the West to incorporate key Korean primary materials into their work. The volume also serves as an invaluable source of materials for a range of undergraduate syllabi, not only Korean history, civilization and literature courses, but also the increasingly important border-crossing courses on East Asian and Western modernity. In terms of the undergraduate curriculum, then, Imperatives of Culture is a most welcome complement to the seminal two-volume Sources of Korean Tradition (Peter Lee et al., ed., Columbia University Press, 1996, 2000).

The essays comprising Imperatives of Culture are extremely well chosen, presenting the richness and diversity of the colonial and early postcolonial Korean intellectual milieu. The translations are excellent, capturing the originals in every respect. Finally, the introductions to the volume itself and to each of the essays, all by Korean studies scholars engaged in cutting-edge work on the modern period, do an impeccable job of situating both the authors of the essays and the essays themselves in relation to a global intellectual and literary history. Imperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era makes a major contribution not only to Korean studies but, more broadly, to Asian studies and to our understanding of colonialism and modernity in the first half of the twentieth century.

Theodore Hughes, Columbia University, New York, USA

ARMING THE TWO KOREAS: State, Capital, and Military Power. Politics in Asia Series. By Taik-young Hamm. Annotated ed. London; NewYork: Routledge, 2012. 256 pp., US$195.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-20792-8.

This book is an inquiry into the dynamics of the armament of the two Koreas, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the Korean War period to the 1990s. The author aims to describe, analyze, and explain the armament processes of the two Koreas using a more objective and critical perspective. ­

This book consists of seven chapters, including the introduction and the conclusion. Chapter 2, “State and armament: theory and hypotheses,” overviews approaches to armament in general, and evaluates relative merits and demerits of the external and internal explanations. While criticizing the arms race model, the author attempts to explain the armament process more deeply and fundamentally by following an approach based on the synthesis of the state and civil society that focusses on resource potential, mobilization and allocation. Then, the author suggests four sets of hypotheses of armament of the two Koreas, one on external relations and others on internal processes, to be examined in the following chapters.

In Chapter 3 “On military capabilities: facts and methods of assessment”, the author attempts to find the most appropriate indicator of the armament process that can simultaneously represent military capabilities and the defense burden. The author criticizes the widely used “bean counts” and their variants including “firepower scores” for their exclusive concern with quantity, and defines that the military capabilities are human, material, and organizational components in quantitative and qualitative dimensions. The author suggests that the stock should be compared in the balance assessment, and the ratio of defense expenditures over GNP represents the burden of national defense in resource allocation in the case of the two Koreas. Noting that the defense expenditure is the best available indicator of military capabilities as well as defense burden, the author examines alternative data sets and balance assessments, as the official defense budgets of the two Koreas are not reliable (to varying degrees).

Chapter 4 “Conflict and militarization on the Korean Peninsula” is a historical description of armament efforts of the two Koreas and consequent dynamics of military balance during the postwar years. The author suggests that the military buildups of the two Koreas have periods of acceleration, deceleration, and status quo. He argues that these changes are caused by both internal and external factors, but that the former has become more important as both Koreas have become more self-reliant in armament funding.

Chapter 5 “Military balance and arms race between two Koreas”, is a more systematic and quantitative assessment of the inter-Korean military balance. The author utilizes the stock of military spending to assess the dynamic military balance, and tries to answer the questions of whether and how the inter-Korean arms race has developed in the postwar years. The balance assessment shows some interesting trends of the North around 1970 and the South since the early 1980s that cannot be explained as an arms race. The author asserts that North Korean military capabilities have remained stagnant or even declined because of internal constraints, especially resource potential. On the other hand, the South Korean military buildup since the early 1980s is not arms race behavior but the result of its rapid economic growth.

Chapter 6 “Resources, state power, and armament” is the analysis of the internal sources of armament. Since available estimates of North Korea’s GNP are incomplete, unstable or biased, as the author estimates it utilizing North Korean national income data, assumptions of its inflation rate, and the consequent exchange ratio of its own currency. The analysis yields the following. First,, overall resource base sets the limit of armament. Second, the limit varies considerably — 20 per cent of GNP in the North whereas 7 per cent in the South. Therefore, the resource constraint is stronger in the North. Third, the defense burden of each Korean state depends on the degree of overall state power. The defense burden grows as state power in extraction grows, reaches a plateau, and then declines as state power further grows. The increased marginal political cost of state power or the increased weight of consent/capital in the composition of state power tends to reduce the relative importance of armament as the means of coercion. Fourth, the autonomy of the state in resource mobilization accrued from massive aid from patron states that enabled both Koreas to over arm themselves until the early 1960s in the North and until a decade later in the South.

Based on the above analysis , the author concludes that, first, the South is far superior to the North in military as well as overall capabilities. Second, it would win with or without US support. Third, the South would be heavily damaged, however, and it would lose what it has striven to defend. Finally, over-arming does not guarantee more security. The author suggests the Korean conflict is not a classical prisoners’ dilemma, for a “tit-for-tat” in confidence-building has not worked well in the past. Then the author suggests that since armament is the outcome of both external and internal processes, one cannot do much with the internal dynamics of North Korea, and asserts that to “buy peace” is a more practical approach. This indeed is true for the economic cooperation between the two Koreas as seen through the success of the Kesong Industrial Complex, even though it is experiencing some difficulties in last several months.

Since the author’s assignment is based on conventional weapons, North Korean nuclear arms and missiles are not taken into account. The author only points out that the North took the nuclear card as it is inferior to the South in the area of conventional weapons. Since this book was originally published in 1999, it could have dealt a little further with North Korean nuclear arms and missiles.

Finally, there was a small but serious error on page 39. The author writes the date of Armistice as “June 27th, 1953”, but it is actually “July 27th, 1953”. This year commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Armistice.

Tomohiko Kawaguchi, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan

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KOREA AND EAST ASIA: The Stony Road to Collective Security. Studies in East Asian Security and International Relations, v. 1. Edited by Rüdiger Frank, John Swenson-Wright. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. xii, 296 pp. (Figures.) US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-22910-5.

East Asia, particularly the Korean Peninsula, has not found a durable solution for reducing mutual threat perceptions and preventing conflict. Korea and East Asia: The Stony Road to Collective Security takes a fresh look at the potential for collective security to play a role in solving regional security dilemmas. All of the authors agree that the conditions in Northeast Asia are not ripe for a collective security mechanism, but, in embarking on this quixotic quest, they shed light on East Asian multilateral institutions, international relations theories, foreign policy strategies, and more.

The volume is the product of a conference hosted in Vienna in June 2010. The chapters were revised until mid-2011, and therefore have missed some key changes—the American rebalancing strategy and new leaders in Korea—but otherwise feel current. The editors added a twist to the traditional edited volume format by including short contributions from the conference discussants, who comment on the main chapters. This internal dialogue adds perspective and depth. The authors are an eclectic mix of academics and former policy makers from Europe, Asia and the United States, and the book includes welcome discussion of the Asia-Europe relationship. Aside from the chapter by Nele Noesselt on Chinese international relations scholarship, there is relatively little investigation of theory. Julie Gilson, writing one of the commentary pieces, finds the lack of reflection on the definitions of regionalism and collective security to be a weakness, but the pragmatic orientation of the volume has more utility for a broader audience.

Much of the book is focused on the complex security challenge that North Korea presents to its neighbours and the world. In the search for collective security solutions, the authors grapple with several paradoxes. They observe that a nuclear-armed North Korea is a terrible problem, but yet not so intolerable that states would cede their sovereignty to a collective security organization. Another contradiction is the importance of making a collective security arrangement inclusive, weighed against the difficulty of dealing with North Korea as a member. Third, there is a paradox in the editors’ laudable goal of treating North Korea as a normal country despite its many idiosyncrasies. Haksoon Paik takes this approach in his chapter “North Korea’s Place in East Asian International Relations,” which illustrates the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing Pyongyang from a sympathetic perspective.

In this examination of East Asian security, the editors also seek to answer the question, “What is the place of Korea in the regional security environment?” Rüdiger Frank notes that the geography of Korea has put it at the centre of regional and even global conflicts and power transitions in the past. For both North and South Korea, the bilateral relationship with China is a critical factor and may shape the future of the peninsula. That point begs the question: to what degree can the two Koreas chart their own course, surrounded by larger powers? North Korea has been more successful at driving its own agenda at the Six-Party Talks, discussed in Chung-in Moon’s chapter, but Pyongyang never seemed fully satisfied with the outcomes. Chaesung Chun observes that South Korea’s foreign policies in the democratic era have been characterized by “incomplete conceptualisation and short-term perspectives and incoherence” (163). David Kang and Leaf-Eric Easley see South Korea as a bellwether in the US-China competition for influence in the region, implying that Seoul will retain a certain amount of leverage as a swing state. Kang and Easley make a strong argument to expect continued US predominance, even before the roll-out of the Obama Administration’s rebalancing strategy.

The discussion of possible collective security mechanisms yields many thought-provoking points. Colin Munro demonstrates how the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could be a template for East Asia in certain respects, such as its confidence-building measures, but he remains skeptical of the prospects for collective security. Munro cites, among other reasons, the lack of consensus on conventional arms reductions and incomplete historical reconciliation. China’s position is also problematic, as Nele Noesselt illustrates in her chapter: China will not cede sovereignty to a multilateral organization and will not renounce the use of force to reunify with Taiwan. Heterogeneity, low levels of mutual trust, and absence of common threat perceptions, are other reasons that authors give for the ineffectiveness of multilateral security mechanisms. Chun observes that the international order in East Asia simultaneously displays features of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern systems.

Despite these serious obstacles, the contributors are generally supportive of sober attempts to improve the East Asian security environment through multilateral institutions. In this regard, the book is a valuable resource for scholars and policy makers assessing President Park Geun-hye’s Trustpolitik and her proposal for a Northeast Asian Peace and Cooperation Initiative. The issue of inter-state trust is present throughout the book. In a chapter centred on Russia’s role, George Toloraya provides a thoughtful outline for constructing a multilateral security structure in Northeast Asia, drawing on lessons learned from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Scott Snyder challenges the conventional wisdom about collective security in East Asia and argues that “national anxieties regarding future developments in security,” not historical constraints, are inhibiting multilateral cooperation (268). Considering factors like nationalism and realist power competition, Snyder suggests that broadening the Sino-Japanese relationship and fostering strategic reassurance between the United States and China ought to be precursors to a successful multilateral solution.

The book covers much ground, but leaves a few stones unturned. There is little examination of historical precedents for collective security mechanisms in East Asia, namely the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). Two chapters focus on contemporary Europe-Asia connections, but only the chapter by Munro provides lessons from Europe’s experience with collective security, lessons which would benefit North American readers. Lastly, deeper consideration of functional/instrumental alternatives to a grand scheme for multilateral security would enrich the discussion.

Ian E. Rinehart, Congressional Research Service, Washington DC, USA

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PROTESTING AMERICA: Democracy and the U.S.-Korea Alliance. Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies, 4. By Katherine H.S. Moon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. xi, 260 pp. US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-9845909-6-4.

Drawing on insights from the social movement, democratic politics and international relations literature, Katherine Moon delivers a well-researched, richly nuanced study of South Korean activism in post-democratic South Korea, and anti-US protests in particular. Moon argues against a standard line of argument that the wave of anti-American sentiment which swept across South Korea in the 2000s was a manifestation of South Korean national identity, nationalism or a generational gap. Instead, she argues that the process of democratic consolidation, and especially decentralization which granted newfound powers to local governments, created new opportunities for South Koreans at the local and national level to contest US-South Korea alliance-related issues. Moon relies on a wealth of evidence from in-depth interviews with activists, NGO staff, local officials, US military personnel, and South Korean and US elites to substantiate her claims.

Following the book’s introduction, Moon devotes an entire chapter to challenging the idea that anti-Americanism in South Korea is driven primarily by Korean nationalism. As Moon writes, “I emphasize that Korean nationalism – elusive and habituated – is a static, overused, and underspecified explanation for diverse political phenomena” (28). To Moon’s credit, even while dismissing the nationalist narrative of South Korean anti-Americanism, she still manages to present an insightful overview and analysis of the complexity of Korean nationalism within a historical framework. The section on youth and generational change, however, was a bit cumbersome, with Moon describing polling and survey data across several pages to make her point that “the generational gap is not an adequate explanation” (57).

Chapter 2 presents the book’s main argument about the effects of democratization and government decentralization on South Korean activism, anti-US base protests, and the US-South Korean alliance. In essence, democratization and the process of decentralization empowered local residents who in the past had little recourse for action to address long-held grievances against the US military and central government. Moon observes that the opening of political opportunities at the local level created a new dynamic for local-central government relations in the politics of US bases.

Chapter 3 illustrates how decentralization in the 1990s helped unleash civil societal activity at the local and national level, giving attention to anti-US base movements and the coalition movement to revise the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in particular. Moon’s research shines in this chapter as she unveils the complex, internal dynamics confronting variegated actors within anti-base movements. Her analysis contrasts the often monolithic portrayal of anti-base movements by the media as anti-American protestors motivated by youthful passion and strong nationalism. The tension between activists rooted in the earlier minjung movement of the authoritarian era and more moderate simin groups which developed during the democratic consolidation period is particularly noteworthy. This theme continues in the following chapter on transnational activism. International solidarity with environmental, women and peace groups in the Philippines, Japan, Puerto Rico and the United States enabled some South Korean anti-base activists to “jettison the old frame of Korean nationalism and anti-Americanism and adopt new values and activist aspirations” (168).

In the final chapter before the book’s conclusion, Moon uses her extensive knowledge of the kiji ch’on undong (military camp town movement) to illustrate inequalities within South Korean civil society. Democratization and decentralization have provided ordinary citizens greater access to political power on the whole, but not necessarily equal opportunities and rights across civil societal organizations. An interesting comparison between the mobilization of kiji ch’on women and comfort women highlights how issues of gender and morality intersect with civil society politics, creating winners and losers in the struggle for rights.

Protesting America is a must read for anyone interested in understanding civil society in post-democratic South Korea. However, the book is not without its flaws. The book lacks a coherent theoretical framework which links government decentralization to any clear outcome beyond greater political opportunity for local actors to participate in base politics. At times, the author makes the bolder claim that decentralization opened the door for the type of widespread anti-US protests taking place in the 2000s, in turn recasting the narrative on US-South Korea relations and producing shifts in basing policy. But such claims require making several causal leaps linking decentralization to alliance politics which are never fully explicated in the book.

Moreover, the idea that decentralization has significantly recast power dynamics such that “the central government no longer has a monopoly over foreign policy and national security” (70) may be overstated. At face value, Moon’s statement is correct. Since democratization, civil society has played a larger role in US-South Korean relations. Moon includes specific examples where social movements mattered, such as the closure of Camp Market and the inclusion of a separate environmental clause in the revised SOFA in 2001. However, the central government continues to assert a near monopoly on national security issues, a point often lamented by anti-base activists themselves. Residents and activists opposed to military base expansion and construction in Pyeongtaek and Jeju Island, respectively, have witnessed firsthand the brute force used by the central government to maintain its foreign policy and national security objectives. Meanwhile, support from the city and provincial government has been ambivalent at best. By highlighting positive examples and avoiding discussion of such negative cases, Moon’s decentralization thesis ends up resting on somewhat weaker ground.

Nevertheless, Protesting America brings a refreshingly new perspective to anti-US protests and US-South Korea relations. In addition to its contribution to our understanding of Korean politics, Moon’s interdisciplinary approach demonstrates how social movement approaches and careful attention towards local politics shed new light on issues often addressed from the lens of international relations.

Andrew Yeo, Catholic University of America, Washington DC, USA

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CONTEMPORARY SOUTH KOREAN SOCIETY: A Critical Perspective. Routledge Advances in Korean Studies, 26. Edited by Hee-yeon Cho, Lawrence Surendra and Hyo-je Cho. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xiii, 226 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-69139-0.

This recently edited book is a rare product in the sense that it is the collaboration of 16 scholars working on diverse issues concerning South Korea, but coming from what the editors prefer to call a “critical” perspective. Critical in this particular context signifies more than merely intellectual; it carries a political significance denoting what in other countries might be termed progressive or leftist. In the 1980s, a group of South Korean scholars, who were at the same time practically activists devoted to the democratization movement, came to form a study group under the flag of “industrial sociology.” They later rededicated themselves to the notion of “critical sociology,” which is now one of the largest academic groups within or around the Korean Sociological Association. Some authors included in this volume appear to have inherited the scholar-activist tradition. Information on its authors’ institutional affiliations shows that some belong to the same institution while others are conducting their research outside of South Korea.

This collaboration, as a product of such a critical orientation, covers quite diverse subject matters: state intervention, authoritarianism, economic development, regionalism, democratization, human rights, gender, civil society, social movement, culture, religion, working class, labour immigrants, welfare, etc. The breadth of topics makes this volume quite an attractive addition to the must-read list of works for Korean studies students and researchers, as most books on a given country these days tend to deal with a smaller number of issues, and not necessarily from critical perspectives.

Most readers will not find it too difficult to understand the importance of critical perspectives in discussing the South Korean case, which the editors repeatedly emphasize in the introduction. As this year happens to mark the beginning of another conservative regime in South Korea, understanding these critical perspectives would certainly help every reader balance her/his view on what the country has gone through during the last half-century or so. South Korea escaped extreme poverty, is achieving rapid economic change and now exporting quality automobiles, cutting-edge mobile phones, entertainment products, etc. to the global market. However, many hard-working South Koreans feel greatly deprived. Such changes have brought about diverse side effects: very slow democratization and political liberalization accompanied by countless sacrifices, a variety of inequalities and divides, increasing immigration, etc. Contemporary South Korea seems to contain all existing and imaginable modern social problems.

In my view, the publication of this book is very timely. Politically, the last decade has witnessed the gradual weakening of progressives in South Korea, to the point of that they have unequivocally lost both local and presidential elections since April 2012. During the same period, the conservatives have more effectively realigned their battle lines, benefitting from the so-called new right movement and other emerging neocon phenomena. A striking difference between the two sides is that the intergenerational transfer of ideology is happening with conservatives only, as seen in the recent Ilbe phenomenon. In the 1980s, when South Korea was under military dictatorship, most people in their twenties and thirties were politically sensitive and even ideologically progressive, unlike those same age groups today. Although it may seem simplistic to divide the process of South Korean politics into just conservative and progressive, it helps to highlight the critically-based value of this book. For many readers of this work, this kind of intellectual effort may help rekindle academic and praxis-centred interest in the realities of South Korea, which may in turn lead to educated activism. These days, the number of Korean studies students and researchers worldwide is increasing more rapidly than ever. Considering the fact that not all of them are fluent in the Korean language, the fact that this book is written in English is significant.

The current edition, however, leaves a few things to be desired. Some chapters would benefit if they elaborated on issue-specific comparisons between critical and non-critical perspectives for those who are unfamiliar with the peculiarities of South Korea. For instance, readers expecting to learn some critical perspectives on class structure may find the book’s introduction of South Korea as having the lowest level of economic inequality (51) somewhat confusing and inconsistent with the overall tone of the volume. This, in my view, seems to exemplify that defining critical is much more thought-demanding than declaring to be so. Critical is relatively easy to define in contrast to conservative, but not so by itself or with diversely interpretable realities. Another question to further think about is: how critical is adequately critical in discussing South Korea when its history has been a complex mixture of quick success and dishonorable events?

Additionally, some chapters that deal with similar or closely related issues, such as the ones concerning gender and social movement, do not seem to organically connect with one another in terms of cross-referencing. The emphasis on critical perspectives from the very beginning would make readers assume that the authors are united in some ways, but their writings turn out not to be so. This probably reflects the reality of academia, where collaboration in the true sense of the word is often hard to realize. Also, use of the term “contemporary” in the title would be more appropriate if some of the statistics and other evidence presented had been more up-to-date. Lastly, unification is an extremely critical issue for the present and the future of South Korea and is directly and indirectly connected to many topics presented in the book. This edited volume, however, does not discuss it in any way.

Gihong Yi, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea

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CHOOSING ETHNICITY, NEGOTIATING RACE: Korean Adoptees in America. By Mia Tuan and Jiannbin Lee Shiao. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012. x, 213 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$22.50, paper. ISBN 978-0-87154-870-2.

Tuan and Shiao’s book is a welcome addition to the literature on racial and ethnic identity development and cultural socialization of transracial international adoptees growing up in white adoptive families in the United States. Their book is based on findings from their extensive life-history interviews of a random sample of 61 Korean-born adopted adults (ages 25 to 51) placed for adoption from 1950 to 1975, and drawn from one adoption agency in the Pacific Northwest. The book examines how these pioneering generations of international adoptees negotiate their racial and ethnic identities and factors within the adoptive family and social environments influential to their ethnic and racial identity exploration (or rejection) from childhood into adulthood. More importantly, this book situates the experiences of Korean transracial adoptees’ ethnic and racial identity development and exploration within the broader Asian-American racial discourse and utilizes their experiences as a means of illuminating current race relations in the United States.

As sociologists, Tuan and Shiao’s book is distinct from prior research on transracial adoption, which has been traditionally dominated by psychology and social work; for a review see R.M. Lee, “The transracial adoption paradox: history, research, and counseling implications of cultural socialization” (The Counseling Psychologist, 31 (6), 2003). Rather than examining the impact of racial and ethnic identity on an adoptee’s adjustment, identity achievement or psychological health, Tuan and Shiao attempt to understand the ways in which Korean adoptees negotiate and respond to the social and political realities of these categories in their lives. The authors assert that Korean adoptees have relative choice concerning their ethnicity in their private lives and decision to engage in ethnic exploration, but have relatively little choice concerning their racial status precisely because race is not private. Like non-adopted Asians, whether Korean adoptees choose to embrace their racial identity or not, they must “negotiate the expectations, judgment and stereotypes that others have of them based on their racial status” (5).

The book does an excellent job of historicizing and situating the rise of Korean overseas adoptions, which developed in the aftermath of the Korean War (1950-1953) and helped to establish policies enabling the growth of international adoption in the latter half of the twentieth century. The authors then focus on findings from their study, which are organized from childhood (through adolescence), early adulthood and later adulthood. In exploring Korean adoptees’ childhood experiences, the authors explore how adoptive parents handled difference (adoption, racial and ethnic) in the family, and how rejection or acknowledgement of differences relate to ethnic identity exploration (or rejection or indifference) in adolescents. The authors then examine how Korean adoptees pursue opportunities for ethnic exploration and conditions that foster exploration in early adulthood and late adulthood. Finally, the authors explore how adoptees choose to ethnically identify and the meaning they infuse to ethnic labels as adults.Many of their findings support current literature, namely, adoptive parents’ attitudes towards racial and ethnic differences, personal experiences with prejudice, and opportunities in the social environment as factors that contribute to ethnic exploration for Korean transracial adoptees. Their study also makes several novel contributions worth pointing out. First, the authors extend H. David Kirk’s theory of “shared fate” to include how adoptive parents not only cope with adoption differences but also ethnic and racial differences in their families. In his seminal book, Shared Fate: A Theory of Adoption and Mental Health (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), Kirk proposed parents coped with adoptive differences by either denying their situation as different from biological parents (rejection-of-difference) or by acknowledging that difference (acknowledgment-of-difference), which facilitated a sense of “shared fate” within the family.While the study found the main premise of Kirk’s theory to hold, with about half of respondents reporting their parents employed rejection of adoptive difference and the other acknowledgement of difference, the authors found a subset of families resorted to mixed strategies depending on the dimension of racial and ethnic difference. Some families, for example, openly acknowledged adoptive difference but rejected racial difference and were neutral on ethnic difference. In addition, they found how families achieved a sense of “shared fate” varied. In contradiction to Kirk’s theory, not all families who acknowledged differences fostered a sense of shared fate. Namely, families that acknowledged adoptive differences but rejected racial differences and did not provide support for racial prejudice, as well as families that excessively emphasized differences, did not foster a sense of shared fate. Therefore, parents were disengaged in adoptees’ racial struggles leaving them to cope with prejudice by themselves.

Second, their study adds to the growing body of research on the importance of early adulthood, far more than adolescence, as a period for pursing ethnic exploration for transracial adoptees. Their study found regardless of whether their adoptive families acknowledged difference or achieved a sense of shared fate in childhood, the majority of Korean adoptees availed themselves of opportunities for ethnic exploration in early adulthood, a life stage marked by a higher level of personal independence and exposure to ethnic status. During this period, ethnic exploration was dependent on institutional availability and opportunities, as well as personal freedom to use those resources. College was a particularly critical context that fostered opportunities for ethnic exploration. The authors also found early adulthood ethnic exploration influenced whether ethnic exploration occurred in later adulthood. That is, respondents who explored their ethnicity in early adulthood were more likely to continue exploration in later adulthood.

Finally, their study provides critical insights into the meaning of ethnic labels for transracial adoptees. Several empirical studies have relied on ethnic labels (Korean, American, Korean American, Asian American) as indicators of ethnic pride and identification. In contrast, the authors found that as adults Korean adoptees utilized ethnic labels as a strategy for addressing recurring questions about their background rather than as indicators of national or group allegiances. In sum, despite the study’s reliance on self-report, the thick narratives obtained by Tuan and Shiao provide important insights and directions for future research that will further enrich our understanding of adoption and ethnic and racial identity development, and the processes of cultural socialization that facilitate ethnic exploration across the lifespan.

Hollee McGinnis, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, USA

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JAPANESE RELIGIONS AND GLOBALIZATION. Routledge Studies in Asian Religion and Philosophy. By Ugo Dessi. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. viii, 191 pp. US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-81170-5.

How and to what extent does Japanese religion (referred to as JR below) respond to, carry and deal with the influence of globalization? Is the gurōbaru (global) of the 2000s parallel to the kokusai (international) of the 1980s in being primarily discourse rather than actually being manifested as practice? Does globalization have important alternatives to the often implied “Westernization,” and what does JR globalization look like? These are some of the questions raised and responded to by Ugo Dessi in the present work.

The book is divided into nine chapters plus an introduction and conclusion.

The introduction serves as the theoretical framework for the whole book, outlining a general list of six roles played by religion within globalization which are further developed in a Japanese context with a typology of 14 different ways in which JR accommodates globalization. These naturally overlap, but are separated as types with which to analyze responses to globalization, primarily observed at the systemic and institutional level within both traditional religions and new religious movements.

A discussion of key concepts (“religion,” “globalization,” “glocalization”) is necessary particularly in a Japanese context. The author shows an acquaintance with important theories and debates within the research literature, and although aware of challenges, such as the biases of relativization and eurocentrism, he is not afraid of using models from the sociology of religion in particular, as well as giving working definitions (16) and an outline of periods of Japanese globalization (19-23).

The rest of the chapters are based on the typology of the 14 topics. Chapter 2 illustrates religious pluralism (interreligious dialogue at Mt. Hiei), inclusivism (religious cooperation through ideas of a common, religious source), and exclusivism (Meiji persecutions of Christianity/Buddhism and Soka Gakkai’s aggressive mission). Such strategies of negotiating (types 1-3) with other religious traditions and their truth claims are part of the theologian’s toolbox, but also function as an analytical tool to capture varieties of institutional religion, including hierarchies, hegemonies and culturalism as disguised universalism (nihonjinron).

Modern Shinto weddings and human rights issues are examples of “Western” influences incorporated into JR (type 4), and it might be interesting to have this topic followed by contemporary “Westernized” versions of Asian “spirituality” (yoga, meditation, feng shui, etc.,) having returned to Japan. The opposite direction of selecting “native” elements to produce “new,” glocal religion (type 5; such as Shinto ecology, animism and syncretism) shows the diverse process of chapter 3’s “shaping new glocal identities.” The latter is related to the cultural chauvinism (chapter 4) also voiced in discourses of the superiority of JR (type 6) compared with foreign influences, or even involving the rejection (type 7) of such influences. Dessi illustrates this with Mahikari and Kofuku no Kagaku, as well as general, reverse orientalist images of “Western individualism” as “Western values” (65).

Glocalization overseas (chapter 5) parallels but also puts into different perspective the challenges of JR. These can be revealed in the marking of identity, either by emphasizing the superiority of Japanese culture (type 10), or by rejecting foreign elements (type 11). Such reactions are particularly typical of first-generation immigrants, and are often implied as an institutional strategy of mission or accommodation. Another response involves the adaptation of foreign elements (type 8; e.g. Zen being “Americanized”) or hybridization based on native elements (type 9, as when Pure Land Buddhism incorporates Zen meditation).

Chapter 6 deals with JR as a carrier of globalization, by influencing other cultures (type 12). Such “soft power” is seen in today’s popular culture, but earlier proselytizing of traditional or new religions, the “Zen boom” and trans-institutional initiatives such as macrobiotics are also examples of this. Particularly the latter and the paragraph on JR organizations funding academic work on JR are new and illustrative.

The author understands secularization as the processes of functional differentiation in which religion is one such system. Negotiation and competition with other such systems are the subject of chapters 7 and 8, corresponding to type 13 (negotiations with politics, science and education), and further discussed in chapter 9, corresponding to type 14 (addressing social problems that are unresolved by other subsystems). The postwar constitution, Soka Gakkai’s and Kofuku no Kagaku’s involvement in politics, the issue of Yasukuni shrine, religion in school education, ethics, environment, poverty, inequality, health and values are topics that are discussed with concrete illustrations from organized religions, networks and NGOs.

In the concluding chapter, the varieties of responses to and negotiations of globalization are wrapped up, asserting that globalization “provides the framework through which religious communication is conceived and religious change takes place, be it intentionally or unintentionally” (149). So what might be against globalization from an emic view is actually, from an etic view, within globalization (149). Globalization is thus seen as a condition, the consequence of an irreversible process, which is also how modernity is often positioned. This might be so, but the assertion of the final line, that religious change is likely to be more and more the outcome of globally minded choices “irrespective of the extent to which they are perceived as such by the religious actors involved in the process” would perhaps benefit from the support of additional arguments.

Another critical remark could be made regarding the overall typological setup framing the content of the book. The framework with the 14 types of responses to and negotiations of globalization is not only relevant and insightful, but also highly applicable as a tool to comprehend the varieties of representation. So it is a pity that they do not stand out more clearly. Why are the two typologies (5-6 and 6-7) not made to correspond more clearly, for instance by compressing the 14 items, several of which are closely related, into a smaller number? Or perhaps an illustration could do the trick, thereby relieving the reader of the somewhat onerous task of remembering all the types thoughout the book.

Notwithstanding all this, Japanese Religions and Globalization deserves praise as a very important scholarly work. Globalization has not been addressed in such a focused and comprehensive manner before in relation to the context of Japanese religion; and the book is thus highly relevant, also more generally for Japanese studies and the comparative study of religion.

Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark Jørn Borup

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NORTHEAST ASIA’S NUCLEAR CHALLENGES. Explorations in Korean Studies. Edited by Su Hoon Lee. Seoul: Kyungnam University Press; Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers [distributor], 2013. 229 pp. (IIIus., maps.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-89-8421-347-0.

As its title indicates, this book covers critically important nuclear issues pertaining to Northeast Asia. An edited volume with contributions from seven authors, some of whom are well-known, the book includes papers that address commercial and military nuclear issues, that is, nuclear weapons and materials and the security threats posed by them to the region. Some of the papers also include limited coverage of the nuclear policies of the United States, Russia, China, North and South Korea and Japan. The book is well organized and all seven papers are very readable and filled with useful general information.

Thus, the book’s single biggest contribution is that it provides general discussions of an array of important nuclear issues and concerns currently germane to Northeast Asia, whether it is the Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear terrorism, commercial reactors in South Korea, China and Japan, the North Korean nuclear problem or Russia’s position on the restraint of nuclear weapons and materials. Students, policy makers wanting to get an understanding of liberal perspectives on nuclear matters important to Northeast Asia, policy wonks and others interested in these issues will find this collection of papers valuable.

It is important to note, however, that the papers in this book are products of a recent international conference on nuclear issues affecting Northeast Asia. And they do, indeed, read like conference papers: good points are often raised but the time needed to think through analytically the pertinent details is too often missing. Moreover, the papers generally lack rich historical foundations, which could provide scholarly segues to deep contemporary analyses of the various topics covered in this book. Citations are too frequently not academic but far too often appear to be what is easily accessible to corroborate different points. Thus, academics and scholars looking for fresh analytical details that are essential to strong and convincing empirical or policy positions may not find these papers too rewarding.

Although the papers all raise important policy questions, they do not give sufficiently detailed explanations of how to implement effectively the proposals that they make. For example, two of the papers that address the North Korean nuclear-weapons issue each propose a different but very plausible solution to this problem: a peace treaty to end the Korean War and the normalization of US-North Korea diplomatic relations. However, neither paper provides a detailed historical and contemporary framework that is needed to demonstrate how exactly these proposals would lead to the North’s denuclearization.

In a third paper that deals with the North Korean nuclear issue the author appears to take the position, at least when it was written, that since Pyongyang had then stopped plutonium-reprocessing activities at Yongbyon, it could turn out, though he admits perplexity on this, that North Korea will rely on uranium enrichment for both commercial power and nuclear weapons. But since Pyongyang has recently restarted its plutonium reprocessing, which he indicated in his paper was a possibility, there is little point to his discussion of how the North will build bombs. Moreover, the generally good description of the North Korean nuclear issue aside, this paper has far too many statements based on assumptions as well as statements that tell readers what the author believes and what he thinks is most likely to happen.

The volume also contains different sets of expectations stemming from President Obama’s commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons, which he made in a speech given in Prague in 2009. With respect to Obama’s commitment, readers of two of the book’s papers have the option to come away either with a not-quite-satisfied perspective, that is, President Obama hasn’t done quite enough, or cautious optimism. But the fact is that President Obama has completely ignored the promise he made in April 2009 to ratify expeditiously the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In the same speech given in Prague, Obama also stated, “my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” Perhaps more unsettling, and for sure very disturbing to the mayors of the nuclear-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is that the Obama administration continues to perform US subcritical nuclear testing (which stops just short of producing a nuclear chain reaction), most recently conducting the 27th such test in December 2012. Both the failed promise and the continuation of subcritical nuclear testing should be taken as important empirical signals that the ideals of politicians offered for public, and in this case global, consumption often do not comport with their political decisions.

Another paper that addresses the continued use of nuclear energy, despite its many manifest and latent dangers, to power the Japanese, South Korean and Chinese economies, concludes with a very brief discussion of the need for countries to transition to clean and renewable energies. Such a transition is especially attractive to environmentalists and others concerned about the serious and enduring problems that nuclear power can bring to societies, something that they are particularly aware of after the Fukushima disaster. However, what is missing is how this transition is to take place. Or put differently, absent from the paper is the important discussion that identifies the strategies needed to be employed that will compel policy makers, who are typically focused on economic growth, to make the change over to these alternative and renewable forms of energy.

All in all, the book is a worthwhile read for those who have a general interest in the important nuclear problems and issues now facing Northeast Asia. The expert, however, should have limited expectations.

Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, USA Anthony DiFilippo

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IMPERIAL ECLIPSE: Japan’s Strategic Thinking About Continental Asia Before August 1945. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Yukiko Koshiro. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013. xvi, 311 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5180-5.

Professor Yukiko Koshiro of Nihon University’s College of International Relations sets herself an ambitious historiographical task with Imperial Eclipse: Japan’s Strategic Thinking About Continental Asia Before August 1945. In the ongoing project to recover the imperial identity Japan lost in 1945, Koshiro seeks to demonstrate how continental concerns underlay Japanese strategic thinking, especially in the last months of the war. The book contends that over the empire’s birth, life and, especially, death, Russia/the Soviet Union, much like a black hole, exerted a powerful yet generally hidden influence over Japanese strategic decision makers. The book is designed to illuminate this underappreciated effect.

Koshiro asks us to re-conceptualize the conflict in which the empire was lost. She rejects the Pacific War narrative as a US imposition which posits the United States as the primary influence on Japan both pre- and post-war. However, a Second Sino-Japanese War narrative emphasizing the struggle between Japan and the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-Shek is equally problematic. The notion of a Greater East Asian War is also too limited for her scope. Instead she makes the Soviet Union a key strategic factor in the struggle and, as the USSR was both an Asian and a European power, posits the name Eurasian-Pacific War to describe the conflict.

However conceived, Koshiro’s key contribution is the interrogation of numerous collections of records thought lost in the bonfires which consumed, and served to obscure, Japan’s imperial project. However, the manner in which she employs this new source material is problematic, and ends up demonstrating a rather different point from the one she intended. While she seeks to challenge the prevailing view of Japan’s orientation between the Soviet Union and the United States, the quality of Japanese strategic thought during the war years, and the termination of the war itself, her source material often proves considerably less authoritative than she claims.

Koshiro’s central contention is that Japanese government and military leaders, anticipating defeat at the hands of the United States, sought to gauge likely postwar continental developments and their effect upon Japan. “The Japanese Government and Imperial General Headquarters monitored the plans of the allies for the disposition of Japan’s colonies, began to anticipate insightfully how postcolonial East Asia would emerge, and built exit strategies around them.” Yet it is in the concept of an “exit strategy” for the war where her argument most seriously breaks down.

Until the very end, Japanese at virtually all levels continued to believe that they had some degree of initiative in determining how the war would end. Strategic thinking about the evolution of postwar continental affairs remained premised on the assumption that these developments would influence Japan, and Japan would retain some degree of influence over them, no matter how modest. But this was a delusion. With the Cairo Declaration of November 1943 the allies (without input or consultation from Stalin) determined that Japan would be stripped of its empire. This was reiterated in the Potsdam Declaration of July 1945. Despite this, Japanese leaders still clung to the belief that Soviet mediation, or even Soviet entry into the war, could be used as leverage against the United States. “Even without playing the mediator,” Koshiro notes on page 285, “Stalin still could have taken diplomatic advantage of Japan’s strategic stalemate on the Soviet-Japanese front by arranging Japan’s surrender and determining the postwar disposition of the Japanese empire to the Soviet advantage.”

The fact that Stalin chose not to do this, renouncing the neutrality pact which still had six months to run, constitutes the “betrayal” of Japan by the Soviet Union. She further notes on page 244 that “bilateral communication between Tokyo and Washington defined the nature of Japan’s surrender. The two nations focused so much on the future of the emperor system that they neglected the fate of Japan’s continental empire, much less Japan’s commitment and responsibility to it. Stalin … let the United States single-handedly define the nature of Japan’s surrender.” But there was no neglect. Japan’s “commitment and responsibility” to the empire had long since been extinguished by the allies and Stalin had already secured all the advantage he desired through the Yalta agreement of February 1945. Ultimately Koshiro does not simply describe the Japanese inability to grasp that they had lost the initiative regarding the end of the war, but manages to recreate it.

While this is the largest problem with the book it is hardly the only one. Koshiro’s contention that the Pacific War narrative is a US imposition simply ignores the extent to which Japanese collaborated in this construction for their own purposes as Yoshikuni Igarashi has well demonstrated (Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). Most of the secondary literature she uses to bolster her contentions is old and has been superseded by more recent work. Notably, she cites Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005) but does not engage him and she entirely ignores the work of Richard Frank (Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, New York: Random House, 1999). Finally, given the new primary source material and ambition to rewrite the scholarly consensus on such a contentious topic the absence of a bibliography is a most curious omission.

Yukiko Koshiro’s Imperial Eclipse adds weight to the case that Soviet entry was the primary motivator for Japan’s surrender in 1945 but its failure to engage the considerable recent historiography, questionable premises and conclusions, and problematic use of evidence severely undercuts the book’s central thesis.

University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, USA Paul E. Dunscomb

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HOUSEWIVES OF JAPAN: An Ethnography of Real Lives and Consumerized Domesticity. By Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. xxv, 273 pp. (B&W illus.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-230-34031-2.

Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni’s new book is a welcome addition to the growing English-language literature on Japanese housewives. Grounded in feminist ethnography, this study examines the social and cultural constructions of the “professional housewife” (sengyō shufu) in postwar Japan. Employing her “anthropological interpretation” of the concept of the “State,” Goldstein-Gidoni contends that it is the Japanese state that has through its various agents and agencies—such as the government, the corporate sector, the media and the market—actively promoted and sustained this role. Uncovering this process, the book “offers a reflective perspective on the ‘real life’ of women and their narrations about it, but also situates their lives and ideas within ongoing cultural and social debates that shape women’s social roles, experiences, and expectations in Japan today” (xvii).

Housewives of Japan is divided into three parts. In part I, the author unpacks her research methodology (chapter 1), critically evaluates the historical process of “housewifization” (shufu-ka) of Japanese women, and summarizes Japan’s “housewife debate” (shufu ronsō) (chapter 2). Part II introduces the study’s ethnographic data, gathered mainly among housewives of a suburban community near Osaka. This data was collected thanks to collaboration with Mariko Ishikawa, the study’s coauthor and key participant. The reader is presented here with the women’s narrations of their assumed social role as full-time housewives (chapter 3) and their “salaryman” husbands’ position within this “gender contract” (chapter 4), as well as accounts of their increasingly diverse and insecure lifestyles (chapter 5). In part III of the volume, Goldstein-Gidoni departs from her research site to take a closer look at the processes behind changes in housewives’ roles in postbubble Japan. She analyzes the images of housewifery as portrayed by the media (chapter 6) and sums up recent trends and government initiatives that she sees as having taken a “reactionary direction” (chapter 7). The book’s Afterword offers a reflection on the post-March 11 lives of the research participants.

Based largely on extensive observations, interviews and informal conversations, as well as e-correspondence and other tools of virtual ethnography, this book offers an excellent window into the “real lives” of Japanese housewives. It is impossible to summarize all its insights here, but suffice it to say that the issues discussed range from the central theme of the “professionalization” of female homemakers, identity formation and social class, to such mundane chores as manoeuvres involved in making the husbands take out the garbage. Goldstein-Gidoni also does a good job in elucidating a dazzling diversity of housewife types, including “charisma housewife” (karisuma shufu), “model housewife” (shufu no kagami), “working housewife” (kengyō shufu), “beautiful housewife” (utsukushii shufu), “ugly housewife” (minikui shufu), “second-class housewife” (nitō shufu), “first-class housewife” (ittō shufu), “special-class professional housewife” (tokutō sengyō shufu), and “delinquent housewife” (furyō shufu). Indeed, throughout the book, the reader finds an abundance of revealing Japanese vocabulary in addition to thorough reviews of debates that have emerged in Japan in relation to womanhood and housewifery.

The study is fairly well balanced, although some of its analytical conclusions seem to fit too readily with the author’s ideological stance. For example, the discussion of domestic power and control of the family budget would have benefited from more insights from an ethnographic inquiry into the male side of the “gender contract.” Furthermore, particularly in view of the popular Japanese saying that “women’s enemies are women” (onna no teki wa onna), the apparently often strained relations among housewives themselves—that is, within the “inside group” (nakama)—seems to be a topic that is under-explored.

The book is timely, given recent findings (not cited in it) showing that Japanese females, unlike their American counterparts, prefer not to work outside the household and are happier if they embrace marriage based on specialization (Kristen Schultz Lee and Hiroshi Ono, “Specialization and happiness in marriage: A U.S.-Japan comparison,” Social Science Research 37, 2008: 1216-1234). This latest “backlash,” the author contends, is, for one, stimulated by cultural constructs delivered through such “state agents” as the market and the media. What is somewhat unsettling in this picture, however, is that it paints the Japanese woman as a passive consumer of images created with a sole purpose of domesticating her in one form or another. To be sure, media’s attempts to engineer gender relations have been well known since Edward Bernays, Freud’s nephew and father of modern advertising/propaganda, embarked in the 1920s on creative campaigns of “liberating” American women from societal shackles through cigarette smoking. As such, Goldstein-Gidoni’s discussion of Japan’s consumerist culture is illuminating (although limited by the emphasis on the specialized genre of women’s magazines, despite the important role of TV programs and commercials in Japanese consumerism); yet, its actual causal effect on the specific life choices needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed. This could potentially be achieved with more systematic data, such as surveys or in-depth interviews with various age and socioeconomic groups, including women before they marry.

The major weakness of this study, however, is its research design. Basing the argument on a view of the “State” that blurs boundaries between the state, market and society is problematic. There is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong with broadening the narrow Weberian notion of the state, and the author is free to work from her own definition. However, the problem in this case is that such an all-inclusive variable, which comprises the government, the bureaucracy, the corporate sector, the market, the media (including privately published magazines), as well as the college system and some (read: “conservative”) academics, lacks precision. These agents, both individually and especially as a cluster, are by no means a monolith. Indeed, their interests have often conflicted and varied over time. Thus, although the book leaves no doubt that various agents have attempted to render Japan’s social reality, lack of analytical rigour causes this holistic approach, in which everything is deemed equally relevant and all vectors are pointed in exactly the same direction, to obscure more than it clarifies. It is for this reason that this work struggles to make predictions about the future of Japan’s “gender contract.”

Notwithstanding its shortcomings, the book is worth reading if only for its rich empirical content. It should appeal to a wide audience, including both specialized academics and general readers in particular.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Konrad Kalicki

University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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OCCUPYING POWER: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Sarah Kovner. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012. xi, 226 pp. (B&W illus., map.) US$50.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-8047-7691-2.

In her thought-provoking book, Occupying Power, Sarah Kovner examines the immediate and long-term impacts of the arrival of the Allied servicemen on the Japanese sex industry and sex workers. While focusing on the specific time period from 1945 until the 2000s in Japan, this book also helps us understand the more general and ongoing issues related to the politics of sex work under occupation, which Kovner broadly defines as “a condition of compromised sovereignty resulting from a foreign military presence” (5).

The central argument that runs throughout the book is how the arrival of Allied servicemen in Japan “produced a new political configuration that finally abolished licensed prostitution,” which “[i]ronically, and tragically … made sex workers less visible and more vulnerable” (2). In exploring the process and explaining why this occurred, Kovner focuses on questions such as “how intimate histories and international relations are interconnected in ways scholars have only begun to explore” (4) and “how an influx of new buyers of sexual services, different sellers, and varied approaches to regulation shaped not just the larger political economy of Japan, but also the politics of memory and national self-perceptions” (5). Kovner’s analysis gives “equal weight to the experiences of the sex worker, client, and regulator” (5), and treats sex workers as both symbols and actors with agency without assuming “that they were powerless victims” (56).

The book is organized in a broadly chronological structure, beginning with the arrival of the Allied occupying forces in 1945. Chapter 1 focuses on the initial reaction of the Japanese government to the influx of Allied servicemen and the measures adopted by the US and British Commonwealth authorities to deal with their concerns about the spread of venereal disease infections among their servicemen, which eventually led to the deregulation of the sex industry in Japan in 1946 under MacArthur’s direction. Chapter 2 explores the relationships between Allied servicemen and Japanese women, including sex workers, paying attention to the diversity of such relationships ranging from rape to short-term sexual encounter to marriage. This chapter also analyzes the reactions of the Allied and Japanese authorities to such relationships and to the biracial children born out of these liaisons. Chapter 3 demonstrates how Japanese observers and critics attempted to impose an order on the newly deregulated sex market. Their particular concern was the phenomenon of the so-called “panpan” who sold sex on the street and who were often understood as catering to Allied servicemen. They were seen as selfish women who sold sex out of materialistic desires, and were considered social evils that could threaten social morality and have a negative influence on Japanese children. As it turned out, this way of symbolizing sex workers influenced the political effort to ban prostitution, which Kovner documents in chapters 4 and 5. These chapters closely examine the movement toward the establishment of the first national anti-prostitution law, the Prostitution Prevention Law of 1956. Female Diet members and activists played active roles in the policy making process; however, Kovner demonstrates how this coalition of women did not include sex workers. Sex workers were used as the symbol of postwar Japan’s corrupted social morality or as fallen women who needed rehabilitation, rather than as rightful workers. Chapter 6 examines what happened to commercial sex and sex workers after 1956, focusing on “diversification, outsourcing, tourism and trafficking” (144). This chapter also points out how a similar tendency, which had emerged in the 1950s, resurfaced again in the 1990s, in which “criminalizing a form of commerce made real victims both less visible and more vulnerable” (146).

With rich data and numerous insights, Occupying Power offers a value contribution on a number of levels. For example, Kovner’s claim that “the memory of the panpan may well have changed the way Japanese men and women understand the experience of occupation, to the point that they have found it all too easy to believe that military comfort women voluntarily sold sex to Japanese servicemen in occupied China” (157-158) is an interesting insight that can shed light on the ongoing and heated debate over this issue. Kovner’s analysis also makes an important contribution to the question of sex workers’ agency in Japan. Kovner includes actual experiences and voices of sex workers in her analysis, “albeit mediated through judicial proceedings, Diet hearings, and press reports” (56). Her careful treatment of these voices persuasively argues how Japanese sex workers “could actually negotiate the terms of their own relationship with the occupiers” (17). Simultaneously, Kovner also reveals how Japanese sex workers have been marginalized in public debates and political processes, which have led to regulations that could harm the interests of sex workers. Kovner’s close analysis of the complex dynamics that led to this in Japan make her final remark very persuasive: “[a]ny attempt to improve the lives of sex workers must therefore be based not merely on moral principle, but on a critical analysis of the practical and symbolic politics of such measures” (158).

The book contains detailed descriptions of the complex history of sex work under the Allied Occupation in vivid narratives, which makes it an accessible and useful resource for anyone who is interested in Japanese history and the politics of sex work. This close analysis also slightly limits the scope of the book, however, and if Kovner could more fully engage in cross-national comparative analysis, as she suggests in the Introduction (8), the book could have wider appeal to audiences with an interest in the politics of sex work more broadly. Having said that, by paying attention to the agency of sex workers, yet situating their agency in the fluid, chaotic and complex context of occupation in which power imbalances of various kinds clearly existed, Kovner’s careful and nuanced analysis successfully complicates and challenges conventional approaches for understanding sex work and sex workers in Japan and beyond.

Yonsei University, Wonju, South Korea Kimiko Osawa

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TUMULTUOUS DECADE: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan. Japan and Global Society. Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. xxii, 298 pp. (Maps, tables.) C$29.95, paper, ISBN 978-1-4426-1234-1.

In the process of exploring Japanese society, empire and diplomacy during the 1930s, the eleven chapters herein reveal the decade to be one of multiple trends and not simply a long slide into war. The book is divided into three sections, the first addressing aspects of Japanese society at home. Masato Kimura considers first the options facing the Zaikai (financial elites) in the wake of the Great Depression: many remained inclined towards repairing relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. Despite their hopeful sponsoring of trade missions, however, they were ultimately sidelined. Jessamyn Abel’s chapter looks at the forerunner to the Japan Foundation, the Kokusai Bunka Shinkōkai (KBS). Decidedly internationalist in orientation, the KBS sought to present Japan favourably overseas, a job that became more difficult after the outbreak of war in 1937. After 1941 the KBS shifted its focus to Southeast Asia and the creation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Building upon his earlier work, Cemil Aydin then explores Pan-Asianism in relation to Pan-Islamism to consider the civilizational discourse at the heart of each and asks why supporters of each came to embrace an alternative modernity. In the last chapter of this section Sumiko Otsubo reflects upon the debate surrounding the National Eugenics Law of 1940. Finding diverse opinions she shows ably how science and ideology had to come together to result in the bill’s passing.

The second section considers aspects of Japan’s empire. Through an examination of the Taiwanese port of Jilong, Evan Dawley shows that Japanese social work there was a progressive accompaniment to colonial urban planning efforts. In fact, even if social work aided colonial government control, the Japanese reliance upon Taiwanese participation may have rendered it more genuinely progressive. In a not unrelated fashion, in her chapter on Korean neighbourhood associations fostered by the Japanese, Jun Uchida shows the limits of Japanese penetration into Korean society, even during wartime. This underscoring of agency among Taiwanese and Koreans is echoed in Yuka Fujioka’s chapter on efforts taken by the Japanese foreign ministry to lobby public opinion in the United States. These efforts included working with the Japanese Association of America since many of its members understandably supported Japan’s more aggressive posture given their unwelcome reception in the United States. Others, however, supported the ministry for more positive reasons, though the paucity of sources makes it difficult to assess the Japanese community in the United States categorically.

The last section of the book reconsiders aspects of Japanese diplomacy in the 1930s. Rustin Gates’ analysis of Uchida Kōsai shows Uchida’s term as foreign minister in the wake of the Manchurian Incident (1931) to be not too different from his earlier terms two decades earlier. Thus, rather than see Uchida as caving in to rightwing pressures in his last term, it makes more sense to Gates to perceive Uchida as acting consistently as a Meiji-era imperialist. Perceiving Manchuria as necessary for Japan’s security, Uchida insisted upon Manchukuo’s recognition but at the same time pursued strong bilateral ties with the other Powers. In an opposite manner, Satoshi Hattori’s examination of Matsuoka Yōsuke’s term as foreign minister shows Matsuoka endeavouring to create something new, a novel alignment of great powers that would compel the United States to back down. Although covering previously trodden intellectual terrain, Hattori’s chapter is useful in that he introduces new materials clarifying Matsuoka’s reasoning. Peter Mauch’s chapter on Matsuoka’s successor Toyoda Teijirō also breaks new ground in that Toyoda has received relatively little academic attention. In considering Toyoda as a senior official in two ministries—the navy and the Foreign Ministry—Mauch portrays Toyoda as seeking to contend with not only stiffening American pressure but also growing domestic desires to confront the United States. In acceding to some of the demands of the latter, however, Toyoda ultimately found there to be no leeway in negotiations with the former, leaving him in an untenable position. The final chapter by Minohara sets out to uncover the apparent flip-flop by Toyoda’s successor Tōgō Shigenori. Not only did Tōgō shift from actively trying to prevent war with the United States to supporting war but he also opted to remain in the Tōjō Hideki cabinet after Pearl Harbor. Minohara’s reasoning is plausible but involves some speculation: Tōgō’s expectations were dashed by faulty intelligence.

A subtle counterfactual thread inherently lies just below the surface of several of the contributions to this volume, but together this volume does more than raise the rhetorical “what if?” These studies point to the essentially untidy nature of history. Every society is of course riven by a diversity of goals and agendas, a reality that becomes more complicated when that diversity confronts the world beyond its borders. These essays document some of the diversity of views apparent in Japan in the 1930s that lost out, yet in so doing also acknowledge the pressures insuring their likelihood of failing. As a result the volume presents some of the paradoxical aspects of Japan’s road to war and instructively muddies the water by showing not all Japanese to be in lockstep with activist military figures.

This is the third volume in the “Japan and Global Society” series at the University of Toronto Press, a series that focuses on Japan’s interactions with the broader world. Given that its contributors have enjoyed a variety of opportunities to share ideas and shape its collective orientation since first meeting in 2000-1, it also represents a little more than a decade of collaborative effort. The book would thus be a useful addition to most university libraries.

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada Bill Sewell

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CAPITAL AS WILL AND IMAGINATION: Schumpeter’s Guide to the Postwar Japanese Miracle. Cornell Studies in Money. By Mark Metzler. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xvii, 295 pp. (Tables.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5179-9.

In his 2006 book Lever of Empire, Mark Metzler provided a masterful account of Japan’s efforts to cement its position in the late nineteenth-century gold standard and its subsequent struggle to return to the gold standard following World War I and into the 1930s. This book carries his interest in Japan’s financial policy to the 1940s and 1950s. He looks at key figures in Japanese immediate postwar economic policy such as Okita Saburo (of the Economic Planning Agency), Ichimada Hisato (the long-serving governor of the Bank of Japan), Arisawa Hiromi (the architect of the Priority Planning System that sought to revive key industries after 1945), and Ishibashi Tanzan (an economic journalist who was briefly prime minister). Alongside them were policy makers in the US Occupation, particularly Joseph Dodge. Metzler uses the work of the economist Joseph Schumpeter as an overarching framework, arguing that a policy of “inflationary” finance underlay the phoenix-like ascent of Japan from the 1950s.

Using Schumpeter as a framework does not make that task easy. He was a powerful intellect of unbounded curiosity, a romantic who was interested in the forest and the trees—but did not build systematic theory and was fundamentally uninterested in policy. That made him fascinating as a lecturer and raconteur but meant that his influence on the later development of economics and of policy was minimal. He was aware of his failings, at least subconsciously. His personal library resides at Hitotsubashi University, and includes the most advanced mathematics treatises of his day but he used not a single equation in his writings. He was a founder of the Econometrics Society, pushing for the development of statistical data analysis; his own work includes none. Instead Schumpeter insisted on looking dispassionately at all sides of arguments, even arguing for the workability of the socialism that he personally despised.

By making Schumpeter central to his story, and insisting on casting his argument in Schumpeter’s terms, Metzler weights himself down with idiosyncratic jargon that dates to the 1912 Theory of Economic Development, and to early work on monetary economics and business cycles. Unfortunately much of the latter two either has turned out to be wrong (Schumpeter’s theory of business cycles was developed before Simon Kuznets and the development of modern national income accounting and the data it provides) or a dead end (Schumpeter’s capital theory is analogous to Marx’s effort to develop a labour theory of value). Instead it was his romantic vision of “creative destruction” that has had a continuing impact, reflected in studies of entrepreneurship and industrial organization. That however did not find a home until Robert Solow’s first formal growth model (1956), which provided a framework for distinguishing the role of capital accumulation from that of technical change, and in work in industrial organization on the role of firm exit and entry that only gained currency in the 1980s.

Metzler, however, latches onto Schumpeter’s term “money-capital.” That muddies his arguments throughout, and leads to many basic errors. For example, the book is riddled with places that confuse relative and absolute price changes (102, 112), and that confuse financial flows with flows of goods and services (202). He ends the book, for example, by talking about “deflation” stemming from manufacturing, where what Metzler really means (I think!) is that productivity in manufacturing increased faster than that in other sectors, leading to relative price falls (217). Given that the book focuses on the issue of inflation it is curious that he ignores the past century’s writing on that issue; Irving Fisher is mentioned only once in passing, Milton Friedman not at all.

He also provides a confusing picture of monetary policy. That is ironic on many counts. First, Metzler devotes much of a previous book to the interaction of central bank policy and the gold standard, and unlike here, in general translates those debates into modern terminology. One puzzle in this book is why there was no globally coordinated disinflation following World War II, as there had been in the 1920s. He attributes it to social learning (166) without realizing that the Bretton Woods system represented a decisive break with the gold standard which did not attempt to reconstruct global capital markets, which remained moribund until the 1970s. There was in practice no post-World War II analog to the gold standard. Second, he emphasizes throughout the book the use of an inflation tax to support economic development, which the data available today shows to be unimportant. Instead in the early years government and corporate savings (retained earnings) were central, not “money-capital.” Again, Schumpeter suffered from a lack of data that allowed subsequent economists to pick apart the savings-investment nexus.

Third, he spends three of his 8 core chapters (and much of his introduction and conclusion) on Schumpeter’s writings rather than those of the key Japanese actors. This contributes little to his overall project. Indeed, Metzler himself argues that the key actors—Ichimada at the BOJ, Ikeda and Ishibashi in government—were not disciples of Schumpeter. Yes, Schumpeter had more disciples in Japan than in the United States. However, Metzler fails to demonstrate that he had a decisive influence on policy, hardly surprising since Schumpeter himself wrote almost nothing on practical matters, consistent with his brief and undistinguished stint as the Austrian Minister of Finance in 1919. Nor does Metzler demonstrate that he was a teacher to more than a small subset of those Japanese involved in making policy.

In the end, while Metzler provides snippets of the fascinating policy scene in 1940s Japan, that is only about half of his book (chapters 5-7 and chapters 8-9). Even there he fails to illuminate the richness of the intellectual threads at play, from Keynes and the classicists to the German historical school and to Marx and even the Stalinist example of “big push” industrialization. If anything, his book makes the case that seat-of-the-pants empiricism rooted in the experience of individuals such as Ichimada and Ikeda was more important than high theory of any school.

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, USA Michael Smitka

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South Asia


MEASURING VOTING BEHAVIOUR IN INDIA. By Sanjay Kumar and Praveen Rai. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2013. xx, 175 pp. (Illus.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-81-321-1044-6.

In his foreword to this useful and compact guide to public opinion surveys, Yogendra Yadav—the popular and media-savvy face of India’s public opinion polls—claims that “opinion polls are well-known and little understood in the Indian public life” (ix, emphasis added). As a user of Indian opinion surveys over the past three decades, I share his hope that this useful survey manual might go some way to combat what he calls “methodological illiteracy about opinion polls.” However, “politicians, media persons and academics,” the three crucial segments of India’s opinion makers, are unlikely to flock to this text. This has to do with the style of the book—more a primer than an evocative introduction—and its inadequate engagement with the fabric of Indian society. Despite their erudition, Kumar and Rai have not quite succeeded in locating opinion polls within the multiple methods of social and economic research currently in vogue.

That the survey of political and social attitudes has made great strides in the Indian media over the past decades is easily seen from the omnipresent forecasts of voting intentions in the run-up to any election, and there is always one round the corner, somewhere, in India. The landmark post-poll survey of the Indian electorate following the 1996 parliamentary elections set off the new trend of supplementing political news with snapshots of opinions and attitudes. Since then polls have gained in sophistication, frequency and variety. There is scarcely a newspaper—English medium or published in one of India’s over twenty vernacular languages—or weekly and monthly magazine which does not cater to this growth industry. However, familiarity is not the same as knowledge, and surveys, imported from their original place of birth in the United States, have often become more of a fashion accessory in the media competition for readership than an aid to deepening the knowledge of the political and social process.

The main strength of the book lies in its meticulous, workman-like delineation of the survey method, an introduction to multistage stratified random sampling which is able to generate a sample rich enough to sustain detailed inquiries into the voting behaviour and political and social attitudes of sub-groups within the vast and culturally diverse Indian electorate. Chapter 3, where the authors focus on Multiple Methods of Measuring Voting Choices and explain why forecasting election results based on exit polls works well in the USA and why it fails in India, is one of the key lessons of this book. This, Kumar and Rai argue, is because in India, opinion polls never developed into an academic endeavour for analyzing elections but are mainly undertaken by market research and polling organizations for predicting seat distribution. Their suggestion for scrupulous attention to the forming of the questionnaire and precautions to take in administering them, and illustrations of how this can be done, are among the other valuable features of this useful book.

Despite these useful features of this book, there are some shortcomings that might detract from its appeal. Opinion surveys are par excellence methods of analyzing individual attitudes. And the voting preference of the individual is the mainstay of electoral democracy. Western students of Indian politics might be sceptical about the feasibility of the extension of these two basic assumptions to Indian society where organic and hierarchic social identities are the most prevalent social networks and where elections, in consequence, often acquire a different character from their Western equivalents. Many Indian readers of opinion surveys also share this scepticism about the veracity of polls. How free is a dalit (castes that were once untouchable and often remain so in practice though the practice of untouchability is a criminal offence) woman to vote, and how free is she to share her opinion and attitude with a stranger in a survey format? The fact of the matter is that such people vote copiously and strategically, but what makes this possible does not form part of the account of Kumar and Rai. The underlying processes that affect polling should have been highlighted more fully, particularly because this has been the focus of considerable research. The authors would have done well to delve into the scholarly attention devoted to these issues by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, to which they belong and which has done the pioneering work in this field. For an answer to the sociology of voting behaviour, such as, for example, whether voting decisions are influenced by “political rather than primordial group considerations,” one can turn to D.L. Sheth’s “Political Development of the Electorate” (15) and a series of other excellent essays in D.L. Sheth, ed., Citizens and Parties: Aspects of Competitive Politics in India (Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1975).

Survey research is not the only method of studying voting behaviour empirically. The authors could have dwelt on why ecological correlations, which analyze voting behaviour in terms of areas rather than individuals as units of analysis, has not caught on in India despite the availability of good census data and the matching of constituency units with their socio-economic composition. Similarly, the authors would have done well to refer to the use of multiple methods which makes it possible for survey researchers to look at their findings from other angles such as discourse analysis, aggregate data and path dependency that open the door to the currently popular evolutionary institutionalism, as supplementary methods that help survey researchers get more out of their material.

On the whole, the authors should be complimented for providing a useful link between the consumers of survey data and the producers of this vital tool of social and political research. They have paved the way for the deepening of the application of survey research to electoral analysis in the social and political context of non-Western societies.

Subrata K. Mitra, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

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CENSORIUM: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity. By William Mazzarella. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. ix, 284 pp. US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-05388-1.

The book under review is the result of painstaking field and archival research and reflects the author’s extraordinary versatility as a scholar. Drawing on work done in the field of censorship by both Indian and Western scholars and on interviews with people who have long-standing associations with Indian cinema and related fields, Mazzarella undertakes an analysis of Indian film censorship across colonial and postcolonial periods. Exploring continuities and discontinuities across these periods, the author claims “not to assume the insincerity of the censors’ discourse,” but rather takes it “seriously” (21), thereby moving it beyond “an entirely cynical discourse” (20). In the process, Mazzarella grapples with issues that have a direct bearing on our political culture and the processes of legitimation. The insights that we gain from the analysis done by Mazzarella can be applied to deepen our understanding of various issues that beset our political process and have baffled the analysts of Indian democracy, both native and foreign.

Nevertheless, the language of Censorium is jargonistic and the arguments are intricate. An Orientalist with little grounding in Western philosophical thinking may not find it easy reading. Being a foreigner, Mazzarella is easily able to look at the discourse of censorship from a distance and with a degree of critical detachment that is required for its proper understanding; however, the same strength could become a limiting factor in the sense of not being able to enjoy a degree of familiarity with social and cultural practices that comes naturally to a native.

Adopting a dialectical approach, the author explores censorship discourse from within. Thus, “the ideological tenacity of censorship discourse in the face of—or better, because of—its many inner contradictions” is one of author’s central preoccupations in the book (2). Further, Mazzarella pursues censorship discourse from a wider perspective in this ethnographic project: “My way into censorship is at the same time my way out to a much broader set of questions. In brief, I argue that thinking through film censorship discloses basic problems in the grounding of political and cultural authority in mass-mediated societies” (2). Indeed, the contradictions of censorship discourse and the basic problems in the grounding of political and cultural authority in Indian society are recurrent themes throughout the book. Justifying his focus on cinema when other media are also frequently targeted by censors, both official and self-appointed, Mazzarella convincingly argues that “the cinema is the one medium that in India is thought to reach everybody” and that “cinema spectatorship is a way of belonging to a mass public without having to be literate” (10).

At a more general level, the author attempts to theorize what he refers to as “the problem of public affect management” vis-à-vis modern mass media through an exploration of the specific features of cinema regulation during periods of heightened anxiety and moral panic in colonial and postcolonial India; for Mazzarella, these periods are: the 1920s and the 1930s and the 1990s and the 2000s. Interestingly, pointing to discontinuity, the author notes that the period from the 1930s to the early 1960s was marked by “a genuinely vibrant popular nationalism” that “managed to bring aesthetic discernment and cultural order into relatively smooth alignment.” Thus, “during this period film censorship operated within what looked like a functioning performative dispensation” (87).

In chapter 1, the author dwells upon the open edge of mass publicity and performative dispensation: two concepts that are vital to understanding his arguments. The open edge of mass publicity is considered as “a structural challenge that is inherent to mass-mediated societies” (29). Elsewhere, he defines this structural challenge: “the element of anonymity that characterizes any public communication in the age of mass publics” (37). For Mazzarella, any claim to authoritative cultural order is a claim to a performative dispensation. Thus, performative dispensation is understood in terms of contests among competing cultural groups, both through official institutionalized structures as well as informal channels, to lay claim to authoritative cultural order by combining patron/police functions, albeit often unsuccessfully. Allegorical representation of these contests as attempts at wielding Indra’s banner staff aptly describes ongoing tussles in our society over cultural propriety/impropriety and is a telling commentary on our civilizational specificity.

Throughout the book there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the author is constructing a general theory of performative dispensation and power. Let us, for example, consider this: “Be that as it may, I think we need to consider both the heyday of Nehruvian nationalism and the contested dispensations of the cultural emergency as historically situated responses to the challenge of producing sovereignty in mass-mediated democracy—a challenge that is, of course, by no means restricted to India” (151). However, nowhere does the author mention which “other” society he has in mind. More generally, the reader is left groping in the dark as to which, according to the author, are mass-mediated societies and which are not.

Mazzarella insightfully employs ideas deriving from psychoanalysis to account for contradictions and ambivalence in the stand of elites in a diverse society like ours, which is widely understood to be perpetually caught between tradition and modernity. Finally, in the last chapter, the author dwells on obscenity, which is understood as a tendency of image-objects and not something that inheres in them. Obscenity, thus, is spotted in “the amorally generative potential that lies at the open edge of mass publicity” (191).

The main contribution of the book lies in the author’s willingness to take censorship discourse beyond the cynical, and also in providing us with insights that can be applied to discourses on many issues that beset our political process, beyond cynicism. Arguments are coherent and the book is well organized. The proof reading is good except for a few typos.

Ganeshdatta Poddar, Foundation for Liberal and Management Education, Pune, India

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SEPARATED AND DIVORCED WOMEN IN INDIA: Economic Rights and Entitlements. By Kirti Singh. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2013. xxiii, 255 pp. (Illus.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-0952-5.

Precious little attention has been paid in research and in policy to the lives of women after marriage. This admirable book goes some considerable way towards exploring the reality of women who have been in marriage but find themselves separated, deserted or divorced.

The book draws on a survey of 405 such women to explore their daily lives and the difficulties they face after the end of their marriages. Singh’s core concerns are living standards and income as well as access to the court systems through which women seek to claim their legal rights.

An introductory chapter maps the legal landscape, as well as women’s success in navigating this, with particular attention to the allocation of assets at the end of a marriage and the ability to claim maintenance. Singh attends to the problem of the failure of Indian law to recognize a woman’s contribution to the economic survival of a marital unit, insomuch as this is neither quantified nor recognized at the time of divorce and is, consequently, not factored into the allocation of assets.

A very helpful overview chapter then summarizes the main findings of the study and is followed by a section describing the sample of women surveyed. Four subsequent chapters explore the following: earning capacity and work status, family status and lifestyle, spousal and child support and the dowry system and finally social status, mobility and skills and decision making. Findings from different cities are reviewed next, with a final chapter that presents conclusions and recommendations. A wealth of data, in tables and graphs, is presented throughout the book, supplemented with summaries of accounts of women respondents.

The argument is set out at the very start, well fleshed out by data and concluded in policy recommendations at the end of the book. In the foreword, former judge Sridevan notes that “the law‘s gender neutrality is a fiction” (xix); this theme runs through the book. Another thread is that with women’s work in the household not being given a monetary value, it fails to be recognized as a contribution, either to the household or to the career or work progression of the husband.

A key finding is that upon death or separation, Indian women by and large find themselves without assets. Singh, a lawyer, makes a central and key argument that equality for women cannot be realized without a right to the equal division of property belonging to both spouses. Drawing on Canadian and European examples, Singh promotes the concept of Community of Property in marriage, so that all assets of the marital home are pooled and then divided. She argues for economic rights as the key to women’s equality.

At the time of dissolution of marriage or of widowhood, the law generally serves a woman leaving the institution less favourably than a man, with pitiful amounts of maintenance being awarded and often after lengthy court procedures and delays.

Women surveyed had made contact with women’s organizations, state women commissions, police and/or courts; one could argue that there is an inbuilt bias in the sample towards women who know of state structures and how best to access institutional support. The broader picture, therefore, is likely to be much more challenging, for many women lack the ability, knowledge and networks that enable them to access these supports.

Some of Singh’s key findings are as follows: that maintenance, though provided for by law, is extremely difficult to access; that the majority of women turn to their natal families if they are left alone at the end of a marriage (including if they have children), where tension and a lack of welcome is often apparent; and that those who are able to take paid work outside the home earn too little for independent survival. Of the women surveyed, 83 percent cited violence as a cause for separation, including women across all communities and religions.

There is a particular problematic that stems from the marital home, where many couples live with the husband’s family. The marital home is not a place where the wife can easily remain post-separation or divorce. Women also struggled to retain moveable assets, such as land, cars and jewellery, after the separation, or to claim money or goods given in dowry. Where maintenance claims were settled by the courts, most cases took between one and five years to reach a conclusion. Support for children was granted in under 50 percent of cases.

Singh’s policy and practice review concludes that family courts have been tried but they are too few; women-only staff teams at police stations were established in the hope that women would access these more than other stations and would be successful in registering cases, including reports of violence. Yet Singh concludes that the hoped-for improvements have not been realised. Women need access to immovable assets—especially property—but also moveable assets such as household items and savings. Many women therefore become assetless on the dissolution of marriage, though arguably they were already so before then.

Singh rightly calls for more and more effective efforts by the state to ensure social welfare and poverty alleviation in general. There are currently provisions for widows but very little for deserted or divorced women. Yet, as this book shows, their challenges and experiences have much in common.

A focus on what happens after marriage continues to highlight the need to explore both the nature of adult womanhood as being legitimately framed only by marriage, as well as women’s poor profile in the labour force (especially in well-paid work) as it reflects both of these areas of concern. We would do well to join the dots.

While many of the arguments and conclusions are not new—accessing courts in India is difficult, the laws do not provide well for separated women, and natal families are the main alternative for women on the demise of marriage—the data provided here are really valuable. They give critical flesh to arguments about the difficulties women face in such circumstances.

The data, in graphical form and explained in the text, are plentiful and are very useful in helping to understand the reality of women who find themselves outside the institution in which acceptable adult womanhood is socially bound.

The layout and nature of the text is at times unfriendly: small print and text that summarizes some of the tables can make for hard work. More attention to prose and commentary would have been helpful. Finally, given that it was published in 2013, the book would have been strengthened by use of 2011 census data, even if it had delayed publication by a few months.

Purna Sen, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom

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THE LANGUAGE OF SECULAR ISLAM: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India.By Kavita Saraswathi Datla. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2013. xiii, 234 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3609-2.

It is seldom that one comes across a book which sheds light on a topic long neglected by historians, but of crucial importance to understanding a critical phase in the history of the Indian subcontinent: when different types and forms of nationalism emerged in response to British colonialism. Kavita Saraswathi Datla marshals a great deal of empirical evidence to establish that the political confrontation between Hindus and Muslims that emerged in the 1930s was not driven by primordial religious differences; rather it should be understood as a product of clashing secularisms.

Set in the historical contest of the princely State of Hyderabad in South India, one learns about the cultural and identity concerns that informed its educational policy. Although ruled by Sunni nobility state policy in Hyderabad, including educational policy, was non-sectarian. Nevertheless Sunni-Hanafi principles served nominally as the framework for writing the history of Islam and the content of the theological courses. Those in charge of the university curriculum (some key figures were Shias) strove to project Islam as rationalist and progressive. Osmania University attracted Muslims from all over India, especially the Punjab and northern India, and thus acted as a hub for Muslim intellectualism.

The author concedes that ruling over a vast Hindu majority the Muslim minority was concerned with establishing its cultural hegemony though without necessarily imposing the Islamic system on all the subjects of the Nizam. Hindus were admitted as students. Schools using Telegu, the main language of the people (47 percent) were established and expanded over time. Other languages spoken were Marathi (26 percent), and Kannada and Urdu (14 percent each). Smaller numbers of people spoke Marwari, Tamil, Gondi and Lambadi.

Some British officials wanted to use the educational system to shape an Islam that was modernistic. Ambitious plans to translate scientific literature into Urdu and use it at the higher levels of education were also pursued with vigour. The author argues that the patronage of the Urdu language by Osmania University (founded 1918) in the capital Hyderabad was an attempt to make Muslim cultural and intellectual forms a part of the larger secular future in which all communities would be included. The debates at the university, particularly in its Translation Bureau as well as in Baba-e-Urdu (father of Urdu) Maulvi Abdul Haq’s standpoint on Urdu’s literary past, were inclined towards proving that Urdu was not the exclusive language of Indian Islam or Muslims.

Reviewing the origins of Urdu, the author asserts that both Hindi and Urdu were once the same spoken language, but beginning in the late eighteenth century the Mughal Court invested Persian and Arabic vocabulary in Urdu. Thus a vintage language began to distinguish itself from the more vernacular forms of it. Such a trend was compounded by the rise of the Hindi movement in northern India in the nineteenth century. Such processes fed into the divisive politics of the 1930s, when the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League entered the contest over the future of India.

Initially the Congress Party’s standpoint was that Hindustani, written both in Devanagari script and Persian script, would be the national language of a future, united India. However in 1942 Gandhi began to speak of Hindi as the national language of India while according Urdu the status of a special language with religious importance for Muslims. It made Abdul Haq leave the Congress Party. Gandhi later realized his folly and in 1945 reverted to the original Congress stand that Hindustani should be the national language with Devanagari and Persian as its official scripts.

Meanwhile in the 1930s, the divisiveness which had come to mark the contest between the two main protagonists over the future of India—the Congress for a united India and the Muslim League for a separate and independent Pakistan—was greatly aggravated when the song “Vande Mataram,” written by the Bengali Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, began to be sung in Congress meetings. The Indian Muslims considered it offensive as it was included in a novel, Anandamath (1882), which portrayed both the British and Muslims as foreigners who conquered Bengal. The song went to the heart of the Hindus but alienated the Muslims. Consequently, when Hindu students at Osmania University began to chant it in 1938 as a prayer in the university and college campuses in the state, the authorities banned it and several hundred students were expelled.

The author notes that even within the Hindu student community not all were in favour of that song. The large number of sects and sub-sects among Hindus and then the tension between the religiously-inclined and those of a scientific persuasion also cropped up, but it was retained along with another more inclusive song representing a general spiritual aspiration of all Hindus for divine favours and blessings. In addition, demands to permit the dhoti (loose cloth worn around the waist) along with the sherwani (long coat) that was prescribed uniform were made.

The Hindu nationalist leader, Sarkar, of the Hindu Mahasabha advised the Hindus not to compromise with the authorities. Consequently, many Hindu students shifted to Nagpur and left the university and colleges in Hyderabad. At Osmania University the Hindus began to demand M.A. courses in Telegu, Kanarese and and not just in Urdu and Persian as was then the practice.

After India became independent things changed radically. In 1948 the Indian government launched military action and forcibly incorporated Hyderabad into the Indian Union. With regard to the language question it culminated with English being accepted as the medium of instruction.

The author’s point that Urdu was the language of “secular Islam” is interesting. Datla has provided ample material for debate and controversy in her remarkable scholarly contribution.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan,

Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE POWER OF PROMISE: Examining Nuclear Energy in India. By M.V. Ramana. New Delhi: Penguin Books India; Viking, 2012. xxxiv, 366 pp. (Illus.) US$20.00, cloth. ISBN 978-06-7008-170-7.

The study of nuclear history and policy is reaching an almost-mature stage, and part of the reason for that is the work of M.V. Ramana; this book, written in Bengalaru and Princeton, adds weight to the list of his serious and searching work. With an analytic mind, and trained as a physicist, Ramana has arranged a feast for those of us who want a comprehensive map of the evolution of the Indian nuclear complex, and who want to compare its past with the present. Too much of the strategic and nuclear analysis is ahistorical and unhistorical. Not Ramana’s, however.

Like others of us who study this subject, Ramana rightly criticizes the paucity of the evidence available from official sources, and its unreliability when it is available. In the now-huge offices of the Department of Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the Atomic Energy Commission there lie “files in piles” of important information, some of it many years old, still unreleased. Relatively recent and non-classified information remains unreleased. And in the minds of key actors, scientists and engineers among them, are stored those crucial interpretations of the data that “make sense” of this complex undertaking, also unrevealed and unreleased. But Ramana has been assiduous in his search, every news clipping has entered his file, every public utterance, every interview (however few). His assistant even “appealed the denial of requests for information.” The book is a map of a labyrinth of half-closed doors and nearly empty files, something that it takes a lot of patience to penetrate, and throws many people off the scent.

This book is written by a person trained as a physicist (even though not now working as one) and reviewed here by someone who is not (the kind of person Ramana is trying to reach). But what would count more with Ramana, as much as what I have to say, is the response of the reactor physicists, nuclear engineers, metallurgists, geologists, and radiation specialists who are or (importantly) were employed to carry out all these complex tasks, and who understand them even if they are unable or unlikely to translate them into our analytic frame, as Ramana does so well. Reviews from people in the nuclear business will (or should) reveal new (more accurate?) evidence on which to base energy planning.

This book is not primarily about weapons, and even the “plutonium” chapter takes in non-defence aspects of this rare unstable element. The nuclear weapons issue he tackled in Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream in 2003; though, as Ramana points out, the 2005 US Indian nuclear agreement was a shadow negotiation about nuclear weapons and tests. He tried to check out the sites of nuclear accidents directly, and talked to people responsible for monitoring and change. The book has a first-hand and engaging quality about it that is compelling.

Ramana surprisingly invokes M.K. Gandhi’s criticism in Hind Swaraj (1909) that technologies cast away from elsewhere have been enthusiastically embraced in India, and then applies this point to the modern pursuit of breeder reactors (involving thorium as fuel, of which India has abundant reserves). “The DAE’s pursuit of breeder reactors when countries in the West have abandoned them for all practical purposes offers an excellent but unfortunate example of such ignorant adherence” (187). It was Bhabha (and many others too, in and outside India) who expected a working thorium-based reactor. It was partly on that basis that the US began buying Indian thorium in 1950. But, Ramana says, that remains far off.

Ramana is a close observer of and sometimes an advisor to movements against the choice of sites for reactors, or sites for uranium mines, or against the displacement of people living “in the way.” He concludes that the nuclear program will not be much deterred by the hard news in this book, and that explaining how the cost of electricity per Kw hour is higher in India with nuclear power will not be sufficient to deter elite commitment to this form of energy. No, he explains that “the DAE has to be able to promise limitless abundant energy, even if it never manages to deliver on that promise” (268). This will continue until, he says, movements appear that resemble the Greens in Germany: committed to alternative fuel and energy systems and dedicated to “mass” or “popular” political action at local levels which coalesce effectively at the national level.

For whom is this book recommended? Curiously and refreshingly, it spans the arc across the position of a beginning nuclear activist, the mid-stream student, and the advanced specialist. It is part source book (there is a good explanation of types of nuclear reactors), part critical nuclear history (there is a sharp account of the 2005 US-India nuclear deal), and part political and policy program (an appendix explains the Environmental Impact Assessment process). Moreover it is easier to use than many academic books, enabling the reader to move back and forth between the carefully arranged chapters, whether on economics, safety or heavy water. It doesn’t address India’s nuclear program in isolation, but compares it with others. And when cost comparisons are made, say to France, it is not with evidence from the PR office of the CEA (the atomic energy authority) but to the evidence before the Court of Audit of the French state.

For most of the reactors in India, Ramana concludes that they “took longer to build, cost more than projected, and performed worse than had been envisioned when plans were made” (41). This is not unique to India, he shows that other reactors elsewhere follow a similar path. Moreover, each reactor requires a lot of land and an enormous volume of relatively clean water, both scarce in India. The puzzle as to why, after fifty years of self-reliant experience, India decided to import Russian reactors for the Koodankulam project (and would now import US models too) is something Ramana lays bare. For that, you need to read this fascinating book!

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

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TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN SOUTH ASIA: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 68. By Tazreena Sajjad. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xx, 225 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-62997-3.

Transitional Justice in South Asia examines the achievements and shortcomings of truth-finding, human rights accountability and reparations in the context of peace and state-building efforts in today’s Afghanistan and Nepal. Tazreena Sajjad combines critical insights into the field of transitional justice with empirical research in two war-torn societies whose differences only serve to highlight what is similar about them: the near-total failure of justice initiatives. She takes a holistic approach to justice by blurring the distinctions between transitional (“extraordinary”) and post-transitional (“ordinary”) justice to problematize the simplistic conceptions and false dichotomies in the theory and practice of post-conflict justice.

Sajjad’s main argument is that local voices should inform contemporary justice efforts. However, the “local” should not be conceptualized as a set of unchanging and homogenous norms and practices. She is particularly critical of national politicians’ and international actors’ efforts to justify inaction in the face of injustices by referencing supposedly local norms, and creating false dichotomies. For example, she provides ample evidence for the cynical use of religious rhetoric to legitimize impunity in Afghanistan despite the fact that Islamic jurisprudence encourages the prosecution of murderers and of violators of warfare rules. Victims’ long-standing activism for retributive justice militates against the simplistic idea that courtroom justice is a Western imposition on the reconciliation-loving “locals.” Against cultural and religious essentialism, Sajjad proposes the “dynamic local,” which she identifies as “domestic politics, power struggles and realities of inclusion and exclusion even within the indigenous civil society and local NGO communities, such that systems of hierarchy emerge and become entrenched in the sociopolitical landscape” (23).

The book warns against the strict separation of backward-looking transitional justice and forward-looking forms of criminal and socioeconomic justice. The problem of justice in Afghanistan and Nepal cannot be reduced to the absence of human rights accountability for past crimes; crimes committed in the present by powerful individuals also go unpunished. Furthermore, a clean transition from conflict and institutional collapse to peace and political order is more fiction than fact—the political salience of warlords in Afghanistan is a case in point. In societies where significant populations suffer inequality and marginalization on the basis of class, status, gender and caste, historical justice and social justice should be combined, without sacrificing one for the sake of the other.

Transitional Justice in South Asia is a sober reminder of all the exclusions and shortcomings of post-conflict justice efforts. National governments are often unsupportive of truth, justice and reparation initiatives unless domestic civil society organizations and external actors (foreign governments and international organizations) put those governments’ legitimacy and funding at stake. The United Nations and foreign governments have their own political agendas, which may or may not be conducive to the dictates of human rights accountability and the rule of law. Furthermore, even the well-intentioned external actors have limited knowledge of the multiplicity of local values and interests, and fall easily into the trap of cultural essentialism. The “local” is the starting point of building a just society for Sajjad, but it should not be glorified uncritically: some of the domestic actors seek to uphold unjust social relations rather than transform them, and what is worse, these elite voices may hijack the claim to “authentic” local representation by excluding the “voices from the margins” (119). The organized human rights sector inspires optimism, but the author is quick to note that for all their achievements, human rights NGOs have their own biases, and their reliance on governments for policy change makes them vulnerable. Finally, newly established quasi-official bodies called “national human rights institutions” have been much more sensitive to the victims’ demands and willing to collaborate with human rights NGOs than conventional state bureaucracies. However, the case studies in the book show that their dependence on government support leaves them in a difficult in-between position where they should constantly struggle for autonomy and efficacy.

One area in which the research project initiated by this book should be carried further is the relationship between neoliberalism and transitional justice. Sajjad claims in various passages (pages 13, 16 and 139, to be more specific) that the contemporary transitional justice discourse exposes the neoliberal agenda, but she does not elaborate on this claim. While one can plausibly argue that some leading international organizations known for their neoliberal biases also try to incorporate post-conflict justice and reconstruction measures into the political mainstream, to the detriment of considerations of social justice, it seems unfair to me to equate transitional justice activism with neoliberalism. Human rights advocates and truth commissioners in many countries come from the political left. At least in the Latin American context, the neoliberal right has been the most virulent enemy of transitional justice measures—one should only be reminded of the reactions to Pinochet’s arrest in London, or Fujimori supporters’ campaign against Peru’s truth commission, or Menem’s presidential pardon of Argentina’s military offenders. Likewise there is no evidence to suggest that transitional justice in Afghanistan and Nepal simply reproduces the logic of neoliberalism, or if there is such evidence, it should be made clear.

Overall, Transitional Justice in South Africa leaves the reader with a crucial—and difficult—question: Is it possible to design truth and justice efforts in such a way that the “voices from the margins” overcome histories of exclusion, marginalization and elite-driven cultural discourses to initiate a dialogue on local values and demands? If the practices associated with transitional justice are to rectify past wrongs in search of a better future, rather than reproduce existing injustices, this is the question that needs to be addressed urgently.

Onur Bakiner, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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THE GREAT INDIAN PHONE BOOK: How the Cheap Cell Phone Changes Business, Politics, and Daily Life. By Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. xxxii, 293 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$29.95. ISBN 978-0-674-07268-8.

The authors of this book say in the preface that they wrote this book for themselves, because both of them, old “India hands,” had been so struck by the “in-your-faced-ness” of Indian mobile telephony (the words mobile and cell phone are used interchangeably), in the hands of poor rickshaw pullers, as much, if not more than, the hands of business tycoons. “We aimed to write a book that would hold up its head as both sound scholarship and engaged reading. Our potential readers were us: curious people, eager for understanding and intolerant of jargon” (xiii).

The book comes in three parts: two chapters under the heading “Controlling” are about communications as they were, about state regulation of the old systems, and then about the regulatory struggles during India’s post-IMF market reforms, which coincided with the new technology. This is a story backed up with lots of facts and figures: in 2002 there were 45 million phone connections for 1 billion people: in 2012 there were 900 million for 1.1 billion people. This explosion was accompanied by epic struggles between entrepreneurs, ahead of the curve, and regulators and legislators who lagged behind. The confusion allowed breathtaking opportunism and outright corruption, which drove the process pell-mell down to the lowest cost for the largest market. Capitalism of doubtful propriety delivered new power to the poorest of the poor. The second part, “Connecting,” consists of two chapters that address how hundreds of thousands of technicians and entrepreneurs were enrolled to build the telephone factories and the telemasts, to train the shop-keepers (who sold SIM cards and prepayment cards), and how small businesses have piggy-backed with their repair centres (and training programs sold to would-be “engineers.”) Much of this is interesting observation on how existing networks within India’s highly structured society captured different parts of the process. The third and longest part consists of four chapters under the heading “Consuming,” which illustrate the impact of cell phones on large and small businesses, politics, women and households, wrong-doing (covering pornography, corruption, crime and terrorism). The description of how a new mobile-based banking service (Eko) has developed in Bihar for poor and illiterate people is a fascinating example of IT developmental leap-frogging. The presence of mobile phones (and their cameras and instant messaging) has reduced skulduggery at polling booths. New brides may be denied visits to their natal home, because now they can phone instead: or perhaps have their phones summarily confiscated by a mother-in-law.

The last chapter is titled “Conclusion: It’s the Autonomy, stupid,” and it brings in new topics such as health, the waste/recycling industry, and language. Once when I was doing fieldwork in the then south Bihar, I played back the interview tape to my Ho adivasi interviewee. He and the coterie around him were thrilled: “this is Ho radio,” they said. In this last chapter I read of the next step: a Gond news service, in which any person can be a stringer, and SMS a message to a central editor, who can then post all acceptable stories for any interested audience. In effect it is “Gond News” on air. This has led to legal challenges: does this service break the broadcasting regulations or not? The newly empowered Gonds will certainly not give up their new service lightly.

The book is infused with little cameos of this kind, and little comparative asides. Mobiles elsewhere in the world have been developed for specific religious users. “The Ilkone i800 is specially designed to serve Muslims all across the world to address their needs, and add value to their spiritual self being” (12). It provides automatic and precise timings for prayers, can point to Mecca, and includes the whole Holy Qur’an, in the original and in English, etc. An Israeli kosher phone company’s mobile multiplies the cost of calls on the Sabbath by a factor of 122.

The book does what the authors wanted it to do. It is overwhelmingly a description of what has happened and is happening. It hardly engages with any arguments. In some ways I think this is an opportunity missed, but perhaps it is for others to delve into the deeper questions. Culture may be changed in small ways by the new technology, but the message is overwhelmingly that the supposedly revolutionary new technology can only work by acknowledging the dominance of local culture. Why does this triumph seem so easy? There is no attempt to go anywhere near such a question.

Graham P. Chapman, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

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INFORMAL LABOR, FORMAL POLITICS, AND DIGNIFIED DISCONTENT IN INDIA. Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics. By Rina Agarwala. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xx, 250 pp. (Tables, figures.) C$30.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-66308-4.

Rina Agarwala’s book is quite a tour de force. Based on scrupulous research, and gracefully and clearly written, it makes an important and original contribution in two distinct fields. In the first place it adds substantially to understanding of the politics of labour in contemporary India, and through this to the wider field of labour studies in the context of neoliberal globalization; secondly, it is a first-rate contribution to comparative research on the politics of the major Indian states. It is theoretically astute, without being burdened by theoretical exegesis, and it is mercifully free from genuflection to contemporary icons of social science. The case that the book makes for the continuing relevance of class analysis is quietly but effectively done. Another of its great qualities is that the working poor speak through the pages of the book. Agarwala gives the reader a strong “feel” for the lives of the people about whom she writes.

In India the term “unorganized labour” is much more widely used than “informal labour,” the concept that gained wide currency following the seminal work of the anthropologist Keith Hart in the early 1970s, referring to labour that is engaged in operations that are not legally registered and that is not regulated or protected by labour laws. Workers in such forms of employment have always accounted for most of the labour force in India, though in India, as is the case very widely across the world, the competitive pressures brought by increasing integration into the global economy and the influence of neo-liberalism in economic policy, have meant that this share is tending to increase. The “casualization” of labour is taking place very widely, and the labour movement is almost everywhere in retreat. It is generally held that informal workers confront great difficulties in organizing themselves, being divided in so many ways and across very many often small and frequently changing work-sites. But Agarwala’s work shows that the idea that “informal labour” is “unorganized” can be actually misleading. Drawing on 140 interviews with workers and a further 200 with officials, employers and labour leaders, she documents the extent of organization amongst two important groups of informal workers in India, construction workers and those employed in the production of bidis (local Indian cigarettes). These groups of workers, with greater success in some states (notably Tamil Nadu and Kerala) than in others, have mobilized not against employers for workers’ rights—as has been the objective of the labour movement historically—but rather to make demands upon the state as citizens for social benefits, and also for recognition of their status as workers (marked by state-certified identity cards). It is a labour movement which, Agarwala argues, accommodates unprotected, flexible production whilst struggling for greater protection for the working poor. Where the workers’ demands have been met it has been through the establishment of industry-specific welfare boards, jointly funded by government, employers and workers themselves. In return for membership workers may receive scholarships, housing and health benefits, and pensions. This is not a heroic struggle for social transformation, representing as it does an accommodation with neoliberal capitalism, and involving an implicit contract with the state: in return for their benefits workers “provide the promise of their political support and their low cost, flexible labor on an unregulated basis” (192). It is all of a piece with the way in which the Indian state has extended welfare provisioning, so ensuring that capital accumulation can proceed “unencumbered by the burden of protecting workers’ livelihoods” (M. Vijayabaskar, “Global Crises, Welfare Provision and Coping Strategies of Labour in Tiruppur,” Economic and Political Weekly 46, no. 22: 38-46, quoted from 45). But at least these most insecure workers have found ways “to dignify their discontent” (though Agarwala does not elaborate upon the idea of “dignified discontent”).

For this reviewer, however, the most exciting part of the book (and it accounts for two-thirds of it) is concerned with explaining why the informal worker’s movement has been more effective in some states than in others. This leads Agarwala into well-documented, detailed comparative studies of the politics of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Her well-designed comparative framework, which takes account of the varying character of electoral politics and of the approaches to liberalization across major states, also includes Kerala, but she explains that she did not do original research in that state because of the richness of the existing literature about it. One criticism of the text is that she might have made much more comparative reference to the Kerala case than in fact she does. Her analysis shows that the informal workers’ movement has been much more successful in Tamil Nadu than elsewhere because of the electoral politics of the state, in which the two major parties must needs enter into fierce competition for the votes of the working poor. Promises regarding the informal workers’ welfare boards have figured significantly in the parties’ electoral programmes. The commitment of Tamil Nadu, under a succession of governments, to liberalization has also given informal workers some additional leverage. In West Bengal, however, the informal workers’ movement has done much less well, in spite of what might have been expected of the long-lived rule of the Communist Party of India (Marxist): “For decades, CPM retained power by enforcing a reformist ideology and focusing on rural interests, which constrained urban workers’ struggles” (153). The studies of the politics of the three states will be of great interest even to scholars who are not centrally concerned with labour politics.

This is, therefore, an important book. One wishes, however, that Agarwala had been able to provide a clearer picture of how far other groups of informal workers are organized—Tamil Nadu does, for example, have an Unorganized Workers’ Federation, which is not mentioned—and in other states as well as those that she has studied in depth. This is really significant, because some readers may come away from the book with the impression that Indian informal workers are generally organized, which is almost certainly far from being the case. Another limitation of the book is that we learn very little about how the unions that are referred to have been set up, and how they are organized. It is odd, too, to read a book about informal labour that attributes the definition of the idea to Alejandro Portes and others in 1989, and makes no reference to the much earlier research and writing, based on extensive field research in India, of Jan Breman. These criticisms, however, do not detract from my view that this is a most valuable book.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

THE BANGLADESH READER: History, Culture and Politics. The World Readers. Meghna Guhathakurta and Willem van Schendel, eds. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. xiv, 550 pp. (Map, illus.) US $27.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5318-8.

Situated within the world’s largest river delta, Bangladesh contains the eighth-largest national population in the world, and the majority of its inhabitants speak the world’s sixth most widely-spoken language. Yet Bangladesh remains largely neglected by the international community, and tends to feature in the Western media only when there is a natural disaster or, as in the case of the April 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, a man-made one.

The latest addition to Duke University Press’ World Readers series is a gem. It offers both general readers and specialists an unprecedented and much-needed array of information, voices, images and perspectives on Bangladesh’s history, politics and culture. The 134 extracts that are contained within—including newspaper articles, letters, speeches, fiction, academic writing, posters, memoir, poems, a recipe, and a host of other forms of text—cover a vast amount of ground. The book also contains a wealth of illustrations, including some gorgeous photographic plates.

The task of reviewing a book such as this one is of course largely impossible, given the amount and range of material contained within, but I will try to convey a flavour of what is here. The selections are grouped into nine sub-sections: voices from Bangladesh, early histories, colonial encounters, Partition and Pakistan, war and Independence, dilemmas of nationhood, contemporary culture, the development gaze and Bangladesh beyond its borders. Each section, and each contribution, is carefully introduced by the editors, giving the reader a strong sense of overall cohesiveness that makes the book a real pleasure to read, either from the beginning of the book in sequence, or equally satisfying, by dipping in and out at random. One way to approach the book in the first instance is simply to read these introductions in sequence to gain a fascinating overview of the country before engaging with the material.

The first section, containing diverse contemporary voices, immediately sets the scene for what follows, with entries by Shana K., a garment worker, Abdul Qader Mullah, a senior member of Jama’at e Islami (whose views might not match every reader’s understanding of the characterization given to him of ‘fundamentalist’), and Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, each vying for the reader’s attention. The early history section ranges across the diverse local and non-local rulers of the territory of Bengal including Afghans, Ethiopians and Arakanese, and traders from China, Persia and Arabia. Moving on, the entries on the pre-1947 colonial encounters range from new religious movements to European entrepreneurs, while the section on Partition and Pakistan, alongside the familiar (such as the Awami League’s famous “Six Points”) provides some new insights into what is one of the better documented periods covered by the reader, such as the 1964 Garo exodus, and the destruction in the Chittagong Hill Tracts wreaked by the Kaptai lake project. We then arrive at war and Independence, which includes a chilling account of Operation Searchlight by Siddiq Salik, a junior officer in the Pakistan army in 1971, and an equally distressing transcript of a telephone call between Kissinger and Nixon. As one might have expected, many voices are represented in the dilemmas of nationhood section, reflecting a diversity of views on religion, the military, and issues of ethnicity. The extract from Kalpana Chakma’s diary, discovered after her disappearance, allegedly at the hands of the army in 1996, is particularly moving, caught between army violence, local patriarchy and Bengali “ethnic oppression.”

By the seventh section, on contemporary culture, it has become clear that the impoverished nature of the outside world’s view of Bangladesh has been vividly exposed and long left behind. Rather than replaying all-too-familiar dichotomies of urban/rural, or religious/secular, the editors talk instead of a “multilayered cultural fusion” (367), and of the politics of cultural space. B.K. Jahangir’s piece on the timeless art of Zainul Abedin is a highlight, and one is immediately tempted to put Shornomoyee’s recipe for Ilish fish with mustard sauce to the test! The issue of development is approached imaginatively, combining some well-known academics with the voices of ordinary people. Finally, the section on Bangladesh’s global dimension draws on migrant accounts, and a piece by the Clean Clothes Campaign on the issue of garment workers’ rights within international value chains brings home the issues that underpin the tragedy of Rana Plaza (which occurred after the book went to press).

A real pleasure of this collection is collision between the familiar and the unexpected. It brings together in one place some of the key writings that will be essential for anyone wishing to engage with the country (such as Sheikh Mujib’s speeches, a Rabindranath Tagore story, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s 1905 proto-feminist satire Sultana’s Dream, Rounaq Jahan on the rise of the vernacular elite, Rehman Sobhan on the economic disparities of Pakistan, Richard Eaton on the rise of Islam); but at the same time readers will delight in the many unusual and unexpected pieces that lie scattered throughout its pages. And while the volume might be thought by some people broadly to endorse a particular vision of Bangladesh (diverse, multicultural, pluralistic) with which not everyone might agree, it is by no means didactic. For example, Lamia Karim’s view of developmental non-governmental organizations as “modern landlords” is followed by Ainoon Naher’s description of mobilization by village elites against outsider efforts to empower the poor. Different points of view jostle within these pages so that readers can make up their own minds about what remains a fascinating and complex country.

Overall, this is a hugely impressive feat of scholarship for which the two editors should be congratulated. The lyric of James (Nagar Baul)’s 2005 Baul-inspired rock song is as good a place as any for me to end, and for readers of this wonderful book on the ongoing story of Bangladesh to begin: “Forge your way through the milling crowd, Turn the leaves of sorrow; and find the garden of dreams” (410).

David Lewis, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom

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THE CHANGING FACE OF ELECTORAL POLITICS IN SRI LANKA (1994-2010). By Laksiri Jayasuriya. 2nd ed. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Social Scientists’ Association, 2012. xxvii, 222 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-955-0762-15-6.

What are the compelling questions about Sri Lankan politics? For the last two or three decades the outside world has dominantly been concerned with the causes and course of internal ethnic conflict. The country was in a state of near-permanent civil war from 1983 until 2009. The lack of interest of the Sri Lankan government in anything that could sensibly be described as a “settlement” with the Tamil population ensures continuing critical attention from the international community. There is very little on these issues in Laksiri Jayasuriya’s latest book. His focus is on electoral politics, to a large degree descriptively, and entirely chronologically. Each of the six chapters deals with elections in six periods since 1931, albeit with a strong emphasis on the period 1994-2010. The book is effectively a re-issue of his 2005 book from the same publisher on the same topic, with the addition of a new chapter covering the period 2005-10. The earlier text has not been modified or updated in any way.

I was looking for insight into the other great question posed by contemporary Sri Lankan history: how and why did a polity that was in the 1950s such an exemplar of democratic, law-bound pluralist politics decline to become the nasty, semi-authoritarian and quasi-criminal regime that we see in Colombo today. It is not clear whether Jayasuriya shares that perspective. He certainly has a strong belief in the extent to which pluralist democratic government is—or was—embedded in Sri Lankan political institutions and culture. And he certainly concludes, in pages 168-175, with a judgment on the current government very similar to the one I give above. But it is unlikely that he believes that there is a long-term trend of change in political institutions of a kind that could reasonably be labeled “political decay.” His organizing framework is one of short-term periodic changes (“cycles”) rather than long-term trends. These cycles, sometimes garnished with phrases like “critical juncture,” “watershed” and “epochal change” are defined in terms of what others might view as relatively ephemeral changes in patterns of electoral politics. While super-sensitive to changes in the electoral system—and to electoral consequences of the shift in 1978 from a Westminster parliamentary system to a “Gaullist” presidential system with proportional representation in the legislature—Jayasuriya exhibits very little interest in other changes in political institutions. These include a whole series of changes, beginning with another constitutional change in 1972, which have weakened all political and legal institutions relative to the central executive.

It is presumably this focus on the electoral system that leads Jayasuriya to characterize the current regime as a “one-party state” (141 and 168). It is certainly true that the president has won two presidential elections as the candidate of a coalition headed by the party to which he has long belonged: the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). It is also true that a majority of the members of the legislature were elected on SLFP tickets. But to term this “one-party rule” is equivalent to labeling Stalin’s personal dictatorship as “Communist Party rule.” The party is the legitimating instrument, but it has no organizational autonomy. The ruling clique changes the composition and hierarchy of the party almost at will, inducting members of the opposition parties when it suits them.

Since 2005, Sri Lanka has been ruled by a family. Executive power is concentrated in the hands of the president and two of his brothers. The outer circle that supports them comprises another brother, the president’s son, a number of other close family members, and a few unrelated individuals, most of whom are recruited for specific purposes and few of whom have significant independent power bases. Family rule is not unusual in the world. The distinguishing features of the “Rajapakse raj” are relative stability and the high degree of coherence and cooperation within the ruling circle.

How and why did Sri Lanka descend from liberal democratic pluralism into the “Rajapakse raj”? It was of course a long, complex and to a large degree contingent process. Any analysis will be disputed. But the striking feature about the contemporary social science literature on Sri Lanka is not the disputes but the near-absence of serious engagement with the question of the causes of long-term political decay. Ethnic conflict is an important part of the story, but far from the whole of it. The descent toward unrestrained executive power began in the 1970s, well before the eruption of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict into continuous armed violence.

The electoral data that Jayasuriya presents are certainly relevant to explaining long-term political decay. But so would so many other kinds of data, from the micro-politics of successive regimes through a range of political economy considerations to the changing international context. Jayasuriya is virtually silent on most of these. His engagement with political economy virtually stops with the claim that all Sri Lankan governments since 1977 have pursued “neo-liberal” policies. One would have expected a study of “changing electoral politics” to engage in some way with the considerable long-term changes in the structure of the national economy, occupational patterns, sources of investment, sources of government revenue, and patterns of public spending. Jayasuriya points out that the voter participation rate, that was once one of the highest in the world, peaked in 1977 and has been in decline ever since. But he seeks no explanation. Had he done so, he might have noted that the decline began after the state ceased providing subsidized food to most of the population in the later 1970s, and successive governments have steadily taxed less and less and spent less on health, education and welfare.

Mick Moore, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom

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GLOBALISATION, EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION IN SRI LANKA: Opportunity and Division. Routledge Studies in Education and Society in Asia, 2. By Angela W. Little and Siri T. Hettige. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xiv, 270 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-63808-1.

The authors have provided a comprehensive overview of the education system, policies and infrastructure in Sri Lanka, tying these very neatly to employment in Sri Lanka within the ambit of globalization. The book is mainly focused on understanding the effects of Sri Lanka’s liberalization in 1977 on education and employment. However, the authors give the book added depth by providing a concise description of colonial education policies, systems and infrastructure. These have hardly changed since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, especially in regard to social class structure and employment, in a country where a “majority of school-going children … preferred government jobs” (147).

A fascinating central feature of this book is the discussion of the peculiar nexus between education, the political landscape and the socio-economic demographics of Sri Lanka, which have propagated ethnic and social-class identities by “the division of the education system along ethnic lines” (182) and medium of instruction, leading in some instances to violent youth uprisings. The book posits that the majority Sinhalese ethnic divide and the student uprisings in 1971 and 1987-1989 (both spearheaded by the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana [JVP], whose agitation in the first instance had “less to do with the type of education available for rural children … [and] more to do with the continuing monopoly on high-status educational and occupational opportunity by the English educated” [36]) had much to do with class divisions. The disenchantment of Tamil youth with government educational policies and inadequate employment opportunities, especially in the government/public sector, led eventually to the civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

In chapter 4, the authors draw attention to the transition from English to Sinhalese or Tamil as a medium of instruction in schools from the mid 1940s onward, and chart the detrimental effect this policy has had on gainful private-sector employment. Yet, the authors make clear the advantages of education in the vernacular by providing evidence for increasing literacy in the secondary and tertiary sectors. Chapter 5 provides information on the availability of foreign education in Sri Lanka through cases studies of UK-accredited institutes and businesses offering opportunities to students in Sri Lanka.

Chapter 6 provides an interesting ethnographic study of the “aspirations and expectations” of youth and their parents (in their youth). The survey spread across nine areas consisting of a mix of urban and rural areas and provided insights to the question “has economic liberalization had an impact on the levels and types of aspirations and expectations of youth?” (150). The answers to the survey in regard to youth preferences and parents’ preferences for employment for their children is useful for policy makers in both the educational and employment sectors.

The unintended consequence of fostering ethnic identities over a national identity through the education system has on occasion led to violence, as mentioned above, and the authors warn “if the education system is maintained in its present form, it will continue to underpin ethnic relations” (192). This brings us to the realization of the importance of education in postwar reconciliation amongst communities. Chapter 7 provides an in-depth discussion of the challenges and issues surrounding this topic, while providing useful information such as the desire amongst students for “the opportunity to learn together with students of other ethnic groups” (192).

The book’s concern for comparison in three important areas is applauded. The authors have looked at the pre- and post-1977 periods, comparing the aspirations of the current young generation with those of their parents, and comparing Sri Lanka’s educational and employment policies with those of the Asian Tigers during the 1960-1990 period and with India/China during the period 1990–2012.

Yet, there are important areas the authors fail to develop, thus doing a disservice to the holistic nature of the book. These are as follows.

  • The unionization of tertiary education. While the authors mention the difficulties students face in completing tertiary education, readers would benefit if the unionization amongst lecturers and students alike was made explicit in discussion. In 2012, the Federation of University Teacher’s Associations (FUTA) undertook strike action, lasting 99 days, protesting against stagnant government investment in education, and low wages. Student unions in universities protest on a regular basis against government plans to introduce private, international universities in Sri Lanka.
  • The lack of opportunities for students who study in international schools. The authors make perfunctory mention of international schools, noting that “in 1977/8 there was only one international school … since then the numbers have mushroomed” (101). While students completing A-Level qualifications receive internationally recognized certifications (as “Sri Lankan universities do not recognize foreign ‘A Level’ qualifications” [102]), entry and study in overseas universities is restricted by the costs for tuition and stringent visa procedures for host countries. This is compounded by the unavailability of financial aid schemes for Sri Lankan students in Sri Lanka and in most foreign countries. Further, those that manage to take loans cannot return easily to Sri Lanka given their financial obligations. Obviously this situation contributes to the brain-drain begun since the 1950s.
  • The private tuition malaise. The authors have recognized the popularity and frequenting of private tuition classes by students enrolled in general education, including higher secondary education. Readers would have benefitted had the authors delved into the contentious issues surrounding private tuition such as the inability of state teachers to complete syllabi for various reasons including self-interest, as some of the same teachers promote their private tuition classes. This then throws into question the availability of state “free education” and state measures enforcing teacher accountability.

Overall, the book provides a valuable introduction into education and employment in Sri Lanka for those uninitiated in the subject, while chapters 6 through 9 provide food for thought for policy makers, practitioners and academics.

Gloria Spittel, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE PITY OF PARTITION: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide. Lawrence Stone Lectures. By Ayesha Jalal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013. xv, 265 pp. (B&W photos.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-15362-9.

This is a highly readable book on the life and writings of the most outstanding Urdu short-story writer Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955), by the historian Ayesha Jalal, a close relative of Manto’s; her father was his nephew.

Jalal expands her ambit from archival material, which hitherto has been her only source of writing on the Partition, to include oral history as she moves away from high politics to the stark ground reality of unprecedented violence that claimed more than a million lives and forced 14-18 million people to cross the India-Pakistan border at the time of Partition in mid-1947.

However, she expresses doubts about oral history as a reliable source for scholarly research. She remarks: “Privileging memories shaped by violent ruptures cannot but provide a distorting prism for looking into the history of the entire gamut of social and political relations” (13). It is an involved construction because there is nothing to suggest that memory should be privileged. Methodological innovation which does not privilege one source material over the other and attempts a multi-layered analysis combining high politics, the conduct of officialdom in the field, and the experiences of the people, three levels in the structure and process of the partition, is certainly an option.

Conventional historians, including Jalal, put their pens down once government reports on the partition prepared by the British ceased to be available (not written at all or those that remain classified up to this day) after the 14th of August, when power was transferred to Indian and Pakistani administrations in the partitioned Punjab. However, political scientists can link these levels in a theoretical framework to attempt a holistic and comprehensive study of that great upheaval. In my book, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012), I have demonstrated the usefulness and relevance of such methodology. Reviewers have, without exception, found the employment of oral history collected from hundreds of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs a very useful methodological innovation.

Consequently, when Jalal attempts a biography-cum-literary evaluation of Manto, she combines newspaper editorials and news items, articles on Manto, letters he wrote and received, some official documents and reports, with oral history collected through discussions and interviews with his family, relatives, friends and contemporaries. The result is an amazingly informative, even-handed, and lifelike portrait of the great writer.

Manto’s elders were from Kashmir. They were shawl merchants who settled in the Punjab. His father was a magistrate. Saadat Hasan was born to his second wife, whom his relatives never accepted. The genius grew up lonely, discriminated against, and angry. He was an unsuccessful student who found himself in the company of leftists wanting to overthrow British colonialism and imbibed that message. Long years of struggle in Lahore, Bombay and Delhi to make a living from writing fiction and film stories and scripts followed. He was victimized for allegedly writing obscene stories and dragged into courts. Married to a woman also of Kashmiri extraction, Safia, he found in her his bedrock, though he had wanted to marry a cousin whom some rich suitor claimed successfully. Together they had four children, three daughters and a son. The son was the apple of his eye but he died when still an infant. Manto could never overcome that blow.

Manto became a rebel; an anti-imperialist to the end of his life; jealously independent and irreverent, hounded by right-wing forces and ostracized by orthodox communists. He could make fun of religion. He had many close Hindu friends, including the famous actors such as Ashok Kumar and Shyam; yet wrote the Arabic numerals 786 (symbolizing the Quranic formula “I begin in the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”) on the top of each story he wrote. A critic of religious fanaticism, he was simultaneously a realist convinced that religion shapes human behaviour and cannot be wished away. Jalal tries to explicate these contradictions and does it very well.

The selection of the short stories is extremely fair. The breadth of Manto’s writings covering sexuality, violence, corruption, politics, culture, individualism, class and society is amply presented. Equally, his skills, ranging from portraying tragedy and horror to sarcasm and humour and pique absurdity, are aptly demonstrated. Jalal devotes a whole chapter to the fictional letters he wrote to Uncle Sam with regard to how Pakistan would be used and exploited. He could foretell that the Americans would be promoting fanaticism and extremism in Pakistan. History has proven him right. Yet Manto left India and came to Pakistan, where under the influence of literary critic and ideologue Hassan Askari, he began to assume some typical Pakistani nationalist standpoints vis-à-vis India.

Jalal mentions that Manto used to celebrate March 23rd, the date of the 1940 Lahore resolution passed by the Muslim League demanding Pakistan. This is doubtful, because not until 1956 was that date declared the national day of Pakistan. By that time Manto was dead, succumbing to mounting debts, excessive drinking and an intellectually suffocating milieu that emerged in Pakistan as the demand for making Pakistan a proper Islamic state picked up momentum.

It is widely mentioned that Manto wrote to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (a Kashmiri Brahmin like Manto but a Hindu) urging him to vacate Muslim Kashmir just as he (a Muslim) had left India and migrated to Pakistan. If such a letter was written then Manto succumbed to the logic of the two-nation theory on which Pakistan is based. It would have been interesting to know if such a letter was written at all. Jalal has not taken it up in her discussion, which is rather peculiar.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan,

Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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INDIA IN SOUTH ASIA: Domestic Identity Politics and Foreign Policy from Nehru to the BJP. Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics, 108. By Sinderpal Singh. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. x, 163 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-62530-2.

The literature on Indian foreign policy has long been dominated by a standardized realist mode of analysis cast in the vocabulary of national interests and power distribution. It is refreshing therefore to find a work that—without ignoring questions of power and interest—is firmly embedded in an ideational framework. Sinderpal Singh’s India in South Asia, written in a lucid style that eschews the dense jargon common among constructivist writings, centres on how the politics of identity framed within India’s domestic political context is reflected in its foreign policy toward its neighbours, mainly Pakistan, but also Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Singh studies the discourses on secularism, democracy and anti-imperialism during the Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) eras and shows how contests over them shaped domestic politics and thence the foreign policy realm over the years.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s syncretic approach to religion and national identity made India’s clash with Pakistan over Kashmir “a battle over two contending identities of statehood—secularism and communalism” (32). His democratic credentials were evident in his willingness to seek the Kashmiri peoples’ preferences in choosing between India and Pakistan. But when Pakistan joined the US-led alliance system, Nehru’s anti-imperialism and his desire to preserve India’s autonomy from big power domination led him to back away from his position on plebiscite in Kashmir.

Indira Gandhi’s quest for domestic power drove her to shift from Nehru’s institutionally based democracy to a more personalized rule that bypassed institutions in favour of populism. This was reflected not only in her policies on currency devaluation and bank nationalization, but equally in foreign policy, as when she sought to appeal directly to the Pakistani public by returning territory seized by India during the 1971 war. The BJP undertook a radical re-invention of Indian identity by wrapping it in “Hindutva” (“Hindu-ness”), which was imbued with hostility toward Muslims both within India (as in the state of Gujarat, which witnessed horrific anti-Muslim violence in 2002) and without (vis-à-vis Pakistan’s “betrayal” in the occupation of territory in the Kargil region of Kashmir, and large-scale Bangladeshi migration into India). In all three cases, the overriding factor was anti-imperialism, which—rather broadly defined by Singh—brought threats of intervention from the United States, China and potentially others. This caused Nehru to back away from conciliatory approaches to Pakistan and Nepal; Indira Gandhi to lean toward the Soviet Union to counter the Pakistan-US nexus and invoke the “Indira Doctrine” in Sri Lanka; and the BJP to exercise restraint against Pakistan to preclude American intervention.

There are interesting and unexpected insights. Nehru the anti-imperialist appeared anything but that in asserting India’s “special interests” in Nepal. Mrs. Gandhi, to many the quintessential realist, made concessions to Pakistan to provide ballast to the democratically elected (and deeply hostile) Z.A. Bhutto for his political survival. And the BJP began by espousing “Gandhian socialism,” of which “swadeshi” (self-sufficiency) was a critical component before it turned liberal after assuming power.

The strengths of the book are evident. It will occupy a distinctive place in the literature on Indian foreign policy because it links domestic politics and foreign policy through a seamless analysis of the two realms; it uses a constructivist framework that gives it a prominent place among writings on the subject; and it adopts an ideational approach that goes well beyond older arguments based on Indian exceptionalism. Realists may object that it does not quite undermine their case. Anti-imperialism and the quest for autonomy, which have been key components of India’s foreign policy identity, are also easily accommodated by realist analysis. Academics will find the theoretical content a bit thin. Given the author’s express contention that realist and liberal theories are inadequate for a full understanding of foreign policy, a more extensive engagement with the theoretical literature could have strengthened the argument. A discussion of the considerable work on the relationship between dometic and foreign policy would have done likewise. The author might also have tackled some critical questions, such as why Mrs. Gandhi eschewed the bomb after the 1974 test; or why the BJP’s hostility toward Muslims did not prevent Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee from undertaking his Lahore initiative.

That said, Singh’s work is likely to be of enduring value. It will effectively shift the median in the literature on Indian foreign policy away from purely power- and interest-based analyses to a more nuanced understanding of a complex reality that encompasses ideational themes. The book is timely at a juncture when India is engaged in an energetic debate over its identity. The BJP’s efforts to invigorate domestic politics with a new Hindu-pragmatic identity and the promise of a more decisive foreign policy befitting an emerging power will be better understood by readers who have had the benefit of the historical grounding and conceptual tools provided by this book.

Rajesh Basrur, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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AN INDIAN POLITICAL LIFE: Charan Singh and Congress Politics, 1957 to 1967. The Politics of Northern India, 1937 to 1987, v. 2. By Paul R. Brass. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2012. xxiv, 475 pp., [12] pp. of plates. (Illus., maps.) US$69.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-0947-1.

We have never seen, nor are we likely to see, anything quite like this book—or rather, like the multi-volume treatment of which it is the second instalment (with more to come). Its unique value derives in part from Chaudhary Charan Singh, the political leader who is its main focus. He was an inveterate writer not just of documents for public consumption and long letters (sent and unsent), but of highly detailed private records and assessments of political processes and policy issues—to which he brought a fine analytical mind. And he preserved these documents!

The other key element is Paul Brass’s long engagement with the politics of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s largest state and Charan Singh’s region—and with the man himself. This goes back more than half a century; an appendix contains transcripts from interviews in 1961 and 1962. Brass is one of the great interpreters of India, and he has here a massive trove of quality evidence.

The decade covered in this book (1957-1967) was a curious, low period in Charan Singh’s career. It stands between his earlier (and greatest) achievement as a minister in UP (covered in volume 1), zamindari abolition: that is, the breakup of large landholdings across much of that state. That reform largely removed inequities which would have made politics in this crucial region inherently unstable and grossly unjust: the sort of vile politics that survive in the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh. It also benefited small and medium cultivators who duly became Charan Singh’s committed followers. But that political base did not suffice to raise him to pre-eminence in his state, so the years covered here were marked by considerable isolation and repeated frustrations. He broke with the Congress Party just after this narrative concludes, built an opposition party, was jailed during Indira Gandhi’s emergency (1975-77), then emerged as a senior figure in the subsequent Janata government, and was for six months a caretaker prime minister in 1979. The excitements of those years will figure in a later volume.

In the first half of the book, the focus alternates between chronological narratives of events and rich discussions of important themes: the region’s political economy, the redrawing of states’ boundaries, and debates over the development model for UP and indeed, for India. In those debates, Charan Singh—the champion of agriculture in general and owner-cultivators in particular—was on the losing side, as agrarian surpluses were redirected to fund state-led industrialization.

The second half of the volume concentrates on the decline of the Congress Party in UP. It deals in great detail with corruption and factionalism. Indeed, it is astonishing that infighting proceeded more or less unabated even amid India’s war with China, and just after the death of Nehru. Brass also assesses the strangely ill-judged roles played by the party’s national leaders in a state that provided the very core of their power base. The Congress high command in New Delhi made numerous destructive interventions and—remarkably often—remained inert when urgent action was needed. We get glimpses here of an aloof Jawaharlal Nehru, of (even in that early period) a devious and paranoid Indira Gandhi, and of a stubbornly (and surprisingly) non-committal Lal Bahadur Shastri (Nehru’s successor as prime minister).

We also get fascinating accounts of Charan Singh’s usually shrewd machinations—which nevertheless seldom bore fruit. He was often quite vocal in advancing meticulously constructed arguments based on far more evidence than other Congress politicians deployed then (within and beyond northern India) or indeed since. And yet on other occasions, he carefully remained mute, when his views had no chance of success, or when his advocacy of an issue would do more harm than good.

Brass is careful, even in the overall title for this series of books, to clarify that his focus is “northern” India. This is welcome since things were rather different in western India—where Y.B. Chavan was building a remarkably broad base for Congress—and in the south.

This study is decidedly sympathetic to Charan Singh, but Brass also provides plenty of criticisms which lend credibility to the analysis. He could be naïve, and only partly aware of his own defects of character. He was at times inconsistent and at others rigid. He was sometimes ineffective as an administrator. He tended to be insensitive to the pain that he inflicted on others, a trait that mattered greatly since he was perhaps India’s “great denigrator” (352). He was unsympathetic to the plight of the labouring classes and adivasis (“tribals”). He condoned police excesses, and on one occasion failed to deal effectively with religious riots. So this book is by no means the cosy story of Charan Singh “as told to” Paul Brass.

It is striking to see how lively the debates were over political and policy issues in that era, before Indira Gandhi radically centralized power in the Congress Party and stifled discussion, along with intra-party democracy. Debates have revived a little in recent years, but the contrast with that earlier period is still striking.

Brass offers us a bleak view of UP politics—and abundant evidence to justify it. This is apparent from titles and sub-titles in various chapters: “Political Farce…,” “Crisis and Sabotage,” Groupism and Venality,” Forms of Corruption,” etc. Charan Singh was similarly despondent. He emerges here as a lonely figure, thwarted by rivals: a man with ideas and a political base that would only begin to flourish after 1967, when the narrative in this volume concludes, after Charan Singh had left the Congress Party.

Other scholars (including this reviewer) have based their analyses on extensive interactions with key Indian politicians. But it is hard to imagine anyone ever matching the exhaustive account that Brass provides: thanks to decades of deep immersion in UP and close interactions with Charan Singh, to that unrivalled archival goldmine, and to the author’s acuity.

James Manor, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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INDIA TODAY: Economy, Politics and Society. By Stuart Corbridge, John Harris, and Craig Jeffrey. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley [distributor], 2013. xv, 384 pp. (Figures, tables.) C$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-6112-4.

India Today is a vigorously informative volume that conscientiously examines some of the big debates of contemporary India in the context of wide-ranging empirical and theoretical perspectives. The co-authored text will be extremely relevant for academics, students, policy makers and development practitioners working in India and beyond, as well as those curious to understand more about the extent and nature of economic, political and social transformations taking place in post-liberal India.

John Harriss, Stuart Corbridge and Craig Jeffrey have well-established research commitments in India and bring their intimate knowledge to bear on a series of timely questions which represent the titles of stand alone, yet intersecting chapters: When and why did India take off? How have the poor fared (and others too)? Why hasn’t economic growth delivered more for Indian workers? Is the Indian state delivering on promises of “inclusive growth” and social justice? How did a weak state promote audacious reforms? Has India’s democracy been a success? Is government in India becoming more responsive? Does India have a civil society? Has the rise of Hindu nationalism halted? Why has Maoism become such a force in India? Does India have a civil society? Does caste still matter in India? How much have things changed for Indian women? Can India benefit from its demographic dividend? The answers to these subjects are examined through a broad and rigorous review of the literature to illuminate contrasting arguments across different sites and scales of analysis, within India and beyond. This capacity to navigate a range of disciplinary approaches and regional material reflects the interdisciplinary and situated expertise of the authors and contributes to one of the book’s greatest achievements.

Concerning the trajectory of India’s economic “take off,” Corbridge, Harriss and Jeffrey are careful to nuance the more popularized narrative of India’s “neoliberal turn” in 1991 with the IMF reforms. Instead, they place this moment within the context of India’s much earlier liberalizing tendencies and institution building to show how these practices provided the fertile foundations for India’s longstanding economic growth to accelerate. Readers acquainted with Harriss and Corbridge’s earlier work, Reinventing India, may find this relatively familiar territory. Yet, this book importantly expands the lens on India’s economic successes to chapters that critically assess the unevenness of economic growth and its manifestations, notably around employment and poverty alleviation. In the context of the Government of India’s public commitment to “inclusive growth,” attention is turned to the efficacy of “pro-poor” policies (Right to Education, Right to Food and Right to Work) that were largely implemented under the Congress-led coalition. These have been mainly celebrated in the global development community, not least India’s Right to Work Act, however Corbridge et al.’s optimism is somewhat tempered by their grounded insights into the politics of the Indian middle classes. They argue that in everyday life, the aspirations of India’s middle classes conflict with, and often compromise, the aims of “pro-poor” policies and efforts to address uneven development.

The second section turns the attention to politics to unpack India’s politics-business nexus and reveal how this has fundamentally informed the shape of India’s post-liberal landscape, comprising economic reforms by stealth and a notably pro-business rather than a pro-market agenda. The notion of India’s democratic success and extent is unraveled through a methodical discussion that contrasts the scope of its formal and substantive processes since Independence. This generally positive story is further nuanced through an examination of the limits of governance and the lived realities of progressive democratization in contemporary India, where questions hang over whether the “right” people benefit from political power across different scales. The ways in which power has found expression through overt and more banal forms of everyday violence represents the backdrop for thinking about the fortune of Hindu Nationalism and of Maoism. Despite the Hindu right Bharatiya Janata Party being currently out of power in the national government, the tract of Hindutva sentiment and its pernicious anti-Muslim rhetoric remains in tact. Meanwhile, situated within a broader discussion around “insurgency,” it is argued that Maoism has gained traction in India’s rural resource-rich states due to a complex, situated relationship between political mobilization, state maladministration, accumulated grievance and liberalization. Yet, whilst the reasons behind the rise of Maoism in India may be contested, the overriding conclusion is that, in the end, the poorest will always lose out.

Although of course implicated in the first two sections of the book, the question of society in India today receives its own platform in the third and final section, where the circumstances of civil society, caste, women and India’s demographic dividend come under scrutiny. These form strong stand-alone chapters, but lack the kind of crosscutting arguments which cohere parts 1 and 2. More explicit linkages between the character of India’s civil society and the critiques leveled around middle-class politics and poverty alleviation may have been productive. However, the robust and logical analysis of the continued yet shifting centrality of caste underpins a particularly valuable chapter, not only for students and relative newcomers to India, but also those seeking clarity on what can be a perplexing aspect of Indian society. The mixed optimism on the situation for women in India serves to remind the reader of India’s uneven regional development, particularly in recent decades. Though the crucial social-economic indicators may be up, their scope is partial and mainly limited to urban areas and more progressive regions. The book moves towards its conclusion with a view to the future, and an examination of the potential for India to capitalize on its pending demographic dividend. Set in contrast to China, India’s future looks much bleaker, its failure to facilitate mass education and health services, infrastructure and good governance means it will likely squander this window for positive transformation.

It is a truism of reviews on such far-reaching volumes to point out areas not included, so perhaps it would be more interesting to speculate on the headline questions of a revised edition in twenty years time, when it is very likely that the vital and increasingly pressured nexus between water, food and the environment will be much harder to overlook in understanding the dynamics of India’s economy, politics and society. In sum, however, India Today impressively marks a particular moment in post-liberal India. The authors have succeeded in representing tremendous breadth and depth of perspectives and although offering their specific steer through the material they decline to close down the debates but instead enable the reader to interpret India’s complexities: its contradictions and juxtapositions and its achievements and flaws.

Philippa Williams, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom

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Southeast Asia


A HERITAGE OF RUINS: The Ancient Sites of Southeast Asia and Their Conservation. By William Chapman. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xviii, 340 pp., [16 pp.] of plates (Figures.) US$59.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3631-3.

Southeast Asian governments have become increasingly eager to have sites, cities, landscapes and other cultural attainments inscribed on the World Heritage List. It would be salutary if this attention was due to awakening concern on the part of politicians to preserve their heritage for psychological and aesthetic reasons; however, one may be forgiven for suspecting that political and financial considerations have also become involved. It is now appreciated that inscription on the list is a great way to increase tourism, and thereby revenue.

William Chapman has compiled a very valuable synthesis of the history of human involvement with remains of ancient architecture in Southeast Asia. As a summary of a vast and complicated subject, with relevance to a number of fields, from the abstract such as archaeology and history to the applied such as tourism studies, this work is significant. A brief introduction which deals with general concepts such as “heritage” and the evolution of related controversies regarding what should be done with ruins is followed by the heart of the volume: five chapters, each of which deals with one or more countries, exploring case studies. There are two concluding parts: a final chapter on “The future of Southeast Asia’s ancient sites,” and a thirteen-page section entitled “Conclusions.”

The author’s objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the important architectural sites of premodern Southeast Asia with respect to their current physical condition, the measures taken to preserve them from further deterioration, to repair damage to their materials, and to restore them to something resembling their appearance at some point in the past. None of these objectives is easy to define in practice nor is implementation of policies to maintain and protect them uncomplicated. Political, philosophical, technical and economic considerations usually require choices to be made among alternatives, none of which is optimal from every point of view. Choices among alternatives involve trade-offs, and are influenced by a number of factors, including those of self-interest on the part of entrepreneurs and politicians, and desires by segments of populations to recreate something which may in fact never have existed and is based on illusory notions about the past.

This work explores the socio-political factors which influence the means and policies chosen to deal with Southeast Asia’s ruins on the part of the national authorities who hold jurisdiction over them. Many people approaching Southeast Asia for the first time are surprised to discover that the region contains a high density of historic structures, some of which have been granted world heritage status by UNESCO, others which are of national or international importance from the points of view of tourism, education, research and contemporary religious belief. It is difficult to do justice to the complexities of the local cross-currents of conflicting interests among stakeholders found among the ten (or eleven, if one counts Timor Leste) nations of Southeast Asia. It is difficult for example to assess the extent to which corruption and other negative factors have played roles in the policies of conservation of heritage buildings in Southeast Asia.

It is easier and less controversial to point out the technical and economic factors which have resulted in the current status of heritage building conservation in Southeast Asia, and this is in general the approach which has been followed in this book. No such overview has been attempted in the past, and this book will be useful both for students in various social sciences and humanities, and for scholars and policy makers, including those in international funding agencies.

The subject is indeed vast, and the author has in general coped very well with the challenge of achieving both breadth and depth of discussion. The author’s copious footnotes and 38-page bibliography provide citations to quite a comprehensive swath of the literature, from books to internet sites.

The problem of educating local tourists to treat the monuments with respect is ongoing. In most cases tourists, even local ones, have only the vaguest notion of the history of the site or the meanings of the art symbols. The vision of two million Indonesian Muslims per year visiting the Buddhist monument of Borobudur is one of the interesting cases where the perceptions of local visitors regarding the relevance of their own ancestors’ achievements to their contemporary existence (and identity) can be explored in more depth (and an Indonesian doctoral student at the National University of Singapore is in 2014 about to complete his dissertation on precisely this subject). The volume under review here provides numerous other cases which could be investigated from a similar perspective.

Heritage conservation theory and practice are rapidly evolving throughout the world. New voices, new political developments, are producing continuous change. As the author notes (229), the impact of new tourists from China and India on heritage sites, their preservation and interpretation, has yet to be felt, but will definitely change the equation. Since 2011, basic changes in Myanmar’s government and economy have engendered many new threats and opportunities for heritage preservation, development and interpretation.

This book is a comprehensive snapshot of a swiftly flowing stream, and some of the variables described here will be superceded within a few years. Nevertheless, as a guide to the current state of the art in Southeast Asia, this ambitious book is likely to remain a basic source for years to come. It distils basic information and policy considerations of great interest to decision makers in government and private industry, scholars and students from a wide range of disciplines.

John N. Miksic, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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SITUATED TESTIMONIES: Dread and Enchantment in an Indonesian Literary Archive. By Laurie J. Sears. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxv, 318 pp. (Map, illus.) US$57.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3683-2.

Can an entire nation be haunted by a trauma that is originated from phantoms, ghosts from the past that are not materially real yet exist in the psychical realm? Can fantasies, spurred by a desire for a future that may fail to come true, become the source of a “national trauma”? Can dread of what is perceived to be lacking in the present join forces with melancholia of what may be lost about the past (because memory fails to remember it) in order to paralyze a nation and sabotage its progress toward the future? Above all, can one psychoanalyze a nation bearing such a complex neurosis? Situated Testimonies by Laurie J. Sears attempts to answer these questions. It reads almost like psychoanalytic accounts on the celebrated case of the Wolf Man, which continued to haunt Freud until his death, except that in the case of this book the patient that seeks to be cured, yet refuses to reveal its most guarded secret—the locus of his trauma—is not the Wolf Man but a nation called Indonesia. It is not exaggerating to say that the book itself is haunted by what it tries to do and is never completely sure of what it claims to have achieved.

Undaunted by the task of close reading from a psychoanalytical perspective of several colonial and postcolonial novels by both Dutch Indies and Indonesian authors, Sears writes about traces of trauma that are repressed by history but express themselves through literary works. The authors of these works are, as Sears suggests, “eyewitnesses of their time” (2), but they are barred by mainstream and official discourses of history from talking about what they have seen. As a result, what initially happens as historical events turn into traumatic experience. Literary works become sites where the unspoken is re-enacted through narrative structures, even if such displacement does not offer any significant therapeutic effect and threatens to prolong the trauma instead. Drawing ideas and concepts from psychoanalysts such as Jean Laplanche and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, as well as Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, who have rescued Freud’s legacy from oblivion in today’s world by their daring reinterpretation of many of Freud’s controversial theories, Sears argues that colonial and postcolonial Indonesian novels serve as a kind of “mnemonic device” not just to remember the past but, further, to “keep the past alive” (13). In psychoanalysis, there is a fundamental difference between the two.

Sears uncovers the gaps hidden beneath the narrative textures of novels and novellas written by Maria Dermoût, Louis Couperus, Tirto Adhi Soerjo and Soewarsih Djojopoespito, and Armijn Pane from the Dutch colonial period in the Indies, and the fiction produced by Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Ayu Utami, who belong to postcolonial Indonesia. The primary tension that gives shape to these works is between the incomprehensible natural and supernatural world of the past on the one hand and colonial modernity which offers a future, yet a highly problematic one, on the other. The characters are trapped between these two incompatible worlds. They manage to take a critical stance toward oppressive colonial practices but, at the same time, either they lament the loss of past imperial glories, as do the characters in Dermoût’s and Couperus’ novels, or they are ambivalent toward modernity, as is apparent in the works of Tirto, Soewarsih, and Armijn. In contrast, the major characters in Pramoedya’s and Ayu’s works are those that “are damaged by the past” (191) and branded with stigmas of oppressive regimes. That is why, Sears argues, “they cannot heal themselves, and they cannot heal the nation” (192) regardless of how hard they struggle to distance themselves from the power that has corrupted their sense of being.

Where is the nation in this complex scheme of things, then? The characters of the works discussed in this book embody and personify the nation. They are metonymies of the nation—of a presence that has to be represented by another because it cannot present itself—that repeatedly show up in the works from different generations of authors. The nation, in Situated Testimonies, is metonymical not because it only occurs in the imagination of its members but because it is traumatic. The nation is like a crypt that preserves the past in order to kill it and bury the past in order to keep it alive—a tomb for the living. As such, the nation always lacks something, and this sense of loss is passed down from one generation of authors to another. The nation is also a phantasm: hope and dream of the future that is dreaded because it carries phantoms of the past. As a theme, it haunts the book.

However, like an analyst who experiences a process of transference vis-à-vis her patient during therapy sessions, Sears concludes the book with ample optimism that there is hope, and that the nation has a future because, through writing stories, history can be changed. Sears believes this “afterwardness” of history opens up ways for literature to deal with traumatized memory and decipher the crypt that protects the source of the trauma so that the “enigmatic signifier” (the nation) may someday find its ultimate signified and cease being an enigma. This I find problematic, for healing—in the psychoanalytic sense—never simply means liberation from trauma. In most cases, it merely means accepting the fact that one can never completely be rid of neurosis, just like Freud’s Wolf man, who lived and died with his unspoken magic word, even though he was “hypothetically healed.” Still, this book deserves praise and warm welcome because of its new ways of reading Dutch Indies and Indonesian texts that have been or are in the process of being canonized. By taking trauma in these novels as a theme of her book, Sears has revived the Dutch Indies literary works and built a bridge that connects them with the more recent works, published long after the end of the colonial era.

Manneke Budiman, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia

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CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND DEMOCRACY IN INDONESIA. Problems of International Politics. By Donald L. Horowitz. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xviii, 326 pp. (Tables, map.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-64115-0.

Indonesia is a far-flung archipelago of more than 250 million citizens, whose highly variegated society, while 90 percent Muslim, speaks some 700 languages. Its economy, meanwhile, is geared simply to commodities and services, trapping it at a modest level of development. How is it, then, that such uncongenial soil supports the only polity among ASEAN countries today regarded by Freedom House as “politically free”? In this remarkable book, Donald Horowitz finds the answer to Indonesia’s democratic resilience in a medley of factors: starting conditions, fortuitous timing, consensual elites and viscous but free-moving social forces, producing a benign kinetic that he labels “multipolar fluidity.” But most signally, within this constellation, institutions have emerged which, by feeding back to perpetuate the alignments in which they originate, have kept democracy on beam.

In focusing on Indonesia, Horowitz begins by recounting that its society involves a vast patchwork of micro-identities. But at “rare and dangerous moments” (38), affiliations can gather in sharp confrontation along main axes of secular-nationalism and modernist and traditional Islam, locally demarcated as aliran (cultural streams). His task, then, is to show how institutions have been created in ways that deter political elites from so mobilizing voters along these lines that sentiments are brought to the boil, breaking democracy down. It is worth rehearsing his surprising findings as they disturb some cherished understandings in political science.

First, in terms of sequencing, it was fortuitous in Indonesia that electoral contestation preceded institutional change. Elections held shortly after Suharto’s demise brought legislators to power who, better than any constituent assembly or commission that outside experts might counsel, designed institutions that they could live with, increasing prospects for their eschewing the social mobilizing by which democracy would be threatened.

Second, in afterward revamping the constitution, legislators adopted a form of list proportional representation (PR), ensuring that more than one party represented each aliran. In this way, they encouraged movement by voters within streams. In addition, as the many parties that appeared contested elections avidly, they sought to extend their reach by forging “odd-couple coalitions,” whether Muslim-Christian, santri-abangan, or indigene-immigrant in scope. This prompted movement by voters across streams as well. What is more, the multipolar fluidity that set in was reinforced by a president who, after 2004, was contrarily elected on a plurality or, even better, a majority basis. Specifically, with citizens finding their aliran only indistinctly reflected in presidential slates that were few in number and broad in appeal, they were driven again to wade across streams, or lose sight of them altogether, their gaze averted to the personal appeal of lead candidates. Horowitz proposes a wise dictum for democratic stability in Indonesia: “foster intra-group competition, encourage intergroup alliances” (275).

But this too challenges a longstanding adage in political science, specifically, that presidential systems and legislatures elected on the basis of list PR, by pitting a majoritarian executive against a fissiparous cabinet, necessarily make for grievous tensions and deadlock. Horowitz argues, however, that in Indonesia a directly elected president and list PR have been optimal, sustaining multipolar fluidity by deterring candidates from recklessly activating aliran.

Third, rather than any “one shot’” package of constitutional reform, Indonesia’s institutional change was incremental and protracted. But if this precluded the early codification of electoral rules that experts might prescribe, it has enabled legislators to pursue ongoing institutional adjustment, thereby ensuring their continuing loyalties. Of course, this narrow pursuit of rewards does not always cumulate in collective long-term benefits. Horowitz shows that many legislators, while citing parliamentary stalemate and Outer Island rebellions during the 1950s, but more gravely concerned that their own large parties should prevail, have tried repeatedly to banish the smaller parties upon which much multipolar fluidity depends.

Hence, in seeking to dampen PR’s proliferative effects, legislators have imposed ever more stringent requirements on parties that seek to contest elections. But while avoiding fragmentation among micro-identities, Horowitz contends that this risks bifurcation between secularists and Islamists, “splitting the country down the middle.” Sundry anomalies have also set in. For example, despite extensive decentralization, parties hoping to contest at the local level must still meet a perverse requirement that they operate a country-wide branch structure. Further, while parties compete vigorously in elections, they afterward collude in legislative arenas. And the oversize cabinets in which they meet, while evoking inclusion and consensus, are mainly held together by a “conspiracy of silence,” with members tolerating each other’s looting of state assets in order to finance their party activities. Presidents also prefer oversize cabinets to minimum winning coalitions, helping them face down the parties that would blackmail them with threats of defection.

Fourth, in the ensuing absence of serious opposition and accountability, Horowitz turns to questions about democratic stability and quality, challenging the old saw that all good things go together. By posing counterfactuals, Horowitz demonstrates that in Indonesia, democracy’s stability and quality vary inversely. In particular, if corruption were better controlled, narrowing the conduits to patronage that parties require to survive, habituated collusion might give way to sharp confrontation. Further, if religious minorities were better protected, encouraging them to practice their beliefs more openly, they would draw the ire of the Muslim majority and rambunctious vigilantes. And finally, if these axes were to intertwine, with vigorously competing parties now hardening along the secular-Islamist divide, multipolar fluidity might congeal in a deadly bipolar faceoff.

In sum, Horowitz offers a sumptuous and thoughtful account. His book will hold obvious appeal for the legions of dedicated Indonesianists. But it might profit the generalists even more, confronting at many turns their long-held tenets about democratic stability. Even so, a few queries might be raised. At what point is democracy’s quality so compromised, with the freeness and fairness of elections disfigured by corrupt financing, for example, that democracy slips into some authoritarian category? On this score, we might ask how analytically separable and sequential democracy’s stability and quality really are.

Further, Horowitz places great store on originating conditions, prodding legislators down a pathway on which they are partly predestined. But this is to muddle legacy and agency, making it difficult to disentangle their respective contributions to institutional change in even the single case of Indonesia, much more in any theoretical way across other divided societies. The direction of causality between institutions and legislators is also unclear, with rules changed regularly by legislators who are then bound by them, but only until they are changed again. As Horowitz observes, electoral laws have been altered in Indonesia prior to every election.

Finally, however institutions took shape in Indonesia, if just a couple of presidential slates, by issuing overarching appeals, help to promote multipolar fluidity, why couldn’t a limited number of big parties, in establishing themselves as catch-all vehicles, do the same? Would the shared preeminence of, say, Golkar and PDI-P, necessarily do more to polarize aliran than to dilute them? The two-party system that preceded Marcos in the Philippines indicates that they might not, intimating that Indonesia’s (re)framers, in their wariness over small parties, may have a point.

William Case, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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DEMOCRACY AND ISLAM IN INDONESIA. Religion, Culture, and Public Life. Edited by Mirjam Künkler and Alfred Stepan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xv, 252 pp. (Tables, figures, maps.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-16191-6.

Written by a group of specialists on Indonesian politics and Islam, the book examines the successful story of Indonesia’s journey toward a democratic state. More specifically, this edited volume (1) discusses the uneasy processes of political transition from an authoritarian rule to a consolidated democracy, (2) underscores key issues that provide a rationale for making democracy work, (3) analyzes factors that could jeopardize democracy (e.g., violations of state laws, religious intolerance and violence, etc.) and social groupings that could have the potential power to derail democratization or fragment the state such as the (anti-reform) military, violent Islamic groups, and regional separatists, and finally (4) offers insights that could possibly maintain—or even make a better attainment of—the quality of “steady democracy” in the post-New Order Indonesia such as a well-functioning system of law enforcement and the political will and bravery of the government to protect the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion (21-23).

The bottom line of this fine volume, however, is to provide a theoretical framework for—and empirical data of—democratic transition and possible consolidation in a Muslim country. Editors of this volume argue that literature in political science on transition to, and consolidation of, democracy or varieties of possible democratizations in Muslim-majority countries remains less substantial if not impoverished; thereby this volume is an academic endeavour to fill these gaps (3). Based on the careful examination and thorough analyses of Indonesian experiences in handling political shift and in achieving democracy, the editors propose some theoretical foundations that underline (1) the compatibility of Islam and democracy, (2) the positive role of religion in global politics and public spheres, (3) the contribution of civil society in the democratization process, and (4) the possible collaboration of religious and secular forces as well as Muslim and non-Muslim elements in transforming a military dictatorial rule to a civilian democratic government.

Having been described by some observers as a democratization wonder, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, undoubtedly offers a great example to examine a political passage from dictatorship to democracy in a Muslim society. When Suharto collapsed in 1998, which marked Indonesia’s political transition, many observers of Indonesian politics predicted this country would soon become the next Balkans. What happened in Indonesia, surprisingly, was not a state disintegration but rather a solid democratic integration. Edward Aspinall in this volume (126-146) provides explanations of why and how Indonesia survived from separatism. The cornerstone of Indonesia’s success in implementing a state policy of decentralization, in quelling secession, and finally in boosting support for democracy, Aspinall argues, was the transfer of some political and financial authority from the central government to the sub-provincial of 495 county-like districts and municipalities across the nation. This policy—and strategy—aimed at preventing the rebirth of provincial pro-independence sentiments and political movements that historically, since the country declared its independence, had tested the integrity of the Indonesian unitary state.

Besides the peaceful decentralization, the book also analyzes other significant accomplishments of post-Suharto democratic Indonesia including, but not limited to, the transformation of the military and the demilitarization of governments (89-108), the rise of many independent political parties, the increasing participation of women in public affairs, the widespread presence of CSOs, the production of many “pro-people” laws, the increase of civilian regimes, the growth of free press, and the implementation of free elections. Muslims in the country are also more in favour of secular democracy than Islamic monarchy. Muslim parties of all kinds have lost support to fully national secular-based political parties (24-50).

The defeat of Islamic political parties does not mean that secular political actors have suppressed and isolated religious ones. Conversely, today’s Indonesia witnesses what Alfred Stepan calls “twin tolerations,” namely “toleration of democracy by religion and toleration of religion by democratic leaders” (7). The Indonesian case makes clear that the participation of religion in public, political domains does not necessarily defy or transgress secular, democratic practices, so that John Rawls’ warning to uproot religion from politics in order to establish a liberal democracy has lost an empirical ground.

Despite highlighting some compelling arguments, data and analyses on contemporary Indonesian politics, the book has some weaknesses, including the portrayal of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, the country’s two largest Muslim institutions, which the editors describe as the backbone of Indonesian democracy, without examining anti-pluralist and anti-democracy factions within these organizations. In fact, during the New Order, it was only NU, especially during the late Abdurrahman Wahid, that became the strongest Islamic advocate for democracy. Unlike his uncle, Yusuf Hasyim, Wahid worked closely with secular and non-Muslim democrats to resist the New Order and struggle for democratic government, human rights, and the state’s pluralist ideology and Constitution. Muhammadiyah, conversely, instead of supporting non-state civil society groupings and criticizing the New Order, enjoyed patronage with the ruling government. As a result, this organization received advantages from the government such as funds to build its schools and other properties. Members of Muhammadiyah also enjoyed strategic positions in governments, educations, state companies, etc. The sharp, sometimes harsh, rivalry between NU and Muhammadiyah during the New Order was evident and prevalent. While NU, with Wahid as a main leader, referred its opposition to the New Order as a “cultural strategy,” Muhammadiyah, with Amin Rais as the primary figure, called its support for the government a “structural strategy.” Muhammadiyah transformed itself into a non-state vital force of democracy when this organization was led by Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, the country’s leading human rights advocate and intellectual, at the end of the New Order.

Furthermore, the book also seems to romanticize the positive role of civil society in democratizing the state without examining the rise of “uncivil” civil society such as ethno-religious sectarian groupings that mushroomed in the post-Suharto Indonesia as an “unintended political reformation of 1998” that also could ruin democracy. The book also tends to underestimate the role of the (retired) military in running government without mentioning their positive contributions for good governance. In fact, there were some high-quality popular military rulers who could successfully transform their territories into a stable region such as Governor Mardiyanto of Central Java and Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu of Maluku.

Despites these lacunae the book undoubtedly provides a plentiful essential resource for those interested in the study of post-authoritarian government, Muslim politics and, particularly, Indonesian Islam. This volume is a welcoming edition after the publication of Robert Hefner’s 2000 Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratizations in Indonesia.

Sumanto Al Qurtuby, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, USA

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POLITICS OF ETHNIC CLASSIFICATION IN VIETNAM. Kyoto Area Studies on Asia, v. 23. By Ito Masako; translated by Minako Sato. Kyoto: Kyoto University Press; Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2013. xxii, 229 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, photos.) US$94.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-920-90172-1.

Masako Ito, associate professor of modern Vietnamese history at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University, traces in excellent detail the consequences of the adoption in the 1960s of a policy to determine the ethnic composition of Vietnam. When the country was reunified in 1979, the government announced that “Vietnam was a multiethnic state” with 54 ethnic groups (1).

Vietnam’s ethnic policy was rooted in Marxist-Leninist theory and modelled on the application of that theory in the Soviet Union and China. Vietnamese ethnologists, most trained in the USSR, were charged with carrying out research to determine who belonged to which dân tộc and, more particularly to which “minority ethnic group” (dân tộc thiểu số), on the basis of language, shared culture, economic status and self-identity. This research led to the recognition of 53 ethnic minorities and the dominant Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese).

As Ito shows, once the list was established, it was reified and became impossible to change. A major reason for this was that new policies aimed at promoting the development of minority ethnic groups instituted subsequent to the ethnic classification of the population resulted in vesting these groups and local districts with significant minority populations with specified benefits (51ff). Ethnic leaders and many local officials thus had no desire to see any changes in the system of ethnic classification.

Many local groups whose ethnic identities were not officially recognized were displeased with their assigned ethnic status and some began to press to expand the list. Their concerns led the government to reopen its inquiry into the ethnic diversity of the country. In 2002 the government asked the Institutes of Ethnology and Linguistics in the National Academy of Social Sciences “to undertake a state-funded project named the Investigation to Determine Ethnic Group Composition in Vietnam” (67). For the next several years this project was undertaken by ethnologists and linguists from these institutes.

A major contribution of Ito’s study is her own research during this same period among some of the problematic groups, that is groups whose leaders had become “vocal” in seeking official recognition of their distinctive identities. In 2004 Ito conducted field research in several provinces in the northeastern corner of Vietnam, where the major ethnic group is identified officially as Sán Chay. This group, numbering about 150,000, is made up of two subgroups, the Cao Lan and Sán Chỉ, which, as Professor Ito found, really are very different, speaking languages belonging to different language families and not sharing a common culture. Despite this, the request to recognize them as separate groups was shelved and “the groundwork is being laid for [the] quiet end” of the request (86).

Professor Ito found a similar reaction to a petition by the approximately 40,000 Nguồn people in Quảng Bình province near the Lao border. At the time of the initial ethnic classification, there was a difference of opinion as to whether these people belonged to the Mưởng ethnic group, or to the Kinh, or were a distinct group (86). In the end, it was decided that they were a subgroup of the Kinh, and thus were not a distinct ethnic minority. “As ‘ethnic self-consciousness’ is counted the most important criterion for ethnic group determination, the Nguồn quite rightly ask why their claim is not accepted.” But their request has also been shelved because “from the state’s point of view the Nguồn’s demand is an issue laden with dangerous factors which could lead to the ‘breakdown’ of the nation” (105).

This perspective also has precluded other groups—such as the Pa Dí, Thu Lao, and Xá Phó, small groups living near the Chinese border in the far northern part of Vietnam among whom Professor Ito also did fieldwork—from gaining acceptance of their petitions for recognition as separate ethnic groups. On the other hand, the Ơ-Đu, a very small group—numbering only several hundred people—living in the mountainous area of Nghệ An province, have retained their distinctive ethnic status first granted them after the first ethnic classification program. Indeed, as Professor Ito demonstrates well, the Ơ-Đu were created by this program.

In the end, despite the conclusions of the new officially mandated inquiry, no group has succeeded in persuading the government to institute any changes in the original ethnic classification scheme. This is because “it remains essential for the preservation of the vested rights of various administrative cadres and a majority of academic cadres to continue to assert that Vietnam is a ‘multiethnic community of 54 ethnic groups’” (187).

Professor Ito has succeeded admirably in juxtaposing her study of official documents, interviews with officials and academics, and the results of her own excellent first-hand field work to demonstrate why ethnic classification in Vietnam has been far more a political than a scientific project. Her book deserves to be read not only by those interested in Vietnam but also by others interested in the politics of ethnicity more generally.

Charles Keyes, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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SECURING PARADISE: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai’i and the Philippines. Next Wave. By Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez. Durham: Duke University Press. 2013. X, 284pp. (Figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5370-6.

This work explores connections among many things, but especially between the United States military and tourism in Hawai’i and the Philippines. While most of the author’s overarching arguments are sound, I am not convinced she has made them as well as she might have. That is, I wonder if Professor Gonzalez’s approach is likely to convince readers who are not already sympathetic to the points she espouses. And I think it important that it should—there is much of value here.

I found myself responding viscerally at the outset, when I encountered her portrayal of an archetypal GI as “an American soldier and a sunbathing tourist” (4). It evoked a lingering memory from my early childhood, not long after the end of World War Two, when my father told me a story from his days serving in the highlands of Burma. Idly leafing through an armed forces publication, he came upon a spread about recreational opportunities in Hawai’i. The centrepiece was a sailor sunbathing on the beach at Waikiki: it was his brother, a navy electrician at Pearl Harbor. Any querulousness I might have had about this book’s linkage of the military and tourism utterly vanished in that flash of recollection.

But a few pages further along I was stopped by a second image, the notion that “the United States viewed Hawai’i and the Philippines as feminized territories needing discipline and protection” (13). I have no trouble understanding analyses that lead to such sweeping conclusions, and appreciate the perspectives they provide us. But there is rhetorical overkill here, and it exemplifies what I experience as the underlying problem with this book: it substitutes all-encompassing polemics and critiques for nuanced, searching analysis. Like all peoples, Americans possess widely contrasting views and pursue competing goals. And like most views and goals, these are contradictory and inconsistent. Any generalization about how Americans conceptualize Hawai’i that overlooks erupting volcanoes with rivulets of molten lava streaming down their sides or white, foaming spray flying off the pounding surf is missing something. And many American males, probably most, compete with one another, striving to dominate their rivals, as much as they seek to control females. I repeat: I understand and appreciate the theoretical approach Gonzalez employs here, but she needs to dig more deeply.

There are parts of Securing Paradise that ring brightly. When Gonzalez leads us through a visit to the historical park at the Corregidor fortress in the Philippines, for instance, she replaces rhetoric with acute observation and description in ways that are vastly more satisfying. She captures the multiplicity of ways in which the park’s designers seek to shape historical understanding. Drawing lines that link World War Two and the Vietnam War, she recounts the opening ceremonies at the Pacific War Memorial there in 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam conflict, allowing the reader space to reflect on Ferdinand Marcos’s dedicatory speech honouring those who “fought to make peace, if not possible, an enduring condition of human life,” and she resists the temptation to cudgel us with remarks about the irony resonating in this scene (101).

But on the whole, war and the military and all that they entail call for a look at something more than just that which lies on the surface. I respect what she’s trying to get at when she says “The soldiers are young for most part, just boys far away from home” (103), and it reminds me of how I came to the Pacific (including Hawai’i and the Philippines) to fight the war in Vietnam when I was still a teenager. I was sent on to Australia to help commemorate the battle of the Coral Sea, from the previous war, and fell in love with the Pacific islands I encountered along the way. But there’s more to it than that. I was in spirit, if not chronology, a weary old man by that time, so disillusioned with what I had been ordered to do that I then devoted most of my career to resisting American colonialism in the Pacific islands. It is precisely because my love of the Pacific was begotten by the war that I so deeply appreciate the attention she draws to these linkages. But the conclusions she insists upon quite ignore all the other possible ways in which these emotions can play themselves out.

Again and again, Gonzalez draws attention to telling ironies, including the popularity of Pearl Harbor as a tourist destination, the use of helicopters to view Kauai, and the repurposing of a jungle training camp at what used to be the Philippines Subic Bay naval base as a recreational attraction. She has an extraordinary eye for these sorts of juxtapositions. As long as she is reporting she holds my attention, but repeatedly she resorts to posturing in place of analyzing, and then I begin to drift. If she wants to have an impact outside the cultural studies community, and I think she ought to, she would do well to hold her own abilities, as well as those of the readers, in higher regard. She doesn’t need to hammer her points home so bluntly—in fact, doing so seems to detract from her message. And she could perhaps benefit from considering a notion that Isaiah Berlin often cited: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.” In connecting the dots, Gonzalez might strive for a little more nuance, subtlety and complexity: the lines she draws seem just a little too straight, at least to this reader.

Glenn Petersen, City University of New York, New York, USA

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A FEW POORLY ORGANIZED MEN: Interreligious Violence in Poso, Indonesia. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land en Volkenkunde, v. 285; Power and place in Southeast Asia. v. 3. By Dave McRae. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. x, 214 pp. (Tables, maps, graph.) US$103.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-24483-2.

A Few Poorly Organized Men provides a rich, nuanced account of one of the most protracted violent conflicts accompanying Indonesia’s democratization in the aftermath of President Suharto’s May 1998 step-down following more than forty years of authoritarian rule. Central to this careful, detailed study of the unfolding dynamics of violence that racked Poso district in Central Sulawesi province from 1998 to 2007 is the analysis of a division of labour that was repeatedly refigured throughout the violence but in which, consistently, a small group of “loosely organized” core leaders and combatants played a dominant part in shaping the conflict in interaction with other social actors and the inevitable contingencies of warfare and daily life in Indonesia’s uncertain post-Suharto years.

Throughout McRae pays close attention to how the lived experience of conflict inflects and rearranges the priorities of social actors. In this way the book departs from several other studies of communal conflict in post-Suharto Indonesia that assume a priori the instrumentalist motivations of elite political actors in fostering violence. In contrast to a narrow focus on the onset of violence, the book analyzes changes in the forms and intensity of violent conflict over time through close scrutiny of its organization and shifting modalities. Each chapter addresses a distinct form of violence, engaging the relevant theoretical literature, as the book unfolds chronologically across four overlapping phases of violence identified by the author.

In a clear and helpful introduction McRae begins to lay out his argument regarding the crucial role of a division of labour in the dynamics of conflict and the importance of attending to violence’s distinct manifestations through a discussion of some of the main literature on communal conflict in Indonesia but also, for instance, South Asia. Chapter 2 introduces the enabling context in Poso for the onset of violence but especially its protracted duration. Relevant is the pervasive climate of uncertainty forming part of Indonesia’s profound political transition but also the anxieties of Christians concerning their place in Poso, the relative demographic parity of the district’s Muslim and Christian communities, and the longstanding history of competition between them which meant that violence subsequently more easily developed along religious lines. Chapter 3 describes the first phase of violence in which from the start a small group of men played a crucial part as organizers of riots by mobilizing large crowds and circulating rumours of violence perpetrated by the religious other. Violence during this initial phase of “politics by other means” (17) engaged rival local political patronage networks, was staged for political effect and, generally, did not see people targeted due to their religious identity alone.

In light of the escalation of violence following the initial riots of April and May 2000, chapter 4 further develops the argument concerning the centrality of a crucial division of labour in the conflict, showing how a small group of Christian combatants not only were key instigators of violence during this second phase but responsible for the majority of killings. In demonstrating how most people implicated in communal violence are not themselves drawn to kill others, that “neighbor did not kill neighbor” (70), this counts as one of the book’s most important contributions. Rather, in situations of violence such as that of Poso, McRae argues that a small group of combatants—who enjoy broad community support, can rely on the ad hoc mobilization of community members, and have the space in which to operate with impunity due to the absence of state intervention or other deterrents—can effectively carry out massive killings. As elsewhere, the author is attuned to the contribution of complex human motivations such as the experience of loss and feelings of retribution on the part of men who themselves or whose families suffered losses in the earlier riots.

Only in chapter 5 does McRae write in terms of “religious violence,” understanding it as emergent in the conflict’s unfolding dynamics rather than somehow given beforehand. The arrival on the scene of mujahidin or members of Indonesia’s jihadist networks during the conflict’s third phase abetted the emergence of a new form of violence in which the religious identities of participants came to define a long phase of two-sided violence. Besides aiding fellow Muslims, a crucial motivation for mujahidin was an explicitly religious agenda according to which local Muslim youth received both military-style training and religious instruction. A last phase of diminishing violence corresponded to the establishment of Muslim military dominance and the belated if critical intervention of the Indonesian state in the form of the Malino peace agreement. The very fact of this agreement and the ensuing improved security meant that violence increasingly took place as occasional unilateral attacks carried out by mujahidin groups and their main backers, a de-escalation that went along with a “narrowing” of the forms of violence (157). Over time the conflict’s division of labour was such that only a small core of Muslim combatants remained responsible for sporadic violent attacks that continued until 2007.

The book’s final chapter addresses the significant negative role of the Indonesian state in Poso’s protracted violence. Important throughout was the state’s repeated deferral of intervention into the conflict and the demonstrated importance of such intervention when it did occasionally occur. Once again, a crucial factor here was human agency or the misrecognition on the part of state authorities of their own capacity to quell the violence. Not only did the central government’s will to intervene fluctuate but, following an especially subtle argument, such fluctuation depended on an assessment of relative crisis: once “an invisible psychological line was crossed,” (160) the state would turn to harsh intervention; inversely, when the sense of crisis passed the state withheld significant pressure.

In sum, A Few Poorly Organized Men is a thoughtful contribution to the study of communal violence generally and to that of Poso and Post-Suharto Indonesia specifically. If I have one minor complaint it is that the detail of description threatens at times to overwhelm the book’s otherwise significant contributions.

Patricia Spyer, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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CONTEMPORARY DEVELOPMENTS IN INDONESIAN ISLAM: Explaining the “Conservative Turn.” Edited by Martin van Bruinessen. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2013. xxxiv, 240 pp. US$29.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4414-56-2.

There is no doubt that this fine book is a timely anthology on the contemporary developments of Indonesia’s post-Suharto Islam and Muslim politics. Edited by Martin van Bruinessen, an eminent Dutch scholar of Indonesian Islam, this collection of essays discusses “new trends” within Indonesian Islam, namely the rise of Islamic conservatism and religiously-inspired radical-militant Muslim groupings, particularly in the aftermath of the downfall of the Suharto dictatorial regime in May 1998. To provide further evidence—and convince the ideas—of the “conservative turn” in the country’s post-New Order Muslim cultures and politics, the book presents in-depth analyses of four case studies, each of which is investigated and written by four Indonesian Muslim scholars.

The first case study (60-104), written by Moch Nur Ichwan, examines the new and shifting roles of the MUI, a semi-official institution of the country’s Islamic scholars (ulama) founded by the late President Suharto in 1975, in the post-New Order Indonesia, from being the “servant of the ruler” (i.e., the New Order regime) to serving as the “servant of the ummah” (Muslim community). By analyzing various intolerant and anti-pluralist fatwas (non-binding Islamic legal opinions), tausiyahs (counsels), and other official statements produced by the MUI, particularly since the collapse of Suharto, Ichwan argues that this organization of Islamic scholars has attempted to redefine its role and reposition itself in the nation’s transitional politics “by defending more conservative Muslim interests and aspirations.”

Moreover, Ahmad Najib Burhani’s chapter (106-144) analyzes the emergence of the “conservative blocs” in the Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization, since 1995, a year that, in Burhani’s view, marked the beginning of a series of competing religious discourses in this body. For Burhani, the rise of Muhammadiyah’s conservatism in the early years of the twenty-first century was not inherent, but rather a product of such external factors as national politics and the resurgence of new ideologies brought by transnational Islamic movements.

The remaining two chapters of case studies focus on the KPPSI (Preparatory Committee for the Implementation of Shari’a) in South Sulawesi and on radical Muslim groups in Solo of Central Java. Mujiburrahman’s chapter (145-189) discusses the historical dynamics and political struggle of the KPPSI in their endeavours to implement Shari’a as a public law and public policy in the province. The chapter concludes that, despite some political successes (e.g., the adoption of Shari’a-based regulations at the district level), the group failed to transform the region into an “Islamic state” or even a “semi-Islamic state.” Lastly Muhammad Wildan’s piece discusses the proliferation of radical Muslim groups in the city of Solo in Central Java (190-223). Despite being a “homegrown” of militant groups, Wildan says, conservative Muslim organizations in this region “have not expressed demands for shari’a-based regional regulations” (218).

Certainly, as the editor has reminded us in his introductory notes, these four cases are only “small instances” of the recent developments of religious conservatism and militancy within Indonesian Islam. Although these “conservative trends” do not represent the whole picture of Islam in the archipelago, these developments, however, by and large, the editor has argued, have changed and challenged the image and perception of Indonesian Islam, which was previously seen as peaceful, tolerant, secular, moderate and democratic to become intolerant, violent, “religious,” “extreme” and less-democratic.

The increase of the contemporary radical Muslim groups, directly or indirectly, was the product of political reformation, liberalism and democracy that greeted the nation since the fall of Suharto. During the early period of the New Order, Suharto severely controlled and ruthlessly treated Muslim reformist-militant groups and devotees of Islamism. Suharto’s collapse was thus seen as providing momentum for these groups to express their political and religious interests. In the name of democracy and civil liberty, the conservative Muslim groups established Islamic centres, organizations and schools, which they used as a means to disseminate anti-democratic ideas and thoughts of religious hatred and intolerance, and, paradoxically, to oppose democracy, which they saw as a Western secular product.

Although post-Suharto Indonesia has been marked by the influx of trans-national Islamists and local conservative Muslim groupings, it is misleading, however, to conclude that conservatism is a new phenomenon in the history of Islam in the country. Since the eighteenth century the archipelago has been an arena of severe political struggle and harsh religious rivalry among various Muslim groupings: reformists, traditionalists, modernists, nominal Muslims, Sufis, shari’a-oriented Muslims, etc. Despite some political repressions against the radical Muslim groups committed by Presidents Suharto and Sukarno, the groups did not disappear, and in fact, they re-surfaced in the stage of Indonesian politics following the collapse of Suharto rule.

However, it is too early to say that today’s Indonesian Islam has been occupied by conservatism. The “battle of thoughts” between the conservatives and the progressives has not finished yet, and in fact plurality, even in such Islamic organization as the MUI, always takes place in Islamic institutions and Muslim groupings. There are also substantial numbers of moderate-progressive figures within the MUI. Even though the actions and views of radical Muslim groups have been dominant in the media and scholarship, the reality of society very often speaks otherwise. It is true that militant Muslim groups are very strong in Solo or South Sulawesi, but Indonesia is not Solo and South Sulawesi; thereby both areas do not represent the image of Indonesian Islam as a whole. Even in these two regions, moderate-progressive Muslims are also very strong. The fact that secular-nationalist political parties always win national and regional elections indicates that the Muslim conservatives do not (yet) have deep roots in the society. Despite massive intolerance campaigns by Muslim hardliners and conservative Muslim figures against Joko Widodo, who was deemed to be less-Islamic, and his running mate Basuki Tjahja Purnama, a Chinese Christian, in the gubernatorial election in Jakarta, the candidate won the majority of votes cast by Jakartans.

All of these complexities and diversities of Muslim groupings and opinions teaches us that Indonesia, which has had prolonged experience of intergroup engagement and the profound vigour of pluralism, has not yet, perhaps never, been “Islamicized” by conservative blocs.

Sumanto Al Qurtuby, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, USA

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THE DANCE THAT MAKES YOU VANISH: Cultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia. Difference Incorporated. By Rachmi Diyah Larasati. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. xxii, 196 pp. (B&W photos.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8166-7994-2.

This remarkable book attempts to show the ways in which the Indonesian nation-state, under President Suharto and his Reform-era successors, has attempted to appropriate and refashion both court and folk dances for their own purposes. These purposes included covering over both past artistic practices and the killings/imprisonment of their practitioners, taking control of a wide range of cultural practices, and using dance to help promote an image of national stability that assists in securing international tourism, aid and trade deals.

While I often found Rachmi Diyah Larasati’s book to be too heavily laden with a theoretical jargon that was not always grounded by concrete examples, it would be hard to deny the deep intellectual quest and profound moral passion that undergird this frustrating and fascinating work. At its best, Larasati’s work allows us to gain a fleeting glimpse of the spectral figures of those dance practitioners of the Jejer and Janger genres who have been disappeared or banned from performing since 1965. Another great virtue is the fact that it clarifies the ways in which the post-1965 Indonesian state has gone to great lengths to claim ownership over refashioned traditional dances, while at the same time controlling the practitioners of these dances through access to privileged travel for performance abroad and strict enforcement of civil servants’ conformity to state norms.

The Dance That Makes You Vanish also insightfully reveals Larasati’s own history as a member of a family stigmatized by association with the pre-1965 Indonesian political left. Furthermore, Larasati’s personal experience during a cultural mission to Cambodia enables her to engage in an original and revealing comparison of the significance of recreated traditional dance in that country and her native Indonesia.

Taken all together, there is much to recommend this work, despite the difficulties of what I felt were its excessive theoretical positioning.

Larasati’s book is divided into five chapters. The first sets out some of the author’s key themes: the state’s efforts to claim ownership over a variety of artistic practices and to replace dancers branded as politically “unclean” as the condition of the construction of Indonesian culture post-1965; the benefits and limits of international mobility for state-sanctioned performers; and a call for practitioners to act out their “embodied historicity” (i.e., to recall in their performances the dance practices of those otherwise erased from history). The second chapter focuses on the manner in which the Indonesian state redefined the arts to accord with its domestic ideological needs and its sense of the global cultural market. Here Larasati argues that the Indonesian state emphasized the “ancient” and the “exotic” traditions in order to attract international tourists and satisfy the multicultural agendas of countries hosting Indonesian cultural missions. Further, she contends that in the process certain forms, specifically Javanese court dances, were privileged and provided an ideological support system for the continued dominance of the Indonesian ruling elite.

Chapter 3 examines the strategies the state has used to appropriate a number of folk forms thought to be contaminated through their deployment by political left-wing groups in the pre-1965 era, specifically through its “magang” (apprenticeship) program in which state-approved practitioners study with an older master of the form, only to then recreate the dance along lines more neatly conforming to state ideological/aesthetic needs and readings of international cultural tastes. The author also touches on the ways such cultural re-appropriations may contribute to a sense of national stability through their evocation of a collective national cultural identity. Larasati asserts that dancers’ potential to make subtle or obvious changes in the state-defined structure and techniques of individual dances may hold a limited subversive power to disrupt the state’s preferred narrative of history (as embodied in a dance and its dancer’s physical movements, and supplemented in the ways the dances are explained).

Then, though she contends that New Order versions of many dance forms are “replicas” in which the bodies of disappeared and banned dancers have been replaced, she critiques Baudrillard’s notion of the “hyper-real” as neglecting the issue of the “traditional” within colonized space, and for not exploring the possibility of injustice in the process of making a “copy of a copy.” Larasati hardly views traditional culture as something unchanging and pure. What she is arguing is that relations of power which result in the violent erasure or exclusion of human practitioners and their contributions to cultural heritage result in a “hyper-real” copy or “replica” of a dance for which Baudrillard’s ideas are not able to fully account, and that are different than those produced by more usual processes of cultural change. Finally, she suggests that the history made to “disappear” by the New Order and its successors nonetheless lives on in the collective unconscious of the dance community. Unfortunately, this is one point where the book fails to deliver a concrete example which might help us understand how this is the case.

Chapter 4 provides an instructive comparison in which the Cambodian state’s reconstruction of “traditional” dance forms is seen as a positive contrast to Indonesia in so far as they help Cambodian practitioners symbolically master the violence of that nation’s recent past. Chapter 5 represents an exploration of the ways in which women dance artists might find a space for challenging state norms for dance. Here, the author is able to draw on her own choreographed works, and those of some of her colleagues, that forcefully show how conventions can be made to speak about forgotten histories, movements, and techniques.

Ultimately, the last chapter is most heavily laden with Larasati’s own hopes and desires for the future of Indonesian dance and its practitioners. Her commitment to achieving social justice also comes across forcefully here in her condemnation of the slaughters of 1965. Thus, this complex work ends on a chord that integrates the author’s personal life with the considerable fruits of her intellectual quest for ways of understanding the history of the constraints under which Indonesian traditional dance moves.

Michael H. Bodden, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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MACARTHUR IN ASIA: The General and His Staff in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea. By Hiroshi Masuda; translated from the Japanese by Reiko Yamamoto. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. xii, 320 pp., US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-4939-0.

Douglas McArthur altered the history of every Asian country he served in. In the Philippines, he helped solidify the power of the local oligarchy and destroyed Manila upon its “liberation.” In Japan, he implemented large-scale land reform and led the formation of a postwar constitution that renounces war. His final military act—a defense of Syngman Rhee’s Republic of Korea—solidified the borders of a divided nation.

Hiroshi Masuda’s superbly researched book on MacArthur’s exploits in Asia rehearses transnational history through biography. The ambitious work reveals a continent confronting the major events of mid-twentieth-century world history: from World War II to the beginnings of the Cold War. Ostensibly the narrative that unfolds concerns MacArthur and his cordon sanitaire: the “Bataan Boys,” or the group of fifteen officers who escaped the Philippines with the general in 1942 (ix).

Contrary to what the preface may lead one to believe, however, the book is not history refracted through the lens of military homosociality. The stories of the individual Bataan Boys and their relationships with MacArthur are, in fact, incidental. Though Masuda is too modest to make the claim himself, the book is actually an account of events that shaped modern Asia. And, in this respect, the book is a success.

Masuda’s thorough research is most evident in the chapters about the American occupation of Japan. Japan after the war became a social laboratory for a budding American international technocracy. In Masuda’s postwar Japan, New Dealers, economic liberals, pacifists and political conservatives vie to determine the future of the defeated nation. The ultimate triumph, however, belonged to the newly emergent Cold Warriors of the US State Department, who eventually sidelined the recalcitrant MacArthur.

The occupation of Japan began with a purge of conservatives in the government and the military, coupled with a strong resolve on MacArthur’s part to completely disarm the country. But the mainstreaming of anti-Communist containment among American policy makers resulted in an increased support for conservative politicians (hence the rise to prominence of the Japanese Liberal Party, which would constitute one half of the now hegemonic Liberal Democratic Party) and the partial rearmament of Japan, foreshadowing the right-wing, militarist direction of US Cold War-era foreign policy.

The relevance of Masuda’s research exceeds merely providing new insights into the life of a celebrity general. Through the book, we see the contours of late twentieth-century world history. Unfortunately, Masuda is more interested in analyzing MacArthur the person rather than examining the broad historical patterns the general’s biography was emblematic of. The temptation, of course, is to present the narrative as one of hubris, with MacArthur’s miscalculations in Korea serving as the tragic ending to a storied career.

For most of the book, Masuda is ungenerous towards MacArthur, claiming that most of his actions were obscured by political ambition and partisanship. For instance, MacArthur’s attempt to move northwards to Pyongyang after a successful defense of South Korea, we are told, was a result of pride. The loss in Korea and MacArthur’s dismissal from the army could have thus been prevented by more levelheaded decision making.

In later testimony, MacArthur claimed he did not anticipate Chinese intervention, thus emboldening him to extend the war—a justification eminently persuasive at the time. Mao Zedong had yet to be exposed as a politically reckless ultraleftist, and many thought the Great Helmsman would not risk going to war with a nuclear power. Yet Masuda is unconvinced, claiming:

MacArthur’s testimony was unconvincing and undeniably [emphasis mine] misleading. Rather, with the midterm election coming up just two weeks later, MacArthur’s indifference was probably a reaction to Truman’s political strategy. He suspected that Truman would use the success at Inchon to secure a victory for the Democratic Party. As a Republican, and one who had experienced a sense of frustration in the 1948 presidential election, MacArthur had naturally no intention of sharing the victory with Truman. (265-266)

The connection Masuda tries to draw between MacArthur’s miscalculation regarding China’s intervention and Truman’s “political strategy” is barely comprehensible. But what he seeks to insinuate is clear enough: that political considerations rather than military tactics informed MacArthur’s decisions in Korea. This, uncharacteristically for Masuda, is an undocumented claim, and it serves as a bizarre climax to an otherwise superb book.

Perhaps in an attempt to balance his assessment, Masuda’s concluding chapter showers inordinate praise on MacArthur. The earlier achievements of the book—revealing the lasting impact of MacArthur’s governance on the Japanese political system, illustrating the continuities and discontinuities between the administration of the Philippines and that of Japan, telling the Pacific War through the lens of the Bataan Boys—all these recede in favour of an exposition of MacArthur’s Boy Scout qualities. In the final chapter, Masuda concludes: “MacArthur’s personal qualities as a hero in war and in peace can be summed up under seven headings: courage, decisiveness, loyalty, dignity, intelligence, leadership, and conviction” (175). Because there is much to learn from MacArthur the person, Masuda even assesses MacArthur’s health, explaining in the third to the last page that “the key factor in MacArthur’s good health was his indoor walking” (283). Maybe the American obesity crisis made Masuda want to leave his American readers with health tips.

The book, as such, not only traces MacArthur’s career, but also mimics its trajectory: from promising beginning, to towering achievement, to final failure. Like the military career it documents, however, Masuda’s book should be regarded in its totality.

Lisandro E. Claudio, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines

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FOREST OF STRUGGLE: Moralities of Remembrance in Upland Cambodia. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Eve Monique Zucker. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. xii, 233 pp. (Figures, B&W photos.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3805-8.

This is a fabulous and timely book. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Cambodia’s mountainous southwest, it takes a “social memory approach [combined with] theoretical paradigms concerning morality” to explore the reconstitution of village life following the significant violence and dislocation experienced in the region (and the nation) during the 1970s and beyond.

In the main, this book provides a lucid account of a village named O’Thmaa. As the author rightly underlines, studies of the events, experiences and afterlives of Khmer Rouge violence in “base” (moulâdthan) areas and communities are almost nonexistent. (These were areas and communities under Khmer Rouge control from the early 1970s that subsequently provided a material and political base for the rule of Cambodia as a whole from April 1975.) O’Thmaa is one such community, though its members fought both for and against the Khmer Rouge, as well as for various groupings in preceding conflicts. Moreover, “accusations among the villagers [of O’Thmaa] had led to a significant number of executions [of fellow villagers]” (7).

There are several interwoven aims of the book, including concern with “how communities negotiate the memories associated with difficult pasts and come together to rebuild their lives” (7), “how people and their societies cope with radical and violent social change” (176), and with “the moral ideals or virtues for which individuals and communities [such as present-day O’Thmaa] strive” (172). The larger commune that contains O’Thmaa, Prei Phnom, and the neighbouring commune of Doung Srae, are brought into the analysis at various junctures to provide comparative perspectives on how villagers are reconstituting their shared existences.

The book is accessible for the non-anthropological reader because it starts from the ground and builds up. It offers analyses of everyday social interactions—including commensality and assistance—and of kinship in O’Thmaa. In addition, the book analyzes various contemporary festivals and observances associated both with Khmer Buddhism (including a chapter on Bon Dalien) and the guardian or tutelary spirits of this upland locale. Significant attention to the question of moral discernment (sâtisampajania) is given throughout, as are the wider societal constructs of the civil and the wild (srok/ prei), trust and distrust, “face” (mukh), agency and victimhood. The book will thus be of great interest to ethnographers of Cambodia and scholars of Khmer Buddhism, as well as to those concerned with social memory in post-conflict societies beyond issues of formal political discourse and state-based initiatives.

A significant part of this fine-grained study of morality and remembrance in O’Thmaa concerns the village elder, Ta Kam, a former village chief who many families hold responsible for the execution of their loved ones during the 1970s. Zucker’s account of the complex and changing relationship between villagers and Ta Kam should be essential reading for anyone interested in the current international criminal tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The conclusion of the book comments explicitly and expertly on this formal legal mechanism for “dealing with the past” vis-à-vis social memory at the village scale. Insightful as the case of Ta Kam is, Zucker does not claim that the same social practices are wider spread though, as she notes, instances of living with Khmer Rouge perpetrators certainly is.

Indeed, as a caution against generalizing about Cambodian social memory, the book offers very important lessons in socio-spatial specificity. Zucker explores how even the neighbouring communes of Prei Phnom and Doung Srae “have the means and motivation to produce different narratives about the past that [nonetheless] still share common features” (176). An example of differing stories about an historical Thai invasion of the region proves this point, allowing Zucker to note that: “Prei Phnom and Doung Srae’s distinct ways of coping with the past and their notions of modernity and tradition reflect their recent histories” (146). In these and other ways, the book goes to the heart of the question of whether or not (and how) the experiences of “base people” (neak moulâdthan) have differed significantly from other Cambodian groups. It also gives a nuanced response to the question of the degree to which (and in what ways) contemporary Cambodian communities still (differently) struggle with the losses and ruptures of the late twentieth century.

Resonant and resurfacing memory (149), the mixing of memory (139), and the projection of an idealized past onto the future as a moral ideal (173), are each fascinating discussions. And although the book is (necessarily) limited to a discussion of processes at the village or community level, the social space of the household as an intimate zone of relatedness suggests itself (to this reader at least) as a potential future research site for a closely related set of research questions about the reconstitution of household or family life in such areas.

Students contemplating ethnographic fieldwork in similar contexts would do very well to read this book, and early! Zucker is open about the challenges of ethnographic research, and does not omit the story of her own development as a researcher: her earlier states of not-yet-knowing, her immediate responses and confusions, her hopes and humour. But neither does this personal voice dominate, rather the quality of thought and mastery of the field demonstrated in the book is greater for it. Here is a deftly detailing voice whose growing knowledge, sensitivity and involvement encourages these attributes in the reader.

Rachel Hughes, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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THE BUDDHA SIDE: Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By Alexander Soucy. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2012. x, 244 pp. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3598-9.

In an age marked by “post” and “isms” in anthropology, it is refreshing that ethnographies written with such clarity and theoretical precision are still being produced. Alexander Soucy’s fascinating book on Vietnamese (in particular, Hanoi-centred) Buddhist practice covers the gamut of indigenous definitions as to what constitutes Buddhism and its performance in everyday life. Soucy’s ethnography weaves history, personal anecdotes, anthropological musings, politics and theory in a manner that is accessible and highly readable. He populates his book with colourful vignettes and the voices of men and women who consider themselves Buddhists, to varying degrees. These interlocutors share their stories with Soucy and the reader gets a glimpse into their lives and the moment of interactive exchange between the anthropologist and his friends. By the end of the ethnography, the reader feels like he has been to Hanoi, entered the pagoda complexes, walked through the crowds of elderly women worshippers, heard their sutra chanting as well as the gossips, condemnations and irks that pepper the way some Vietnamese define Buddhism. An ethnography is the story of people and their lives encapsulated within a rich theoretical debate. Soucy’s book is a success on both these levels. It was a page turner and I found it hard to put down.

Soucy writes about the way Buddhism, gender, politics, power, spirituality, travel and Vietnamese notions of personhood are enmeshed in the contemporary practice of Buddhism in Hanoi. Although focusing on Sino-Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhism, Soucy rightly points out the difficulties in thinking about orthodoxy and categories in a culture where Buddhism and popular spirit cults have often influenced one another. This dynamism is evident in the way people talk about their practice. Soucy’s ethnography focuses on the going ons at two pagodas: the large and nationally celebrated Quan Su pagoda and the smaller Phuc Loc pagoda. Yet, he does not restrict his analysis to these two Buddhist spaces but rather looks at the networks and connections people make with other Buddhist sites across the northern (and in some cases, southern) Vietnamese landscape. The study of religion in Vietnam has largely been dominated by works on spirit cults/possession rituals with little being written about the way Buddhism is lived in the country. Soucy shows that in many so-called “Buddhist” landscapes, Buddhism and spirit cults occur side by side. Yet, the complexity emerges in the way people define themselves as religionists, with some proudly proclaiming to be Buddhists by virtue of their religious practice while others—in particular, older educated men—tend to distance themselves from religious activities and focus on a more Confucianist foci of education and study. Then there is the influence of the Communist state with its long history of religious opiate. Soucy’s work comes at a time when anthropology has moved away from an earlier concern with the neatness of social categories to focus on the multiplicity of noisy voices that animate social and ritual realities. By the end of the book, the reader does not have an answer as to the question of what constitutes Vietnamese Buddhist identity. Rather, what emerges is a tapestry of identities defined according to gender, age, political association, social economic level and so forth. This is a refreshing take not only on Vietnamese religion but on the study of religious identities in many modern societies. As I read Soucy’s work, I could not help but think about my own research in a small Malaysian Thai Buddhist village, where similar type issues seem to be the norm. Here I would like to add a minor critique to the book. Although Soucy covers the Vietnamese material thoroughly, I would have liked to have seen more of an engagement with other societies—in particular, with other Buddhist societies that have emerged from long-standing political conflicts, e.g., Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia. To his credit, Soucy does provide us with cross-cultural comparisons but these are often relegated to minor points in endnotes. Soucy’s gaze (and he mentions this in his introduction) is very much directed at Hanoi and Mahayanist practice. Yet Buddhism in Vietnam is definitely more complex. Soucy writes of how one of his interlocutors preferred to wear robes akin to practitioners in the south rather than the common brown robes of the north. There was also a mention of Theravadism in the ethnography and much of what some of the older men told Soucy about Buddhist ideas seemed clearly derived from intellectual Theravadin debates. Here Soucy could have complicated his picture by showing the variants of Buddhisms in Vietnam and how these variants (and not just the spirit-side) were instrumental in forging the gendered and social identities that form the theoretical ballast of the work. Perhaps Soucy could engage more with his own earlier work on transnational Vietnamese Buddhism. Although he writes about pilgrimages and movement, and the sale of popular Taiwanese robes and wooden fish in pagodas, the reader does not get a clear image of the global scale of Buddhist practice in the region. Vietnamese Buddhism has had a long history of cross-cultural influences with China and subsequent movements and migrations of Vietnamese into diasporic landscapes. Adding this global dimension to the discussion would definitely enhance the scope of the work and its theoretical contribution.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Soucy’s ethnography. I particularly liked chapter 7, where Soucy writes about “conspicuous devotion,” an aspect of Buddhist practice that one rarely reads about in ethnographies. Most writings on Buddhist communities tend to eschew the negative, in part due to the anthropologist not wanting to create unsavoury images of the society and people he/she is living amongst. Yet Soucy does this with great tact and manages to show that many in Hanoi practice a form of popular Buddhism where public recognition is about the power to be included and excluded. This, like the ethnography, is a fascinating window into a little-known world. The Buddha Side has set the bar high for many an anthropologist interested in writing about Buddhism and Buddhist identities, both in terms of its rich theoretical content as well as its brilliantly composed ethnography.

Irving Chan Johnson, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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POTENT LANDSCAPES: Place and Mobility in Eastern Indonesia. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Catherine Allerton. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2013. xi, 221 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3800-3.

Catherine Allerton’s book Potent Landscapes is an anthropological study of Manggarai settlements in West Flores in Eastern Indonesia. In many ways it is a classic village ethnography, increasingly the exception within an anthropology that has turned its attention away from the rural towards the urban and transnational. Allerton’s initial fieldwork anxiety in the late 1990s is significant as she wonders whether the village she has chosen is “too remote.” Yet she turns this remoteness to her advantage, using contemporary anthropological theory to conceptualize broad themes such as place and mobility while producing an elegant contrast to the classic models of Eastern Indonesian ethnography, most notably the structuralist tradition of the Leiden School.

The Manggarai settlements that Allerton studied are ostensibly Catholic but people continue to have “animist” beliefs and practices, particularly in the context of rituals aimed at affecting the environment and social relations. Furthermore, through state resettlement programs, the highland village that was at the centre of the study had a site in the lowlands, where political authority and schooling was centred, while ritual authority remained in the highlands. Yet, one of the book’s main goals is to move beyond these forms of dichotomies—between Catholicism and animism, between highlands and lowlands, for instance—and develop a more phenomenologically oriented approach to Manggarai lifeworlds.

Influenced in particular by Tim Ingold’s work on the “fundamental historicity” (4) of the environment as well as Bruno Latour’s concern with non-human agency, Allerton is interested in describing how people in Manggarai “dwell” in—rather than for instance symbolically represent—the landscapes they inhabit. In disturbing distinctions between “natural” and “cultural” environments, Allerton highlights how landscapes must be understood as constantly under construction in relation to not only the everyday experiences and practices of individuals and communities, but also the agency of material and physical forms such as rooms and waterways. By way of this perspective, she describes how place and mobility are co-constructed through various literal and figurative “pathways,” for instance marriage, childbirth and migration.

In contrast to the classic tradition of Eastern Indonesian studies—which has focused on the “house”—Allerton begins with the “room” in chapter 1. In particular she notes how the room can be considered in biographical terms, as a space that is transformed with rituals and changing family structures, as well as a critical starting point for considering the ethnography of everyday life. Rooms themselves gain particular characteristics, even agency, that allows for the protection of its inhabitants. Via the room, Allerton returns to the house in chapter 2, which she considers not primarily as an architectural object, but rather as a particular kind of place characterized by permeability—of sounds and smells, in particular—as well as what she calls “liveliness.” Again, this is in stark contrast to earlier structuralist approaches to the house in the region. Chapter 3 furthers this approach by considering marriage “not simply as a set of rules and classifications but as a sequence of place-based, practical actions” (74). In this context Allerton introduces marriage as a “path” that connects dwellings and villages. In other words, marriage is considered as a practical process and form of travel that comes to connect and transform places. Chapter 4 shifts attention to the environments that surround settlements and are at the centre of agricultural subsistence, for instance, fields, forests and waterways. In this process Allerton highlights how ritual, story-telling and subsistence must be understood together as a form of dwelling. Spirits and subsistence are thus closely integrated and should be not be dichotomized in terms of ritual and labour. Like the rooms described in chapter 1, the broader landscape that people in Manggarai inhabit embodies a form of agency that always remains outside of people’s complete control. Chapter 5 considers the changing relationship between the highland and lowland settlements, and particularly the effects of state resettlement and the definition of the highland village architecture as “authentic” in cultural terms. By following discussions concerning the so-called “drum house” that is only allowed in independant ritual communities, Allerton considers the shifting politics of landscape. The book’s final chapter considers more explicitly the relationship between place and mobility, and movement between the highlands and lowlands, across the region and to other countries such as Malaysia. Once again there is an attempt to break down dichotomies, in this case between mobility and immobility, by highlighting how movement depends upon a form of rooting or dwelling in particular places, most notably the village.

In conclusion, it should be noted that this book is a welcome addition to studies on Eastern Indonesia, in particular, and Southeast Asia, more generally. Characterized by rich ethnographic description and unusual clarity in the face of complex theoretical discussions, Potent Landscapes is an ideal book for undergraduate teaching and introducing students to a world that is both mundane and unfamiliar.

Johan Lindquist, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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CAMBODIA: Progress and Challenges Since 1991. Edited by Pou Sothirak, Geoff Wade, Mark Hong. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. 2012. xxviii, 423 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$49.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4379-82-3.

This very mixed collection of papers emerged from a conference at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore in 2011. It commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia that led to the 2003 elections and a new constitution. The completion of the peace process heralded the first sustained period of relative peace and security for Cambodia in decades. The editors come from diverse backgrounds: Pou Sothirak served as minister of Mines and Energy in the first coalition government of Cambodia after 1993 and was later ambassador to Japan; Geoffrey Wade is an Australian senior research fellow at ISEAS, and Mark Hong, a senior Singaporean diplomat, is also a fellow of ISEAS.

As might be expected given the disparate authorships, the papers are of inconsistent quality and depth. Among the contributors are a current deputy prime minister of Cambodia, one or two outspoken critics of the royal government, Southeast Asian foreign policy practitioners and Western academics familiar with the history and politics of the region. Both the foreword and the concluding paper have been provided by Prince Norodom Sirivudh, half-brother of the late King Sihanouk and former foreign minister in the fractious coalition government of the mid-1990s and no great friend of the current government.

One needs to be selective in choosing which of the papers to read; some are mere conference “boilerplate,” others display a deeper knowledge of Cambodia and the tortuous path it has followed since the Paris Peace Conference. We may skip fairly lightly over the opening pieces on Cambodia’s relations with Singapore. They are reminiscent of the fact that Prime Minister Hun Sen, when asked some years ago what his regional model for development might be, unhesitatingly answered “Singapore.”

In the chapter on “Cambodia and Southeast Asia,” Rodolfo Severino, former ASEAN secretary general, pairs up with Mark Hong to describe the role played by ASEAN in reconciling the warring factions after the breakup of the first coalition government in 1997. This in turn helped facilitate all-party elections in 1998, the reasonably free and fair outcome of which permitted Cambodia to join the regional organization. Carlyle Thayer’s learned paper on relations with Vietnam describes in some detail the historical interactions that have divided and united these mutually suspicious neighbours. The chapter entitled “Cambodia and Others” features papers on Cambodia’s recent relations with China (Julio Jeldres of Monash University), Japan (former Ambassador Yukio Imagawa) and the United States (again, Julio Jeldres), offering factual background data, but few fresh insights.

The chapter on “Peace and Reconciliation…” features widely differing assessments of the role of the UN Transitional Authority (UNTAC) of 1992-93. Yasushi Akashi, who led that operation, is unsurprisingly upbeat, whereas Ken Berry, a retired diplomat and former legal adviser to the Australian Task Force on Cambodia, is more critical of UNTAC’s performance. The youthful Khmer-American scholar Phuok Kung contributes a critical, well-balanced analysis of reconciliation efforts by all sides over the 20 years since the 1993 elections.

In the chapter “Cambodia Today,” we once again encounter varying views; the Belgian academic Wolfgang Sachsenruder, unquestionably an objective source, lays out a clear list of “issues” that preoccupy Cambodia and need to be addressed constructively by its government, including unresolved border disputes, corruption, the plundering of natural resources, land titling, and the emotional “time bomb” created by the apparent inability of minority Vietnamese and Chinese communities to assimilate.

The concluding discussion of “Cambodia’s Future” begins with an excellent paper on the Mekong River by Milton Osborne, the distinguished Australian scholar and author of two excellent books on the subject. This inclusion is by no means incidental, as the great river and its tributaries are vital to the preservation of fisheries and agriculture in the Lower Mekong Basin, not to mention the preservation of several endangered species. Upstream damming for the purpose of hydroelectric development is therefore seen as a serious strategic threat, mainly to Cambodia and Vietnam.

The final word is given to Norodom Sirivudh, who muses on Cambodia’s future in a carefully constructed piece that is congratulatory of the current government’s efforts to grow the Cambodian economy from an extremely “low base.” While paying appropriate homage to Prime Minister “Samdech Techo” Hun Sen, however, Sirivudh manages, largely between the lines, to point out that corruption and impunity remain the major impediments to social and political progress in Cambodia.

This book will be of interest to students of Cambodia and its integration into the area over the last two decades. It incorporates a useful “timeline” and a good index, while the more scholarly contributors provide helpful footnotes.

D. Gordon Longmuir, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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SINGAPORE MALAYS: Being Ethnic Minority and Muslim in a Global City-State. Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series, 45. By Hussin Mutalib. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. xviii, 204 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-50963-3.

In Hussin’s words, the Singapore Republic “is not yet a ‘nation’, let alone a successful model of a multicultural nation” (3). Among other things, he blames this condition on the “perennial and persistent plight of Singapore’s ethnic Malay minority,” reinforced by the policies and politics of the governing elites, composed mainly of “ethnic Chinese and Indian ministers” (4). Malays form 13.4 percent of the total population of 3.77 million in Singapore. They are significant not just because they make up a sizeable minority but also due to history and their “indigenous” claim within the Malay World of archipelagic Southeast Asia.

There are four parts to the book. The first section serves as an introduction and justification to the study. The second part contains the author’s diagnosis of the problem or what he calls the “examination” of the “Malay plight.” The third part delves into the sources of the plight and the final part, on “what is to be done.”

Although this book is rich with details, chronicling some of the issues that have understandably made Singapore Malays overly conscious of their identity as a besieged minority, the author is less clear in his theoretical and policy-making direction. The crux of the matter is that, relative to the other ethnic groups within the island nation, Malays underperform in every field that is statistically measurable. In the field of education (from primary to tertiary level) they are under-achievers. In marriage they record the highest rate of divorce. Malays also suffer the highest rates of medical afflictions, from heart disease to diabetes. Among all youths, more Malays are known to be drug addicts and delinquents. Furthermore, in terms of jobs, professions and household incomes, Malays occupy the lowest measures among all ethnic groups. A very distressing characterization of a seemingly homogenous group—that is, if one continues to make a correlation between these statistical indicators with the idea of “race.” Unfortunately, but definitely inadvertently, Hussin has succeeded in reinforcing the perception that race is indeed destiny.

From the above premise Hussin then stresses that the Malays are unhappy with their minority syndrome. On the socio-economic front they occupy a secondary status and role compared to other fellow Singaporeans, namely ethnic Chinese who make up the majority and the more advanced other minority group, the Indians. The second gripe is political, in that the government is said to have imposed its own choice of Malay political leaders upon the community. Hussin contends that as a result of this they lack legitimacy and clout among the Malays. Thirdly, Malays are also said to be unhappy culturally and religiously. This is attributed to government intrusion into their religious affairs, while at the same time doing little to accommodate their ethno-religious interests.

Nevertheless, the author is ambivalent about the state, which seems to be the source of contention, if not blame in his analysis of the problem. On the one hand, Hussin admits that “there is neither overt discrimination by the present government nor collective suffering of the Malay minority as a whole in Singapore,” but on the other hand points out that the problem still lies in the fact that Malays are “lagging behind fellow ethnic Singaporeans” (4). The author vacillates in finding a solution to all these; that while putting the blame on government for not doing enough, especially in not anointing the right Malay leaders to represent the community, he also blames the community for also not working hard enough for itself.

The key to the perspective in this book is that Hussin takes it as a given that competition (an inter-ethnic one, at that) is the unquestioning mission and telos of the Singapore nation. It is as though everyone’s destiny will and can only be shaped by competition. As long as this framework is being used, there are inevitable winners and losers in the system. One either loses (or wins) as an individual or loses (or wins) in solidarity (forced or otherwise) with others in one’s group-designate.

The other assumption of this line of thinking, as suggested by the author, is that members of a group have the obligation to help one another out, or that individual achievement is also translatable into group pride. On this, we may ask, is that so? To what extent do individual members actually seek their sense of belonging to a racial group? Furthermore, is group “solidarity” a function of top-down state policy or a bottom-up, organic sense of togetherness?

Disappointingly, his answer to the problems he has outlined is rather non-committal, if not restrained. Hussin foresees a more optimistic scenario for Singapore Malays when they can commit themselves to “pursuing their expectations and interests within the Islamic paradigm … continue to work hard and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices” (149).

He even admits that the problem is rather insurmountable and Malays will still continue to fall behind other ethnic groups. He hopes for the emergence of a “small reservoir of talented and courageous Malay professionals” and that this “small but significant segment – in line with the emphasis of the Islamic faith on quality rather than quantity – could be the future models or torchbearers of Malay progress” (151).

He gives an assurance that Malays would continue to give support to a “government that is effective and equitable to all citizens” but seeks for more rights among Malays “to choose their own leaders who can better represent their aspirations and concerns” (153). All this seems to be a rather moderate policy recommendation to all that passionate and meticulous detailing of the malaise of the Malays.

Maznah Mohamad, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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FIGURES OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN MODERNITY. Edited by Joshua Barker, Erik Harms, and Johan Lindquist. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i, 2013, c2014. xvi, 302 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3741-9.

This book presents a series of fascinating snapshots of a variety of people from all over Southeast Asia who—together—constitute a collective picture of the anxieties of modernity in contemporary Southeast Asia. No less than 90 people from the nine major countries of Southeast Asia are portrayed in short essays of two to three pages, while each country is also briefly introduced. In the introduction, the editors emphasize that the portraits are based on ethnographic research and refer explicitly to wider political and socio-economic contexts. As such the snapshots are not simply portraits, not do they represent typologies. Instead, and following Walter Benjamin, they are intended to present “figures,” i.e., “real people who also operate as ‘symbols’ that embody structures of feeling with larger, seemingly impersonal conditions of a particular time” (3), and who “struggle to define their own historical agency” (4). These figures refer to modernity, which is rather loosely defined in terms of “the expansion of capitalism, the waxing and waning influence of the nation-state, the development of and challenge to particular forms of rationality associated with the rise of science and technology, and the transformation of the self” (12). Moreover, emphasis is put on the aspect of ethos, which is “characterized by a reflexive engagement with and embrace of a broader world […] as well as an engagement with the kinds of self-fashioning that pertain to the advent of neoliberalism” (13). In short, figures of modernity are defined as “persons within a given social formation whom others recognize as symbolizing modern life” (1).

What follows is a dazzling variety of figures, including a domestic helper, a call centre agent, a beauty contestant, a prostitute, an aspiring overseas student, a mountain village head, a world musician, Miss Beer Lao, an urban slum leader, a kick boxer, a spirit medium, an activist, a street vendor, a career woman, a gangster, a schoolteacher, a journalist, a political prisoner, to mention but a few, which are complemented in an afterword by Benedict Anderson with the liberal and fanatical Muslim, the gay and the lesbian, the genius, the ironist/caricaturist/satirist, and the criminal. In a thematic index at the end of the book the editors suggest a series of headings under which they have loosely categorized their figures, such as activists, brokers, commodification, media, etc., although they readily admit that alternative categorizations are possible as well.

What I like in this book is the variety of figures, whose contextualized portraits offer a highly original and refreshing perspective on actual people inhabiting different socio-economic and cultural landscapes of contemporary Southeast Asia. The portraits help to undermine superficial generalizations of people that are often based on essentialized cultural typologies (the peasant, the aristocrat, the bureaucrat) with whom mainstream audiences tend to be more familiar. The figures also point at the extent to which people’s lives are nowadays caught in much larger transnational economic webs in which they try to make a living. This book is therefore warmly recommended for introductory courses on Southeast Asia but also as a critical sourcebook for thematic courses on modernity.

There are, however some drawbacks. The loose way in which modernity is defined allows for a very wide range of people to figure in this book. If modernity is overstretched to the extent that almost everything goes, it is no longer a discriminating device as it includes almost everybody. Taking into account the emphasis on economic conditions and a preference for marginal figures, Figures of transnational capitalism would have covered the same range of persons more precisely. Since modernity refers also to agency in combination with development and progress, people representing the state and development agencies are strikingly underrepresented while the figure of the tourist guide is also conspicuously missing. Even more problematic is the relationship between the figure and the ethnographer. The editors claim that the figures are defined by the fact that other people consider them to symbolize modern life. It is, however, not clear who these “other people” are. My impression is that it was the ethnographer, and not the social environment of the figure, who decided this. The people portrayed in the book do clearly figure in a wider web of capitalist constraints but less so in a specific social environment where we can indentify the people who consider them to be a meaningful figure. Finally, a more straightforward journalistic description of the figures and a somewhat less contemplative interpretative approach would have made this book into a valuable historical source for future generations, who might wonder what kind of people once lived in Southeast Asia. Now they run the risk of encountering a particular type of ethnographer whose figures tend to overshadow real persons.

Henk Schulte Nordholt, Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden, Netherlands

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN HISTORY: Essential Readings. Edited by D.R. SarDesai. 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2013. x, 365 pp. (Table, charts.) US$43.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8133-4857-5.

This is a revised edition of SarDesai´s Southeast Asian History: Essential Readings (Boulder: Westview Press, 2006) and, like its predecessor, can be a companion to the author´s textbook, Southeast Asia: Past and Present (seventh edition, Boulder: Westview Press, 2013). The readings would usefully supplement any other textbook on Southeast Asian history, although the organization of these readings closely follows that of the four parts of the textbook, “Cultural Heritage,” “Colonial Interlude,” Nationalist Response” and “Fruits of Freedom.” Of these, the last and the first sections are the longest, while colonial rule as such receives relatively little space, although the third section, including nationalism and Japanese occupation, could be seen as picturing the decline and demise of the colonial era.

Let the buyer beware: the revised edition is little changed from the previous one. Five items, in all nearly one hundred pages dealing with the US war in Vietnam and Cambodia, have been eliminated, reflecting the editor´s desire to spend less time on the Second Indochina War. Instead, a much briefer pair of statements from Malaysia´s Mahathir bin Mohammad (whom SarDesai calls “Mohammad”) records his vision for Malaysia for 2020, and this is reflected in an additional “Vision” from ASEAN on the same topic. The other addition, Keith Taylor´s “The Trung Sisters in the Literature of Later Centuries,” shows how Vietnamese nationalism perpetuated the legend of their uprising against China. After the select bibliography, a new chart of Southeast Asian history provides an overview of significant events over the centuries. Unlike the first edition, this one has no index.

In geographical extent, the readings appear to cover the entire region, but Singapore has only subordinate mentions, while Laos and Timor Leste have few or none. Combining chronology and geography reveals that the texts on the Philippines are all from the Spanish colonial period—surely the articulate and rhetorically gifted Filipinos of the twentieth century could have added provocative material to the final section as well!

This leads to another problem. While most of the readings add information and background, the “voices” of Southeast Asians form only about one-fifth of the book, 66 pages by my count. These include Rizal, Sukarno, U Nu, Mahathir and Aung San Suu Kyi, but not Lee Kuan Yew, Suharto or others. Other primary sources, accounts by first-hand observers like Fa-hsien [Faxian], Marco Polo or de Loarca, add a mere 16 pages.

Some items are from “outsiders.” These are Lenin´s “Theses on Nationalism and Colonialism,” a text that exercised great influence on Ho Chi Minh and on other Southeast Asian nationalists, and excerpts from Lyndon B. Johnson´s 1965 speech, “The United States in Vietnam,” the apologia for the widening of the war by bombing targets in North Vietnam. Another is the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize eulogy for Aung San Suu Kyi, which pales compared to her own words.

About two-thirds of the book is comprised of reprints of other, secondary sources. These include Ian Mabett on early “Indianization,” and Heine-Geldern´s essential “State and Kingship in Southeast Asia.” In comparison, John Whitmore (“Foreign Influences and the Vietnamese Culture Core”) delineates the interaction of Chinese culture and indigenous Vietnamese responses in pre-modern times. Also important is an excerpt from Ben Kiernan´s “Pol Pot´s Rise to Power.”

The editor provides brief explanatory introductions. He has barely edited the texts, although some were shortened. Probably others could have used more editing. Certainly, a footnote could explain why U Nu wrote that on “the evening of 14 May [1945]” (182), the Japanese ambassador informed Burmese leaders that the atomic bomb had been dropped, that the Russians had entered the war against Japan and that Japan would surrender. The following reading from Elly Touwen-Bouwsma places these events (correctly) in August.

Many factors—suitability, length, availability and personal preference—can govern the choice of readings. I have problems with at least two of them. John Leddy Phelan´s “Hispanization of the Philippines” is a valuable discussion of the peculiar development of a special Philippine Catholicism, but it illustrates this point with minute details about the administration of the Sacraments. Could another article have illustrated Philippine developments more succinctly, or could this one have been shortened? The other is A.J. Stockwell´s “Decolonization in Malaya, 1942-1952,” which seems ill-placed in the section on “Nationalist Response.” Stockwell´s original title, “British Imperial Policy and Decolonization in Malaya” [italics mine] better reflects its contents, which describe not a struggle between Kuala Lumpur and London for the independence of Malaya but primarily a battle between the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office in London over Malaya. Imperial history, yes, but not “nationalist response.” While in the editor´s opinion this may reflect the real power struggle, Onn bin Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman or even Chin Peng might have had something more pungent to contribute. Also, Buddhism and Islam take a back seat to political developments. Thus, Greg Fealy´s fine survey of Islam in Southeast Asia appears almost as an afterthought at the end of the book.

Perhaps it is too much to hope that students might pick up a book by Kartini, Mahathir or Aung San, even to read only parts of it. SarDesai has laudably attempted to cover the region in an interdisciplinary way, offering an alternative to messy or unbalanced collections of photocopies sometimes assigned to students. More local content, perhaps even some presentation of opposing views, could have enriched the choice, but if the editor has not quite met these ideal goals, the problem may lie with the complexity of his task and, in the end, the challenges of teaching Southeast Asian history.

Mary Somers Heidhues, Independent Scholar, Göttingen, Germany

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MANAGERS AND MANAGEMENT IN VIETNAM: 25 Years of Economic Renovation (Doi Moi). By Vincent Edwards and Anh Phan. Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia, 114. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xx, 130 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-58459-3.

Vietnam’s vibrant path of change—following its economic renovation, usually referred to as Doi Moi, approved by the Sixth Communist Party Congress in 1986—has been in place for a quarter of a century now. This volume arrives at a time when both the Vietnamese and the world business community are raising the possibility of renewed reforms, or Doi Moi II. In a compact monograph, just over 110 pages, the authors have managed to bring many interesting insights to international readers who may not have exposure to this type of transition economy, in an accessible manner.

The book contains 9 thematic chapters, focusing on critically important managerial aspects that characterize the Vietnamese business system in a transition period: philosophical foundations (chapter 2); the evolution and structure of the Vietnamese economy (chapter 3); company contexts (chapter 4); the evolution of Vietnamese management (chapter 5); sense and sensibility (chapter 6); and development and self-development (chapters 7-9), where authors make some thematic discussions geared toward implications on HRM practices in the Vietnamese setting. Toward the end, a key question which clearly deserves the authors’ elaborate discussions and attention particularly by policymakers, both foreign/domestic investors and the donors’ community is raised: “Whither Vietnamese management?” (chapter 10). In addition to major discussions from chapters 2 to 10, there are 3 additional appendixes (115-119) on basic statistics, interviewee profiles and the chronology of Vietnam’s major reforms over the 1978-2010 period.

Its main chapters appear to have been organized arbitrarily, perhaps because the authors intentionally mixed insights from an extensive literature review with some original discussions (covered in chapters 7-9). This mixture does not always show a coherence and consistence with the main theme. Much of the discussions rest with the philosophical foundations and socio-cultural traits of Vietnamese managers, blended with the introduction of new concepts from modern management theories. Despite the weaknesses, Edwards and Phan’s comparison of the Vietnamese and Western management systems, embedded with almost diametrically different cultural attributes, has provided audience with important reflection on the significance of implications of theories for real-world business landscape in an emerging market-oriented economy. The authors also bring some important insights to the surface, such as a mention of “serendipity” in smaller private SMEs on page 71.

The authors make a meaningful contribution to the existing literature on management theories in emerging market-oriented economies in transition, explaining the shift from the old-fashioned Soviet-style models to a market-based system. Managers will now have to meet their responsibilities in line with missions and goals given to them, acting as both “economic agents” (with required skills, adaptation, resourcefulness and attitude at work) and “individuals” (with all embedded cultural and social traits).

However, there are four major weaknesses that make the book less satisfactory to those who expect to gain practical insights for doing business in the nation. First, it fails to capture the profound changes to the transitional system after Vietnam was granted full membership in the WTO. The authors have not demonstrated the very important relationship between the management system, part of the country’s microeconomic foundations, with macroeconomic policies and environmental variables. This lost connection has proved to be a major shortcoming.

Second, one could hardly find traces of one of the most important new developments in institution building toward a more market-oriented system in Vietnam: capital markets in general, and the stock market in particular. The stock market went up substantially over the past 13 years, starting with an insignificant share of the national economy in the launching year 2000, then growing to 30 percent of GDP by the end of 2012. The functioning of this market alone has already created various changes and marked phases of transformation within the economy; and the majority of the corporate elite could not help but adapt to the existence and influence of new business games and the investment mentality created by such an important market.

Third, the book also fails to capture specific attributes and features of different post-Doi Moi sub-periods, and thus has not discussed the recent emergence of “crony capitalism” and transition turmoil in 2007-2012. Without this critical knowledge, the monograph’s discussions become inadequate; thus, its title is an exaggeration.

Fourth, in different places the authors omit critically important pieces of the puzzle that have significantly contributed to changes in the contemporary economy. Take some examples. Table 3.3 (25) “forgets” to include the World Bank, the most important multi-donor financing source (tens of billions of dollars in debt and non-refundable financial assistance) of Vietnam in any sense. In appendix 3, the authors totally omitted the birth of non-state banking corporations as well as the entrance of foreign banks in the domestic economies in early 1990s, and ignored the birth of the first-ever Vietnamese stock market, perhaps the single most important event of the country at the turn of the millennium (120-121). At the same time, the authors add further confusion to the book with such details as considering the event of the country’s output surpassing $100 billion to be “major reforms” (121) or the United States lifting its embargo on Vietnam in 1993 (correct date: February 3, 1994). There is no mention of the US-Vietnam normalization of diplomatic relations, either. In contrast, several concepts such as dichotomy between state vs. private management, or traditional versus modern management practices/cultural values are repeated more times than necessary.

In sum, there are several useful chapters and sections, but the volume as a whole is far from being a good reference, as its title might have suggested. Also, inaccurate information, translations and details, and mistakes make the book less successful than it could have been.

Quan Hoang Vuong, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

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MALAY KINGSHIP IN KEDAH: Religion, Trade, and Society. Asia World Series. By Maziar Mozaffari Falarti. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013. xxv, 225 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$75.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-6842-4.

Through a consideration of the kingdom of Kedah, Maziar Mozaffari Falarti portrays the pre-colonial Malay world. Kedah is located at the northern end of the Malacca Straits; it thus was proximate to the Siamese, Burmese and Acehnese empires. Given its geographical environment, it is appropriate to look at Kedah from the viewpoint of mixed riverine and maritime structures as well as that of trans-peninsular inland routes.

Falarti is a polymath who knows the vernacular literatures of the Malay world, the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. He gathers facts relevant to Kedah and assembles them into an overview of the region. The book covers the wide period from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, but focuses on the occupation of Kedah by the Siamese from 1821 to 1841. The sultan of Kedah, who fled to the neighbouring British territory of Penang, was followed by tens of thousands of Kedah Malays, who later joined him in regaining control of the state. The book is structured around fundamental questions: How was the exiled sultan able to ensure his subjects’ continued loyalty for twenty years? What went wrong in the Siamese occupation of Kedah? Who joined forces with the sultan in recapturing Kedah? And what was the impact of the Siamese occupation on the position of Kedah in the Malay world? These questions are discussed in four chapters.

The first chapter is “From Raja to Sultan: The Conversion of the Tantric Malay Ruler.” There are significant discrepancies in the indigenous and more recent scholarly sources on the conversion of Kedah’s raja. Post-nineteenth-century erudite sources tend to omit the miraculous events of this conversion. Falarti carefully analyzes the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or the Kedah Annals and compares them with indigenous and foreign literature. Prior to the Islamization of Kedah, ministers with knowledge of Islam dethroned the ruler, Raja Bersiong, who resorted to tantric power to counter them. Mahawangsa, the grandson of Raja Bersiong, banished Satan or the great snake with the help of a saintly Sufi disciple and mystic and converted to Islam. Raja Bersiong is described as having a vampire-like taste for human blood and Mahawangsa as having the habit of drinking arak. By denying these barbaric acts, the converted raja, as sultan, established his administration in Kedah.

The second chapter, “The Malay Ethos: The Sultan and His Subjects,” considers the relationship between ruler and people as being modelled after the covenant of the Sejarah Melayu or the Malay Annals. It has been observed in various parts of the Malay world that only God may punish rulers; hence, officials and people should not commit the crime of high treason against a ruler, who should not, in turn, publicly humiliate them. This concept, which is widespread in the Malay world, was even observed in twentieth- century Singapore under British colonial rule. The Siamese treatment of local Malays including women, and minors, was humiliating; it led to the Malay support for the former sultan in recapturing Kedah.

The third chapter is entitled “Controlling Kedah’s Maritime Lines of Communication: The Sultan and the Raja di-laut, or Sea Lords.” Kedah was exposed to the attack of the neighbouring states of Aceh and Siam in the seventeenth century, and the sea people defended it. Meanwhile, the Dutch, in competition with the British, attempted to monopolize the tin trade in the Malacca Straits and join Siam in a blockade of the sea lines of Kedah. Kedah sought an alliance with the British, which eventually led to the emergence of British merchants in the region who weakened the control of the ruler over the local sea people. The ruler employed foreign sea peoples, such as the Bugis and Minangkabau, to encourage civil war in 1681-84.

The fourth chapter, “Bay to Gulf or Gulf to Bay: The Sultan and the Trans-Peninsular Routes of Kedah,” discusses the importance of inland trade routes in Kedah, since the state had many good ports that led to the development of trans-peninsular trade routes. These routes were equipped with animals, such as elephants and buffaloes, to carry goods that were provided by the local inhabitants of the 128 parish-styled divisions, each under a chief. The routes were used not only for trade but also for incursions, kidnappings and escapes. Kedah embarked on the reestablishment of the trans-peninsular routes after 1842, after the Siamese occupation, but the inland trade routes had lost their significance, both because the Kedah lost the districts of Perlis, Satun and Penang and because of the introduction of the railway system in the early twentieth century. Moreover, the administration of Kedah came under the protection of the British after Siam gave up its claim over the region in 1909. The sultan of Kedah gave up control over the trade routes, which resulted in his subjects eventually losing a sense of unconditional devotion for him.

The author successfully portrays the historical world of Kedah, although his arguments could have been weightier and accompanied by fuller quantitative data in the third and fourth chapters. On the other hand, the author makes important points; for example, he points out that the historical acceptance of foreign rulers for the Malays are well explained by the covenant that existed between the ruler and subject, even when a sovereign was not Malay.

If the Hikayats were the form of self-representation in the pre-colonial Malay world, feature films may be regarded as the present-day form of Hikayat. “The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines” was released in 2011 in Malaysia; it is based on the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, as the Malay title of the film indicates. The centuries-old Hikayat remains relevant as a means of representing Malays and their position in the world. The methodology of this book is not only applicable to restructuring the historical world but also in foreseeing and interpreting the future.

Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

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THE PERFECT BUSINESS?: Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong. Southeast Asia – Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Sverre Molland. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012. viii, 276 pp. (Table.) US$26.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3653-5.

Four years ago I had the opportunity to visit Phnom Penh in the context of an academic research project evaluating the efficiency of anti-trafficking programs in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS). Largely out of curiosity I arranged for myself and the law professor I was working with at the time to undertake a poverty tour of Phnom Penh that was run by a local non-government organization (NGO). Despite my initial skepticism, the tour was informative, moving and not at all patronizing in its presentation of issues concerning street children, slums and prostitution in streets and massage parlors catering to locals… . Until the final stop: a bar oriented to Western expats and tourists in central Phnom Penh’s “foreigners’ district.” Our tour guide informed us that many women working in “these sorts of bars” did not really want to be there, and that they only really earned money if they “entertained” clients upstairs or in a nearby hotel. As if to confirm her point, at that very moment one of the women disappeared into a concealed back area with a male customer. My colleague raised her eyebrows and asked, “You mean they are trafficked?”, to which our guide replied with an air of authority, “Yes. They would have been tricked into this work in the beginning.” My colleague shook her head at the apparently tragic circumstances of the women who were so close by, yet hopelessly distant in their unredeemable positions as victims of sex trafficking.

It is in examining the meaning and prevalence of scenarios of the sort suggested in the above vignette that Sverre Molland’s ethnography represents a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stifling and repetitious academic literature on trafficking and anti-trafficking. Rather than detailing the contours of “the problem of sex trafficking” in a particular country, Molland explores how trafficking in persons has become a self-actualizing and impervious discourse, and how this trafficking imaginary is enacted, repeated and legitimized as truth in a variety of domains, including amongst NGOs of the sort mentioned above. This imaginary then encourages (perhaps even dictates) a sorting of places and persons into those that fit the discursive parameters of the anti-trafficking industry and those that don’t. In this sorting process the Phnom Penh NGO’s bar girls would be viewed as classic victims and clear objects of anti-trafficking interventions, while other women, such as those selling sex on the streets of Phnom Penh and whose entry into sex work is mediated through social networks and peer inducement in Phnom Penh’s squatter areas would raise far more objections as victims amongst anti-traffickers.

Molland makes this very same point in his book: those who present as “clear victims” are constituted as objects of interventions in particular ways and via particular processes. Those whose positionings in sex work are “murky” in terms of recruitment, knowledge of what their impending work entails, and the (lack of) involvement of clearly demarcated criminal groups of traffickers, and are perhaps “trafficked” only a short distance or outside areas identified as trafficking “hotspots” are problematic for anti-traffickers. Molland’s ethnography is multi-sited in its analysis of traffickers, victims and anti-traffickers, which teases out in minute detail the disjuncture between those charged with envisioning and designing anti-trafficking policy and programs and the subjects of these interventions: namely the victims and the vulnerable. Molland’s key argument is that the anti-trafficking imaginary operates on the basis of a “market metaphor.” Anti-trafficking actors operating at a global, regional and local scale, according to Molland, construct their objects of intervention according to a business model of supply and demand in which the “market metaphor” emerges as ascendant. As Molland states, trafficking is often portrayed by anti-traffickers as a “perfect business,” “governed by laws of supply and demand and operating as a seamless organic whole” (9). His book is devoted to understanding the operationalization of this market metaphor and considers the ways “anti-traffickers imagine trafficking to ‘function’ and how these ideas compare with recruitment practices within the sex industry” (9).

The book is set in the so-called trafficking epicenter of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) in mainland Southeast Asia, and within this broader region casts a scrutinizing gaze towards the Thai-Lao border area near the Lao capital of Vientiane and the Thai border town of Nong Kai. The ethnography is organized in three parts. Part 1 focuses on the emergence of a global discourse of trafficking which constructs trafficking according to particular tropes which are idealized versions of trafficking. The second part of the book moves from this idealized version to “local imperfections”—or on-the-ground departures from this ideal—through ethnographic encounters with sex workers and their employers and maintainers in bars and brothels within the field site. The final part of the book describes the ways anti-traffickers reconcile ideals and practice in anti-trafficking through their own work.

The book yields important insights not only into trafficking and anti-trafficking in a particular context, but also into the disjuncture between “myths” and “realities” of trafficking and the ways those charged with anti-trafficking reconcile these myths. Whilst other researchers have commented on these disjunctures and the negative impacts on human rights that inappropriate and misguided anti-trafficking efforts can have on both victim and non-victim populations, Molland takes this premise much further than his contemporaries in this book. For me the most significant element of the book concerns Molland’s insistence on the importance of social networks, relations and the socio-cultural embeddedness of “trafficking” in his field site.

Despite its novelty and insights there were nonetheless a few areas that begged answers upon finishing the book. What of Molland’s research assistant? Obviously this fellow played a pivotal role in the research process, yet he is mentioned as an accompanying/ translating/ drinking partner figure only. And what of the enactment of social relations when sex workers return home? Molland assumes so much here but never accompanies any of his informants home, despite this tracing being conducted by other researchers focusing on the lives of migrant sex workers. Finally, for me it is difficult to sustain the claim that the book is a multi-sited ethnography, particularly in relation to anti-traffickers. Interviews with anti-traffickers and participant observations in anti-trafficking functions are not convincing ethnographic material and this part of the book was by far the least rigorous. How exactly do individuals learn, reproduce and perpetuate anti-trafficking myths? How do they deal with ruptures to these myths in their programmatic and practical work? It would be expected that an ethnographic treatment of anti-traffickers would address these important questions more directly. Returning to the NGO “tour guide’s” comments at the outset of this review, it would be useful to not only look at who is identified as trafficked and who is not (the bar girl versus the street prostitute), but also the remarkable ease with which these interpretations are reproduced and accepted by others. The book fell short of the mark in this regard, although it has clearly broken new ground as far as who we might think about as constituting a “trafficking problem.”

Sallie Yea, Nanyang Technological University, Jurong, Singapore

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CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE PHILIPPINES: Theoretical, Methodological and Policy Debates. Rethinking Southeast Asia, 11. By Gerard Clarke. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. xxiv, 257 pp., (Maps, tables.) US$135.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-57272-9.

Should a Philippine edition of this book ever get published, it will surely be one extensively consulted by activists, policy makers, politicians, and ordinary readers—and with any hope, it may contribute to meaningful change. As of this writing, one news story currently grabbing the headlines of national dailies involves a couple who allegedly skimmed millions from politicians and the Philippines Armed Forces by funneling development funds to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs). The husband and wife team used the monies to fund a lavish lifestyle of world travel, high-end real estate, and blowout parties in Hollywood. This evolving story validates of one of Gerard Clarke’s key arguments: that civil society organizations (CSOs), of which NGOs and POs are the most representative, no remain longer the exclusive tool of those defending the interests of the underclasses. On the contrary, CSOs also have become a means through which the powerful corrupt, promote and protect themselves.

Clarke begins his narrative with a thorough overview of civil society theories from Plato to John Keane, the arguments behind these reflections, and a global “statistical contour” of CSOs. Such organizations generally pursue two sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory goals, he points out: advancing “democracy” and reformatting aspects of a society’s political economy to benefit the poor. These goals are in turn affected by forces of political economy and resultant social structures, either reinforced or undermined by a government’s laws and policies.

Clark then turns to the specific case of the Philippines, tracing a history of CSOs from the Spanish colonial era before exploring the social character of various forms of CSOs. The most fascinating chapter in this section examines the statistical contours of Philippine civil society. Here Clarke reveals the considerable diversity of CSO groups past and present, examining the nature of their work, locating them in classes or social sectors, and describing their relations with state and society. His statistical map demonstrates how it is that the Philippines has remained a weak and crippled civil society, despite the proliferation of hundreds of NGOs and POs. Civil society has become less a domain of progressive politics, the author argues, but rather a realm where different organizations, including political and ideological rivals can be found. This disturbing portrait of NGOs and POs coopted by state leaders and oligarchic families working with them to pursue patrimonial ends rings depressingly true. Moreover, when the state feels threatened by left-leaning CSOs, it unleashes military and para-military forces to destroy or weaken them.

Thus, despite the American transplant of Tocquevillian democracy, attempts in the 1950s by NGOs and political leaders to reform governance after a communist-led peasant uprising almost toppled the state, and two popular uprisings that overthrew a tyrant (Ferdinand Marcos) and corrupt politician (Joseph Estrada), the formation of effective civil society in the Philippines is still decades away.

This book is the first comprehensive study of Filipino social forces and the various organizations they spawned across time. It is likewise the first to situate the Philippine experience within theoretical and policy debates on civil society. But it is not without failings. For example, Clarke’s broad history of Philippine civil society overlooks certain critical issues: no explanation is given as to why some colonial CSOs persisted in the post-colonial period while others disappeared. Discussion of American involvement in the formation of reformist, anti-communist CSOs during the 1950s—which could have lead to a helpful evaluation of the role of other external actors—is also underdeveloped.

Violence is as much a habit of militant CSOs as it is with the state. Yet while Clarke is certainly aware of the internal blood-letting that nearly destroyed the communist party in the 1980s, he does not examine how the party’s CSOs condoned or turned a blind eye to its subsequent assassinations of “renegades.” The author’s statistical contours tell us a great deal but leave one critical question unanswered: how much have Filipinos’ lives improved since CSOs have began their work? Finally, as Clarke knows, Philippine politics is largely local in character. The arguments of this book would benefit enormously from extended case studies of CSOs in the provinces and the towns where political clans and warlords dominate, one that could have been done easily given the trove of studies of local politics available (some of which he even cited).

Nonetheless, these minor objections should not discourage readers from appreciating the value of Civil Society in the Philippines. The book deserves to be read carefully, especially by Filipinos troubled by the political direction their country is taking. It is a shame that its exorbitant price will most likely keep it out of their reach.

Patricio N. Abinales, University of Hawai`i-Manoa, Honolulu, USA

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THE HISTORICAL CONSTRUCTION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES: Korea and Beyond. Edited by Park Seung Woo, Victor T. King. Singapore: ISEAS, 2013. xviii, 468 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$49.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4414-58-6.

In Western countries, Southeast Asian (SEA) studies has now declined to the point of elimination at many universities. But SEA studies is on the rise in East Asia, as documented in this work.

In chapter 7, author Heryanto describes how the new cultural identities being forged in SE Asia today by the “waves” of Japanese and Korean television serials, music and films will require a total rethinking of the underlying presuppositions of SEA studies and its “overall structure and defining framework” (228). With selected examples, Heryanto thoroughly reviews the influence of new technology and media, affecting even one’s self-identity. Analyzing themes of personal self-restraint, “cultural proximity” (241) and lack of overt sexuality or violence, he finds that the unifying factors are a kind of internationalism, and a strengthening of the legitimacy of the new middle class (250). His outline of a future indigenous SEA studies abandons the paradigms of the past, as networks and flows replace the nation-state as the unit of study.

SEA studies in China (chapter 2, Park S-M) has always been focused on the overseas Chinese and their ties to the “homeland,” which in fact helped establish modern Chinese SEA studies. Thus an “Oriental Orientalism” is strong in Chinese research, something “to be expected” in the view of the editors (28). Another factor is China’s numerous ancient texts on SE Asia, which tend to limit research on contemporary or theoretical issues. A recent theme in Chinese SEA studies is ethnic populations straddling China’s borders with SE Asia.

Japan (chapter 3, Insun) has the largest number of historians of SE Asia, but publications in Japanese do not circulate internationally, despite the “world class quality” (84, 102) of the detailed research, due to generous funding for long-term in-country field work and language study (103).

In chapter 3 author S.W. Park (112) notes that Korean SEA studies began in earnest after demilitarization of the Korean government in 1987 led to a general opening of the country and the return of many PhDs from the US. Currently Korea holds regular conferences with Japanese and SE Asian institutes, and there is much promise for those Korean academics who produce more analysis and theoretical interpretation (136).

SEA studies in Singapore (chapter 5, S.K. Lee) is well respected, especially the accomplishments of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Institute of SE Asian Research. But is this indigenous SEA studies? Located on the world’s busiest commercial sea-lane, Singapore naturally has a global perspective, using merit-based recruiting, English language, and foreign experts in business, government and academia.

Early British scholars had a thoroughly imperialist perspective, which author Lee calls their “ecology” (164). A flourishing Chinese scholarship in Singapore was largely eliminated by the 1980 merger of Nanyang University into NUS. The Asian Research Institute at NUS (est. 2001) has been the recent flagship of SE Asian research, and is now in the hands of Singaporeans, who emphasize a broader Asian studies (182). This will affect SEA studies worldwide, such is the influence of Singapore today.

Chapter 6 (H. Choi) is on SEA studies in Vietnam, which entered the field relatively late, but Vietnamese scholars were writing of a “common ancient civilization unique to Southeast Asia” (209, 212) long before Western scholars arrived. After đổi mới in the late 1980s, local SEA studies institutions were set up rapidly; however, many were too rushed, and did not last. Choi (202) finds that in Vietnamese international research projects, seeking business connections is more common than doing research.

Vietnamese scholarship was also deeply influenced by the Soviet Union, with much ideological rhetoric. Today, Vietnamese research tends to be in specific disciplines and on Vietnam, despite an official stress on interdisciplinary approaches to the entire region (216).

In Chapter 8, V. King argues that the British were pioneers in SEA studies within the region (267), but he stresses that British imperial support of SEA studies was “fitful and indecisive” (270). The generations of British academics who worked in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Rangoon constitute an honour roll of famous scholars. King gives strong evidence that many of them studied SE Asia in its own right (308-315). The ongoing role of the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Association of SEA Studies in the UK (ASEASUK) are chronicled, and there is a good review of the debate on the reality/artificiality of SE Asia (272-77). Finally, King reviews the impressive European contributions to SEA studies, in particular those of Germans and Austrians.

Chapter 9 shows the impact of 250 years of colonialism upon Dutch society itself. Author F. Colombijn concludes that SEA studies within the Netherlands has finally “decolonized” itself, but the path through postmodernist perspectives has not been pleasant. Many Dutch feel colonization was beneficial to Indonesia, and people have to be pro-colonialism or against it (both Eurocentric views), leading to much heated debate (326).

The three colonial burdens of contemporary Dutch scholars of Indonesia are (1) the extensive archives of the VOC and of the colonial government, (2) the emotional debates over the morality of colonialism, (3) how such heavy moralizing impedes academic work from a detached perspective (325-27). Thus Dutch scholars seek objectivity in wider debates on ethnicity, nation-building, etc. (341).

Australia (chapter 10, J.J. Fox), has enjoyed strong government support for Indonesian studies, but they too have suffered declining funding. A 2008 report showed a large drop for Indonesian language courses (down 24 percent) and Thai and Vietnamese were almost wiped out (383-4). One success story is the Update series, annual lectures well-attended by the public. There are now Updates on all SE Asian countries, the Indonesian Update covering two days with 400-plus attendees, and a counterpart in Jakarta (371).

The last chapter (by Song S-W) chronicles SEA studies in the US, which contributed much to theoretical frameworks while focusing on the modern period (399-400). Describing the American decline of SEA studies, author Song mentions “the loss of official interest in sustaining the huge funding of area studies, resulting in the general decline of student interest as well” (400). But by what mechanisms does funding affect student interest? None of the other authors or editors of the volume deal with this question.

In 1961 John Smail called for an “autonomous history or SE Asia.” Other American theoretical concepts were “loosely structured social system,” “agricultural involution,” “shared poverty,” “theatre state,” “syncretic religion,” “moral economy” of minority peoples, “spiral approaches to history,” “imagined communities,” “upstream/downstream” relations, “center/periphery” relations, and “borderless polities.” American SEA studies replaced colonial perspectives, but also brought a Cold War worldview and other ethnocentric “universals.” This chapter shows that as a genuinely autonomous SEA studies is pursued through small-scale studies of minority peoples and cross-border flows, the field becomes more diverse and fractured, and thereby more vulnerable to attack by globalization theorists.

For a dedicated student of SE Asia, the book contains jewels of personal details of the esteemed authors and administrators, and the background to famous issues and debates. The copious bibliographies of each chapter are goldmines. But the brightest gem is Heryanto’s chapter, which masterfully points to the global future of SEA studies.

Jim Placzek, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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FOUR DECADES ON: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War. Scott Laderman and Edwin A. Martini, editors. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. ix, 334 pp. (Figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5474-1.

This outstanding collection of eleven essays focuses on the legacies of the Vietnam wars in postwar America and Vietnam, with emphasis on the American choice of denial over closure, illustrating the aptness of Socrates’ comment that it is worse to commit a crime than to be the victim of one. The collective conscience of the Vietnamese, despite their far greater suffering, is clear; in the US, though the wounds it suffered were borne “only” by its veterans and their families and communities, guilt remains the unremembered legacy of every American.

The essays constitute a handbook for teaching and learning about how the Vietnamese have coped with the after-effects of the war and how different US administrations have handled their humanitarian responsibilities. A number of the essays merit study by every citizen.

The focus is on Vietnam and the US. We learn little about the two other Indochinese nations, Laos and Cambodia, and almost nothing about China, which looms in the background. Before the war China had aided the Vietnamese communists, furnishing Washington with a rationale for waging war against Vietnam: stopping Chinese aggression. Afterwards, Vietnam gravitated to Russia and China to the US, and Sino-Viet relations turned antagonistic in tandem with Sino-Russian relations. During the war Russia and China had conflicts, but overall did more to help than hurt the Vietnamese.

Only one essay goes into the last years of the war showing how Washington foreclosed possibilities of a more pluralistic politics. In “Legacies Foretold, Excavating the Roots of Postwar Viet Nam,” Ngo Vinh Long writes, “Unless one understands how the policies of the RVN [Republic of Vietnam / South Vietnam Government] effectively destroyed the pluralistic potential of the south, one cannot understand the myriad developments that unfolded in Viet Nam in the years after the war came to an end” (17). The Paris Peace Agreement, signed January 27, 1973, contained promises and commitments that were not kept. Four days before the signing Nixon announced publicly that Washington would recognize only its own Thieu regime as the “sole legitimate government.” This negated beforehand the Agreement’s commitment to allow the Vietnamese to “decide themselves the political future of South Vietnam . . . through general elections” and Washington’s promise not to “continue its military involvement or intervene in the internal affairs of South Vietnam” (17). The Agreement further provided for a National Council to supervise a “national reconciliation” “of the two South Vietnamese parties,” meaning the Thieu ruling group and the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong). To give these prospects a chance to come to fruition Hanoi restrained its forces (32). However, massive US military aid to the Thieu regime continued and so did Congressional funding, so that the eventual outcome was the continuing imposition of the Thieu regime’s dictatorship. As in China 1945-1949 the population, war-weary, demanded peace, not ongoing civil war, and was alienated from Washington and its governments. This suggests why Thieu’s regime crumbled so quickly under the final onslaught from the north: it could no longer hold the allegiance of the population or of its own army.

In the second essay, “Viet Nam and Vietnam in American History and Memory,” Walter Hixon shows how the state, media and film industry worked to erase the actually existing Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian victims of Washington, leaving the Americans as victims not the losers of the war. To what end? “As the history and memory of ‘Vietnam’ were being repackaged, the United States resumed its normal interventionist course in foreign policy . . . first Carter and then more aggressively Reagan intervened to roll back reformist governments in Central America” (52).

In addition Washington pursued a policy of revenge against the Vietnamese, supporting the Khmer Rouge dictatorship in Cambodia and its military action against Vietnam. At the same time sanctions and other penalties were imposed on Vietnam, until, in the early 1990s under Clinton, normalization was achieved. Washington had up to then maintained a hostile attitude toward Hanoi, claiming that prisoners of war were still being held, a largely if not completely mythological assertion. Once it was shown that no such large body of missing American soldiers actually existed, American objection to normal relations dwindled. (Though the author does not mention it, Vietnam was also being courted as a counterbalance to China. In “Missing in Action in the Twenty-first Century,” H. Bruce Franklin offers a detailed narrative of how the POW/MIA issues were falsified and exploited to make unreasonable demands of Hanoi and then to evade responsibility for the catastrophic damage done to the land, economy and people.

Another instance of Washington’s unfair treatment concerns Vietnamese catfish, a product lured into the American market on the basis of free trade and then subjected to tariff discrimination at the behest of domestic fishing interests. This cruel trifling with norms of “free trade” and “rule of law” illustrates the hypocrisy of politics in US commercial practice, the subject of Scott Laderman’s “A Fishy Affair: Vietnamese Seafood and the Confrontation with U.S. Neoliberalism,” an essay suitable for every Economics 101 class worldwide.

Other essays offer enlightening commentary on literature, on film, agent orange, and the environment. Each of the eleven is a gem, for which the editors are to be congratulated. Since the book is balanced between American and Vietnamese issues, it is fitting to close this review with a note on Heonik Kwon’s “Cold War in a Vietnamese Community,” which shows how Vietnamese veterans on both sides of their civil war learned to come to terms with their tragedies and to acknowledge, even respect, the pain and losses of former enemies to achieve closure and reconciliation through mourning and remembrance.

From the US a good number of veterans and others have gone to Vietnam to share grief and memory across the artificially created boundary of “enemy nation” and also to contribute financially and personally to easing the continuing suffering there. The day may come when the conduct of official America rises to that level of humanitarianism and transcends its narcissistic denials. For that, however, the habit of scapegoating others, especially the Chinese, must be transcended. Is the drumbeat of negative reportage on China and its past really about deflecting attention from the harm that Washington has done in Indochina?

Moss Roberts, New York University, New York, USA

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CATHOLIC VIETNAM: A Church from Empire to Nation. From Indochina to Vietnam v. 5. By Charles Keith. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. xiv, 312 pp. (Illus.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27247-7.

In the margin of the early China mission the first Catholic missionaries arrived in a politically divided Vietnam from the 1570s on. They had a history of modest results, frequent opposition, but sometimes also royal support in a kingdom that was united in the early nineteenth century. In the period from 1860 to 1880 French colonialism took over the administration of the country, although a nominal kingdom continued. In September 1940 Vietnam was occupied by the Japanese army. In September 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed in Hanoi. It defeated the French army in 1954 and the Americans in 1975. Catholics never represented more than 10 percent of the population; this was at the end of the French colonial period. Nowadays the population is about 8.5 percent Catholic.

Keith concentrates in this book on the French period, 1860 to 1940. His first chapter explores the idea of the difference between the modest presence in the last period of independence, the Nguyen Kingdom, and the strong growth during colonial administration. From 68 French missionaries in 1868, there were nearly 400 a generation later. In the vivid symbolic language he likes, he sees the contrast also in the “enormous cathedrals in the centers of Hanoi and Saigon, both completed in the 1880s” (30).

Chapter 2 presents “a colonial church divided.” It chronicles a long list of complaints by the Vietnamese people, most voiced by the clergy, about the French in general and especially their missionaries. One missionary loaned funds of his order to a colon[ist] for the sake of his family in France. Some were addicted to opium, or lived with Vietnamese women. There is even a story about a local priest who was accused of having killed a missionary who had tied him up and whipped him. Keith does not give a complete narrative, let alone much statistics and institutional history, but instead offers a series of stories that together build a picture.

Chapters 3 through 5 discuss the 1920s and 1930s, when the Vatican wanted to build a church, independent from French colonialism where anticlericalism, freemasonry and preference for Buddhism was often strong. In 1933 the first Vietnamese bishop was nominated, followed by two more in 1935 and 1938. Vietnamese priests began mission work in the tribal regions of the mountains in the west of the country. A Catholic press was established, magazines, newspapers and books in Vietnamese, printed in the adapted Latin alphabet as developed by the early missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (in Vietnam between 1627-1645). Catholicism was more an urban than a rural phenomenon: in 1897 one-third of Saigon’s 38,000 inhabitants were Catholic (153). In the 1920s the popular French Catholic organizations were also established in Vietnam: Association de Saint Vincent de Paul, Catholic Action, Catholic Boy Scouts, Eucharistic Crusade. Popular Catholicism developed through various places of pilgrimage, the most popular being La Vang.

Chapter 6 treats the political parties and actions by nationalist Catholics. Here again, the Vatican is a symbol of the international and non-French character of the Catholic Church. Religion is by many described and experienced as not bound to a specific ethnicity or geographical identity. Besides, the social message of the Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI was also interpreted as a criticism of French colonialism, “both by identifying French secularism as the root of radical mass politics and by focusing on how the oppressive nature of colonial rule had birthed and sustained communism in Vietnam” (200).

Chapter 7 discusses the most dramatic period of this history, the Japanese occupation of 1940, the declaration of independence of 1945 and the French attempt to come back to its former colony, resulting in the defeat of the French, the division of the country in 1954, and the unstable and corrupt government of the Saigon administration, for the first time under a Catholic president, Ngô Ðình Diệm. The epilogue bears as title “a national church divided,” an echo of the title of chapter 2. It is no longer the opposition of French versus Vietnamese clergy and faithful, but the Catholics of the North who in 1954 migrated to the South and caused many problems in this region. Here the book ends: without much theory, but again with symbolic and meaningful stories like the one about the use of the names of former Northern parishes for the new settlements in the South.

Charles Keith does not concentrate on religious history, but on social and political positions. He does not present the formal structure of the story, but gives anecdotes, quotes and symbolic events that are elaborated on in order to portray the tragic and dramatic lines of history during the hundred years between 1860 and 1960. He starts with an appalling photograph on page 2 of three Vietnamese priests arrested in 1909 for nationalist, anti-French activities. The last photograph, in the epilogue, is of Ngô Ðình Diệm, president of the (southern) Republic of Vietnam, side by side with his brother, who became archbishop of Hué, Pierre-Martin Ngô Ðình Thục.

One of the more theoretical issues discussed here is that of revisionism, the process of changing interpretations of persons as pro-French, nationalist, religious or socialist (180-183). While reading about the portrayal of the priest Trấn Lục (from a paragon of colonial cooperation to a true patriot) I was thinking about the negative portrayal given here to French colonialism and to the Communist rule: times they are a changing. Charles Keith has not given us an easy book, no dry bones, but in many episodes a living history resembling a Greek tragedy rather than a dull textbook for history classes.

Karel Steenbrink, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

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Australasia and the Pacific Islands


AUSTRALIA’S ASIA: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century. Edited by David Walker and Agnieszka Sobocinska. Crawley, WA: UWA Publishing; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2012. 376 pp. A$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-742583-49-5.

The complexity of Australia’s engagement with Asia continues to exercise the minds of scholars and policy makers. This is not a phenomenon that is confined to the recent past. Even before the creation of Australia as a nation-state in 1901, insecurity about Asia among elites and grassroots opinion has been counter-balanced by perceptions of the region as representing limitless commercial opportunities. This binary outlook on Asia has underpinned and driven much of Australia’s attempts to engage with its region since the nineteenth century.

One of the recurrent debates in the Australian context is how, and the extent to which, Australia can be “truly engaged” in the region. A lot of the country’s engagement in Asia is transactional: a massive export trade to China and Japan being the most salient example. More intimate forms of Australian engagement in Asia—including investment, cultural interaction, and political relationships—have been the product of decades of hard work by committed individuals. In short, and somewhat ironically, Australia’s engagement in its own region has not come easy.

Australia’s Asia: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century captures the essence of the pendulum swings that have characterized Australian approaches to Asia over the past century and a half. As the editors note in their excellent opening chapter, “Australia’s enthusiasm for Asia is as old as its anxiety” (14). The theme framing this book is that, by looking at historical developments permeating Australia’s discourse about Asia, we can glean important insights into what is shaping contemporary discussion over regional engagement. While the Gillard Government’s 2012 White Paper entitled “Australia and the Asian Century” argued that “the power of geographical proximity” would translate into unprecedented future opportunities for Australia, this narrative was not new. To quote the editors: “Successive generations have been told that their future would be increasingly Asian” (4).

This book is composed of five discrete sections and includes thirteen chapters, plus an introduction by the editors and an epilogue. The book assembles a wide range of contributors from various disciplinary backgrounds—while historical studies is the dominant discipline, the authors bring to bear different theoretical perspectives, varying methodical approaches (e.g., some privilege biographical analysis, others state-to-state relations), and they all have a unique take on the depth of Australia’s engagement in Asia. In short, the chapter contributions are quite diverse, which is a real strength of the book.

This diversity is further reflected in the division of labour among contributors across the five sections. Section 1, “The big three,” analyses Australians’ attitudes towards China, India and Japan around the turn of the twentieth century; section 2, “Racial identities,” examines a number of personal experiences of those who experienced racism resulting from Australian attitudes towards Asians, and the role of ethnic identity in shaping experiences; section 3, “Love and hate in the region,” that is concerned with Australian experiences of being located in Asia (Australian military personnel in occupied postwar Japan and, more recently,  Australian tourists in Bali); section 4, “Chinese puzzles,” which examines different aspects of Sino-Australian relations; and section 5, “Absent Asia,” which analyzes the history of Australian intellectual engagement with the region, including the continuing debate over how best to embed the study of Asia into Australian primary and secondary-school curricula.

The editors have done a first-class job in assembling high-quality chapters that make an important contribution to the existing literature on Australia and Asia. As the editors themselves observe, too much of the recent commentary on the importance of deepening Australian engagement with, and understanding of, Asia tends to overlook the rich debates that have taken place among Australians for the better part of 150 years or more. Put another way, there is a distinct lack of appreciation of history. Moreover, this book tells an important story about the role and impact of individuals—not just elites, but in many cases ordinary citizens—in building Australia’s relations with Asia. It is a valuable remedy to the ahistorical approach of so many of the debates within Australia over regional engagement and is a useful text for those outside Australia interested in acquiring insights into what motivates the country’s approach to its region.

Andrew O’Neil, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia

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A FARAWAY, FAMILIAR PLACE: An Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea. By Michael French Smith. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xi, 229 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$52.00, cloth.  ISBN 978-0-8248-3686.

In A Faraway, Familiar Place Michael French Smith writes of his return in 2008 and 2011 to Kragur village in Papua New Guinea, the scene of his two earlier books. He first lived and worked there in 1975-1976 as a graduate student in anthropology, as related in Hard Times on Kairiru Island. He recounted his brief return trips of 1981, 1995 and 1998 in Village on the Edge. The trilogy follows the timeline of a memoir. With self-deprecating good humor, Smith shares his struggles with homesickness in the field, employment in the corporate and bureaucratic world of Washington, DC, and the bodily insults of malaria, dengue and aging.

The anthropologist’s memoir is secondary to the narrative of events in village life, ethnographic detail and anthropological insights. During his 2008 visit, elections for the national parliament and the local government council were in progress. Because political arguments were in the air, they take a large place in this book, just as concerns about the meaning of economic development did in the earlier ones. Smith’s understanding of matters political, economic, social and cultural is always informed by his reading in anthropological theory, but scholarly references are never foregrounded.  Because all of the fieldwork was done after Papua New Guinea attained independence in 1975, Smith never really grapples with the heritage of Australian colonialism, which is perhaps a weakness of the book.

Smith allows the concerns of villagers to shape his fieldwork, leading him to spend much of his time in 2008 working with groups of clan representatives on their clan histories. This came to be the straksa (“structure”) project, from which he produced digital genealogical charts that he took back to the village in 2011. Kragur interest in this project was stimulated by their expectation that they might have to deal with multinational mining firms seeking to exploit the gold that had been discovered on the island.

Smith’s work has never sought to picture the exotic side of Kragur life, always making it clear how fully the villagers’ identity is shaped by their adherence to Catholicism and their efforts to reconcile Christian ethics with the individualism demanded by modernity. The present book talks about the continued Pentecostal/charismatic influence within their practice of Catholicism. In 2008 a controversy arose over whether to invite an outside speaker who claimed to be able to root out sorcerers. This led to more open discussions of magic than Smith had previously encountered, as a man showed him his mother’s mandible, which he had kept for use in divination.

Smith’s jacket photo of villagers producing sago starch took me back five decades to my own first fieldwork in East Sepik Province. I remember women impatiently telling me, “scratch that on your banana leaf,” after I asked the same question more than once as we walked through the forest to the swamp where their sago palms grew. Though their language had not yet been written, it did not take these villagers long to learn that my memories were scribbled in my notebooks. In time, the knowledge I had acquired by connecting the genealogies of many people impressed even the elders, and I returned to my desk to find someone had practiced penciling circles and triangles on a scrap of paper I had left out. Literacy would not arrive for another generation in my distant part of the Sepik.

On Kairiru Island, just off the north coast at the provincial capital of Wewak, literacy and formal education had arrived much earlier, along with the Catholic mission fathers. The few Kragur villagers who have gone on to higher education have joined Papua New Guinea’s salaried urban elite. Still Kragur remains even now a “village on the edge,” with few prospects for economic development. A small businessman operates a tourist guesthouse in another village on the island, but unreliable transportation and communication with urban centres makes this as difficult as other prospects for development.

Unlike anthropologists who write for a handful of other academics or travel writers who pander to readers’ taste for savage life, Smith writes with the anticipation that the Papua New Guineans he knows will read his books, and he discovers that they do. The honest, clear and conversational style that Smith has honed makes reading him a pleasure for students and scholars alike. This book is a good read for anyone who wants to see what life is like in rural Melanesian villages that have little access to cash but hold adequate access to land and clean water to meet their needs.

Patricia K. Townsend, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, USA

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NEWINTERSECTIONS: History, Memory, Discipline. By Brij V. Lal. Canberra, ACT: ANU E Press, 2012. xi, 321 pp. A$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-922-144347-9.

Brij Lal remarks that this anthology of 21 recent essays on Fiji “is principally for readers in Fiji, offered in the hope that it might prompt them to commit their own experience and thoughts to paper for future generations” (307). While those of us beyond Fiji will equally benefit from Lal’s insightful commentary on the land of his birth, this quotation emphasizes that his writings have become an intensely personal “participant history” (39). He is as much a protagonist as the author of these histories, and the essays deftly weave between autobiographical narrative, social history and political analysis. Lal defines writing as an act of “giving concreteness and form to reality” (2); his stellar career has almost single-handedly written the Indo-Fijians into historical existence, and this new anthology amounts to a substantial part of that concretion, and much more besides.

Chapters 2 through 7 survey (with great clarity) Fiji’s troubled political history and ethnic tensions since independence in 1970. Heartbreak Islands summarizes the changes to Fiji’s political landscape over the last forty-five years, emphasizing how the foreign-educated, and paramount-chiefly titled statesmen of the mid-twentieth century (Lala Sukuna, Kamisese Mara and others) have been replaced by opportunistic leaders coming to power on a provincialist platform or through military promotion. Lal observes that Fiji is quietly reeling from four military coups in less than twenty years. Open racism is tolerated in parliament itself, and discriminatory property inheritance laws have driven more than 80,000 Indo-Fijians to emigrate since the racially motivated coup of 1987. Those 300,000 who remain are classified as vulagi (“visitors”) in their own country. Chapter 3 details Lal’s involvement with the drafting of the 1997 Fijian constitution, and its self-motivated rejection by indigenous Fijian politicians on the grounds that constitutional democracy is a “foreign flower” unsuitable for Fiji. Lal analyzes how the Indo-Fijians have been scapegoated by indigenous politicians representing them as a controlling force in the country, while Indo-Fijian land leases have been revoked on racial grounds and democratic representatives ousted by force. While the Gun is Still Smoking compares the constitutional status of indigenous and Indo-Fijian citizenship in relation to the state’s key legal documents, and concludes that the outgoing British administration shirked its commitment to the equal rights of the Indo-Fijian population during the transition to independence. Chapters 5 and 6 explore different aspects of modern party politics: the difficulties of power-sharing between the SDL’s Laisenia Qarase and the Labour Party’s Mahendra Choudhry; the underlying causes of Frank Bainimarama’s 2006 coup; the vibrancy of Fijian political campaigning portrayed through a pastiche of memories. The first third of the anthology concludes with Ungiven Speech, where Lal critically analyzes the international community’s reaction to Fiji’s recent political convulsions and democratic failures.

The Road from Laucala Bay and Coombs 4240 initiate a lighter tone, and provide autobiographical insight on Lal’s academic career as a historian. In the former, he evokes the unique character of the University of the South Pacific, which he witnessed in its early life. In the latter, he considers the changing nature of academia over the span of his years at the ANU. Chapters 10 through 12 explore the postcolonial cultures which the indenture system has created around the world. Lal frames indenture as a principal motor of the Indian global diaspora, and shows that the post-indenture Indian cultures of Fiji, Uganda and Central America differ significantly from those cultures formed by recent Indian migration to Britain or North America. Although Lal recognizes the ex-patriot Indo-Fijians resettled in Australia and New Zealand to possess the same “twice-banished” (156) status as the formerly Ugandan, Trinidadian, Guyanese or Surinam Indians scattered to the four winds, he emphasizes the cultural specificity of these Indianisms, which are (he observes) more actual than superficially apparent to outsiders. In this vein, the cultural uniqueness of Indo-Fijian identity comes into sharper focus in chapter 13, where Lal reflects on his changing linguistic relationship to spoken English, Hindi and Fijian as a function of his biography. Primary Texts develops the same theme through a discussion of his Anglocentric school books, dissecting the ideological mechanisms of British late imperial education.

Chapter 15 marks another thematic shift, with four diverse chapters of biographical vignettes. Chapter 15 examines his cousin’s political career in Fiji over the last twenty years, while chapter 16 follows the fates of three Labasa schoolmates as their families build new lives in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Chapter 17 is autobiographical, and documents Lal’s shifting identity and confounded expectations as he finds himself a Labasa man in the Rewa delta, a Fijian in Chuuk and Bougainville, and a not-quite-fellow Indian in Trinidad, Guyana, London and South Africa. Chapter 18 presents four obituaries, two of minor characters in Fiji’s recent history, and two of his fellow commissioners on the Fiji Constitution Review Commission. These latter biographies lead neatly on to Caught in the Web, where Lal answers the internet critics who have (bizarrely) vilified him for causing the race-based political system he unsuccessfully called on the government to abandon. Chapter 20 transcribes an interview of Lal conducted in 2000 by the Rotuman scholar Vilsoni Hereniko, which ranges over many of the foregoing themes, and highlights how complex the politics of ethnicity have become in modern Fiji. Lal’s epilogue Speaking to Power describes his interrogation by the Fijian military in 2009, following his public criticism of the Australian High Commissioner’s expulsion. An Australian citizen, Lal was released after three hours of physical abuse, and given 24 hours to leave the country and never return. This is a moving, intelligent, even-handed and skilfully written anthology. An insightful history of modern Fijian politics and an admirable work of postcolonial social analysis, it should be indispensable reading for anyone concerned with Fiji, politics, race relations or the Indian diaspora.

Andy Mills, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

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TREASURED POSSESSIONS: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property. Objects/Histories: Critical Perspectives on Art, Material Culture and Representation. By Haidy Geismar. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. xvi, 297 pp., 8 pp. of plates (Maps, figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5427-7.

The global struggle over ownership seems to have increased markedly in scope and complexity. Also in the Pacific, debates about cultural and intellectual property rights are frequent and contested, with for example Fijians furious over the appropriation of masi (barkcloth or tapa) designs by their national airline as well as by a New York fashion designer who used these designs on an “Aztec” dress. In her article “The Expanding Purview of Cultural Properties and their Politics” (in The Annual Review of Law and Social Science 5, 2009: 393-412), legal scholar Rosemary Coombe notes that especially for marginalized and or indigenous people, cultural claims are central to their engagement with international or nongovernmental institutions in order to assert their identity, obtain greater inclusion in political life, defend local autonomy, and engage with or resist global markets (394-5). However, she also critiques the lack of interdisciplinary scholarship in this area and the need to explore “a new and vital field of cultural rights norms and practices emerging in the shadows of cultural properties yet to be validated by formal systems of Western Law” (394, cf 407). In Treasured Possessions Haidy Geismar has conducted such a detailed, interdisciplinary study of how global forms of cultural and intellectual property are being redefined by everyday people and policy makers in two Pacific nations: Vanuatu and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Geismar successfully links perspectives from anthropology, legal anthropology, museum studies and material culture studies to explore the fascinating nexus of culture, property and indigeneity. Treasured Possessions shows how in Vanuatu and New Zealand, alternative notions of property, resources and heritage are emerging. While claims by local communities in these countries are advanced in national and international settings, they are at the same time very cultural and community specific. Throughout the book, Geismar highlights that “we need to understand the intersections of indigeneity and intellectual and cultural property as a provincializing move that destabilizes our certainty about what is local and what is global” (207-8). She highlights this perspective through literature reviews and theoretical arguments in combination with well-presented case studies from Vanuatu and New Zealand, where she has worked for more than ten years.

The fist chapter introduces the analytical framework, key concepts and questions that reappear throughout the book. Geismar’s framework takes both legal codifications and popular understandings of law into account, as well as the particular social and political histories and contexts that inform the production of intellectual and cultural property rights (3).

Chapters 2 and 3 introduce the historical and political contexts of Vanuatu and New Zealand and set out in more detail the frames of indigeneity and law in both places. This regional comparison continues throughout the book, revealing the different frames of indigenous identity, legal practice, museum culture and discourses of ownership and property (26). Chapters 4 and 5 follow the history and contemporary progress of Intellectual Property (IP) rights in Vanuatu and New Zealand, respectively. The Vanuatu cases discuss carvings, carvers, commodities and copyright issues in the context of Vanuatu’s graded (ranked) society. The case of carvers making carvings they had no entitlement to for a hotel via a non-Vanuatu female art dealer, reveals the complex mediations between kastom, traditional copyright “laws,” law and grassroots agency, exposing the limitations of generic legislation as well as the possibilities for the recognition of a new kind of “legal” regime (88). Likewise, the New Zealand cases described in chapter 5 reveal the ways in which IP has been absorbed and subverted, creating new indigenous forms of national property and entitlement. The case of the toi iho trademark and the branding of Mãori cultural production in New Zealand elucidate the clashes between cultural artists’ concerns of indigineity and marketing versus the government emphasis on national identity and financial accountability. It also reveals the nature of the provincializing process, which “may always be read in two ways: as a promotion of the subaltern and as a conduit by which the mainstream (or colonial) is relentlessly perpetuated” (118).

The next three chapters focus on questions of cultural and intellectual property in the context of museums, which have become intriguing sites for exploring alternative models of ownership. Chapter 6 discusses museums in Vanuatu and New Zealand and how they have emerged at the forefront of indigenous rethinking of cultural and intellectual property rights, as well as the tensions, politics and paradoxes that this process entails (122). Chapters 7 and 8 explore the role of museums in the aestheticization of cultural property forms, with a discussion of the market for Mãori treasures (Taonga) and its auctions in New Zealand, and pig banks as cultural heritage in Vanuatu, respectively. Both chapters reveal the processes of how intellectual and cultural (heritage) property are negotiated and how these are linked with processes of indigenization, or provincialization, as Geismar argues. As she concludes: “treasured possessions come to mediate between sovereignty and the state, between market and culture, and themselves instantiate a space in between. It is in this space that we can still think about the possibilities of alternatives, what they might be, and how they might work” (215).

In conclusion, this impressive, but at times densely written study, is not only a must-read for those working on indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights. Treasured Possessions is a valuable contribution to Pacific Anthropology and its interdisciplinary perspective enables a wide readership, ranging from scholars and students in (legal) anthropology, to those interested in material culture and museum studies.

Anna-Karina Hermkens, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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STEEP SLOPES: Music and Change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. By Kirsty Gillespie. Canberra, ACT: ANU E Press, 2010. xvi, 254 pp. (Chiefly col. illus., col. maps, music.) A$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-9216-6642-1.

All musical traditions are influenced by the environments in which they are created and practiced. For the Duna people of Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province, their mountainous homeland of “steep slopes” has guided their music systems in a number of ways. Ethnomusicologist Kirsty Gillespie is perceptive in selecting that theme as the guiding motif of her musical ethnography. “Steep slopes” is an apt picture of the decisions that many small communities face regarding the value and future vitality of their musical traditions. Continuity of traditions, let alone revitalization, in the face of attractive international options is a tough hike for any community. These early years of the twenty-first century have seen growing scholarly engagement and applied advocacy in the complexities of language and cultural endangerment. Gillespie’s book is a valuable entry into that discussion, touching on larger issues while looking at a particular language area of the Papua New Guinea highlands.

Steep Slopes comprises six chapters, framed by an introduction and conclusion. The introduction sets up Gillespie’s framework for research and study. She charts a path for her ethnography that will avoid the traditional-vs.-modern dichotomy that has so often characterized discussion about endangerment and revitalization. Accepting as a given the ongoing hybridization and change inherent in all cultures, Gillespie chooses the terms “ancestral” and “introduced.” These are more useful handles for looking at Duna musical traditions, though still leaving open questions of how long it takes an introduced music to become so integrated locally that it can be regarded as ancestral. This is less an issue right now for the Duna, with their relatively recent history of contact with “the outside world,” but it becomes more difficult when looking at Papua New Guinean communities who have had much longer contact with the Christian church’s hymn-singing traditions.

Chapter 2 is a survey of details expected of any musical ethnography: general Duna conceptions of music; the role of the musician; the relationship of music and dance; a general survey of available instruments; and other related topics. I am particularly fascinated by the kẽiyaka, or praise names, that are one of the most distinctive elements in Duna song. In song texts which use repeated lines of text, the one changing element in each line will be a different kẽiyaka, with the whole song featuring a progression of these alternate praise names. Gillespie and colleague Lila San Roque develop this research further in their excellent chapter, “Music and Language in Duna Pikono,” in Sung Tales from the Papua New Guinea Highlands (Alan Rumsey and Don Niles, eds., Canberra, ANU E Press, 2011, 49-64).

In chapter 3, Gillespie looks at the influence of Christian missions, and the interactions between introduced Christian song, ancestral song and introduced popular song. Her brief overview of this history is more nuanced than in some other ethnographies, but I still felt it tended to oversimplify matters. I wasn’t convinced of the Duna people’s “seemingly forced adoption of Christianity” (82), for example, and at times throughout the chapter Gillespie almost implies a weak, ready-to-be-dominated position of the just-missionized Duna—a typical, though certainly unintentional, perspective when writing about first contact with Christian missions. However, Gillespie’s affirmation of the importance of language in any story of encounter is refreshingly accurate; I appreciated her attention to linguistic considerations, here and in other chapters. I was less convinced of the significance of connections between Christian song and Duna-composed songs in similar styles.

In chapter 4, Gillespie shares the story of the death of a young woman, which leads to thoughtful consideration of mourning songs in ancestral and introduced styles. Looking at laments in Duna culture allows Gillespie to reflect on the place of women in Duna society, family structure, and artistic methods of referring to a specific person in song. This leads into chapter 5, which focuses on land issues. In addition to agriculture, Gillespie also looks at the idea of traveling through geography in the song genre khene ipakana. “Steep slopes” make a literal appearance in this chapter, as the rugged mountains are offered as a challenge to prospective lovers in courting songs.

Courtship is the primary subject of chapter 6. I was especially interested in Gillespie’s description of disco nights in the Duna villages. These dance parties are a tangible picture of the awkward, still-in-process changes in contemporary life as Duna young people, severed from traditional rites of passage, try to find their way from adolescence to adulthood.

In the final chapter before the conclusion, Gillespie considers matters of preservation and revitalization, wondering what is the future of Duna ancestral traditions. She looks especially at cultural shows, one of Papua New Guinea’s premiere settings for showcasing its artistic traditions. Based on interviews with Duna stakeholders and cultural show participants, she concludes that although the shows do provide a setting for continuity of traditions, they are not a viable context for serious preservation. The shows tend to be aimed at an undiscerning tourist audience, and the shows are not as regular as a preservation project would require.

Steep Slopes is a revised version of Gillespie’s 2007 PhD thesis, and like many other thesis ethnographies, its shortcoming is merely a too-broad scope of topics. Gillespie covers a lot of ground, but some of it receives too little attention and—though interesting information—does not contribute the unifying theme of the book. Other of Gillespie’s publications, shorter and more focused—such as “Giving Women a Voice: Christian Songs and Female Expression at Kopiago, Papua New Guinea” (Perfect Beat 11(1):7-24, 2010)—affirm Gillespie’s strengths as a scholar. But that is a small criticism, and given the relative dearth of published research about Papua New Guinean communities and their musics, Steep Slopes is a welcome addition to the understanding of current issues in Melanesian expressive arts. Gillespie’s engagement with previous Duna scholarship, and her command of current issues in anthropology and ethnomusicology, are exemplary. Steep Slopes should be read by anyone interested in Melanesian and Pacific cultural studies, as well as advocates for cultural revitalization.

Neil R. Coulter, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

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MELANESIA: Art and Encounter. Edited by Lissant Bolton, Nicholas Thomas, Elizabeth Bonshek, Julie Adams and Ben Burt. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. 2013. xix, 362 pp. (colour illus., colour maps.) US$120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3853-9.

Few visitors pressing into the galleries of the British Museum to view the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles and other treasures of the ancient world have any awareness that the museum is also home to one of the greatest ethnological collections in the world. The earliest objects were collected during the famed voyages of Captain James Cook in the Pacific. In subsequent years, the Pacific collections continued to grow as explorers, government agents, missionaries and researchers made contributions. Today, the Melanesian collection alone totals more than twenty thousand objects along with hundreds of drawings, photographs and pages of documentation. Significant as the collection may be, as Nicholas Thomas states in the introduction to Melanesia: Art and Encounter, it has been “consigned to something of a no-man’s land at a tremendous distance from the communities that produced it, yet disdained as a focus of seriously (sic) scholarly attention by anthropologists and art historians in the West” (xiv). This extraordinary volume is a welcome and highly creative response to this “scandal.”

Melanesia is the culmination of a five-year project which also resulted in the creation of a revised and expanded online catalogue of the objects. Following a widespread trend in museum studies, the project not only funded enhanced academic research by professional curators, anthropologists and art experts based in Western institutions, but forged partnerships with Melanesians from whose communities the objects originated. This entailed consultations in various parts of the region to gather responses to photographs of the objects as well as sponsored visits of Melanesian elders, scholars and students to the British Museum stores themselves. Sixteen of the book’s 57 chapters are written by or reproduce interviews with Melanesians, several of them expert artists in their own right. A dedication to respectful consultation and collaboration, however, sets the tone for the volume as a whole, not least in the core recognition that objects are, in Lissant Bolton’s words, “situated in relationships—relationships within Melanesian communities, between people and spirits, between the collectors and people from whom they obtained the objects, sometimes between non-Melanesian,” reflecting “a Melanesian preoccupation with the relationships objects can enable” (331).

The book is divided into six regional sections: southern Papua New Guinea; northern and highlands Papua New Guinea; West Papua; Solomon Islands; Vanuatu; and New Caledonia. Fiji, which is often included in the Melanesia region, is left out, ostensibly because of strong Polynesian cultural influences but one imagines also to keep the project at a manageable scope. Each section gets an editorial introduction providing an overview of the history of collecting in the region as well as outlines of the essays. While the overall geographical coverage is broad, the distribution of the essays naturally reflects that of the objects and the historical circumstances of their collection. Thus nearly two-thirds of the book focuses upon the former British and Australian colonies of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands with far less attention to Indonesian and French territories, including the former shared New Hebrides (Vanuatu). In addition, objects related to war and ritual are overrepresented, also reflecting patterns of collecting. To the credit of the editors, however, the collection includes several excellent essays on textiles and other forms of women’s art.

Melanesia is lavishly illustrated with beautiful reproductions of objects in the collection or inspired by it, archival prints and photographs of artists and ordinary people creating and performing their arts. The book is far from the ordinary coffee table catalogue of Pacific art, of which there have been many. There is no attempt at comprehensiveness—either in advancing a theory of Melanesian art or providing an overview of regional types and styles. Nor is the art simply allowed to “speak for itself.” The 57 essays from 52 contributors are very diverse in their topics and approaches. Those unfamiliar with the region and/or only interested in the art might well find the approach frustrating if not entirely incomprehensible. I think, however, that most people with even a small knowledge of Melanesia will find the essays a delight. Most are short and engagingly written. All draw upon original research and materials, lending insights into the objects and their relationships and, in several instances, carving out innovative approaches that could be profitably applied more broadly.

Given the number of essays and contributors, it is impossible to do more here than outline some of the key topics and themes addressed in the book. These include assessments of prehistoric objects; oral traditions connected to or inspired by carvings; background accounts of collectors and the situations under which collections were made; the motivations and uses of objects in missionary collections; archival sourcing of objects through old photographs and other records; ethnographic descriptions of contemporary performance and other uses of indigenous artistic forms; documentation of techniques used in the manufacture of objects, past and present; spiritual associations of objects such as masks and magical stones; the place of objects in indigenous conceptions of relational personhood; the deliberate creation of objects for the European market; the exchange networks along which artistic objects are created and passed on; attempts to resurrect abandoned art forms; and accounts of the experience of Melanesians visiting the collections.

The most poignant of the essays concern the shifting and conflicted attitudes of Melanesians concerning the objects stored at the British Museum, most long abandoned in their home communities. For most of the collaborators, encountering the objects evoked pride in their ancestral past and, for some, an inspiration to revive abandoned traditions. Yet for many Melanesians, masks, clubs and magic stones are reminders of a “time of darkness” their ancestors rejected. As I write this review, the speaker of the Papua New Guinean Parliament is orchestrating the destruction of the works of art adorning the Parliament building in a controversial attempt to purge “heathenism” from the nation. As modern-day Savonarolas emerge in the wake of the latest wave of Christian fundamentalism sweeping through the Pacific, the objects kept safe in the British Museum storerooms become ever more valuable for future generations. And ever more important to make visible, accessible and secure.

John Barker, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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FOODWAYS AND EMPATHY: Relatedness in a Ramu River Society, Papua New Guinea. Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific, v. 4. By Anita van Poser. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013. xiv, 274 pp. (Illus., figures, map.) US$95.00. ISBN 978-0-85745-919-0.

In contemporary Melanesian ethnography, we read of cultural answers to the challenges posed by various guises of modernity. This trend is not exactly novel. Cargo cults, after all, were once a hot topic of research. Today, studies of nation making, commodity chains of coffee, Christianities, prisons, conservation and mining comprise an analytical landscape which makes it seem that the local is less and less defined by autonomous, indigenous value systems. Anita von Poser has written a new ethnography from a different angle: it concerns how pre-capitalist cultural value may be viewed as relatively uninfluenced by modernity. The centre of Foodways and Empathy is thus doggedly local, almost to an extent that might be seen as contrarian (or perhaps antiquarian): it is a study of a single locality within Bosmun, a large and well-known village on the Lower Ramu River, inland from the North Coast of Papua New Guinea.

von Poser made several research trips to Bosmun during the first decade of the current century, which began on behalf of her doctoral dissertation. Her book’s main goal is to explain the great effort Bosmun women and men give over to evaluating each other’s moral worth and the pre-capitalist, local-level narratives, symbols and processes in terms of which they do so. Foodways and Empathy is basically about what it means to be good in Bosmun. That is to say, it is about how people present themselves to and see others as ethical persons in a small-scale, kinship-based community.

The central trope in Bosmun culture for being good consists of two dispositions and one activity: the first is to want to be generous with food, specifically sago, and the second is to be empathetic to the appetites of close and collateral kin. The Bosmun associate the latter attitude with the eye, which should keep a close watch on others and infer their feeling-states nonverbally, feeling-states they locate in the stomach and its hunger for food. Reciprocally, Bosmun folk expect to be observed. Others will be watching out for one’s needs and wants; spectatorship and evaluation of the other being a point of local pride.

In four long, but ethnographically rich, chapters, von Poser reports on meanings, practices and contexts of food exchange in Bosmun culture, many of which have been described in nearby Lower Ramu/Lower Sepik/Schouten Island societies. von Poser discusses Bosmun cosmology and its main culture-heroes (Sendam) and heroines (Nzaria) who created parts of the landscape and introduced food-related values. She discusses food in relation to concepts of “face” as well as in the contexts of courtship, marriage, animism and ritual. But most significant are the constructions of sago, whose production should occur in a distinctly moral ethos, whose preparation should be done in a social and stress-free setting, and whose distribution should be associated with regard for the other. The Bosmun refrain from eating sago they themselves have planted. Plate-carrying women constantly cross the village space at mealtimes as households dispatch sago-based meals to neighbours with whom they share kinship (van Poser calls this “food shifting” and at one point compares the “food generous” women’s bearing to the carriage of beautiful models on a catwalk). Modernity briefly enters into her narrative to the extent that it is held in disgust as a site of greed, laziness and tinned fish.

There is much of importance in and much to admire about Foodways and Empathy. It fills an important empirical gap in Lower Ramu studies, for one. Its ethnography is detailed and von Poser’s analytical stance is frank and straightforward, for another. And, for a third, it dwells on an intriguing modality of the social in Melanesia about which one hears little.

Yet several problems stand out, the most important of which is the ethnographic absence of a pivotal, crucial figure. von Poser argues that food and spectatorship are the main forms of empathy in Bosmun culture and sheds light on their significance in the many settings mentioned above. Food is acutely and exquisitely social in Bosmun, as it is everywhere else, and therefore analysis of its constructions must ultimately refer to the manner and practice of the exemplary other, the original foodgiver, in human life. What culturally particular kind of nurture does she practice? Is it unconditional? Is it abundant? Is it at all inconsistent? How is it problematic? How is it managed among siblings and the father? However, nowhere in von Poser’s book do we find data and analysis about the practices of mothers, the absence of which is particularly anomalous, given the great extent to which her research was primarily done with women.

The second shortcoming I see with this book is with its comparative methodology, or rather its lack of a comparative methodology. von Poser must be credited with reading widely in the Melanesian literature and for marshalling it now and again in order to clarify Bosmun data. But there are puzzling moments. For example, she asserts that gender relations there are “uniquely” complementary by contrast to a highlands group that she cites. However, gender in the Sepik and the Schouten Islands, the very region of study, has been repeatedly described in precisely these terms. A last issue: this book deposits modernity into footnotes and confines it to a final few pages. von Poser has persuaded me that food exchange is highly moral in Bosmun society, but the implicit claim that it can be analyzed independently of capitalism in static terms that exclusively draw from myth, social structure and customary personhood, is a bit much.

Foodways and Empathy makes a helpful contribution to regional scholarship as well as to studies of food as a cultural construction and to psychological anthropologists interested in person perception from a cross-cultural viewpoint. von Poser’s book offers up a fascinating, keenly observed account of the ways in which Bosmun people view and assess one another’s hunger. I look forward to reading more from her about how they may manage to do so in the future.

David Lipset, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, USA

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ECHOES OF THE TAMBARAN: Masculinity, History and the Subject in the Work of Donald F. Tuzin. Edited by David Lipset and Paul Roscoe. Canberra: ANU E Press, 2011. vii, 317 pp. (Illus., maps.) A$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-921-86245-8.

David Lipset and Paul Roscoe have edited a handsomely produced commemorative volume to honour their Sepik colleague, Don Tuzin, who died in 2007 at the age of 61. Tuzin, whose teaching career was in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, San Diego, had a distinguished research career based on his two field trips among the Arapesh speakers of one of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) largest villages, Ilahita, located in the East Sepik Province. His four books about the villagers, The Ilahita Arapesh: Dimensions of Unity, (1976); The Voice of the Tambaran: Truth and Illusion in Ilahita Arapesh Religion (1980); The Cassowary’s Revenge: The Life and Death of Masculinity in a New Guinea Society, (1997); and Social Complexity in the Making: A Case Study Among the Arapesh of New Guinea, (2001), were each a significant contribution to the anthropological canon.

The fourteen contributors to the volume, all either Tuzin’s colleagues and friends or former graduate students, have written articles that emanate from one of his many intellectual interests. Regarding Tuzin’s interests, the editors note that “driven by methodological individualism and a strong commitment to comparativism, he focused on social control, dreams, politics and art, cannibalism, food symbolism, the psychodynamics of masculinity, the origins of religion, sexuality and childhood.” The editors’ introduction includes an incisive account of Tuzin’s cultural background and career and a commentary on the organization and contents of the book. The articles are organized into four rather awkward sections but, concerning Tuzin’s myriad interests and the occasional contributors’ oblique connection to his work, I can appreciate the editor’s planning challenge. As usual for a festschrift, the articles vary greatly in organization and style. Several of the articles, e.g., Roscoe, Lipset, and Gregor, while extolling Tuzin’s research, examine aspects of his work and offer different interpretations or explanations.

Section 1 is titled, “History, Masculinity and Melanesia,” with articles by Paul Roscoe, Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, David Lipset and Bruce M. Knauft. My comments regarding the papers in this section, as in the others, are by necessity brief and, unfortunately, cannot convey the theoretical and ethnographic complexities that make the book a compelling read, at least for a fellow New Guineaist. Roscoe, who worked among the Boikin, also located in the East Sepik Province, takes exception to Tuzin’s explanation for the formation of Ilahita’s large population. While Tuzin posits a prehistoric migrational hypothesis to explain its size, Roscoe makes a strong case for its enormity due to natural population growth because of its desirable ecological condition.

Tuzin’s third book is a dramatic exposition of the collapse of Ilahita’s culturally dominant male initiation cult and its negative impact on male-female relations. Hauser-Schäublin worked among the neighbouring Abelam who similarly abandoned their hegemonic male initiation cult. She creatively implements the detailed analogy of an ordinary Abelam string bag to understand this radical cultural transformation. Lipset’s fieldwork is with the Murik Lakes people, another East Sepik Province, located near the mouth of the great Sepik River. Using Jacques Lacan’s concept of the phallus as a symbol of symbols, Lipset examines the fate of ritual masculinity among the Murik people in terms of the Gaingiin male age-graded society and its improvised cultural changes in contrast to wholesale cult abandonment. Knauft’s paper centres on PNG’s Highlands and his work with the Gebusi of the Western Province. Taking a broad view of the cultural meaning of masculinity through time, he finds that its permutations are unpredictable, noting that the Gebusi, who relinquished their male initiation, longhouse and traditional dancing, have revived them.

The authors in section 2, “Culture, the Agent and Tuzin’s Methodological Individualism,” are Kevin Birth, Don Gardner, Stephen C. Leavitt and Joel Robbins. Birth, a Caribbeanist with fieldwork in Trinidad and Tuzin’s former student, examines the “uncanny” in Tuzin’s work as informed by the ideas of Charles Morris, Giambbattista Vico and Susanne Langer, and its important ontological and epistemological implications. Like Birth, Gardner is interested in the scholarly ideas that helped shape Tuzin’s research, especially Karl Popper’s “methodological individualism,” that Tuzin acquired from his Australian National University professor, Derek Freeman, a life-long friend. (It is a testament to Tuzin’s interpersonal skills that it was Margaret Mead, not Freeman, who wrote the introduction to his first book.) Leavitt, another of Tuzin’s graduate students, did fieldwork with the Bumbita Arapesh, a group bordering the Ilahita Arapesh. Leavitt uses his data from a male informant recalling childhood experiences to explicate Tuzin’s view that culture arises from the possibilities of individual action and subjectivity. Robbins, using data from his fieldwork with the Urapmin of PNG’s West Sepik Province, contrasts his holist approach to the study of society to Tuzin’s methodological individualism.

“Comparativism, Psychoanalysis and the Subject” locates the papers in section 3 authored by Michele Stephen, Karen J. Brison, Thomas A. Gregor and Gilbert Herdt. Stephen advances Melanie Klein’s psychoanalytic importance of the mother image in personal development and adjustment. She uses her fieldwork in Bali to amplify her views with an extensive analysis of the performed monsters, Barong and Rangda. Brison, another former Tuzin graduate student, later worked in Fiji where she compared play in rural and urban school children, the focus of the present essay, and their take on hierarchy and equality. Gregor’s paper plumbs the problem of the ritualized cruelties inflicted on young male initiates that Tuzin characterized as “cultural addictions.” Gregor takes exception to this view, citing the “ego-dystonic nature of the cults” and the “moral ambivalence” of some members that can facilitate their collapse. Herdt studied the ritualized male homosexual initiation cult among the Sambia in PNG’s Eastern Highlands Province. His paper is concerned with the men’s secrecy in their “harnessing of sexual speech” and the related notions of both Freud and Foucault.

Section 4, “Style,” contains essays by Alexander H. Bolyanatz and Diane Losche. Bolyanatz, who did graduate research in New Ireland under Tuzin’s supervision, focuses his paper on Tuzin’s gracious and courteous style as a fieldworker, then reflects on his own fieldwork style and the handling of doubtful cultural disclosures. The final paper is by Losche, who worked in the Abelam-speaking village of Apangai a few miles from Ilahita. She compares the rhetorical styles of Tuzin and Margaret Mead, showing how each adopted a magisterial and authoritative voice in an initial cultural account only to shift to a more nuanced and uncertain voice in a later work about the same people.

The editors conclude with Tuzin’s complete bibliography. In this otherwise exemplary 317-page volume, it is notably missing an index and, inexcusably, identifying notes on the fourteen contributors.

William E. Mitchell, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA

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CREATING A NATION WITH CLOTH: Women, Wealth, and Tradition in the Tongan Diaspora. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v.4. By Ping-Ann Addo. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013. xii, 227 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85745-895-7.

“Creating a Nation with Cloth” provides an excellent insight into how contemporary Tongan women, living far away from their ancestral homelands, experience textile wealth and use it to build up and reinvigorate a network of relationships that spans a huge geographical area. This fourth volume in the series of publications by the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO), is divided into six chapters, preceded by an introduction and completed by a conclusion. The well-written concatenating chapters start with a focus on materiality to move over to the role of women and the financial and identity implications of gifting traditional textile wealth. The book compellingly demonstrates how women, textile wealth and tradition are enmeshed.

The introduction sets out the premises on which the analysis presented in the book is built. Ping-Ann Addo explains how koloa, valuable objects which can comprise barkcloth, fine mats, baskets and coconut oil, are a means for Tongan women to participate in the building of a multiterritorial Tongan nation strewn geographically over New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

In the first chapter entitled “Migration, Tradition, and Barkcloth. Authentic Innovations in Textile Gifts,” the focus lies on the technologies of making barkcloth, including the use of innovative materials in both Tonga and one country of the Diaspora, New Zealand. The concept of “pragmatic creativity” (50) which the author had first introduced in an earlier co-authored publication with Heather Young Leslie (Introduction: Pragmatic Creativity and Authentic Innovations in Pacific Cloth), is applied to account for design and material innovations initiated by commoner Tongan women who in so doing effectively shape their multiterritorial nation. The second chapter, “Gender, Materiality, and Value. Tongan Women’s Cooperatives in New Zealand” turns to the social agency of women in diaspora who make and gift koloa. Addo argues that Tongan commoner women engage creatively with modernity by tapping into financial support opportunities from the government, local councils and arts bodies to create and use objects that are valued culturally. Chapter 3, “Women, Roots, and Routes,” recounts case studies of three Tongan women, tracing how they perform their traditional gender roles as “culture workers” (93) when exchanging koloa. Coined by Patricia Hill Collins (From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism, Temple University Press, 2006), the notion of culture workers reflects, according to Addo, women’s active engagement in the definition of their gender, femininity and position in kin groups and society as a whole. The fourth chapter, “Gender, Kinship, and Economics. Transacting in Prestige and Complex Ceremonial Gifts,” moves away from the materiality of exchanges, to consider the relationship between women’s identity and their kin on the one hand, and ceremonial gift-giving and reciprocation on the other. Consequently the author examines how Tonganness is practiced globally. In section 5, “Cash, Death, and Diaspora. When Koloa Won’t Do,” Ping-Ann Addo chooses the specific case study of a funeral to examine the challenges engendered by exchanging koloa between multiple locations, especially when these valuables are exchanged alongside cash. She concludes that “Money generically bespeaks good Tonganness, but koloa materialises appropriate Tongan womanliness” (165). Finally, chapter 6 looks at the central role of the church in the competitive gift-giving of both cash and koloa. Churches in general, but the mainstream Methodist churches specifically, are channelling the flow of textile and cash wealth by operating as the recipients and the transferors and thus giving Tongans the opportunity to distinguish themselves on a personal level, while also respecting traditions. In her conclusion, Ping-Ann regroups her work around two themes: the movement of people and the movement of things. She also suggests that her own research would be enhanced by studying how dwelling somewhere affects the sense of identity of second-generation Tongans in the Diaspora. It would in a sense contribute to testing her conclusion that the exchange of valuables in this continuous movement of people is effective in providing Tongans a renewed sense of being at home.

Through careful ethnography, the publication articulates the processes at play when large amounts of barkcloth and mats are exchanged and gifted over long distances within the contemporary Tongan ethnoscape. In dealing with the gift-giving activities of contemporary Tongan women, this important study engages in a nuanced way with the theory of the gift in Oceania, and the exchange of textile wealth in particular. Ping-Ann Addo’s work also contributes to the studies of modernity and globalization and Diaspora communities. Her careful analysis teases out the different attitudes and shifts of views towards material culture of commoner and chiefly women in the twenty-first century. To explain these variations, historical events—generally dating no earlier than the nineteenth century when the modern kingdom was being shaped—and sensibilities are taken into account. Regretfully, no attempt was made to unravel the relationship between mats and barkcloth. Are there occasions when fine mats are preferred over barkcloth or vice versa? However, this book adds considerably to the understanding of how material culture works in a contemporary society and how women can bind geographically scattered communities through the movement of these valuable objects, which are the products of female activity.

Fanny Wonu Veys, National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, The Netherlands

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INTERPRETING CORRUPTION: Culture and Politics in the Pacific Islands. Topics in the Contemporary Pacific. By Peter Larmour. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2012. xvi, 188 pp. (Tables.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3514-9.

Interpreting Corruption is an exacting and exhaustive survey of research on corruption in the Pacific Islands, covering most states and territories in Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. The author, a political scientist, brings his four decades of experience with public institutions in the Pacific (including a stint as an official in the Lands Department of the Solomon Islands during the 1970s) into conversation with data from a multi-year study conducted by Transparency International, of which he is a member. An insider of the anti-corruption movement, Larmour nevertheless takes a compassionate, relativistic stance on this morally and politically charged topic.

Pointing out that “[c]oncern with corruption is in many ways a foundational one for constitutional democracy—how can we design things to stop leaders abusing their power over us?” (3), Larmour engages with the question of why Pacific Island nations seem to be such hotbeds for “talk about corruption.” Is it because there is objectively more of it, whatever “it” might be? Do cultural factors, including an apocalyptic Christian “Gothic” worldview and fears about the decline of traditional custom, amplify citizens’ concerns about governance? Is there something about the structure of Pacific societies—for example, their relatively small scale and the maintenance of kinship links between elite and rural social strata—that creates more opportunities for corrupt dealings? Or, is it simply that economic dependency and hunger for development have created conditions in which those in power can get away with exploiting their positions?

Larmour addresses these questions and others through seven chapters in which he carefully splits, defines and clarifies the phenomena described as corruption as well as the various strategies proposed to correct them. Chapter 2 lists the types of vernacular Pacific discourses through which talk about corruption is articulated, including gossip, satire, radio, news media, sermons, policy and law. Chapters 3 and 4, in asking “[w]hat is all this talk (and silence) about?” (42), demonstrate the multiple purposes to which corruption talk is used, and the many “diagnoses and cures” implied by different representations of corruption. Chapter 5 examines the rise of corruption indicators and the production of international statistics about corruption, and the problems of measurement and generalization that competing indicators create. How should we interpret the fact that, in the Pacific, perceptions of corruption are often much more extreme than individual experiences might warrant? Why must developing nations bear the stigma of corruption rankings, when the biggest malefactors (for example, timber company executives and investment fraudsters) are so often based in the First World? Larmour emphasizes the importance of carefully critiquing of these indexes, considering their potential use as “a basis for withholding aid…, as arguments for economic reform, or as justifications for military coups” (96). Chapter 6 helpfully identifies twenty-five subtypes of corruption, grouping them into seven categories: general administrative corruption, vulnerable branches of government, distributions of cash, corruption within anti-corruption agencies (among which Larmour includes court systems, police and armed forces), political corruption, corruption outside government, and sovereignty sales. The book’s many meticulous lists and charts can occasionally overwhelm the reader, though they are ultimately helpful deconstructions of the heterogeneous phenomena categorized as corruption.

The seventh chapter, “Culture and Corruption,” begins with a discussion of the vagueness of the culture concept, but eventually narrows its focus to an element of culture that Pacific Island societies have preserved from pre-colonial times: institutions of gift exchange and reciprocity. At what point does a respectful, sincere gift to an official, voter, or landowner become a bribe? In such an exchange, who is the corrupt party: the giver or the recipient? Larmour points out that resources obtained through corrupt means may later be redistributed in ways that transform them into positive, ethical acts, highlighting the importance of studying corrupt transactions in the context of larger cycles of accumulation and exchange. He suggests that when it comes to corruption, culture matters most in constructing a willingness or unwillingness to accuse, ostracize, punish, or forgive perpetrators. Furthermore, in multicultural contexts—as most Pacific Islands are—corruption accusations can be used as a way of distinguishing in- and out-groups. The production of Asians as moral and cultural outsiders (and fonts of corruption) in Melanesia, he suggests, is an example of this trend.

As “politics” is widely identified as the most “corrupt” aspect of life in contemporary Pacific nations, Larmour’s final analytical chapter focuses on “Politics and Corruption,” discussing what local ideas about corruption can tell us about theories of political life more generally. There are perils to the “anti-politics” hiding within anti-corruption discourse, Larmour suggests—potentially giving license to “coup rhetoric and the ‘cleanup campaigns’ that coup leaders launch against their enemies” (150). Even anti-corruption measures can themselves be corrupted, as when privatization schemes, intended to reduce political interference in bureaucracies, lead to insider deals in procurement and outsourcing (111). Larmour identifies a deeper ambivalence about anti-corruption discourses that is belied by popular expressions of outrage: people may outwardly rail against corruption while also supporting industries or politicians who promise them development (143).

Ultimately, Larmour concludes that all this fuzziness, ambivalence and uncertainty is part of the nature of corruption: as the illegitimate use of legitimate institutions, it almost always involves “decisions that turn on fine differences” (160)—the difference between a gift and a bribe, after all, is a difference of context and of degree. While this book does not provide answers, it does suggest avenues for further inquiry, and would be a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in developing new research projects on corruption in the Pacific Islands and beyond.

Barbara Andersen, New York University, New York, USA

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POLYNESIANS IN AMERICA: Pre-Columbian Contacts with the New World. Edited by Terry L. Jones et al. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2011. xix, 359 pp. (tables, figures.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-759-12004-4.

This volume marks the latest revival of a 150-year-old debate on the timing, nature and scope of trans-Pacific contacts prior to the European expansion. Early nineteenth-century speculation on the possibility of connections between the Americas and the Pacific Islands was given more substance from the 1860s, when the apparent similarity between the Quechua term for sweet potato, cumar, and the Polynesian kumara, was first noted and attributed to human transfer. Despite the longevity of the debate, there are still precious few unequivocal proofs of trans-Pacific contact, and most of these remain ambivalent in terms of the light they shed on questions of agency or the direction of movement; of these proofs perhaps the most significant has been the discovery of charred sweet potato in Mangaia in the Cook Islands dated long before European contact with the Americas. Generally, transfers of people, ideas or materials in either direction do not appear to have been substantial, and were almost certainly out-weighed by their impacts. Yet significant questions hang on the resolution of these issues, ranging from the specifics of cultural-historical reconstruction in the Pacific and the Americas through to more general understandings of the processes of inter-cultural contact and exchange, and the pace of adoption of novel crops and artefacts. Was sweet potato, which entirely transformed the New Guinea Highlands, available for adoption a thousand years ago, through Polynesian transfers, or seven hundred years later through European transport to island Southeast Asia? How might we re-evaluate the sailing capacities of South Americans and Polynesians were we able to demonstrate that either one or the other was responsible for trans-Pacific voyaging?

Their choice of title alone indicates that the editors of Polynesians in America have nailed their colours firmly to the mast, focusing on Polynesians (and not Americans or Asians) as the agents of contact and transfer, and this immediately introduces some unevenness to the collection and its conclusions. Most of the chapters are revisions of papers presented at a 2010 conference session, to which the first two editors, Terry Jones and Alice Storey, have added a set of four introductory chapters, framing the debate (as they see it). While the later chapters are collectively compelling, the introductory chapters are less convincing: reintroducing the case for Polynesian contact (chapter 1); a review of the history of diffusion theory (chapter 2); a very light skim through possible evidence from oral traditions (chapter 3); and a more thorough overview of the trans-Pacific debate (chapter 4). The perspective adopted throughout is from debates conducted largely within American archaeology, where a strongly conservative and processual attitude to the question of trans-Pacific contacts has insisted on better evidence than has been tendered in the past. However, the absence from the volume of any of the authors of these contending views, such as Atholl Anderson or J.E. Arnold, robs the collection of any sense of a robust discussion, leaving readers to challenge the more tendentious claims, and inviting further scepticism about the broader enterprise.

Nine more substantial chapters address particular lines of argument or bodies of material, including: the artefact record from North America of possible Polynesian influences (chapter 5); the specific case of Polynesian contact with ancestors of the Mapuche people of central-south Chile (chapter 6); a review of the proxy evidence for human movement derived from the distribution of commensal plant and animal species (chapter 7); a reappraisal of recent evidence for the pre-Columbian introduction of Polynesian chickens to the Americas (chapter 8); another case study, this time of evidence for Polynesian contact with the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador, as a possible source of the Quechua term for sweet potato (chapter 9); a summary of possible cognate terms in Polynesian and American vocabularies (chapter 10); an inspection of three possibly Polynesian crania from Mocha Island off the coast of Chile, also a find spot for what may be pre-Columbian chicken bones (chapter 11); an argument for a faster and more efficient settlement of eastern Polynesia, as the likely point of departure for voyagers to the Americas (chapter 12); and a review of Polynesian voyaging capabilities (chapter 13). Though most of these chapters summarize or lightly extend arguments and material previously presented, the cumulative weight of their evidence begins to amount to a serious case for Polynesian contact with the Americas, or Ecuador and Chile more specifically.

The volume leaves me with two reservations: the first is the adequacy of a hard copy-only book in a field as dynamic as this. The broader debate addressed here has been contested in on-line journals over the past decade, and a static and largely one-sided contribution in book form cannot hope to capture the complexity of different positions, or offer evidence in entirely convincing detail; and by the time most readers have digested the contents of this volume, it will have been superseded by articles announcing new materials and new developments in the debate. What the book might have offered instead was genuine reflection on, and advances in, the ways we approach debates around diffusion, particularly where the contacts are likely to have been fleeting, partial and restricted. How do we generate really demanding questions for further research, rather than simply seek further evidence to support existing positions; how might debate proceed more productively than it has thus far? What are the conditions for selection and adoption of novel materials and ideas in cross-cultural encounters? And what might the trans-Pacific debate contribute to theories of contact and diffusion elsewhere? On these matters, the present book is largely silent.

Chris Ballard, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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ISLANDS OF LOVE, ISLANDS OF RISK: Culture and HIV in the Trobriands. By Katherine Lepani. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2012. xiii, 241 pp. (Figures, maps, photos.) US$34.95. ISBN 978-0-8265-1875-0.

The Trobriand Islands were once described by Annette Weiner as “one of the most sacred places in ethnography” (13). Trobriand Islanders figured centrally in the classic works of Bronislaw Malinowski, who held them up as exemplars of “primitive man” in mirrored opposition to Western society. The irony is that the Trobriand culture differs in significant ways from other parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG): the institution of paramount chiefs, an unusually rich tradition of magic and mysticism, elaborate memorial ceremonies dominated by massive exchanges of banana leaf bundles and skirts between women, and a remarkably positive attitude towards pre-marital sex, among other things. Paradoxically, the cultural extremes of Trobriand society may make it a better candidate for the examination of comparative issues than other more “normal” Melanesian societies. Regardless, for almost a century, the Trobriands have inspired some of the most sophisticated and influential ethnography—while triggering equally fierce debates—in the anthropological canon. Katherine Lepani’s superb new book very much follows in this august tradition.

Islands of Love, Islands of Risk deals with topics at once new and familiar. It is primarily a study of how Trobrianders have understood and responded to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly to outside interventions intended to educate and protect the population. The Papua New Guinea (PNG) population as a whole has exceptionally high infection rates for sexual transmitted disease and is thus highly vulnerable to HIV. Given the inadequacies of the medical system in remote rural areas, estimates of how many people in the Trobriands have HIV are “highly speculative.” In contrast, the “discursive presence” of HIV/AIDS is pervasive due to effective awareness campaigns, particularly the village birth attendants program, which reaches most women of child bearing age at the village level (31). Drawing upon ethnographic observation as well as individual and group interviews in 23 villages across four of the six Trobriand Islands, Lepani provides the first full-length monograph examining both the execution and reception of HIV/AIDS interventions and information campaigns in a rural Papua New Guinea community.

Making sense of how Trobrianders have responded to HIV takes Lepani into territory first explored by Malinowski in Sex and Repressions in Savage Society (1927) as well as Weiner’s feminist reappraisal of the 1970s and more recent writings on gender and relational personhood. The depth of the ethnographic record allows an unusual degree of insight into how gender roles and sexual practices have changed over the past century. (Remarkably little!) She provides a particularly revealing review of the long history of government interventions in response to sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the Trobriands, dating back to the establishment of a venereal treatment clinic in 1905. Lepani’s main concern, however, is the ethnographic present of 2000-03. She writes a fine-grained account of gendered agency through the life cycle, moving from the considerable sexual freedom of youth through the complementary responsibilities of women and men in birth and child rearing and the multifold exchanges that constitute the reproduction of clan-based personhood. Lepani’s sensitive description of Trobriand attitudes towards sex, however, will no doubt attract the most interest. Trobriand sexual culture, she notes, is unique in PNG in terms of the enthusiastic validation of premarital sex with multiple partners (102). Yet Trobriand sexual practices and desires are very much cultural productions: regulated in terms of how partners are selected as well as the essential roles played by love magic and exchanges. “Young people,” she observes, “represent their sexual freedom as a process of decision making that involves careful discernment and studied selection, not careless abandon” (127).

Given such cultural orientations, Trobriand Islanders have been unusually receptive to certain aspects of HIV/AIDS awareness and medical interventions. Unlike elsewhere in PNG, they do not attribute the pandemic to a vengeful Christian God; and from the paramount chief on down there is a general acceptance of the need to use condoms to protect oneself from STIs. While multi-partnering in general and a growing trend of older married men bribing young women for sex leaves the Trobriand population increasingly vulnerable, Lepani finds hope that those affiliated with AIDS in the future will find compassionate care within their extended families. For the most part, however, she documents mismatches between the intentions of HIV interventions and the local reception. To some degree, these are practical. Boxes of condoms often sit locked up in government offices until they become useless because officials are awaiting permission or lack access to networks to distribute them, for instance. At a deeper level, however, there is an ontological divide between the Western understanding of disease vectors through individual behaviour and the Trobriand conception of serious illnesses and accidents as the consequences of moral breaches of collective morality—an understanding that, for now, places the invisible but highly dangerous condition of HIV infection into the class of sovasova, chronic illness resulting from clan incest. At a more fundamental level, there is a serious mismatch between the moral assumptions of HIV awareness discourses that portray sex as dangerous and an individual responsibility and a culture which celebrates sex in the context of collective well-being. The running theme of the book is that a truly effective HIV intervention must be built upon “a foundation of respect for both the commonality and diversity of human sexual desire and experience” (133). She demonstrates just how challenging this is to accomplish even with the best intentions.

Lepani brings a quiet authority to this complex study. She has long experience with HIV awareness campaigns and was the principal author of the National HIV Prevention Strategy in PNG. She is also a member, through marriage, of the Trobriand community. While addressing a dark and difficult topic, the ethnography presents a positive, compassionate and intimate portrait of contemporary life in the Trobriands. Drawing effectively on personal vignettes, the text is wonderfully evocative, accessible and engaging. It is an important book that will be of considerable interest to specialists studying cultural responses to HIV around the world. Yet it is at the same time an engaging introduction to a contemporary Melanesian society that I enthusiastically recommend for undergraduate teaching.

John Barker, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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CHRISTIAN POLITICS IN OCEANIA. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v. 2. Edited by Matt Tomlinson and Debra McDougall. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012. ix, 235 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85745-746-2.

In this volume a group of anthropologists of Oceania address the interaction of Christianity and politics in the region, from the most local interpersonal relationships to national and (to a much lesser extent) international identities and movements, with case studies from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. While an assertion in the Introduction that the authors “make the case that politics in Oceania can only be understood by taking account of Christianity, and vice versa” is a bit grand, as much Oceanic politics takes place without reference to Christian faith, the volume certainly does show that the assertion is at least very often the case; and that Western academic attempts to study the politics of Oceania without reference to Christianity and the churches are likely to be inadequate.

Moving from the local to the national, the various contributors discuss conflicting church views of the much-storied “underground army” of Makira, the “tripod” relationship of church, provincial government and chiefs in Isabel, and the political culture of new Evangelicals and Muslims (Solomon Islands); the apparent (but only apparent) lack of interest of the Urapmin Pentecostals in politics and the heated political land disputes of three churches of the Waria Valley (Papua New Guinea); the tendency of churches to take on state functions in the context of a weak state (Vanuatu); the culture-Christianity of the New Methodist Church in its relationship with the Bainimarama military dictatorship (Fiji); and an overall national view of the relation of churches and politics (Papua New Guinea). The volume also contains a helpful afterword. Overall, the volume is refreshingly open and non-ideological and the authors make some effort to be in dialogue with one another.

All the essays are detailed, thoughtful and considerably nuanced in their analyses. As such, the volume is a fine example of the emerging discipline of the anthropology of Christianity, finally not afraid to move into theology, history, psychology and sociology for a more complete analysis. Because of their common multi-disciplinary approach, the essays complement each other well. The volume avoids earlier anthropological approaches that see Christianity (especially Christian theology) as a pariah to be avoided, if not actively opposed. Likewise, helpfully, new Christian churches or perspectives (where appropriate) are discussed here in relationship with the mainline churches from which they emerged. The chapters by Handman (PNG), Scott (Solomon Islands) and Tomlinson (Fiji) are particularly good on this point, as much recent Oceanic anthropology of Christianity has tended to focus on new Pentecostal and Evangelical groups as though they had no relationship with the older churches, with the latter often regarded as no longer of interest.

The strength of the volume (its contributors’ specialized knowledge of their particular areas) is also its weakness as these well-established specialties shape the priorities of the volume rather than more historically significant interactions of Christianity and politics. For example, for Vanuatu, the exceptional role of the churches in the Vanuatu independence movement remains substantially unaddressed; for Solomon Islands, the role of the churches (including denominational identities) in the implementation and solution of the “ethnic tension” crisis of 1999-2003 is hardly addressed; few of the chapters address the paradox that all the countries discussed have very high percentages of Christians yet are deeply rooted in corruption, from the local to the national level. The exceptions are the Fiji chapter, where the analysis is clearly rooted in discussion of the country’s extraordinarily significant coups, and the national survey of the relationship of the churches and politics in PNG.

Because Pacific Christians are generally hospitable and trusting, even to anthropologists, and sometimes the resulting relationships may be very short or continue over years (or are interrupted by long absences), the data for this volume is not always consistent and this inconsistency can affect interpretation; a very negative interpretation might even end the relationship. One senses this issue in the chapter on the Isabel “tripod,” where there was much more conflict than expressed here over the 2010 selection of an Isabel bishop living overseas to be paramount chief and (even more strongly) the selection of his local deputy; debate over the latter continued all night before the inauguration, which almost did not happen. One senses a reluctance to be too critical, lest it damage relationships. Conversely, the chapter on Pentecostal groups in Honiara and the Western Solomons and Islam in Malaita seems to be based on somewhat fleeting relationships and not so squarely fixed on politics, though that is perhaps inevitable, considering the transient character of some of the groups and persons discussed.

Despite these minor criticisms, this is a fine volume, perhaps even a landmark, in the anthropology of Christianity in Oceania and all the chapters are of a high quality. Some will become standard points of reference. But one is still left with the problem of many anthropologies, many Christianities, many contexts, many histories, many personalities and many exceptions, some discussed, some not; trying to get any analytical consistency across such diversity remains a major challenge. Insofar as the authors begin from local contexts and root their analyses there, and are in dialogue with one another, this volume is a major contribution and one begins to see some common themes emerging. I doubt that Christianity will again be marginalized in the ethnographical study of Oceania.

Terry M. Brown, University of Trinity College, Toronto, Canada

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THE BEN MOIDE STORY: Nameless Warriors. By Lahui Ako. Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press, 2012. xxvi, 246 pp. (B&W and coloured photos.) US$79.99, cloth. ISBN 978-9980-86-957-9.

This is a pretty nice book from the University of Papua New Guinea Press on the life and war of Ben Moide. The book covers the Kokoda Campaign from a first contact with General Horii’s forces at Awala (now on the Kokoda Highway), through the fighting retreat back along the Kokoda Track, then forward again on the mopping up operations towards the end of 1942, to the landing on Scarlet Beach near Finschhafen. This is book-ended with Mr Moide’s recruitment into 1 PIB (‘Papuan Infantry Battalion’) at the age of sixteen in 1940 and something of his early family life and his personal life after the war.

It somewhat grates that the book is called “Nameless Warriors.” The author writes:

Over the years, people have also asked Ben Moide: why now? … Frustration at the lack of the taubada’s appreciation for assistance rendered; distrust at the motives of European writers; doubts … on the subject of WWII carriers and soldiers… . (5)

But Mr Moide is a well-known figure around Papua New Guinea and, far from being nameless himself, was one of 35 PIB riflemen and Bren gunners who fired the first shots at Awala on 23 July 1942, commemorated in the annual Remembrance Day Holiday that all citizens enjoy each year. In what way do Ben Moide and his peers lack recognition and what evidence is there that historians have doubted them?

Two unit histories chart the course of the war from the perspective of the PIB / NGIB / PIR: Green Shadows by G. Byrnes (1989) and To find a path: the life and times of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment by J. Sinclair (1990). Both are highly respectful of the Papuan and New Guinean enlisted men and give a good insight into the context of the times. They both detail the exploits of the unit war heroes—whose kill rate, if official sources are to be believed, was astonishing—recounting many of the same actions that Ako does, complete with the medal citations, a full list of all who served and the Roll of Honour (those who died). The latter has a physical presence at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, in brass, just as there is for all other units from conflicts that Australia has taken part in since the nineteenth century. The list of those who served has been publicly searchable on the AWM’s web site for many years, and Ben Moide is in it under his service number, PN67. It must be said that the AWM’s oral history programs are weak on the experiences of Papua New Guineans, but the cold arithmetic on the original numbers of enlisted men, and numbers of survivors today, from Australia, Japan and PNG means that only a few PIB men like Ben Moide have survived into the 2000s to add their reminiscences. Which is why the book under review is an extremely welcome addition.

Sinclair’s book gives us clues about the treatment afforded to “native” soldiers during the war. While the Australians they went into combat with held them in high regard, niggling incidents at the hands of those who hadn’t reminded them of their official station while in the Australian forces. As well as low pay, an order later in the war was that men must wear their badges of rank on their laplaps instead of on their shirt sleeves like everyone else. This did not go down too well with battle-hardened men credited with killing dozens of their enemy. This theme of facing the same hardships as white soldiers in war, but being pushed back to the ghetto or village after it, is a familiar one worldwide and most recently explored in the highly acclaimed 2006 French-Algerian film Indigènes.

Ben Moide is credited and is briefly seen in the 1982 documentary film Angels of War (not mentioned by the author of this book). Again, a theme of the film was that the PNG veterans of World War II had been neglected in the postwar period and had received few of the benefits that white Australian veterans enjoyed. The son of one of the veterans, intoxicated at the Port Moresby RSL Club on Anzac Day, said aggressively “We know nothing about this World War. We only supported the Australians … We get nothing from Australians.”

However, 1982 is as distant from us today as it was from the end of ANGAU rule in PNG at the end of the war. The greatest gift to Papua New Guineans was in fact for Australia to walk away, an event that seems ever more remarkable in regional terms as time goes by. Subsequently, Australia has provided in the region of A$10 billion in aid. While aid is always controversial, for the first fifteen years after Independence, 90 percent was in the form of untied support straight into the national budget—right through the period when the veteran’s son said “we get nothing from Australians.”

Historians are still writing that the Allies, led by America, were the winners of the two World Wars. The benefit of hindsight shows that this is a simplification. In reality, the World Wars were about who should rule other countries and the outcome was that no-one should. Ben Moide was one of the ruled who fought to be there when this was decided.

John Burton, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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LANDSCAPES OF RELATIONS AND BELONGING: Body, Place and Politics in Wogeo, Papua New Guinea. Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific, v. 3. By Astrid Anderson. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2011. xii, 262 pp. (Tables, maps, figures, photos.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84545-775-4.

The legacy of a prominent ethnographic forebear is an especial burden for an anthropologist conducting fieldwork for a doctoral degree. Ian Hogbin looms large in Astrid Anderson’s monograph, which is based on her dissertation research on the island of Wogeo, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Hogbin conducted fieldwork on Wogeo in 1934 and 1948, and his two authoritative books about the island, The Island of Menstruating Men and The Leaders and the Led, had become part of the canon of Melanesian anthropology by the 1980s. Anderson conducted her research in the 1990s, not only on the same island but also based in the same village as Hogbin. She has negotiated the historical engagement well, approaching the inevitable interpretative differences with her predecessor diplomatically and nicely illustrating the degree to which he had become integral in the mythology of the Wogeo themselves.

Her book is divided into four parts. The first is a scene setter prefaced by an origin myth. It describes the island and its people and the important place of Hogbin in Wogeo’s recorded history and contemporary memories. The second discusses bodies, taboos and death, showing the degree to which bodily care is at the same time a nurturing of networks of relations. The male cult famously described by Hogbin is a memory nowadays, but Anderson revisits it to contextualise it with other bodily rituals, and her greater attention to gender aspects provides further insight into the subject of embodiment. The third part focuses on landscape, place, knowledge and leadership, taking the perspective that the social landscape and the geographical landscape are mutually constitutive. The final part draws these themes together in a group of chapters on “the way histories of people, places and kinship can be seen as arguments in an ongoing process of establishing a proper social landscape” (69), which the author calls the politics of belonging.

While more than half a century had passed between Hogbin’s era and Anderson’s fieldwork and much had changed on Wogeo, she has not made the book a study of exclusively “current” issues. Her ethnography draws on that of her predecessor, providing additional information and detail of her own, and deconstructing the contemporary view held by the Wogeo of their own past and kastom. The focal aspect for a reader familiar with Hogbin’s ethnography is the difference in analytic perspective. Hogbin was a functionalist (Radcliffe-Brown, Firth and Malinowski were his main influences) noted for his attention to precise representation. Anderson, for her part, invokes Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, and cites Roy Wagner and Marilyn Strathern as inspirational theorists. Her application of Heidegger is actually limited and focussed on his discussion of “dwelling,” which has become popular in recent anthropology concerned with landscape and spatial socialization. Merleau-Ponty is briefly cited in relation to embodiment. The author (like a growing number of others in contemporary anthropology) regards the perspective served by these fragments of the two philosophers’ work as phenomenology. While this modish generalization is surely in need of interrogation, Heidegger’s discussion is well-used here in a series of examples towards the argument that dwelling and experience in the Wogeo landscape are a continuous creation and manifestation of a meaningful world.

The most discernible analytic influence throughout the book is Wagner, and it is his work on symbols that provides the real fuel for the author’s re-reading of Wogeo sociality.

Anderson brings the combined interpretative shifts exemplified by Wagner and Strathern to bear on kinship and relation. She consequently gives a more nuanced account of kinship and relation than Hogbin was able to and, in a particularly strong passage in the book’s last section, expands significantly on his observations on house construction. Here she really does bring together her titular themes of landscapes, relation and belonging, showing for example how the various parts of a house are imbued with meaning: she gives detailed descriptions of how individual rafters are connected to particular pieces of land as they embody histories of the land-holding people who hold rights in them.

Classic Melanesian ethnographies are nowadays often used as little more than an uncritiqued backdrop to contemporary anthropological research on topical development-related issues, as if there were nothing more of value to say about traditional sociality in rapidly changing societies. Worse, they are sometimes dismissed as irrelevant in the face of a concern with local engagement with global processes. In contrast, the reflexive potential of anthropology is demonstrated in this book, which revisits, enhances and improves on the insights of a previous good ethnographer at the same time as it offers new material from a contemporary fieldworker equipped with a different analytic toolkit.

Michael Goddard, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia

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MUNDANE OBJECTS: Materiality and Non-Verbal Communication. Critical Cultural Heritage Series, 10. By Pierre Lemonnier. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2012. 205 pp. (Figures.) US$74.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-61132-056-5.

Until about the middle of last century, chapters on “material culture” were a common component of ethnographies. Often this inclusion was related to many early anthropologists’ close association with museums, but it also fit into anthropology’s larger agenda, that of cataloguing and ultimately accounting for the myriad lifeways of the peoples of the world. Things changed, and by the close of the twentieth century it was difficult to identify what, if any, agenda characterized the discipline.

Today, while art museums and galleries continue to draw admirers of masks and carvings, it is unusual to find analytic as well as descriptive attention to “mundane objects,” those artifacts “that would not find their way into museum cases and that are uninteresting to most anthropologists, sociologists, and historians, but nonetheless lie at the heart of the systems of thought and practices of their makers and users” (13). His particular interest here is in garden fences, eel traps, drums, and magic bundles as these are fashioned and used by the Baruya and Ankave people, speakers of languages of the Angan family in Papua New Guinea, among whom Lemonnier (often in collaboration with Pascale Bonnemère) has resided for years, producing a rich body of sensitive, yet rigorous, ethnography.

We learn here a great deal about the manufacture and use of such objects—not only those of the Baruya and Ankave, but also the model racing cars that captivated youths such as Lemonnier in the 1950s but still enthrall matured baby boomers—though such documentation is mainly the context for a larger point: “What these particular artefacts wordlessly evoke deals with basic rules, tensions, or unspeakable aspects of social relations that pervade people’s everyday lives, their strategies, material practices, anxieties, and hopes” (13).

Here the reader initially will recognize the functionalist premise that has been a subtext of most social/cultural anthropology for almost a century, viz., that societies and cultures are systems, with each component both reflecting and reinforcing others. Thus, the design of their garden fences “communicate the nonspoken ultimate interest of the Baruya … in cooperation”; an Ankave eel trap “refers simultaneously to primordial violent sexuality, patrilineal rights, and mortuary rituals,” and the magic bundles used in male initiation rites manifest “the link between the Anga’s formidable past and the present, and are the basis for their gender relations, collective force, and ultimate fate” (20)

But Lemonnier wants to say more than this, to stress “what needs to be understood; namely, how objects, gestures, or physical activity participate in human relations in a way that nothing else but material actions and artefacts can achieve” (77), or, in another formulation, that “some objects, their physical properties, and their material implementation are not only wordless expressions of fundamental aspects of a way of living and thinking; they are sometimes the only means of rendering visible the pillars of social order that are otherwise blurred, if not hidden” (13; emphasis added). Further, he wants us to see “why material objects and actions lend themselves particularly well to blending thoughts, which in turn allows the actors to mentally grasp cardinal social relations and values underlying their daily life” (14). Thus, “mundane objects” do not merely illustrate the functionalist premise, but validate it in a special, maybe unique, way.

It is true that Baruya fences serve the utilitarian purpose of keeping pigs out of gardens, but they are “too sturdy to be mundane” (21); rather, underscoring a purported Baruya cultural emphasis on cooperation (unlike their Ankave neighbours’ value placed on autonomy, “the built artefact is in itself an image of the strength and efficiency resulting from leaning on each other” (41). Similarly, the magic bundles employed in Ankave initiation rites contain ingredients that are commonplace, but in the right context, they serve as a “conjunction, [a] way of putting together myth, ritual action, and living things” (97).

What Lemonnier wants us to appreciate is the role of “mundane” objects as “resonators,” and that “(1) their making and using relate different domains of social life that are thus brought together in the actors’ mind in a unique way; (2) they are part of some kind of non-verbal communication; (3) that special communication concerns key values or key characteristics of particular social relations that are usually hidden, although they pervade everyday life; and (4) the very physicality of the artefacts in question is involved in that process and is not equated to a vague and putative link with their ‘materiality,’ but it can be precisely shown” (119). Such artefacts, in a simultaneous “gathering”, do not just “refer to” but “communicate something about the ensemble of these spheres of life that underlies all of them” (120).

Expanding upon the insights of colleagues who have proposed the power of art as being due to “the triggering of non-verbal messages resulting from the confluence of thoughts and domains of experience” (133), Lemonnier sees the same role being served by his less visually spectacular subjects: “these objects, plus their physical making and use, are not [just] another way to say things. They are a particular and unique way to deliver essential statements about the actors’ social lives by serving as reminders that some things and thoughts and hierarchies and histories and materials and gestures have to be thought together” (138).

It is difficult to predict what impact Lemonnier’s argument might have on future ethnographers. Given the “irruption of modernity” (122) that has transformed so much of the world, including neighbors of the Ankave, as both their material and cosmological inventories have altered radically, few may have the opportunity to enjoy this gifted ethnographer’s experience of being enmeshed in such a living system of objects and thoughts, although his disquisition on “Race Cars, Dinky Toys, and Aging Boys” (chapter 5) gives one hope.

Terence E. Hays, Rhode Island College, Providence, USA

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BEING MĀORI IN THE CITY: Indigenous Everyday Life in Auckland. Anthropological Horizons. By Natacha Gagné. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. xvi, 345 pp. (Maps.) C$32.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-4426-1413-0.

As Gagné points out, until relatively recently, there has been a paucity of anthropological work on indigenous ways of life in the city. This lack is perhaps a result of two factors: a disciplinary tendency to prioritize small-scale societies which engage in “authentic traditional” practices and where relationships with land and resources are perceived to be primordial; a lasting conceptualization of such communities as relatively bounded and the methodological challenges associated with undertaking participant observation in a multi-complex site. This book is timely given that an incredible 84.4 percent of Māori now live in urban centres compared to 50 percent of the world’s population. Auckland, the main site of Gagné’s research, is the largest multicultural city in New Zealand; Greater Auckland has a population of 1.3 million, and is home to just under one quarter of all Māori. Auckland also has the highest population of Polynesians of any city in the world.

Gagné’s research, described as one of the few ethnographic studies on Māori urbanization since the 1970s (i), employs classical anthropological methods of long-term participant observation and interviews to capture “the everyday combat … regular experiences and strategies of urban-based Māori” (4). In the introduction and first chapter she contextualizes this struggle within the history of Māori urbanization from World War II, the Māori renaissance of the 1980s and more recent battles for land and resources in light of neoliberal policies of privatization and devolution. Crucial to this background is the colonization of New Zealand and the evolving significance of the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Tribunal as a means through which Māori articulate indigenous losses and seek compensation. The Office of the Treaty Settlements, an alternative and more direct method of negotiating with the Crown, is not explored. Gagné does, however, provide a comprehensive overview of the main issues and a multitude of references for readers interested in further exploration.

In the second chapter Gagné emphasizes the diversity of experiences of Māori in the city. This diversity includes: different tribal identities and homelands and the absence of this type of identification; length of time in the city; occupational and educational heterogeneity; whether residence is in a predominantly brown/working class or Pākehā (New Zealand European)/middle-upper-class neighbourhood (this dichotomy is not nearly so clear-cut!) and strength of attachment to kin and tribal territory. Gagné sympathetically highlights the contradictions that inhere in the discourse surrounding “authentic” and “urban” Māori and the politics of differentiation used to demarcate Māori and non- Māori ways of being and doing. Key to the discussion is the concept of “comfortable,” which Gagné’s participants use to highlight their oft-conflicting feelings of being at home/not at home in the city. Closely connected with this are the bonds of Māori kinship as expressed through whānau (extended family), hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe) and the organizing principles of whanaungatanga (a kinship ethic that communally and horizontally unites) (55) and whakapapa (a vertical descent ethic which enables boundaries to be created) (55). Gagné shows how these concepts have become lived in the city, how whānau includes non-kin members and how, despite this elasticity, the underlying ethical values, principles and structuring elements remain intact. The ability of whānau to expand in the city is again emphasized in chapter 5.

The third and fourth chapters underscore the importance of place, here grounded in marae, the traditional Māori meeting place, ceremonial centre and a principal site in which to reaffirm tribal culture and belonging. In the third chapter Gagné traverses the literature on marae highlighting traditional functions, associated protocols and symbolic representations. Threaded throughout this discussion is the hint that she is inclined to concur with Sissons’s (Building a house society: the reorganization of Maori communities around meeting houses,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16, no. 2, 2010: 372-386) recent assessment of Māori society as being structured by a relationship between houses, rather than, or at least as well as, descent. This argument comes out more clearly in chapter 4, where Gagné uses her own ethnographic material to describe an urban Māori suburban house which, she argues, is a marae. Two main points are used to validate this analysis: “these houses, like ‘real’ marae are all about sharing and the community … [and] these types of houses and their principles are not necessarily part of everyone’s daily experience. A house is not necessarily in a permanent state of being … it could be so only on special occasions” (120).

Gagné’s analysis of the continuation yet also mutability of marae is an important contribution to the study of modern Māori society. Perhaps missing from this discussion are the more contentious and conflictual aspects of contemporary marae. For instance, various government departments consult with Māori on marae, introducing new types of power dynamics and technologies; a notable tension exists over whose protocol is prioritized. Waitangi Tribunal hearings, long held on marae, involve Māori presenting their history of loss and alienation in the midst of Tribunal judges, well-heeled lawyers and other hapū groupings which often have alternative renderings of history and they may individually be subjected to intense questioning from Crown lawyers. Such hearings are deeply emotional and politicized occasions and the Tribunal often leaves a heightened conflict in its wake. In the event of a successful claim, marae may become further entangled with bureaucratic procedures; marae, rather than hapū, are the channel through which compensation, held by the central iwi, is distributed on an annual basis. As these examples suggest, the modern marae is not purely a Maori space but has, in some instances at least, been infiltrated, maybe even co-opted, by bureaucratic and state forces.

In the final three chapters Gagné weaves together her themes by employing the concept of “universes of meaning,” which is as an “orientational device through life, experiences, and practices” (12). She shows how a politics of differentiation can serve to create a distinctive universe of meaning for Māori, but that this universe is paradoxical, has internal inconsistencies and continually intersects with alternative universes: “in practice … Māori and Pākehā people alike internalize multiple universes of meanings and develop multiple identities and ways of engaging within these worlds” (229). In her conclusion, Gagné makes a compelling argument regarding the importance of an anthropology concerned with ordinary, superficially apoliticized, indigenous city people: “What is really significant is the continued general attachment of Māori people to the idea of being Māori and to Māori identities” (253).

Fiona McCormack, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

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CAPTURED: The Forgotten Men of Guam. By Roger Mansell; edited by Linda Goetz Holmes. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2012. x, 255 pp., [12] pp. of plates. (Map, Illus.) US$33.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-61251-114-6.

Guam, 200 square miles in area, is the largest of all the small islands and coral atolls that form Micronesia, an area scattered across the central and north Pacific between the Philippines and Hawaii. Guam was of strategic importance to both America and Japan in World War Two.

Prior to the outbreak of war, life on Guam was very relaxed and was like a posting in paradise, according to the US military and Pan Am Airways personnel stationed there. This changed dramatically when the island was invaded by Japanese forces and the almost 800 Americans there were captured and transported to POW prison camps in Japan. There they endured three and a half years of brutal treatment, starvation and disease, as they worked as slave labourers for the Japanese.

The late Rodger Mansell was widely known as a researcher into American POWs in the Pacific in World War Two. He compiled a vast database and shared his information with the families of missing POWs and others researching the subject. He spent the last ten years of his life completing research and writing about the experiences of the Americans captured on Guam. After Mansell’s death in 2010, his manuscript was edited by Linda Goetz Holmes, who also prepared a bibliography and index for the book, which was published in 2012.

The book tells the little known, previously largely untold story of the men from Guam. It describes the camps where they lived, the places where they worked and how they managed to survive life as prisoners of the Japanese.

The strength of the work is that the author interviewed many ex-POWs and recorded their stories first-hand. For every particular event of interest, for every unit involved, military or civilian, he seems to have at least one firsthand account. Often Mansell quotes directly from his interviews or from the diaries the POWs kept while in captivity. This provides a lot of interesting information and detail which make the book a gripping read. But in addition to collecting oral history from the survivors, Mansell has backed this up with thoroughly researched archival material which is well used and documented in the endnotes.

The early part of the book deals with the capture of Guam by the Japanese, transport of the prisoners to Japan and their lives in several POW camps. Initially they were all taken to Zentsuji, Japan’s first POW camp in World War Two, situated on Shikoku Island. As time passed and more prisoners arrived at Zentsuji, the men from Guam became split up, with groups going to new prison camps: Kobe, Hirohata, Tanagawa, Osaka and Rokuroshi, all on the main island of Honshu. As the war progressed, conditions for the prisoners worsened. The 160 men sent from Zentsuji to Tanagawa found the new camp to be one of the most brutal in Japan. Had Japan not surrendered when it did most of the prisoners would have soon died of starvation and maltreatment.

The latter chapters of the book tell of the ordeal of the indigenous people on Guam under two and a half years of Japanese rule; the last months of the Americans’ imprisonment in Japan; the dropping of the atomic bombs and the return of the prisoners to America. There are also moving stories of how some Japanese guards showed kindness towards prisoners and how, after liberation, prisoners showed their compassion and helped the starving Japanese civilians with gifts of food.

The main text of the book occupies some 200 pages, split into 26 chapters. This makes the individual chapters rather short. Some chapters take up only three or four pages. Perhaps the material could have been organized differently, with fewer, longer chapters. For example, the three separate chapters dealing with the Japanese attack, invasion and occupation of Guam, could have been amalgamated into a single chapter. Similarly, a single chapter about Zentsuji prison could have replaced the three short chapters titled Zentsuji, Life in Zentsuji, and Labor in Zentsuji.

The bibliography is adequate and the endnotes thorough but the index is poor. For a book with an extraordinary amount of information and detail, the index is extremely brief and basic. So much so that it is all but useless. The index was not compiled by the author but was the responsibility of the editor.

There is only one map in the book. This is a good descriptive map of Guam, presented as the frontispiece. The book would have benefited from the inclusion of at least one map of Japan, showing the locations of the prison camps and the islands where the prisoners were taken.

I found errors in details in the book. When writing about the British prisoners who were captured in the Gilbert Islands, the author mistakenly refers to these islands as the “Makin Islands” (60). The modern name of the Gilbert Islands is Kiribati and there are two references to Kiribati in the book, each with a different spelling, neither of which is correct (225, 249). Names of some Gilbert Islands are spelt incorrectly: Betio (231), Abaiang (225). Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands is incorrectly called “Juliet Island” (225). In one sense perhaps these and similar minor mistakes could be forgiven because Captured is such an interesting story containing much new information and is obviously well researched. On the other hand, a simple spell-check of the complete manuscript would have raised many questions and provided opportunities for corrections to be made.

Peter McQuarrie, Independent Researcher, Auckland, New Zealand

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POLYNESIAN OUTLIERS: The State of the Art. Ethnology Monographs, no. 21. Edited by Richard Feinberg and Richard Scaglion. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, 2012. viii, 225 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-945428-15-2.

This book problematizes a classificatory convention we have come to take for granted: that the 22 Polynesian outlier societies (from Nukuoro in the Caroline Islands to West Uvea in New Caledonia) are starkly distinct populations isolated among culturally Melanesian or Micronesian archipelagos in the western Pacific. Feinberg, Scaglion and their contributors demonstrate that the outlier concept is an imperfect response to the limitations of Dumont d’Urville’s reductive early nineteenth-century demarcation of Oceania into Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Moreover, these 12 ethnological essays compile and analyze a wealth of information on the complexity of Oceanic settlement processes and cultural interaction over the last three millennia. The thematic chapters are highly interdisciplinary and shift from archaeology, linguistics, material culture and economy, to kinship, social structure, performing arts and religion. In its own way, each essay asks how the Polynesian outlier societies are similar and different, and attempts to identify the settlement processes, cultural interactions and independent transformations each has undergone to alter an initially Polynesian people into 22 diverse and hybrid populations.

Following Feinberg and Scaglion’s clear and synthetic introduction, the prehistory of outlier settlement is reconstructed by essays from Patrick Kirch, Mike Carson and Robert Early. Originally published in 1984, Kirch’s chapter synthesizes data drawn from lexicostatistics, voyaging simulations, excavation and ceramic analysis to overturn the relict hypothesis that the outliers were anciently settled from the west, in favour of the (now dominant) blow-back model of easterly settlement from West Polynesia circa 1500 AD. Kirch also emphasizes the complexity of the archaeological record, acknowledging the presence of post-Lapita plainware ceramics on some outliers as one part of several intricate histories comprising multiple, successive occupation events. Carson updates the archaeological representation to 2012, and assesses each outlier’s history, economic interactions and identity formation to develop a sophisticated model of diverse outlier settlement processes. He concludes that outlier societies flourished by developing successful strategies for utilizing marginal atoll environments, minimizing competition and suppressing conflict with pre-existing populations. Early considers the linguistic relationship between the outliers and broader Polynesia, and observes that, although language contact and word borrowing make outlier languages more complicated than those of triangle Polynesia, all sit comfortably within the Samoic language group. He characterizes two outlier language clusters, Futunic and Ellicean, which imply two distinct expansions; the former westwards from the vicinity of ‘Uvea or Futuna, and the latter north-westwards from Tuvalu.

In chapter 5, Feinberg and Marianne George shift the book’s emphasis towards recent human-environment interactions by examining the material culture and techniques of outlier seafaring. These cultural elements are more locally hybridized than language, it seems, with sailors in the northern Solomon Islands outliers using typically Micronesian outriggers and shunting sails, while those of Tikopia and Anuta followed the pre-kalia West Polynesian form. Paul Roscoe’s essay on outlier economic activity observes that poverty of materials motivated considerable long-distance trade networks, but supports Raymond Firth’s longstanding assessment that such trade barely impacted on subsistence itself. Roscoe describes a fairly typical Polynesian economy of taro, banana, coconut, fish and birds exploited by small household units, although the rarity of yams and pork undoubtedly reflects the marginal environments of many outliers. Tim Bayliss-Smith’s discussion of root cultivation briefly considers the virtual absence of yams and sweet potatoes from the outliers, before exploring the cultivation and ceremonial use of turmeric and taro on Ontong Java. He interprets turmeric as a signifier of mana in liminal ritual phases, and highlights taro’s continuing significance as the pre-eminent food of ritual presentation. Both Roscoe and Bayliss-Smith comment significantly on the gendered division of labour in outlier economies, which exhibit typically Polynesian complementarities within alternating phases of the same economic activity.

Feinberg and William Donner’s exploration of outlier kinship systems equally emphasizes core Polynesian terms and relationships, reflecting a basically conservative approach to familiarity. They argue that outlier kinship is notably simpler than that of West Polynesia, due to the development of a more flexible approach to descent as a rational response to scarcer resources, more frequent natural disasters and more different neighbours. This is a theme which recurs in Scaglion’s assessment of hereditary chiefship, that most Polynesian of political institutions. Although he recognizes the typically West Polynesian emphasis on inherited rather than achieved status, that region’s complex political and class hierarchies either failed to develop, or were wholly abandoned, on the outliers. Whatever the stressors, the authors make a convincing case that outlier conditions fundamentally transformed West Polynesian culture into something new.

As well as highlighting the retention of cognate dance leader roles and dance-song forms throughout the outliers, Richard Moyle’s review of performance arts examines the centrality of song as ritual practice and religious observance, and explores its resultant importance as an ideological battleground during Christian conversion. This leads nicely on to Feinberg, Judith MacDonald and Roger Lohmann’s discussion of religious practice, which recognizes an unconcern for sorcery among outlier populations when compared to their Melanesian neighbours. Equally, they read the notable absence of Tu, Rongo and Tane cognates in the outlier pantheons as a significant divergence from Polynesian norms. These absences are entirely consistent with the West Polynesian pantheons, however, and this illustrates a key challenge to any ethnological undertaking of this kind: each essay enters into dialogue with a specific regional construction of Polynesian-ness, which inevitably erases the finer differences between its many societies. As Anne and Keith Chambers observe in their closing discussion, it is a remarkable collective achievement for the authors to have identified as much cultural uniformity and distinctiveness in the outliers as they have. Like all good scholarship, this volume raises more questions than it answers, but it establishes a new level of debate and interpretation in outlier studies, and should be indispensable reading for anyone keen to understand Oceanic culture and history.

Andy Mills, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

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THE NON-INDEPENDENT TERRITORIES OF THE CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC: Continuity or Change? Edited by Peter Clegg and David Killingray. London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2012. xix, 206 pp. (Maps, tables.) £25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-9569546-0-2.

The volume The Non-Independent Territories of the Caribbean and Pacific: Continuity and Change? edited by Peter Clegg and David Killingray is a collection of articles whose focus is the governmental, administrative and policy changes that have occurred recently with regard to what might generally be called non-self-governing or non-independent territories in mainly the Caribbean and occasionally the Pacific. Written by economists, political scientists, government administrators, historians and lawyers, the articles delve into some of the complex governmental, policy and constitutional alterations that impact the administration of the “imperial fragments” (1). Fragments being an apt metaphor to describe how the authors allude to how the administrative powers sometimes understand these territories: bits of unfinished business, stale crumbs from the imperial “cookie,” so to speak.

The first four articles (written by David Killingray, Peter Clegg and Peter Gold, Ian Bailey, and Ian Hendry) deal specifically with the United Kingdom’s “remnants… of empire”(xvii), now officially called the “Overseas Territories.” One chapter exclusively explores the Netherlands and its Caribbean territories; and in my opinion, it is the best chapter (by Lammert de Jong and Ron ver der Veer). Another focuses on France’s Overseas Territories (by Nathalie Mrgudovic). Yet another concentrates on the role the European Union has in their member states’ non-independent territories (by Paul Sutton). Two more delve into the many concerns, and some notable benefits, for the administrative powers related to the Caribbean economies supported by international banking, offshore finance and the business of tax havens (by Mark P. Hampton and John Christensen, and William Vleck). Finally, Carlyle Corbin provides an overview of how self-governance has been framed internationally in relation to these non-independent territories that remain around the world.

The space in this review prevents a detailed summary of each article; all of which vary from one another. However, general themes emerged within most. Clegg and Killingray assert in the introduction: “Non-independent territories adhere to the metropoles for a variety of reasons, most importantly economic advantage, although security and sentiment also play a part” (xix). The striking word in that sentence is “adhere”—the image being of those crumbs that simply cannot be brushed away. Having gobbled up these territories in the years of intact imperial desserts, since World War II the imperial game of “keep them or set them free” has been in play; decisions partially motivated by imperialistic desires and partially those wishes of the people within these territories. As is appropriately noted throughout many of the chapters, what often remained of empire after the years of reshuffling was, as deJong and van der Veer euphemistically call it, “Kingdom-lite”: meaning, from the metropole’s position, less on guilt and responsibility, and more on a sense of “moral” relief at technically being a “colonizer” no longer (65). The administrative powers allowed these territories a semblance of self-governance at varying levels in various territories. Another euphemism expressed by de Jong and van der Veer suitably encapsulated this relationship: “LAT, or Living Apart Together” (64). But eventually for these administrative powers, Kingdom-lite was viewed as not as lite as once believed because in these non-independent territories the weaknesses of no independence with some local autonomy “simply [was] seen as a failure: huge budget deficits, poor education, social degradation and flawed law enforcement” (66).

In present-day colonial “modernity,” administrative powers no longer see independence as an option for most of these remaining territories, but rather an abiding state of in-between-ness, and the reality of enduring responsibility—and a “moral” responsibility at that. As is often stressed by some in this volume (as summarized in the afterword): “Despite the continued enthusiasm of some of their politicians and oft-repeated criticisms of the ‘colonial’ powers and their level of influence, the people have shown little appetite for re-visiting the issue” of independence (195). Especially given the international economic instability of recent years, these administrative responsibilities are believed to continue to weigh heavily on national budgets. As a result, some within the metropole question a continuation of any relationship with non-independent territories. For example, de Jong and van der Veer state: “Dutch political parties on the far right express loudly and clearly: ‘Sell them on eBay, hand them over to Venezuela’” (80). This is an extreme sentiment, but I think one that summarizes, at least in part, the essence of what the administrations see as their colonial plight. Because despite the responsibilities formulated in colonial yesteryears, the eternal question remains on the tip of the administrative powers’ tongues: Who benefits?” (152), which in all reality should be framed as “Do we benefit?”

Nonetheless, administrative powers, as it was noted throughout this volume, have in recent years attempted to reconceptualize a more “hands-on” relationship with their territorial possessions (81). The chapters on Britain stressed that they want to promote “good governance, democracy and the rule of law” in response to the not-so-benign neglect allowed to fester in some of the non-independent territories (22). However, the ways in which the various powers have been going about changing these relationships are in flux—in seeming fits and starts, legalistic and incomplete—heavy on bureaucratic intent and low on actual practice.

As might be indicated above, the somewhat detached and top-down perspective of these articles may not resonate with some readers. Also, this is not a volume to understand the indigenous or islander perspectives, although flashes occasionally peek through. Indeed, these chapters tend to minimize and gloss over the complex ambivalence that many of these territories and their peoples may have in relation to their administrative powers. Also, the prose can be imposing, made that much more challenging because of the liberally sprinkled acronyms for non-independent territories and governmental organizations (FCO, TCI, OECD, OT, to list but a few). Yet I found this collection to be thought-provoking. It lays out some of the administrative truths, complexities and puzzles related to non-independent territories as political entities. Indeed, the overload of acronyms is rather symbolic and indicative of colonialism today—in a way abbreviated but yet mysterious, if not harshly opaque.

Laurel A. Monnig, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA

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ENGENDERING VIOLENCE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA. Edited by Margaret Jolly and Christine Stewart; with Caroline Brewer. Canberra, ACT: ANU E Press, 2012. xxvii, 280 pp. (Tables, figures, maps). A$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-9218-6285-4.

This book offers a timely examination of gender and violence in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The country recently attracted world-wide publicity about incidents in several provinces involving the torture, beheading or burning of women accused of witchcraft. The report by Amnesty International, Papua New Guinea: Violence against Women—Not Inevitable, Never Acceptable! (London, 2006) is among many reports by international agencies documenting and decrying ill-treatment of women. The government of PNG recently released a Country Gender Assessment (February 2013) sponsored by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, which documents extensive female disadvantage in education, health and the economy. A number of studies have also linked the epidemic of HIV and AIDS to the powerless circumstances of PNG women, for example those in the anthology edited by Leslie Butt and Richard Eves (Making Sense of AIDS: Culture, Sexuality and Power in Melanesia (University of Hawaii Press, 2008). Further, PNG is the only country in the Pacific to be rated by the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat as “off track” for progress on all the Millennium Development Goals, in its 2011 Pacific Regional MDGs Tracking Report (August, 2011). Most of the MDGs have indicators related to the status of women.

The collection contains an overview and eight essays, most of them by anthropologists, examining aspects of gender and violence in particular regions of the country. In her introduction Margaret Jolly notes that gender violence is a human universal and suggests that in the context of PNG, gender violence cannot be understood in cultural terms alone, but must also be contextualized in relation to the country’s fraught colonial and post-colonial history.

Male supremacy was once affirmed in most if not all PNG societies by cosmology, ritual and exchange; today, as the contributors to the book show, there are uneasy juxtapositions of old and new religious values and economic forces. Naomi McPherson’s ethnographic case study of the Barai (West New Britain Province) suggests that violent behaviour is particularly provoked by challenges to male prerogatives. Their shift to charismatic, fundamentalist Catholicism has reaffirmed and re-legitimized male dominance, particularly in relation to control of female fertility. Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi’s historical case study of the Gende (Madang province) examines the impacts of mining projects, migration and new economic opportunity on marriage chances, conjugal relations and increasingly “troubled masculinity.” In the past, young men had to wait many years to obtain wives, dependent on their elders and the slow processes of inter-group politics and an un-monetized economy. Now that some men are financially independent of traditional expectations and obligations, they can challenge status hierarchies, by paying bride prices for themselves and acquiring multiple wives, in a situation of increasingly competitive commoditization of women.

Beliefs about witchcraft and sorcery reflect people’s anxieties about social and gender inequality. Philip Gibbs explains that the Simbu (Simbu province) believe that both men and women could practice sorcery, or might be witches; but men are thought more likely to be victims, while women are more likely to be accused, and violently assaulted or murdered. He suggests a woman might be more feared as an outsider married into her husband’s clan, as a marginalized widow or as someone poor, oppressed, vulnerable and unprotected. Young men have been particularly visible perpetrators of such vengeance in recent years, and Gibbs suggests this reflects negative behavioural affirmations of masculinity.

At present there is little that women can do to overcome their vulnerability to violence in PNG. Anna-Karina Hermkens describes how many Catholic women in Madang province feel spiritually empowered to cope, by taking the Virgin Mary as a model of humility, obedience and faith. So far the courts in PNG have not been successful in decreasing violence in its highly prevalent form of rape. Jean Zorn documents the generally unsympathetic attitudes of judges since colonial times towards the emotional as well as physical effects of rape on victims. This is why, Zorn argues, rape has long not been treated as the serious crime that it is. She describes some improved trends in judicial decisions and sentencing in recent years. Fiona Hukula examines rape from the perspective of sentenced perpetrators. Her case studies demonstrate alarming senses of male entitlement to sexual gratification, or beliefs that sexual violence may rightfully be used as a means of revenge. The author rejects the argument by many other scholars that rape has more to do with power than sex. Arguing that this explanation has “western connotations,” she proposes that the themes of frustration and retribution in the narratives of her interlocutors suggest that in PNG rape is motivated more by generalized anger and aggression towards women. Christine Stewart, in her case study of the brutal treatment of women and girls charged with prostitution, concludes that such anger most likely arises from the perceived challenges to masculine status and authority presented by the wider opportunities and choices available to women in modern PNG.

Martha Macintyre’s discussion of Millennium Development goal 3 for gender equality and the empowerment of women points out that the causes of violence against women are structural and, as the other contributors to this volume show, have to do with constructions of masculinity that allow the denigration of femininity and “deeply ingrained cultural attitudes and economic relations that naturalize female disadvantage and male entitlement” (239). Macintyre argues convincingly that approaches such as gender mainstreaming in development projects, and the targeting of women with programs for their empowerment, rest on the false assumption that women themselves can be the agents of change, if they are educated and given equal opportunities for employment. Violence against women is the ultimate expression of gender inequality and the disempowerment of women, and these essays all suggest that change will only occur when men are required to give up privileges that are currently maintained by the threat of violence.

Penelope Schoeffel, National University of Samoa, Apia, Samoa

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TAX HAVENS AND SOVEREIGNTY IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS. UQePress Pacific Studies Series. By Anthony van Fossen. St. Lucia, QLD: UQ ePress, 2012. xi, 411 pp. (Map, tables.) A$38.50, paper. ISBN 978-1-921902-21-2.

Tax avoidance. If you are a major, multinational company, incorporated in the UK, Australia or the United States, here’s how you do it. You re-incorporate yourself in some country that has low or, even better, no taxes on corporate profits, and that offshore tax haven becomes, for tax purposes, your new home. No, you don’t have to be doing business there; you don’t have to move your head offices there, or, indeed, any office at all. All you need there is an agent who will put your name on a brass plaque on their door, together with the brass plaques of all the other companies they represent. From then on, all your worldwide profits are credited to that offshore company, making your taxes low or non-existent.

And how, you may ask, do you, the domestic company—still operating out of London or Sidney or New York though, now, technically, a subsidiary of your own offshore holding company—get your hands on those profits without having to pay taxes when they come to you? At this point, the tax avoidance game gets even better. The domestic company borrows that money from its offshore parent, thereby realizing no income. Quite the opposite, that infusion of cash puts a great big liability on its balance sheet.

The use of offshore tax havens and financial centres is not new, although—and this insight is one of the many contributions of van Fossen’s readable and valuable study—with the decline of colonialism and the concomitant increase in the number of small sovereign states, the jurisdictions able to become offshore havens has multiplied. In the nineteenth century, most tax havens were in Europe—Switzerland, Lichtenstein and the Channel Islands, for example—close to the companies they served. The island nations of the Pacific have only recently become centres of offshore financial activity; they had to wait both for the development of rapid communications channels and for the end of colonialism, which freed them from the constraints of rule by the US and Australia, neither of which favours offshore tax havens. Now, however, the Pacific Islands are major players:

The Cook Islands concentrate on forming trusts to protect assets from seizure by courts, wives, husbands or creditors. Samoa is excellent for registering international companies, which can hold stocks, bonds real estate and other assets so that taxes can be avoided on incomes from dividends, interest, rents or profits when the holdings are sold. Vanuatu has more offshore insurers, banks, casinos and tax-free real estate than any other Oceanian haven. Offshore mutual funds operate in Vanuatu, and hedge funds register and banks book large international loans in the Cook Islands to minimize taxes, avoid regulations, and increase secrecy. (1-2)

Pacific Island nations are economically and militarily far from the equal of the UK, the US or Australia but, van Fossen points out, international law creates the legal fiction of a world made up of nation-states that are equally self-reliant. Sovereignty means that, if a country wishes to have no taxes on income or profits, or wants to encourage Internet gambling, or permit banks to keep their accounts secret, so that money can be laundered more easily, it may do so.

It is pretty widely agreed by now that the effect of offshore tax havens on the economy of their host countries is close to zero. Most of the money flowing into tax havens flows out again almost immediately. Van Fossen notes some possible financial benefits: “offshore centres may generate government fees, employment, training, investment, high-end tourism, better tele-communications and greater international recognition” (3). But, the emphasis is on the “may.” He would agree that plaques on office doors generate precious little in the way of employment, training, investment or even tourism.

The primary economic results are a relatively small amount added to government coffers—although, if a country is poor enough, even the few thousand in corporate registration fees can make a difference—and a bump up in the incomes of a score or so indigenous compradors. However, the effect of these on a host country’s politics is probably way out of proportion to the net economic benefits to the country as a whole. There is a great incentive for those few who benefit economically to make sure that the money keeps coming, an aim requiring that domestic legislation continue to be friendly to the offshore companies. Corruption is an inevitable consequence of tax haven status.

One of the easiest ways to criticize an author is to accuse him of not writing the book he never intended to write. I will not do that. But, I will say that van Fossen’s exhaustive study of the legal and political regimes that support Pacific Islands tax havens begs for another scholar or two to study the political or cultural impact of these financial centres on the countries in which they are located. How, for example, have the social structures and Vanuatu been affected by the presence in Port Vila of offshore banks and Internet gambling companies? What are the consequences for the people and cultures of the Cook Islands, say, of the cluster of large international banks booking loans from its capital?

Van Fossen does not try to answer these questions, though there is much grist for an anthropologist’s mill in his descriptions of the takeover of Pacific Islands financial centres by Australian and Asian gambling and money laundering interests, or his revelation that the nearly-successful secession movement in Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo was backed by US multi-millionaires looking for tax free havens for their wealthy, libertarian friends.

Jean Zorn, CUNY School of Law, Long Island City, USA

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EBIA OLEWALE: A Life of Service. By Jonathan Ritchie. Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press; Oakland, CA: Masalai Press (distributor), 2012. x, 292 pp. (Map, B&W and coloured photos.) US$79.99, cloth. ISBN 978-9980-86-954-8.

Niwia Ebia Olewale was part of that generation which oversaw the establishment of an independent Papua New Guinea. His was the first generation educated beyond the completion of primary school, year 6. Up to the early 1940s schooling was in the hands of missions. In the 1950s a scholarship system was put in place to send selected students to schooling in Australia, and the cut-off age was fifteen. Ebia was selected but he was deemed, at age seventeen, too old. He was sent to Sogeri, a school established during the Pacific War to train Papua New Guineans for vocational work. He trained as a teacher at the Port Moresby Teachers College. He worked briefly as a teacher and union organizer before standing for political office. In 1972 he was elected as the member for his home electorate of South Fly. He did not reveal his membership of Pangu Pati until after his election.

In the ten years he was in parliament he rose to high office, deputy leader of Pangu Parti and deputy prime minister under the leadership of Michael Somare. It is a position he obtained partly through default. Albert Maori Kiki had been defeated in the 1978 election and Olewale was rewarded with the ministry of Foreign Affairs and deputy prime minister at a time Pangu was in decline. In 1982 Olewale was defeated.

The years following his election loss were years of disappointment and dismay, a period of political upheaval, a surge in corrupt behaviour, and the beginnings of the civil war in Bougainville, and a period when he had no influence on Papua New Guinea political life. There was no easy career move available as the public service was closed to him. His political opponents were in office. Moreover, he seemed to have no clear direction as he moved from project to project, even failing as a small businessman.

The leitmotif throughout this biography is a life of service, to Ebia’s people and his nation. In the years after 1982, Ritchie tells us, Ebia served both the people and the nation in various capacities, and avoided the corruption so prevalent in his contemporaries. There is a corresponding theme of destiny. As a young man, standing on the shore looking across the Torres Strait, Olewale dreamed of other places: “Even as a young boy he would stand at the water’s edge by his village and tell himself that he would see the marvelous places around the world he had heard about.”

Ebia Olewale: a life of Service is a biography with purpose. Ebia’s life is described as PNG’s story—“from the village to the world—…retold…through [his] experiences” (6). His “journey from the village to the nation,” the “triumphs and tragedies” (6). Of course, the story of PNG contextualizes Ebia’s life but claiming that his life is emblematic of the nation overstates and simplifies the importance of Ebia.

Writing Olewale’s biography was, Ritchie told his readers, an undertaking where he and Ebia “unknowingly … shared a place” which enabled him to shed light “on the unanswered questions of my own Papua New Guinea experience; it was an opportunity to question and learn about his [Ritchie’s] Papua New Guinean childhood”:

What was I, an Australian child, doing in that country? Does the fact that I was born and spent a happy childhood on its soil allow me to call it ‘my’ country? What assumptions about equality and inequality, about homogeneity and diversity, and about power did I grow up with, based on my experience as a child in what one feature film has called ‘a savage land’? (2)

Yet Ritchie had left Port Moresby by the end of 1970, when he was still in primary school.

The biography of Ebia Olewale was a missed opportunity to examine the way Ritchie’s father, who rose to high official in the colonial service, represented the colonial regime, especially when Ritchie discusses Ebia’s rise in the 1960s. In what ways did their paths diverge? What did Jonathan learn about himself? Ritchie lays out these questions in the introduction.

Ritchie states that the biography is about “fathers in a generic way. It is about the generation of men and women, who can be considered to be the mentors who helped to bring the infant TPNG to maturity as an adult and independent nation. I consider both Ebia and my Dad as ‘generic’ fathers in this way, as were many of the Europeans and Natives who contributed in their own ways to the creation of the nation of Papua New Guinea”(3).

He suggests that colonizer and colonized bring the new nation to fruition, despite acknowledging that as PNG moved toward independence, many expatriate public servants and others left, including his father. He notes that the departing colonizers were not openly obstructionist but more concerned about what would happen to them and their careers.

Ritchie unfortunately can’t escape the language and tropes of colonialism. Why refer to Papua New Guinea as a “savage land”? The use of the language of colonial rule is disconcerting. Not only do we read the inference of children, the infant nation, not being ready and needing preparation for nationhood and independence, adulthood; we also read about “Natives” and “Europeans.” It is as if even now Papua New Guinea is in the waiting room of history, not ready yet.

In the end, Ebia Olewale: a life of service is a biography leavened with undue emphasis on nation building and seeing Ebia as a role model for future generations.

Geoffrey Gray, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia

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