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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vatthana Pholsena, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TRANSITIONS AND NON-TRANSITIONS FROM COMMUNISM: Regime Survival in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam. By Steven Saxonberg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xi, 350 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$100.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-02388-8.

WHY COMMUNISM DID NOT COLLAPSE: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe. Edited by Martin K. Dimitrov. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xiv, 375 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$34.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-65113-5.

The fragments that seemingly confirm the decline of communism are visible everywhere in the twenty-first century: the Wall reduced to a memorial in the centre of Berlin in Germany; a Lenin statue decapitated in the southern district of Orenburg, Russia; empty spots in Albania where Enver Hoxa’s statues used to stand over the hills of his hometown of Gjirokastër and Skanderbeg Square in the capital Tirana; and the sense of anachronistic quaintness draping the street signs in central Maputo, Mozambique adorned with familiar names from the pantheon of socialist state leaders in the 1970s such as Kim Il-Sung. These, however, deflect attention from a rather obvious fact: there remain communist or socialist states in the post-Cold War age, even if in different forms than Marx or Lenin might have envisaged.

The two books reviewed here, as indicated by their titles, ask a common and cogent question: what explains the collapse or transition from communism in some nation-states, while others retained communism in some form? Steven Saxonberg’s single-authored book focuses on, as the subtitle indicates, “regime survival” in China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, while Martin Dimitrov’s edited volume deals with “regime resilience” in Asia and Europe via comparative analyses of several collapsed Eastern European communist states and the extant communist states of China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Both start with the position that cases of survival and collapse can be fruitfully compared to provide more robust insights into the reasons behind these divergent outcomes, and both argue persuasively that additional variables to just the use of systematic repression must be taken into account when analyzing the causes of these divergent outcomes.

The books are structured along thematic lines rather than by country cases. Saxonberg’s nine chapters include an introduction followed by a chapter that outlines regime typology based on hegemony and ideological legitimacy, then a chapter that analyzes the role of nationalism in fuelling personalistic regimes in China, Vietnam and North Korea, among others. Chapter 4 examines how opposition within states is affected by changes in the type of regime, while the following chapter, focusing on East European cases, outlines the notion of “revolutionary potential”: the extent of frustrated rising expectations and the ease with which oppositional groups can disseminate their messages to the larger society. Chapter 6 overviews negotiated transitions from authoritarianism that were not racked by violence, and chapter 7 explains two cases of communist, one-party rule survival—China and Vietnam—via a focus on their respective variations on state capitalism and ends with a prediction of negotiated transition for these countries in the future. The following chapter explores non-transitions in maturing and patrimonial communisms through a comparative analysis of North Korea and Cuba. The ninth and final chapter is a conclusion that sums up the findings and takes a brief tour of future prospects for the remaining communist states (other than Laos).

Dimitrov’s volume has eleven chapters—an introduction and nine body chapters—organized around four types of adaptation: economic; ideological; those caused from international sources; and institutional adaptations that increase inclusivity or accountability. A conclusion sums up the findings and looks ahead. Most of the chapters are explicitly comparative, while some focus on one case with some added comparative references. Thomas Bernstein compares resilience and collapse in China and the Soviet Union in the first body chapter by looking at liberalization, scale of reform, sequencing and leadership. After comparing China, North Korea and the Soviet Union in his chapter, Vladimir Tismaneanu argues that some “communist regimes disappeared because they lost their hierocratic credentials (98).” In chapter 4, Charles Armstrong explains the importance of ideology in North Korea’s regime survival, while in the next, Valerie Bunce and Charon Wolchik outline three diffusion models for transition—demonstration effects, similar conditions and spread of transnational networks. Mark Kramer then examines the dynamics of diffusion of transitions and the impact on regime survival in the Soviet Bloc in chapter 6, while in chapter 7 Mary Gallagher and Jonathan Hanson apply selectorate theory to authoritarian survival and resilience to conclude that the composition of the winning coalition matters as much as its size. Incremental reforms as significant contributors to regime durability in China are the focus of Kellee Tsai’s analysis in the next chapter. Chapter 9 is a comparison of the substantive differences between vertical and horizontal institutions of accountability in China and Vietnam by Regina Abrami, Edmund Malesky and Yu Zheng. The final body chapter, “Vertical Accountability in Communist Regimes” by Dimitrov, draws on an impressive range of Bulgarian and Chinese sources to compare the role of citizen complaints in eroding vertical accountability in the two countries up to 1989, and why one regime collapsed while the other survived.

A closer look at case selection criteria and geographic coverage reveals a few differences. Both start with the position that despite the unity within diversity or diversity within the unity that the assemblage of communist states present, it is emphatically useful to compare countries that transitioned (whether through peaceful or violent processes) away from communism with those that did not. But Saxonberg aspires to cover a sampling of communist countries from around the world, while the Dimitrov volume limits itself to Asia and Europe.

Saxonberg explains the logic for including only Ethiopia from African states, why Grenada was included along with Nicaragua from Latin America, and why Laos, Cambodia, Bulgaria and Albania were excluded. According to the author’s assertion, he claims the four countries excluded were not “key” cases, but does not clarify by what criteria this conclusion was reached. If one were to select the diffusion of personalist dictatorship (“patrimonial communism” in his terminology) as a potential indicator for transition or non-transition, surely Albania could have been an important case. If genocide or systematic use of violence were isolated as key variables affecting regime resilience or likelihood for transitions, presumably Cambodia would have been a key example. Aside from relative importance, Saxonberg states that there are not many secondary sources on these specific countries. This is perhaps correct in relative terms. However, there are several major books and notable articles published in English on Cambodia, Laos, Bulgaria and Albania that could have been used. Saxonberg also notes that he does not have the language capacities to access the “original sources” in these cases (11), indirectly suggesting that he used primary source materials for the cases he did include. However, there is zero indication that he used materials in the original languages for his empirical information on countries such as China and North Korea. His final reason for excluding some cases, the lack of time, is the most persuasive: after all, he has covered a laudable number of countries by himself, especially when the original plan was for the book to be jointly authored with two others.

Dimitrov and company mark their catchment area more succinctly, ostensibly focusing on the 15 “core” communist states that were recognized by the Soviet Union, all of which had considerable communist party size and reach, economic nationalization and agricultural collectivization, and used communist ideology as a tool for indoctrination and mobilization. In contrast to Saxonberg’s grouping, the core 15 includes Laos, Bulgaria and Albania, but not Cambodia. Cambodia, instead, is categorized as part of a set of 11 countries placed under the rubric of “Communist penumbra” states that are excluded from the comparison set due to insufficient scale and scope in the analytical areas outlined above (17-19). The case for comparability of communist states pre-1989, the five surviving states, and of these five with those that collapsed 1989-1991, is also explicitly explained; but the countries that are actually analyzed do not map perfectly to the boundaries drawn in the introduction. For example, Laos makes several appearances in Dimitrov’s introduction but returns in only the most cursory of fashions in a handful of spots in the rest of the chapters. Mongolia, one of the core 15, is a central part of Mark Kramer’s chapter, but merits no significant mentions in the others. Two former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, are not flagged at all in the introduction, but are briefly analyzed in chapter 5 by Bunce and Wolchik.

In terms of the analysis, both list similar factors in explaining regime survival. In addition to violent repression, institutional reforms in political and economic fields, the adjustment of ideologies to maintain legitimacy, and reactions to social unrest via changes in accountability and inclusivity are raised in both texts. There are some differences in the list of variables: Saxonberg distinguishes more clearly between stages or types of socialist states (i.e., maturing – reforming, or freezing) and places more emphasis on the issue of timing of reforms (333). Dimitrov and company, on the other hand, note the role of spatial contiguity in explaining diffusion of revolts and transitions, and assert that continuous adaptive change has resulted in a higher likelihood of regime resilience (8).

Both works draw from existing analyses of authoritarian or autocratic regimes, but the distinctions between authoritarian regimes of the socialist ilk and those that might be categorized as non-socialist and personalist, single-party or bureaucratic authoritarian seem to move in and out of focus. There is the slippage in terms: the Dimitrov volume title explicitly refers to “communism” but several of the chapters continuously refer to “authoritarianism” and make comparisons to non-socialist or communist governments in Tunisia and Syria (211) or Africa and the Middle East (148). But more importantly, the question of whether or not the explanations for regime stability or collapse applies to all types of authoritarian states or not, or if in limited forms, based on what factors, is not examined at much depth. Dimitrov acknowledges the potential problems of generalizability (4-5, 19), but differences in types of political rule and natural resource endowments are treated briefly and in a rather cursory manner (311-312), while Saxonberg, discussing other socialist-personalist cases in his explanation of case selection criteria, does not appear to address the issue of generalizability across different sub-types. For specialists of Asian politics, for example, the potential utility, or lack thereof, of looking at single-party (or single-party dominated) governments of Singapore and Malaysia, or an absolute monarchy such as Brunei, with those of Vietnam and Laos might have been an interesting avenue of exploration, especially if the role of contiguity and demonstration effects are significant factors in generating visions of alternative forms of governance.

Even as things stand, some of the comparative insights appear to generate observations that seem to teeter close to being too general to be useful. Even if external threats have helped fuel the use of nationalism in conjunction with communist ideology in China, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea (Dimitrov, 26), most specialists of these countries would point to differences in ethnic and language diversity, scale of territory, natural resource endowments, efficiency of the propaganda apparatus, and a range of other factors that would create significant differences in the relative weight that perceived external threats would have in fuelling the production of nationalist ideologies in each.

But these issues ultimately do not alter the fact that these books are paragons for the case that socialist or communist states can and should be productively analyzed as a group, regardless of regime collapse or resilience. Studies of socialist states have often been based on captivating yet isolated case studies that have created portraits without a canvas of systematic comparisons and precise causal explanations, making these two titles particularly welcome and timely. Specialists of individual socialist countries in Asia and other regions, and comparativists who focus on socialism, authoritarianism and political transitions, will all be certain to find these two formulations very useful, in fact necessary, to engage with in the future.

Hyung-Gu Lynn, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ASIAN CONNECTIVITY. Edited by Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay, Masahiro Kawai, Rajat M. Nag. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar in association with the Asian Development Bank Institute and Asian Development Bank, 2012. xviii, 498 pp. (Figures, tables.) £120.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78100-312-1.

The need to boost regional trade to integrate communities, provide employment and lessen poverty is paramount and well recognized. Also acknowledged is that greater regional trade is a function of quality infrastructure. But the state of infrastructure in Asia is still below par, and so is the ensuing degree of economic integration. It is in this context that this well-researched book must be read, as it provides meticulously collected data that will help economists and policy makers interested in Asia and regional infrastructure.

The first part of the book takes up the commendable task of quantifying the infrastructural demands of the region from 2010 to 2020 and the likely benefits of having the desired infrastructure. This also includes sub-regional findings (impact on the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and South Asia in chapters 3 and 4) and country-specific estimates within chapters. The demand for infrastructure in Asia is calculated in the first chapter using an econometric model (termed as the “top-down” approach) as well as by actually assessing the 1202 infrastructural projects that are underway (“bottom-up” estimation) by way of calculating the cumulative cost of implementing these projects. The top-down approach led to an estimated demand of Rs 2.17 trillion for India in 10 years. This chapter also breaks down infrastructural needs (ICT, water, electricity, transport, etc.) by sector and raises the question of financing, which is addressed in chapter 10.

Updated, modified versions of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model were used to measure the impact of improvements in transport infrastructure on trade in the Asian sub-regions.The results firmly indicate that trade facilitation, helped by improved physical connectivity between countries, will have positive impacts on poverty alleviation and income in GMS. While the positive welfare impacts of a reduction in regional transportation costs in South Asia are identified in the following chapter—and more recent studies seem to confirm these impacts (Tsunehiro Otsuki, Keiichiro Honda, John S. Wilson, “Trade facilitation in South Asia,” South Asian Journal of Global Business Research 2 no. 2 (2013): 172-190)—the centrality of political logjams in issues surrounding trade facilitation in the sub-continent cannot be understated.

The second part of the book will particularly interest policy formulators and implementers, as it highlights the policy imperatives of evaluating infrastructural projects. It offers a qualitative exercise that brings to the fore the do’s and don’ts of project implementation, which might, for one, help avoid cost and time overruns. Chapter 7, which deals with inter-country infrastructure in Asia, speaks of a need to address issues of governance, as local capital is not too scarce to fund infrastructure. Governance and the institutional aspects of infrastructure building are an important thrust area of the book. Chapter 8 deals with the environmental impacts of the energy sector. Chapter 9 has lessons for the Asia-Pacific region from the EU, whose cross-border institutions (regulatory, legal, etc.) and infrastructure are of high quality—as a result of which 71 percent of its total exports are intra-regional. The EU, however, doesn’t come across as a perfectly politically integrated region, and there is not much that Asia can learn from the EU in that respect.

The last part of the book contends with addressing infrastructure financing needs—a difficult and relatively less traveled terrain in the literature. The first chapter in this section suggests financing tools for infrastructure building in Asia, including a common central bank for Asia, regional infrastructure companies, and other already-in-use tools like PPP and MDBs. Importantly, it talks about how Asian savings and surpluses are tucked away in US bond markets or used up in non-productive activities like stock market speculation and real estate investments. An important policy implication of this narrative, one that the author draws, is that Asian economies should develop deeper financial markets back home. But their attractiveness as an investment choice needs to be looked into.

Chapter 11 deals with the role of FDI in regional infrastructure, a crucial area of study in the given area, but stops short of either analyzing the determinants of FDI or mapping the FDI trends in the region per se. Instead, the chapter comprehensively looks at the FDI-financed regional infrastructural projects across the world as a possible blueprint for Asia. Chapter 12 demonstrates how the PPP model was used to fund EU regional infrastructure and accommodates a project-wise tabulation of PPP projects in all individual EU countries, which is commendable. The challenges of the PPP model, including risk allocation, in very large and long-gestation projects are pointed out. While India has warmed up to the PPP model in the past few years, these chapters will have an important bearing on India’s infrastructure policy making.

This book raises a question future research might address through the lens of public policy: why do some regions not manage to integrate well despite the known benefits to regional trade? One hopes this book will prompt policy makers to give Asian integration serious thought. This prescriptive, highly fact-intensive, forward-looking and econometrically strong yet policy-oriented book is an important addition to the literature on trade infrastructure, economic integration and trade policy in Asia. Thus, it will benefit a wide range of specialist audiences, including economists and policy makers.

Pravakar Sahoo, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

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THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE ECONOMICS OF THE PACIFIC RIM. Edited by Inderjit Kaur and Nirvikar Singh. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xiii, 738 pp. (Figures, tables, graphs.) US$150.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-975199-0.

This book consists of 26 chapters written by scholars specializing in the economics of countries on the Pacific Rim. The book also includes an introduction by the editors. The 26 contributing chapters are divided into six parts corresponding to broadly defined substantive areas: part 1: the natural world: history, climate, and risks, consisting of chapter 1 (E. Jones), chapter 2 (D. Roland-Holst) and chapter 3 (I. Noy); part 2: people: migration, demographics and human capital, consisting of chapter 4 (P. Martin), chapter 5 (N. Ogawa) and chapter 6 (A. Goujon); part 3: perspectives on economic growth and development, consisting of chapter 7 (B. Bosworth and S.M. Collins), chapter 8 (H.T. Dinh and J.F. Lin) and chapter 9 (M.S. Kumar, N. Singh and J. Woo); part 4: regional governance and trade linkages, consisting of chapter 10 (W. Dobson and P.A. Petri), chapter 11 (D. Kaour and M. Suri), chapter 12 (J. Ravenhill), chapter 13 (P-C Athukorala) and chapter 14 (K-Y Wong); part 5: industry, policy and innovation, consisting of chapter 15 (I. Kaur), chapter 16 (T-H Yang and D-S Huang), chapter 17 (H. Pack), chapter 18 (F.T. Tschang) and chapter 19 (S. Yusuf); and part 6: macroeconomics and finance, consisting of chapter 20 (A.O. Krueger), chapter 21 (J. Aizenman and H. Ito), chapter 22 (M.S. Gochoco-Bautista and N.R. Sotocinal), chapter 23 (E. Ogawa and C. Nakamura), chapter 24 (M.D. Chinn and H. Ito), chapter 25 (R. Glick and M. Hutchison) and chapter 26 (Y-W Cheung and H. Miao).

This book addresses the economic issues that are relevant for more than four dozen Pacific Rim countries. Many of these issues are also important for the world’s other regions (e.g., implications of intra-regional differences in: political systems, the endowment of natural resources, and the levels of economic development). The editors also single out as important for the region many dimensions of interactions between the United States and China. Specifically, various attempts in the past at regional cooperation or coordination in trade, finance, regulatory standards and macroeconomic policies are all influenced to some extent by the regional presence of China and the United States. Many of the chapters as well pay attention to the implications of China for the regional (as well as global) economies.

Papers in part 1 discuss topics including the exploitation of the region’s natural resources by Western and other countries, climate change and natural disasters. Papers in part 2 discuss, for example, demographic changes and migration, and their impacts on intergenerational transfers (chapter 5). These are problems in Japan now but some other countries will also face them soon. Human capital accumulation continues to be important for economic development of this region, but considerable differences exist in the effectiveness of upgrading workers’ human capital (chapter 6). Papers in part 3 focus on economic growth and development. Many studies on Japan on this topic exist in the literature, and we see much research on this topic being conducted on China. Comparing Pacific Rim countries in Asia and Latin America, Bosworth and Collins (chapter 2) show that: Latin American countries lag their Asian counterparts in growth; Asia’s developing nations tend to rely on capital accumulation for growth; and they still lag high-income countries significantly in terms of per-capita income. Lin and Hinh (chapter 8) make a unique contribution to the study of the economic development of the fourteen island nations of the Pacific. Chapter 9 concludes that improved efficiency and effectiveness of government spending will be required for the region’s further effective development.

Papers in part 4 discuss the role of regional institutions (e.g., the Asian Development Bank, regional free trade agreements), multinational firms and international trade. Multinational firms play significant roles in the regional economy, for example, in developing their global production supply chains (chapter 13). China, however, exercises its strong bargaining position vis-à-vis large Western multinationals, thus causing a divergence between the Western geopolitical objective to contain China and the geoeconomic realities with a strengthened China’s position (chapter 11). Intra-regional as well as global trade issues are also discussed (chapter 14). Papers in part 5 discuss industrial policies, innovation and their implications. Kaur (chapter 15) discusses the traditional flying geese theory of development, foreign direct investment (FDI) and related concepts such as catch-up industrialization. The role of multinational firms in trade, particularly their inter-firm and inter-country trade patterns are examined (chapter 16). Industrial policy is a primary policy tool for some Asian governments for promoting economic growth. Pack (chapter 17), applying his own methodology to Taiwan, estimates that while industrial policy did have some positive impacts on Taiwan’s growth, most of the growth is attributable to physical and human capital accumulation, good macroeconomic policies, and overall innovation. Topics on culture and creative industries in some of the Asian countries are also discussed (chapters 18, 19). Papers in part 5 discuss macroeconomic issues with a focus on China and its currency, RMB, in the global market. The role of flexible exchange rates in the post-Asia currency crisis and the Mundell-Fleming trilemma are discussed (chapters 21, 22). Current account imbalances and related global finance issues are discussed in chapters 23, 24 and 25. Ogawa and Nakamura (chapter 23) recommend against the possibility of implementing some form of Asian currency unit, given the recent experience of the euro zone. Chinn and Ito (chapter 24) argue that remedying the current account imbalances might require China’s undertaking significant changes in the way its financial markets and institutions are organized. In fact China’s domestic financial development (as of early 2012) has been modest, while internationalization of its currency and liberalization of capital controls has been limited (chapter 25). Also political factors must be considered for explaining the evolving role of the RMB in international markets (chapter 26).

These 26 chapters cover many topics well. One topic of interest that is not covered fully is the role business groups play in economic development. Business groups are prevalent in India, Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand and other countries. Japan’s prewar zaibatsu groups’ role in economic development is documented by Morck and Nakamura (“Business Groups and the Big Push: Meiji Japan’s Mass Privatization and Subsequent Growth,” Enterprise and Society 8, 2007: 543-601). South Korea’s chaebols are thought to have played a similar role. Business groups also play major roles in organizing supply chains and production networks.

The introduction states that papers in this handbook collectively provide useful insights about the economics of the Pacific Rim region. The editors have succeeded in their task.

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

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REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN EAST ASIA: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives. Edited by Satoshi Amako, Shunji Matsuoka and Kenji Horiuchi. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2013. xxx, 356 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$40.00, paper. ISBN 978-92-808-1222-0.

East Asian integration has progressed steadily during the last decades, largely driven by the region’s economic success. A rapid intensification of trade and investment flows between East Asian countries related to the establishment of regional production networks has promoted real sector integration. The trend of closer economic interdependence was initially set by market forces and later supported by intergovernmental policy initiatives through the signing of various regional free trade agreements (FTAs) and broader economic partnership agreements. Today, 50 to 55 percent of East Asia’s total trade occurs at the intraregional level—a clear indicator of the region’s high degree of interdependence in the real sector.

Progress has also occurred in the area of money and finance, albeit with lower intensity, as East Asian financial markets remain somewhat underdeveloped. Besides, regional financial integration has followed a reverse pattern from that of the real sector: it was prompted by initiatives for intergovernmental cooperation introduced in response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98, more than by market forces. Typically, such initiatives were adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea—ASEAN+3.

East Asian regionalism is also showing continuous progress in a multiplicity of other areas from people-to-people exchanges, security, infrastructure development, environment, energy, health, sport, education, and the provision of other regional public goods through the shared management of common resources. Although in recent years political problems have been troubling the horizon for international relations among key East Asian countries (mainly due to disputes over a few islands in the Japan Sea and South-China Sea) all in all the last few decades have been marked by a rapid intensification of East Asian regionalization, at a time when East Asian countries have also been undertaking an unprecedented move towards globalization: economically, socially and culturally.

The book Regional Integration in East Asia: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives, edited by three well-known scholars from Waseda University (Satoshi Amako, Shunji Matsuoka and Kenji Horiuchi) provides an excellent analysis of how East Asian countries are following at the same time both processes of regionalization and globalization, with few contradictions but large synergies and complementarities. The study provides an insightful review of the theoretical approaches that contribute to the understanding of East Asian integration logic and trends, including long-term historical perspectives of key countries such as China, Japan and the ASEAN member states.

The book is structured in three parts. The first part covers a detailed discussion of theoretical contributions on East Asian integration, including issues related to mandates, norms and governance of regional institutions, social aspects concerning the creation of a region-wide community in comparison with the European experience, and the influence of domestic politics on the pace of regionalization through FTAs. The second part analyzes specific issues, from economic integration, to cooperation in areas such as energy, the environment, education and regional security. Finally, the third part provides an interesting historical perspective to Asian integration, covering the views of several key thinkers who promoted the idea of regionalism and pan-Asian approaches. It also includes a review of key historical events which contributed to the formation of today’s East Asian regionalization.

In addition to the need for promoting regionalism in parallel and in a complementary fashion with globalism, a major finding of the study is that China’s emergence as a key player in the process of East Asian integration creates both centripetal and centrifugal forces that operate at the same time. While China is helping in many ways to make East Asia a more cohesive region, it also pushes for a reconsolidation of old alliances between East Asian countries (for example Japan, Korea and the Philippines) with the United States, and non-regional powers as well. In turn, this contributes to making the current status of East Asian integration particularly complex and defined by a multiplicity of layers and non-univocal perspectives. The ability to treat such complexity in a rigorous analytical framework, such as the one adopted by Waseda’s Global Institute for Asia’s Regional Integration (GIARI), is a major contribution of the study.

The focus on international relations is, however, one of the book’s intrinsic limitations. The chapter by Shujiro Urata is the only one in the whole book that focuses on economic issues. And while this chapter provides an excellent analysis of integration and cooperation in the real sector, it is also important to discuss the financial and monetary pillar of East Asian integration, as well as other key components of regional economic interdependence such as infrastructure and connectivity.

Many important institutions and initiatives for East Asian integration were created in response to the 1997/98 financial crisis, and given the need to further develop Asian financial sectors, and increase their efficiency, money and finance will likely play a major role as drivers of regional integration in the future. At the same time, the development of regional infrastructure has greatly facilitated the creation of economic corridors linking subregions, such as the one involving Mekong River countries, and deserve a detailed analysis in order to provide a complete snapshot of today’s East Asia.

Other important aspects of integration which are missing in the study relate to the various dimensions of people-to-people exchanges, including tourism flows, cultural activities, sports, and community-building initiatives organized through the civil society. These exchanges are fundamental contributions to the formation of regional identity and, as explained in the GIARI model, to create a new culture emerging from the civil society that appreciates the benefits of social, political, and economic integration with regional neighbors.

The GIARI model could also be strengthened by a wider and deeper analysis of the issues of leadership and legitimacy. Now that economic development is providing the internal financial resources needed to build an East Asian community, legitimacy remains a crucial factor for aspiring regional leaders. The mechanisms to ensure the region’s equitable and sustainable development deserve more space too, as they are of utmost importance to guarantee regional harmony—a key feature stressed in the East Asian model compared with that of Europe and other regional groupings.

Despite these shortcomings the study remains a major contribution and a key reference for future works.

Giovanni Capannelli, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan

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CLEAVAGE, CONNECTION AND CONFLICT IN RURAL, URBAN AND CONTEMPORARY ASIA. ARI – Springer Asia Series, v. 3. Tim Bunnell, D. Parthasarthy, Eric C. Thompson, editors. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. viii, 247 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, plates.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-94-007-5481-2.

This is a welcome addition to the literature on rural-urban relations in contemporary Asia. The edited volume brings together 13 chapters written by 16 authors dealing with four countries. In the introduction, the editors contend that most social research is conceived either from an urban or agrarian perspective. To address this issue, the book shows a great deal of coherence in the objective of transcending the analytical limitations that arise from conceptions of urban and rural as “spatially distinct and discrete domains” (5). The originality of this work as a whole certainly lies in its broadly defined aims surrounding the articulation of social, cultural and political relations across the urban and the rural, which reflects how these geographical units are increasingly blurred in a time of heightened mobility.

The book is organized in four parts, one for each country—India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand—and the chapters address case studies in many sub-national regions. In this regard, the book appears as an overview of issues relevant to the fields of urban planning, cultural geography, sociology, political science and social anthropology, in Southeast and South Asia. However, as a result of this breadth, it lacks the depth of a more circumscribed account.

The first part addresses how urbanization has provided new opportunities and constraints for both dominant and subaltern groups in India. Chapter 2 explores how rural elites in states such as Maharashtra seek to secure access to capital cities where they can wield power over financial flows. State capitals such as Hyderabad are coveted by dominant castes to gain privileged access to state agencies “with the power to make decisions on contracts, permits, and licenses” (27). Chapter 3 considers the political and institutional situation in India which has led to erratic governance of land. In this context, actors with in-depth local knowledge of land histories and ground-level experience at dealing with complex land governance systems play a central role in land transactions. Chapter 4 addresses the pressure exerted by the expansion of the city of Mumbai on resources in the hinterland, which historically formed the livelihood of forest dwellers. The authors sketch out the impact of successive legislations, both for extraction and conservation purposes, on resource access for indigenous tribes.

Part 2 focuses mainly on new legal frameworks affecting urban-rural interactions in Indonesia. Chapter 5 provides an account on the challenges of urban planning in Greater Yogyakarta, which stretches over three administrative units, two of which are predominantly rural. Although decentralization legislation has fragmented regional governance, a joint secretariat has provided an effective horizontal structure to coordinate infrastructure services at the regional scale. In chapter 6, the authors argue that the war which unfolded in the countryside of Aceh in the postcolonial era exacerbated imbalances between urban and rural areas. However, the post-New Order legislation on regional autonomy and the 2005 Helsinki peace agreement have opened up more possibilities for political and economic cooperation across urban and rural spaces. Chapter 7 addresses the issue of economic development in the medium-sized cities of Java and questions the association of urbanization and improvement of economic welfare. The author highlights that Cirebon is a case of urbanization without development as the city is especially affected by economic reconversion and the end of redistribution mechanisms linked to fiscal decentralization.

Part 3 deals with representations of rural Malaysia, a country which is predominantly urban, with institutionalized ethnic categories. Chapter 8 analyzes the perceptions of Malay inhabitants of a village which has been integrated into a suburban area of Penang Island. Some villagers perceive themselves as “insiders” with a privileged relation to place, while people can be identified as “outsiders” when they are perceived to threaten the cohesion of the imagined village society. In chapter 9, the author explores the gendered dimension of modernization in a village of Negeri Sembilan and warns against essentialist visions of Malay rural societies. Increased mobility linked to work in the service and industrial economy has individualized socioeconomic relations. The agricultural sector, long a sphere dominated by women, is increasingly neglected, although women remain important landowners. And chapter 10 presents an argument about how chauvinistic discourses are mobilized by urban political elites to delegitimize the choice of rural voters in Malaysia as elsewhere. The chapter historicizes this question in regards with class relations within the Malay population and contrasts it with America, China and Thailand, where the same trend is observed.

Part 4 explores meanings taken on by the rural and the urban in Thailand according to different socio-political stances. Chapter 11 explores the perceptions in Thai society on the phua farang phenomenon: intermarriage between Western men and Isan women. In a moralistic fashion, phua farang is condemned by the urban elite, which denies agency to rural women and seeks to ascribe to rural women the role of safeguarding national tradition. Chapter 12 revisits the history of the formation of the Red Shirt movement to highlight the emergence of a distinct political subjectivity emerging from rural areas, but with a broader subaltern base. The Red Shirt movement would have been a response of disadvantaged urban and rural populations to elitist aristocratic urban-based chauvinism and their attempt to take over the state in a coup d’état in 2006. Chapter 13 provides an ethnographic narrative about the city of Chiang Mai envisioned by rural migrants as a place of encounter, of possibilities and danger. The account shows lives unfolding in anxious times of political and economic crisis, times particularly unsettling for newcomers.

The book is an original contribution which succeeds in showing the problematic aspects of rural and urban categories for governance and political imagination. However, the broad disciplinary, geographical and methodological scope undermines the sense of cohesion that derives from the common epistemological aim. Moreover, it seems that organizing the chapters according to dominant themes would have rendered more obvious the convergence of processes and meaning formation across nations. Nevertheless, these flaws do not undermine the overall quality of this contribution, which furthers our understanding of social transformations in Asia.

Jean-François Bissonnette, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

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THE EAST ASIAN PEACE: Conflict Prevention and Informal Peacebuilding. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific Series. By Mikael Weissmann. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. xiv, 219 pp. (Tables, figures.), US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-230-31396-5.

Given that the East Asian headlines most prominent in the global press recently focus on maritime military tensions and dark warnings about the conflicts these could spark, many will be surprised to pick up a book entitled The East Asian Peace and discover that this region has been uniquely peaceful. Quantitative research confirms that East Asia has been relatively more peaceful than other regions. As author Mikael Weissmann observes, the “last major armed interstate conflict” in East Asia was the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war (7-8).

Lest one is tempted to conclude that harmony is breaking out in East Asia, alas the recent headlines are not entirely wrong. Weissmann finds many potential conflicts, not only in Northeast Asia, but also in Southeast Asia, where numerous unresolved territorial disputes remain, some of which became militarized. Nonetheless, this militarization failed to lead to armed conflict, a fact reflecting the East Asian peace (8). His explanation for this is “an underlying peace-building process has concurrently transformed interstate relations” (10). Weissmann goes beyond identifying a “no-war peace” and asserts “East Asia indeed enjoys a ‘relative peace’ both in terms of quality and stability”(10). Supporting this, he notes that “all of China’s land border disputes with its Southeast Asian neighbors have been resolved”(10). One might add that the same is true for China’s land border disputes with Russia and the Central Asian Republics.

Weissmann makes an even more distinctive claim when he challenges the dominant Western view that East Asian multilateralism has been ineffective. Unlike this view, he takes informal processes seriously, and finds that East Asia has developed significant preventive diplomacy and conflict management mechanisms. I have heard Japanese diplomats make a similar claim, namely that Western accounts overlook the ASEAN Way of conflict management. This consists of several processes in Weissmann’s view: elite interactions, back-channel negotiations, economic interdependence and integration, functional integration, multilateralism, and institutionalization of peaceful relations (149). East Asians thereby develop “positive relations despite the existence of conflicting issues,” and this “has been institutionalized in the ASEAN Way, with its sensitivity for avoiding confrontation, focusing on conflict avoidance, and saving face while building consensus”(164). Western approaches to conflict resolution emerge from this book as intellectually well developed, but benighted in terms of emotional intelligence. By contrast, the ASEAN Way emerges as less intellectually developed, but as more emotionally intelligent, and thereby ultimately as more successful.

For a Scandinavia-based observer, Weissmann expresses surprising belief in the efficacy of personal networks. Rather than seeing these as synonymous with corruption, he argues that “personal networks facilitate the optimal selection of participants for track-two diplomacy” (163).

Weissmann suggests that these regional processes are leading to the Asianization or “ASEANization” of China: “the ASEAN Way has been important for the Chinese learning and self-redefinition process” (160). He claims that ASEAN has “entangled the dragon”: “China has become locked into a web of institutionalized multilateral practices, agreements and norm systems”(159). Nevertheless, it remains unclear to what extent China has become “locked in,” and how much mutual interdependence there is versus one-sided dependence by China’s neighbours? China has rather appeared to socialize to the US practice of using economic sanctions as a weapon in political disputes.

This book reflects the peak of East Asia’s security multilateralism that was reached in 2003-2004, and largely overlooks more recent troubles. Yet, one can use this book’s framework to understand some of the recent tensions. For example, the DPJ emphasized transparency, official diplomatic channels, and rule of law in its dealings with China, especially regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute, which contrasts strongly with the non-confrontational, back-channel approach favoured by the LDP (and which avoided applying Japanese law to these islands). In light of Weissmann’s analysis we can identify the DPJ’s transparent and formal approach as a major reason for the aggravation of this bilateral dispute from 2010.

Weissmann appears over-optimistic in light of recent events when claiming “key maritime flashpoints in the South China Sea have been mitigated and a consensus has been reached among the parties to resolve the dispute peacefully” (10). In contrast to Weissmann’s constructivist approach, which sees these informal peace-building processes socializing states and leading to a redefinition of national interests and identities, realists would view the progress this book identifies as an artifact of a transient distribution of power, with a rising China interested in closer economic integration and a peaceful environment, and not yet strong enough to unilaterally have its way. One problem with such a critique, however, is that it is not clear ten years later that the distribution of capabilities has moved enough to explain China’s shift in behaviour, assuming there has been a shift.

Weissmann identifies the US military presence in the region as one important cause for the East Asian peace. As a non-US-based observer, he can arguably look at this more dispassionately than many US-based observers who dominate the discourse on East Asian security, and who can have institutional and even identity and emotional investments in the US military presence. Although Weissmann identifies the US role as positive for regional peace (with the partial exception of the Korean Peninsula), he nonetheless argues that the US role has been modest, as it has not contributed much to improving the quality of the East Asian peace, and only contributes to the no-war peace. A realist might argue that it was precisely in 2003-2004, when the US was distracted from the region, that regional processes reached their height and that it was when the US reengaged and attempted to contain China that regional tensions rose. Recent tensions notwithstanding, the East Asian peace, at least as a minimal no-war peace, remains largely intact. No armed conflicts have erupted. The regional preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution mechanisms that Weissmann identified persist and are at work attempting to resolve current tensions.

In sum, this book is a must-read for anyone focusing on East Asian regional security. It presents the most comprehensive argument to date about how and why East Asia’s informal conflict prevention and peacebuilding mechanisms are more effective than Western observers realize.

Paul Midford, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

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THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM: Asian Perspectives. A Book. Edited by Richard E. Baldwin, Masahiro Kawa, and Ganeshan Wignaraja. Tokyo: Asian Development Bank Institute; London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2013. viii, 169 leaves. (Figures, tables.) eBbook:

This book brings together abridged versions of papers presented at a conference held at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva in March 2013. Following the editorial introduction and opening remarks by the then director-general of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, the book is thematically organized into four sections: supply chains and production networks, commercial and industrial policies, regional trade governance, and global trade governance.

The first section begins with a chapter by Baldwin (chapter 3) which argues for reforming world trade governance to accommodate the expansion of global production networks (GPNs). The case made here for a new “WTO 2.0” has, however, completely overlooked the pivotal role played by unilateral trade and investment liberalization and other supply-side reforms in East Asia’s success in reaping gains from joining GPNs. The proposed global initiatives could perhaps play a facilitating role at the margin, but solid unilateral action by individual countries is the key to achieving the expected outcome. Inomoto (chapter 4) illustrates how, in a context where trade within GPNs is expanding rapidly, the use of official (gross) trade statistics leads to inaccurate measurement of bilateral trade imbalances and presents alternative “value-added” estimates derived by combining official trade statistics and input-output (I-O) tables. These estimates need to be treated with caution because of the well-known limitations of the available I-O data and the underlying restrictive assumptions of the estimation method (Robert E. Yuskavage, “Perspectives from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis,” in Trade in Value Added: Developing New Measures of Cross-Border Trade, eds. Adithya Mattoo et al., Washington DC: World Bank, 2013, 331-335). The methodological issues aside, it is important to emphasize that the measurement of bilateral trade imbalances is rather inconsequential for assessing the developmental implications of GPNs. Trade theory postulates, and the East Asian experience vividly illustrates, that a single-minded focus on domestic value addition can hamper, rather than help, employment expansion (and hence poverty alleviation) through global economic integration. Based on resource allocation considerations derived from the principle of comparative advantage, one can make a strong case for the expansion of low-value-added export industries in a labour abundant economy. When a country imports capital-intensive inputs such as machinery, synthetic fibre and industrial chemicals with foreign exchange earned by exporting labour-intensive products such as garments, footwear and toys, it is implicitly substituting labour for capital in the production process. Xing (chapter 5) discusses challenge posed by the expansion of GPNs for delineating the impact of exchange rate changes on trade flows and proposes using value-added trade weights (rather than the conventional gross trade weight) for estimating the real exchange rate index. His prognosis is very clear, but the proposed remedy seems to have ignored the well-known empirical regularity that, for a given country, source country composition of parts and components imports differ considerably from the destination-country composition of its final (assembled) goods export. Wignaraja (chapter 6) examines the role of SME in GPNs based on a firm-level survey of selected East Asian countries. The chapter is informative, but unfortunately it has completely overlooked the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs), the key players of GPNs, in fostering the participation of SMEs. There is ample evidence that SMEs emerge de novo benefiting from the vendor development (sub-contracting) strategies of MNEs. The real policy challenge is not simply to design policies to promote SMEs, but to explore alternative pathways to facilitate forging links between MNEs and potential local entrepreneurs.

In section 2, Low and Tijala (chapter 7) provides a synthesis of trade and industry policy choices, with a clear warning of the risk of possible government failure. Evenett (chapter 8) provides a fascinating analysis of the proliferation of non-traditional (non-tariff) forms of trade protection in clear violation of WTO obligations during the years following the onset of the global financial crisis. The chapter makes a strong case for revising WTO rules with a view to averting “murky” protectionism. Pomfret and Pontines (chapter 9) find that countries have begun to rely increasingly on exchange rate policy as a trade policy instrument because of their trade liberalization commitments under free-trade agreements (FTAs). This finding points to the need for an exchange-rates coordination mechanism within FTA blocks.

Section 3 is by far the best part of the book. Kawai and Wignaraja (chapter 10 ) provide a stage-setting overview of the untoward consequences of the proliferation of overlapping FTAs and the related reform proposals. Chia (chapter 11) provides an interesting analytical narrative of the progress made, and challenges faced by, the Association of the South East Asian nations (ASEAN) in its move towards an economic community. Urata (chapter 12) critically examines the proposal for consolidating ASEAN’s FTAs with Australia, China, India Japan and South Korea to form a mega FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Dupont (chapter 13) provides a penetrating analysis of the viability of both RCEP and the proposed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) in light of the European experience. The evidence harnessed in these two chapters casts serious doubts on the viability of the proposed mega FTAs.

Among the contributions in the final section, Uyama (chapter 15) argues for placing emphasis on negotiating pluralistic agreements that specifically focus on a single trade issue (following the example of the Information Technology Agreement) as a solution to the present stalemate of the Doha Round trade negotiations. The remaining chapters break no new grounds and read like straight transcripts of impromptu conference presentations.

Notwithstanding the limitations noted, overall this is an important book that helps fertilization of new ideas on a subject of contemporary policy relevance. The book is compact and generally well edited and organized, but its reader-friendliness could have been further improved by adding a list of abbreviations and acronyms, and a subject index.

Prema-chandra Athukorala, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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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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China and Inner Asia


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA           

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serene K. Tan, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE PERANAKAN CHINESE HOME: Art and Culture in Daily Life. By Ronald G. Knapp; Photography by A. Chester Ong. North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2013. 160 pp. (Colour illus.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8048-4142-9.

The Peranakan Chinese Home and Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia (the latter of which I reviewed in Pacific Affairs 86, 2, 2013) were published two years apart, but they could be seen as a coupling by their author Ronald Knapp, an authority in the field of vernacular architecture. They suggest that, for all their differences, they are to be seen as belonging to a common project which derived from Knapp’s longstanding interests on Chinese house forms and culture. The main difference, as Knapp points out in his acknowledgement, is in “approach and scope of the narrative. The Peranakan Chinese Home takes an explicitly comparative approach, rather than the episodic house-by-house approach of our earlier book, in order to focus on generalizations that help illuminate similarities and differences.” The result is an informative and valuable book about the homes of Peranakan Chinese in Southeast Asia. Supported again by the superb photography of Chester Ong, the book offers a well-narrated description and systematic room-by-room view of Peranakan homes. The book has a quality of an “exhibition,” as the texts and images powerfully constitute each other, panel by panel and room by room. Moving in and through the series of rooms, one feels one is entering a big extended family home of Peranakan Chinese, with each family exhibiting similarities and differences in their material cultures.

Like an exhibition space, the book is organized around architectural spaces that make up the “Chinese house.” The chapters include “facades,” “the reception hall,” “the courtyard,” the “ancestral hall,” “the living areas,” the bedroom,” the “kitchen” and “signs and symbols.” The room selection reflects a decision already made as to what counts as the significant features of the Chinese house. There is here a risk of approaching Southeast Asia through the optic of houses in China which could compromise the specificity of Peranakan cultures. Knapp’s comparative perspective is productively framed by his deep and wide knowledge of Chinese cultures which gives the book particular strength, but it also raises the question of how much the Peranakan cultures have been shaped by cultures other than Chinese that crossed paths in Southeast Asia. With Chinese culture as a dominant framework, it is harder to see which items or elements of the Peranakan material cultures are borrowed from the locals. We see the Daoist Eight Immortals, the Three Star Gods (Fu Lu Shou), Guan Gong and Guan Yin, but we don’t see much discussion on Datuk Kong (the local guardian spirit).

Peranakan is a term for “native-born Chinese” of Southeast Asia, a term that suggests their hybridity and rootedness to local cultures despite their cosmopolitan outlook and global mental world. The term however is treated differently in different parts of the region. For instance the notion of Peranakan, while acknowledged, is not widely used in Indonesia. The Suharto regime referred to ethnic Chinese as “Cina” and only later on as “Tionghoa.” The term “Peranakan” and its counterpart “Totok” (foreign-born, and thus pure Chinese) had no use to the regime, which sought to “other” the Chinese by reducing the diversity or the hybridity of ethnic Chinese by lumping them under a single category. How the cultural policy of Suharto might have shaped the home of Peranakan Indonesia remains unclear, and Knapp, like his earlier book, does not wish to cover the politics of the term.

The complex nature of “Peranakan” identity and identification and how it is represented in material cultures is what makes this book interesting. The rich images brought back memories of my childhood home. Compared to Knapp’s collection, our home (a 1960s row house) in a Chinese neighbourhood in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia, and its furniture would be too modern and cheap (should I say) for the collection identified by the book. Our little courtyard was multifunctional but it was mostly for washing clothes and dishes. It was a space filled with the ordinary household activities associated with the position of my mother and aunts in the household. It was a gendered space. I wonder how ordinary are the collection of spaces depicted in the Chinese Peranakan Home. The book indeed has a mission to classify, clarify and visualize the most exquisite of the Peranakan homes, as Knapp acknowledges that “while researching our 2010 book, Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia, we found ourselves puzzling as to how to differentiate residences built and occupied by Peranakan Chinese from contemporaneous homes. It is our hope that The Peranakan Chinese Home will help clarify this.” Time thus is as important as space. The book however is more successful in its representation of space. It is less able to capture the formation and transformation of the home in response to the socio-culturals change of the long twentieth century.

The difficulty of taking time more seriously seems to be acknowledged rather unconsciously, through the first image in the book: The close-up photo of a jolly gramophone with a huge horn. The gramophone was one of the prime symbols of class formation, modernity and social change. It was favoured especially by the Peranakan elites for its capacity to acquire “culture” and bring both global and local music to the home. Tio Tek Hong, the most known distributor, became famous in Java for his dealership and his collection of records, but his own shop, still standing in Jakarta, is left to deteriorate. A lot can be said about this image of a gramophone, along with the “unnoticed” remote control on a table. They both represent time, but Knapp leaves them alone as no word is said about them. This photo is the least museum-like piece in the book. It serves as a silent commentary to what is not narrated in the book: class formation, ethnic tension, cultural policy and the socio-historical change of the home within which it is embedded.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CAPITALISM FROM BELOW: Markets and Institutional Change in China. By Victor Nee, Sonja Opper. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. xv, 431 pp. (Maps, graphs, tables, illus.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05020-4.

In the book Capitalism from Below, Victor Nee and Sonja Opper ask what drove China’s post-Maoist economic transformation from a command economy to an emerging capitalist society. This ambitious study questions how the private sector was able to flourish throughout the transformative years when the government failed to provide entrepreneurs with economic resources or protection of property rights.

Nee and Opper’s impressive study offers a compelling account of how China’s emerging entrepreneurial class were able to decouple from the state-centric business model by developing a competitive market economy based on informal networks, social learning and the innovation of production models. Capitalism from Below takes the reader through the vast and complex world of informal networks and succeeds in showing the connection between the socio-economic importance of guanxi (relationships) and China’s modern economy.

The study begins by acknowledging the importance of China’s early economic reforms, which allowed for shifts in market allocation. Yet they suggest that a bottoms-up entrepreneurial spirit enabled the development of capitalist economic institutions. They focus on informal networks that self-organized and created clusters of producers, suppliers and distributors. For Nee and Opper, these networks are the origin of China’s competitive market economy as they developed information flows and cooperation between independent economic actors.

To show this the authors offer a useful Schelling diagram that outlines their theory of a multi-level causal model of institutional change. This is developed through a mixed-method research design that involved interviews, surveys and extensive fieldwork. The study’s findings are partially derived from a remarkable 711 interviews held in seven municipalities throughout the Yangzi Delta region. The authors worked with the Shanghai-based Market Survey Research Institute to identify interviewees in the manufacturing technology sector who were then selected using a stratified simple random sample.

Nee and Opper then build upon new institutionalism theory to explain China’s economic transformation. The authors draw on the work of Josef Schumpeter and Max Weber to highlight the social construction of bottoms-up capitalism. To survive China’s dysfunctional market economy, they argue that the private sector needed to “decouple” from state policy while maintaining legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party. They pay close attention to relationship-based lending that involved small loans between family and friends that allowed them to operate outside the state’s purview.

The sociological concept of isomorphism is then introduced as a pragmatic tool for explaining how entrepreneurs were able to adapt to China’s hostile economic environment. They write, “‘The dominant strategy throughout the reform period was to mimic already existing organizational forms generally perceived as legitimate, in order to limit the social and economic costs associated with decoupling from the established social and legal structure” (131). By mimicking the structure of established state-approved firms, private entrepreneurs became indistinguishable from public companies. This allowed the private sector to rapidly expand with tacit approval from the state.

The book then offers a perceptive account of the rise of industrial clusters that brought trust and cooperation between diverse entrepreneurs that enabled them to refine the region’s comparative advantage. Networks of trust along with an endless supply of migrant labour to the Yangzi delta region developed into a core economic institution that strengthened private enterprise. Pressures to innovate and stay competitive also encouraged private enterprise to develop human resource policies and an opportunity to break away from the traditional household business model. For Nee and Opper, China’s expansive labour market has thus emerged as a mainstay economic institution developed exclusively by the entrepreneurial class.

The final few chapters of the book are devoted to reinforcing the authors’ hypothesis. They write, “In sum, our evidence strongly supports our hypothesis that the effectiveness of social norms, beyond the shadow of the law … can provide robust mechanisms explaining cooperation within large social groups, thereby enabling dynamic economic development” (225). China’s entrepreneurial class has thus developed an endogenous competitive market built around a self-enforcing social structure that promotes economic innovation.

While the authors implicitly suggest that modern capitalism was an “unintended” outcome of the economic reforms instituted by the Party, they argue the government had no option but to later pursue wide economic accommodation and policy to accommodate private entrepreneurs. The government dependency on the private sector to provide economic growth has thus spurred deep relationships between officials and entrepreneurs. However, Nee and Opper are quick to clarify that while rent-seeking does occur on some level, the majority of private-sector actors do not receive long-term financial benefits from having relationships with the Party officials.

Although Nee and Opper provide an exceptional account on the role of entrepreneurism in post-Maoist China, the book is not without shortcomings. First and most strikingly, they glance over the role of the state and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms that set the economic conditions for entrepreneurs. Without the top-down motivation for decentralization and Beijing’s directive to empower local authorities, China’s entrepreneurial class may not have been able to develop competitive markets.

Second, the overtly positive image of China’s entrepreneurs detracts from many of the controversies associated with economies in transition. There is a substantial body of literature suggesting that China’s private sector is endemically corrupt while guanxi networks have become outlets of patronage. The reader is left wondering if such networks can also damage the entrepreneurial spirit.

Finally, the reader may ask what social and environmental impact entrepreneurs have when operating outside any regulatory framework. Interestingly, the study does suggest that entrepreneurs often do not follow state regulations such as the Labour Law. Of course, the long-term social costs are beyond the scope of this study yet acknowledging the controversy may have balanced the seemingly favourable opinions the authors hold towards the entrepreneurial class.

Capitalism from Below should be considered mandatory reading not only for China specialists but also those looking to understand how the private sector complements innovation in transition economies. Nee and Opper convincingly show how personal networks and a critical mass of resilient entrepreneurs can bring about policy shifts in emerging markets. This book is not to be missed.

Robert J. Hanlon, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE SPECTER OF “THE PEOPLE”: Urban Poverty in Northeast China. By Mun Young Cho. Itacha, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xxi, 207 pp. (Figures, table.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7864-2.

New forms of urban poverty in China have received much research attention in recent years. This is not surprising because Chinese cities, after three decades of market reform, have become key sites to observe extreme forms of socio-spatial inequality. Most of the scholarship, however, invokes the generic vocabulary, such as “urban poverty” or “the poor,” to capture rising inequalities. The existing literature, mostly based on surveys of the “poor population,” has produced a particular kind of knowledge that portrays the poor in China as victims of neoliberal reforms, just like their counterparts in other countries. Relying on quantitative surveys, sociologists examine patterns of social stratification, while geographers map patterns of spatial segregation. Two groups of people and the space they inhabit loom large in the social science scholarship on poverty in China: laid-off workers living in decaying danwei housing compounds and migrant workers settling in urban villages (chengzhongcun). We learn from the literature quite a bit about social stratification and spatial segregation, but somehow, the narrative is often flat and what we do not learn is the specificity of the Chinese urban poor.

The Spector of the People is a critical intervention in the literature on urban poverty in China. Based on more than two years of extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Harbin, one of the major cities in the rustbelt of northeastern China, this book offers a much richer account of the historically specific conditions that have produced the category of the new urban poor, such as laid-off workers and migrants. The author deliberately avoided using generic vocabulary such as “the poor” or the “poor population.”

Instead, the author chose to use “the people” (renmin). This shift from “the poor” to “the people” opens up a whole array of analytical possibilities for investigating the complexity of urban poverty in China today.

The main question of the book is deceptively simple, that is, who are “the people” (renmin) in today’s China? As the chapters demonstrate, “the people” is a contested category and it has always been exclusive, along gender, urban vs. rural, and state vs. non-state divides. The “people,” since the beginning years of socialism, have included mostly full-time male workers employed in state-owned enterprises. Women, part-time, contract-based workers, and workers employed in collectively owned enterprises have been often excluded. Moreover, the entire rural population is excluded from the category of “the people.” While many of “the people” today are laid off, they can still make powerful claims to the state demanding various social security programs to improve their condition. Other poor groups cannot make the same claim as former industrial workers. In other words, not all poverty has the same urgency for the state.

Many former workers have become destitute in China’s thriving market economy, but because of their past—as “masters” of the country, the laid-off urban workers do not easily accept their position at the bottom of the new socio-economic hierarchy. The book describes, in vivid details, how laid-off urban workers believe that they just had “bad luck” and their colleagues who got rich simply had “better luck.” They do not see themselves as a separate class from the new rich. Moreover, the laid-off workers and their families are eager to “participate” in the new market economy, by investing their meager savings in the stock market and in properties. Although most of them cannot afford a new home, residents in the poor neighbourhood of Hadong, the primary fieldwork site of the book, talk all the time about moving to a better apartment. A few of them succeeded, and most have failed. Thus, as the book reveals, this poverty group of urban laid-off workers is full of contradictions, as they are caught between hope and despair, ambitions and structural disadvantages.

Most works on urban poverty in China have adopted the theoretical framework of neoliberalism and the language of policy intervention. In many of the accounts, China’s new urban poor live in shantytowns, and they are just like residents in the ghettos in the US, favelas in Brazil, and slums in India. The Spector of the People stands out in the literature, because it argues, clearly and powerfully, that China’s urban poor are different because of their past as “the people” and “masters” of a socialist country. This book theorizes these historical and context-specific conditions of the poor, and by doing so, it goes beyond the standard narrative of neoliberalism and dispossession.

Xuefei Ren, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

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CHINA’S ROAD TO GREATER FINANCIAL STABILITY: Some Policy Perspectives. Editors, Udaibir S. Das, Jonathan Fiechter and Tao Sun. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2013. xiii, 229 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$38.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-61635-406-0.

China’s Road to Greater Financial Stability examines China’s financial institutions and policies in order to establish what risks or returns they present to financial stability. The book is well organized, addressing the different facets of China’s financial system in depth and without much overlap, and easy to read, written in clear language with a strong structure. The content is drawn out expertly, but there are two aspects missing that limit the usefulness of this manuscript. First, there is very little written about shadow banking, which is mentioned, but dismissed as a small component of the financial system. In fact, shadow banking, or non-bank loan finance, is equivalent to 30 percent of China’s bank assets (and over 50 percent of GDP) and has posed increasing risks to financial stability. Second, there is no economic or financial theory used in the text. In particular, there is no discussion of theories of financial stability and development, which vary in their assumptions and conclusions about what comprises a stable, deepening financial system.

Shadow banking has posed a large threat to China’s financial stability in recent years and therefore is one of the most relevant topics to the subject of this book. The excessive risks taken in the trust sector have been carried through to banks’ wealth management products. Risks taken by credit guarantee companies and Internet lending companies have resulted in the failure of these companies. Regulatory responses to problems in the shadow banking sector have been multiple.

Financial stability and financial development theory have changed dramatically over the past several decades. They have moved away from assumptions that financial liberalization is always beneficial for an economy and toward assumptions that countries should take a cautious approach to liberalization. Current theoretical assumptions are embodied in the policy advice presented in the volume but an explicit statement of those assumptions is omitted, which may lead to confusion. For example, various chapters in the volume state that a) finance can destabilize growth; b) that finance can become predatory in open economies; or c) that financial liberalization, including exchange rate and interest rate liberalization, is necessary to enhance growth in China. These assumptions are seemingly contradictory, but can be resolved by drawing out the theoretical underpinnings associated with them. It is probable that financial stability and financial development theory will once again change, and the assumptions implied in this volume will no longer be so evident.

Despite these gaps, the volume provides a great deal of valuable information on China’s financial system and can be used as a reference on the most relevant financial institutions and policies present in the country today. Some highlights of the book include chapter 4 by Yang Li and Xiaojing Zhang, on China’s sovereign balance sheet risks, which provides an interesting analysis of sovereign assets and liabilities and the potential financial risks associated with these; chapter 5 by Nuno Cassola and Nathan Porter, on systemic liquidity and monetary policy, which analyzes how the policies of the People’s Bank of China impact liquidity and financial prices; chapter 7 by Silvia Iorgova and Yinqiu Lu, on the structure of the banking system, which besides examining the banking system, contains a brief discussion of the relationship between banks and local governments; and chapter 11 by Shuqing Guo, on China’s capital markets, which describes China’s stock and bond markets and discusses the reform measures that have been implemented. Li and Zhang’s look at the sovereign balance sheet is an important and often overlooked component of assessing financial stability. The authors find that the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis is low, since the state has built up sufficient equity. Cassola and Porter incorporate useful figures on interest rates, bond spreads and measures of structural liquidity to discuss potential liquidity shocks due to uneven distribution of liquidity, even when overall liquidity in the system is sufficient. Iorgova and Lu deconstruct the components of the banking sector and include a brief section on the shadow banking system as well as a look at the debt burden that local government financial platforms have placed on banks. Guo’s chapter on capital markets contains useful figures on capital market structures and financial assets, and a helpful table that lists a number of reforms that are implemented or being considered and how they are being put into practice.

The book is written in a clear style by reputable contributors, and is accessible to scholars, policy makers and financial analysts who seek a clear snapshot of China’s financial system. The book is also well priced: at USD $38.00, the book can provide a useful resource for any library. The work is timely, as financial stability in China is a topic that has grown increasingly complex and of concern. An updated version of this volume that takes into account the shadow banking sector, financial stability and deepening theory, and the new financial reforms due to be implemented this year would be most welcome. As it stands, we recommend this book to those interested in China’s financial system.

Sara Hsu, State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, USA

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MAO: The Real Story. By Alexander V. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2013, c2012. xix, 755 pp., [16] pp. of plates. (Maps, illus.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-4516-5448-6.

Mao: The Real Story is a well-written comprehensive history of the life and times of Mao Zedong. The book presents an alternative to the one-sided polemic of Mao: The Unknown Story by JungZhang and Jan Halliday.

The authors claim a new thesis, namely that “Mao was a faithful follower of Stalin who took pains to reassure the Boss of his loyalty and who dared to deviate from the Soviet model only after Stalin’s death”(4). In fact, a number of scholars have discussed the influence of Stalin on Mao. That having been said, Pantsov and Levine’s exhaustive study of Russian archives fleshes out details of the Mao saga not reported in earlier English-language biographies. The authors present everything from new information about the future Chairman’s father to observations of Mao made by various Soviet officials in the 1930s, 1940s and beyond. They also show how little Mao relied on the actual peasantry, recruiting an army mostly from Hakka fringe elements and what Marx would have called a rural lumpenproletariat.

Stalin had no problem with this and “[s]tarting in the late 1920s, Stalin’s Comintern began to support Mao and even periodically to rise to his defense when other CCP leaders criticized the obstinate Hunanese”(236-237). By 1930, Soviet publications were writing up Mao and Zhu De as important international revolutionary figures “well-known outside of China” (255). Stalin even made it clear that Mao was under his protection and should not be touched. By 1934, the Soviets were publishing Russian editions of Mao’s works and short biographies of him.

As a result of his close connection to Stalin, it was only after the Soviet leader died in 1953 that Mao felt free to become a Maoist. Or, as Mao himself put it, an “adventurist” who would no longer play second fiddle to Soviet leaders. According to the authors’ speculations, Mao’s critical and sometimes rude behaviour towards Khrushchev was a result of Mao’s attempts to show his own greatness and take revenge for what he had endured under Stalin (445-446).

Whether this conjecture about Mao’s inner psyche is true or not, the authors make it clear that when Mao began to abandon Soviet policies and take China further to the left in the late 1950s, he was not the only one pulling China in this direction. In January 1958, Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai, supposedly at least in part to please the boss, came up with the word commune and got the development of the ultimately disastrous giant co-ops of the Great Leap Forward going.

But the authors explain that the problems of the Great Leap were not simply a result of the government’s actions. The disastrous consequences of the Leap were also brought on by one of the worst droughts ever to sweep China. This needs elaboration. In recent years, a number of scholars have questioned the severity of this drought and laid more of the blame for the Great Leap at Mao’s feet, a point the authors don’t mention.

The book also contains interesting new information garnered from Russian sources on the Cultural Revolution. It is, however, a shame the authors didn’t take more of an opportunity to look at how the Cultural Revolution broke up the Stalinist system in China and freed the country for the economic reforms that followed Mao’s death.

The book concludes that although “Mao’s crimes against humanity are no less terrible than the evil deeds of other twentieth century dictators … he did not have plans to exterminate millions of people on purpose.” Moreover, “he followed the principle of ‘cure the illness to save the patient … He neither killed Bo Gu, nor Zhou Enlai, nor Ren Bishi, nor Zhang Guotao, nor even Wang Ming …[H]e forced them to ‘lose face’ but kept them in power” (575).

The authors argue that Mao kept many officials with whom he disagreed in a position where they were able enact the reforms made after Mao died. Pantsov and Levine show that for all his “adventurist” proclivities, Mao was generally careful to balance radicals in his government with reformers.

The authors seem to have taken a similarly balanced approach in regard to the sources they used. People as diverse as Mao’s grandson and Li Lisan’s daughter were among the many they interviewed. The contributions of this wide-ranging group help make the book a valuable resource.

Lee Feigon, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Clark, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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CHINA’S SENT-DOWN GENERATION: Public Administration and the Legacies of Mao’s Rustication Program. By Helena K. Rene. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013. xiii, 229 pp. (Figures, boxes, B&W photos.) US$32.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-58901-987-4.

China’s Sent-Down Generation is a rare and detailed piece of scholarship into the management of a core part of the 1968-1978 Chinese Cultural Revolution, namely, the “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside” rustification program which sent 17 million urban Chinese youth to rural communes, state and military farms for their “socialist reeducation.” These youths, referred to as “sent-downs,” typically laboured for long hours under harsh conditions. While at these farms, many also suffered hunger, injury and abuse, though some ended up at better locations, perhaps using their family’s connections. They are collectively referred to as China’s “lost generation” as their adolescent and young adult lives were thoroughly disrupted and deprived of educational, social and economic opportunities. Some youth were sent for undefined periods, sometimes until the program ended.

Rene’s book is largely based on extensive interviews of 54 sent-downs and others affected by the rustification program. It is an excellent piece of historical research, focusing on program administration. The program is placed in the context of Mao’s political struggles against the inevitably rising bureaucracy, Mao’s last stand to rid China of elitist tendencies of bureaucracy and technocracy and return to the revolutionary ideal of building a communist society based on peasantry. Here, rustification was to address the bourgeois tendencies of urban youth and help them reconnect with revolutionary ideals through physical labour with the peasantry, thereby also providing opportunities for self-actualization and contribution to the country’s development, as well as addressing problems of rising urban unemployment and social strife. Large programs often have precursors, which are described.

Rene describes a highly efficient design for recruiting people, documenting the working of the totalitarian state. At the national level, top leaders in China’s Communist Party (CCP) committees focused on rustification, and the State Council had special task forces. In the middle, trade unions, women’s federations, the Young Communists Leagues and schools were instrumental in assigning sent-downs to locations. At the bottom, neighbourhood or street offices of the government actively persuaded youth to sign up, “often by haranguing them at their homes all day and night” (81). Because of China’s strict hukou (locality registration) system, it was quite easy for the local Knowledgeable Youth Resettlement Office to gather information at the public security offices regarding families with eligible children. As one sent-down put it, “simply put, there is no way they will miss you and you can’t find any loopholes” (104). After youth reported to their neighbourhood school, they were told how to prepare for departure (cancel their hukou, receive tickets and clothes), and soon sent off to their new location. People had to go, because failure would have one’s hukou cancelled, leaving one without food rations and other necessities. An entire logistics chain was set up to ensure their transit. In some cases, volunteers readily signed up for the adventure. Surely, such state strategy and efficiency sound eerily familiar to some other dark parts of modern human history.

Interviewees reported that receiving sites were not well prepared for integrating arrivals with local communities, reporting that farmers often thought they were mere volunteers. Youth slept in sheds and emptied, substandard homes. Food was insufficient and horrible. Sanitary conditions were poor. Accidents were common on farms, and advanced medical care was typically lacking. As one person stated, “you cannot imagine how backward everything was.” Language barriers existed. Some sent-downs suffered from sadistic treatment, especially on military farms. Rape and sexual favours were not much reported among interviewees who went to villages, but young women did find strong incentive to marry local men in order to reduce their physical labour in the fields. It was difficult to return back to the cities, requiring bureaucratic discretion and connections. To be fair, the qualitative inquiry finds many different situations, including some in which the sent-downs were well treated and even discouraged from doing heavy work.

Some sent-downs report studying Mao’s thought in the morning, and at night reporting their own thoughts and consciousness in “struggle sessions.” Some interviewees found that it was not landownership that was at the root of all evil, but rather a system that failed to distinguish among individual performance: good or bad, efficient or inefficient. Some peasants were poor not because of landowners, but because they could not get ahead in the system; some were lazy or had no incentives. Every now and then an incentive was offered to which they would respond, including going home early when they finished some task. In short, many sent-downs awoke to a reality that was opposite the propaganda. Mao wanted youth reeducated but in the end they became the lost generation also because their ideas were now incompatible with official doctrine.

Some sent-downs found strength in surviving adversity, while others did not. The author also notes a paradox that while Mao’s rustification policy was partly a response to his disdain for rational, Weberian bureaucratic public administration, socialist reeducation would have been served better had it been better organized on the receiving end. All in all, the book relies a bit too heavily on the qualitative interviews, and better integration with existing studies and writings would have been nice, as well as insight into the coercive mechanisms of the state at different levels, and of the logic of people working in them. But the book operates in an area where access to officials and official documents is difficult or impossible. The relevance of this book to current-day affairs is also evident. Those familiar with public administration in East Asia may readily point to other instances of central governments embarking on power-driven and insufficiently conceived plans that are motivated more by political calculations. While the political context in the book has since passed, aspects of the portrayed decision-making style of the leadership still persist today. This book is a very valuable piece of scholarship that is to be celebrated as a significant addition to knowledge.

Evan Berman, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand                                       

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CHINESE MONEY IN GLOBAL CONTEXT: Historic Junctures Between 600 BCE and 2012. By Niv Horesh. Stanford: Stanford Economics and Finance (an imprint of Stanford University Press), 2013, c2014. xii, 364 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8719-2.

In this wide-ranging study, Niv Horesh seeks to identify the lines of convergence and divergence between Chinese and Western monetary systems from antiquity to the twenty-first century. This is not a history of Chinese money, but rather an examination of certain episodes or “historic junctures” that illuminate both “surprising commonalities” as well as the “Great Divergence” (13) between these distinctive monetary systems. On balance, though, it is the divergences rather than the convergences that stand out. Horesh rightly emphasizes the often-neglected place of copper currencies in the West from Roman to early modern times, but the basic distinction between gold/silver coinage in Europe and the Islamic world on one hand and bronze coins in East Asia on the other persisted down to modern times. More central to Horesh’s argument, the technological divide in mining and minting, the contrast between the Chinese state’s monopoly on coining and printing money versus the more entrepreneurial world of the West, and the financial revolution in early modern Europe that created joint-stock companies, central banks and national debt financing explain why the monetary institutions of the West rather than in China nurtured modern economic development.

The book has an inauspicious beginning. The first chapter proposes the novel argument that the invention of round (bronze) coins in China derived from the influence of Hellenic currencies mediated by the round coins the Maurya Empire in South Asia introduced sometime after 304 BCE. Horesh makes the fundamental error of attributing the first issue of round coins in China to the First Emperor of Qin (r. 249-10 BCE). In fact, archaeological finds have confirmed that the Qin state issued its round Banliang coins beginning in 336 BCE, antedating the appearance of the Mauryan circular coins. Most of the chapter is devoted to much later (and hence irrelevant to the issue at hand) examples of coins reflecting cross-cultural influences, such as the bilingual Sino-Kharosthi coins of Khotan from the first-second centuries CE. Horesh deems the “circumstantial and archaeological evidence” for his thesis “quite compelling” (38). However, his argument proceeds from the absence rather than the presence of either archaeological or documentary evidence.

In any event, the rest of the book focuses not on mutual influences but rather the separate and what Horesh describes as the “path-dependent” trajectories of Chinese and Western monetary practices, with particular attention to the evolution of paper money and banking. Horesh recognizes conceptual differences in thinking about money, but he devotes little space to monetary theories. Instead, he attributes what he calls the “Great Monetary Divergence” primarily to differences in technology in a broad sense, encompassing minting technology, state support or lack thereof for mining, and concepts such as hard currency reserves for paper money issues. In Horesh’s view, this Great Monetary Divergence can be traced back at least to the sixteenth century: in contrast to the Ming Empire’s disastrous experiment with fiat paper money, which bequeathed a lasting aversion to fiduciary currencies, Tudor England’s equally misguided Great Debasement of 1542-51 led to a series of crucial breakthroughs in the conceptualization of money—the inviolability of currency reserves, national legal tender currencies, and the creation of national debt through banknote issuance—that propelled the rise of England as a fiscal-military nation-state as well as the creation of modern monetary and banking institutions. Horesh contends that this Great Money Divergence and related developments such as Europeans’ global pursuit of trade and mining resources figured centrally in the Great Divergence in economic development that resulted in the Industrial Revolution happening in England rather than elsewhere.

Part 2 examines fiduciary currencies and banking in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, the main focus of Horesh’s previously published research. Horesh observes that to the very end of the imperial era, the first decade of the twentieth century, the Chinese economy relied almost entirely on hard currency; private banknotes, whether issued by domestic or foreign banks, occupied only a marginal place in the money supply. He undoubtedly is correct in arguing that the absence of sound paper instruments was a key factor in China’s high interest rates, which certainly discouraged capital investment. In a chapter devoted to Japan’s colonial banks in China, Korea and Taiwan—one of the novel contributions of the book—Horesh shows that the Japanese flexibly applied different banking policies depending on varying political and economic circumstances. In his view, the Japanese colonial banks cannot be seen simply as appendages of the Japanese state; instead, they acted as semi-official commercial banks, not unlike the British banks in Hong Kong. However, Horesh downplays the ways in which these banking institutions, both British and Japanese, served colonial agendas.

In his final chapter Horesh takes up the current debate on the prospect that the People’s Republic of China’s renminbi currency will supplant the US dollar as the global reserve currency within the forseeable future. He points out that there is a historical precedent for the PRC’s accumulation of enormous foreign currency reserves in the massive inflow of silver to China during the period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century to offset the European states’ negative trade balances with China. (Earlier in the book [14, 116-17], however, he regards this influx of bullion as a sign of China’s weakness, not strength.) Horesh explores the pros and cons for China that loosening controls over the renminbi and capital flows in order to internationalize its currency would entail, underscoring the strong reservations harboured by Chinese economists and policy makers. Still, the renminbi’s role as an international currency surely will expand in the coming decades. Thus it is only in the future that we can expect that the separate trajectories of Chinese and Western monetary histories will at long last converge.

Richard von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

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1956: Mao’s China and the Hungarian Crisis. Cornell East Asia Series, 170. By Zhu Dandan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University East Asia Program, 2013. vi, 310 pp. US$39.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-933947-70-9.

The Hungarian uprising of 1956 and its bloody suppression by the Soviet Red Army was a key event in the history of the Cold War. Less well known are the Chinese contributions to the debates in Moscow in response to the crisis, and the repercussions of the events in Eastern Europe in the young People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yet, as this new, meticulously researched study shows, the dual crises in Poland and Hungary had direct bearing on the tumultuous events sweeping China in 1956 and 1957, and beyond.

Zhu’s study builds on an impressive body of recent research, mostly by Chinese scholars, on the PRC’s interactions with its partners in the socialist world, and on substantial archival research in the Chinese Foreign Ministry archives and Hungarian archives. Soviet archival sources are quoted in Chinese and English translations, illustrating how much source material has become accessible to researchers over the past two decades.

The introduction and the first two chapters provide the setting for the events of October 1956. Zhu traces the dynamics of East bloc politics in the early and mid-1950s, when, after Stalin’s death in 1953 and the successful completion of the early stages of China’s socialist transformation, Mao saw an opportunity for a more proactive Chinese participation in intra-bloc diplomacy. Khrushchev’s denouncement of Stalin at XXth CPSU congress in February 1956 put Mao in a quandary; while it freed the PRC to pursue a more active policy in Eastern Europe, the Chinese political and economic systems were essentially Stalinist, and thus vulnerable to criticism. The socialist regimes in Eastern Europe faced the same dilemma; more fragile than the PRC, Poland and Hungary were the first to buckle under stress. With Poland, under the new, nationalistic leadership of Gomulka, near collapse, Khrushchev ordered the Red Army to intervene. Last-ditch diplomacy helped to avert a military confrontation, but Khrushchev’s intervention presented Mao with an opportunity to denounce what he called Soviet “great-power chauvinism” and offer to mediate.

Chinese diplomats were soon enough called on to show their skills. Just after the arrival of a high-level delegation led by Liu Shaoqi, called to Moscow for an emergency meeting over Poland, the situation in Hungary suddenly exploded. As Zhu shows in great detail in chapter 3, the Chinese delegation unexpectedly found itself at the frontlines of diplomatic containment efforts. Struggling to formulate a position, the Chinese side conferred with Mao and initially decided to stick to the “anti-chauvinist” line—or, as Zhu proposes, to use the Polish and Hungarian crises as bargaining chips, “a rare good chance to manipulate the weakening Soviets to abdicate the leading position [in the socialist world] and give room to what he saw as better men,” that is, the Chinese (164). However, Chinese efforts to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving situation in Budapest were hampered by poor communication and coordination—delayed telegrams and a virtual shutdown of the Chinese embassy there—that eventually necessitated an embarrassing about-face in early November. The Chinese side had initially called for a withdrawal of Soviet troops and counseled Khrushchev to seek a compromise with Imre Nagy, the new Hungarian leader. When Nagy announced the restoration of a multi-party system on October 31, and, a day later, Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, however, the Chinese had to put aside their reservations and back the full-scale military suppression of the Hungarian revolution that began on November 4. In summing up her findings, Zhu dismisses the suggestion, put forward by scholars such as Shen Zhihua, that the PRC had decisive influence on Soviet policy making at this critical juncture. Rather, she shows that Mao had to abandon his effort to promote more equal relations among the nations of the socialist bloc in order to preserve bloc unity, a goal that was clearly more important, even if that meant a perpetuation of the hierarchical structure of the East bloc.

Zhu’s detailed account and her nuanced assessment of the events of October and early November 1956 shed crucial new light on the international relations of the early PRC. Yet the author does not end her account here; fortunately, she dives deeply into the field of domestic Chinese politics to probe the impact of the Hungarian crisis and its fallout for China’s own tumultuous 1957. In chapter 4, Zhu reassesses the Hundred Flowers campaign and the CCP’s subsequent sharp reversal in early June. How did the CCP evaluate the crisis in Eastern Europe, and what lessons were to be learned? Zhu convincingly demonstrates that Mao, on the one hand, and Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun, on the other, drew sharply different conclusions from the events in Eastern Europe. While the latter pointed to the socio-economic problems caused by the Stalinist economic approach, Mao interpreted the crises primarily in political and ideological terms, finding no fault with the Stalinist system per se, which he had introduced in the PRC. Rather than adjustments in the economic realm, the chairman advocated political liberalization and a determined fight against bureaucratism as the means to prevent a similar crisis in China. Zhu debunks the discredited “luring the snakes from their hole” theory that presents Mao as a cynic. Instead, she shows how Mao tried to apply the lessons from Eastern Europe; yet as a seasoned leader, he was conscious of the risks he took when allowing criticism of the Party. Once this criticism got out of hand in mid-May, Mao was quick to reverse course and launch the anti-Rightist campaign. As this summary makes clear, the events of 1956 and 1957, both international and domestic, are highly complex, but their understanding is crucial for the long-term historical trajectory of the PRC. Zhu’s meticulous study sheds light on one of the crucial junctures in modern Chinese history and world history.

1956: Mao’s China and the Hungarian Crisis will be essential reading for a specialist audience and graduate students in Chinese history, Cold War studies and international relations. It is unfortunate, though, that the books suffers from a lack of proper editing. Convoluted passages abound; the Hungarian party is variously referred to as HWP, HWUP, HCP and MSP—the acronym-rich book has no list of abbreviations. The Soviet ambassador to China appears as (Pavel) Iudin and Yudin within the same footnote. Such carelessness on behalf of the publisher distracts attention from an excellent study.

Nicolai Volland, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA

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TAMING TIBET: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Emily T. Yeh. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. xvi, 324 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8014-7832-1.

During the early 1980s, when I first traveled in the Tibetan regions of China, I would often ask the Han Chinese drivers in whose vehicles I journeyed the names of the landmarks and sites that we passed. The reply was almost inevitably the same: zheige difang mei you mingzi, “this place has no name.” Tibetans, of course, did have names for these places, but as they were largely unknown to the small numbers of Han then in Tibet, who viewed their residence there as tantamount to exile, those names, the Tibetan names, were as good as nonexistent. Between Tibet as a meaningful landscape for its indigenous population, and as a nameless, senseless wasteland for the Han who had the misfortune to be there, there was apparently no meeting point whatsoever. One of the challenges for China during the past decades, therefore, has been to generate a new world of meaning on Tibetan soil, one which, if all goes as planned, Tibetans and Han will one day share.

This dilemma is at the core of geographer Emily Yeh’s perceptive and well-researched study, Taming Tibet, which documents successive waves of change in the Chinese state’s development of the Tibetan environment, focusing on the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s capital, Lhasa, and its immediate surroundings. The process described by Yeh, which she terms “territorialization,” is materially manifest in the political, economic and technological innovations and policies broadly serving to integrate the land into the frameworks embraced by the Chinese nation-state, but her argument centrally concerns the subjectivities thereby engendered, for which landscape is inevitably a field for the production of value and meaning.

Yeh identifies three main phases in China’s territorialization of Tibet: the first, beginning during the 1950s and continuing down to the period of post-Cultural Revolution Dengist reform, centred on communalization and the creation of state farms, and sought to redefine the relations between labour and land along socialist lines. The next phase, spanning the 1980s and 1990s, emphasized economic development and the shift to a market economy. Large numbers of Han migrants were, for the first time, permitted to enter Tibet to contribute to the development process, which involved considerable investment from eastern China. Tibetans were frequently marginalized by the new economy that evolved, with which they were sometimes related as renters. Finally, after 2000, new attention was devoted to urbanization, and the transformation of Lhasa and other Tibetan cities and towns into modern Chinese urban centres.

These three phases of development are emphasized respectively in the three major sections into which Taming Tibet is organized, tellingly entitled “Soil,” “Plastic” and “Concrete.” An important leitmotif throughout Yeh’s work is the sharp tension between Chinese expectations—more often in fact a demand—for “gratitude” on the part of Tibetans for the benefits of socialization, economic growth and urban development, and the resentment, recalcitrance or reaction with which Tibetans have sometimes responded. The massive Lhasa riot of March 2008, in which many Han shops and businesses were torched, is among the key points in Yeh’s narration of the mutual incomprehension that festers around the trope of gratitude.

Like many American scholars of the humanities and social sciences in recent decades, Yeh peppers her work with references to the perspectives of (mostly continental) literary and social theorists, including Agamben, Benjamin, Debord and de Certeau. She is restrained, critical and judicious in this, however, and her gestures to these and other theoreticians do serve to clarify her arguments. Particularly strong in this respect is chapter 7, “Engineering Indebtedness and Image,” which makes good use of the category of the “gift” as elaborated in the writings of Mauss, Douglas, Sahlins and others. A welcome, though perhaps not quite intended, implication of Yeh’s effort to reach beyond contemporary China-Tibet scholarship is that Chinese development in Tibet is seen to be not so much a sui generis case as it is a further iteration (albeit a particularly poignant one) of widespread paradoxes and contradictions in the structures of contemporary developing states.

In a concluding “Afterword,” Yeh turns her attention to the wave of self-immolations that has occurred over the past several years, above all in the eastern Tibetan regions of Sichuan and Qinghai. To do this was not without considerable risk, for the causes of and reasons for this most tragic manifestation of Tibetan discontent are much debated, as is the authoritarian Chinese reaction to it. It is to Yeh’s credit that, though devoting only three pages to this difficult issue, she trivializes it not at all. Indeed, her analytic of territorialization proves to be unusually illuminating in this context.

Taming Tibet is notably well written, its accessibility enhanced by the narration of revealing episodes and anecdotes from Yeh’s fieldwork experiences or earlier history. It should certainly be read by all who wish to understand current circumstances in Tibet, as well as Chinese development at large.

Matthew T. Kapstein, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France
The University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

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CHINESE INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization. Asian Security Studies. By William C. Hannas, James Mulvenon and Anna B. Puglisi. London; New York: Routledge, 2013. xvi, 296 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-415-82142-1.

During the Cold War a debate developed within the Allied counter-intelligence community which could be summarized by “ten-foot-tall Russians” and “the monster plot.” Briefly, there was a view taken by some professionals that interpreted Soviet operations directed against NATO in Machiavellian terms, and saw the Kremlin’s strategy as akin to a diabolical game of chess in which an adversary had adopted every kind of devious scheme to mislead its opponent about its true intentions. This was the era of Jim Angleton’s “wilderness of mirrors,” when the defection of the KGB officer Yuri Nosenko fueled divisive arguments over his authenticity, and led to a kind of doctrinal schism within the Western security and intelligence apparatus that remains relevant today, even in a Chinese context.

The new variant of the old arguments centres on the nature of the PRC’s espionage methodology. Just as there was general agreement at the height of superpower confrontation, when all agreed broadly on the inherently malevolent nature of the regime, the issue was the extent to which a rather dysfunctional and artificial society could pose a serious threat to its perceived enemies. Today, few would dispute the scale of Chinese ambitions, nor the factual evidence of escalating statistics relating to stolen technology, copyright infringements and wholesale theft of proprietary intellectual property. Put simply, there is a major espionage offensive underway, and the crux of the matter is not so much the need to recognize it for what it really is, as few attempt to conceal the obvious, but rather to define the precise methodology that has been adopted by Beijing to achieve the government’s goals.

On one side you have the perspective taken by the former FBI analyst Dr. Paul Moore, who identified several distinctive characteristics of the Chinese cases he studied, which sees a threat encapsulated by the “thousand grains of sand” theory: that the Ministry of State Security (MSS) conducts its overseas operations in a very different way to its foreign counterparts, and therefore enjoys a considerable advantage. It takes a wide “blunderbuss” approach, in preference to the narrow sniper’s rifle, and makes a pitch to thousands of potential sources, instead of focusing on just a few targets. The MSS is fragmented, without conventional rezidenturas or stations operating under diplomatic cover, so it is harder to monitor by routine physical or technical surveillance. The MSS prefers to exploit “clean skins,” not flawed personalities, and rarely pays its agents, but allows them to enrich themselves by acting as intermediaries for highly profitable but illegal business transactions, often dealing with embargoed material. The MSS opts for ethnic Chinese, invariably resorts to supposed latent patriotism for the “middle kingdom” and relies on the cultural appeal of guanxi, or family obligation, to leverage cooperation.

The authors call such views “Old School” but even when attempting to demolish some alleged “urban legends,” such as the Cox Report’s oft-quoted 3,000 front companies established in North America by the PRC and the various component parts of an illicit procurement program, conveys the impression that previous surveys have generally under-estimated the scale of the espionage tsunami. They also rehearse the arguments deployed in the charges of racism directed at the FBI, which has often faced allegations of racial profiling when in pursuit of ethnic Chinese. In the most notorious example, that of Wen Ho Lee, the authors tend to muddy the already murky waters by referring to his “actual innocence or guilt” as though the issue is in some doubt, when the record clearly shows that the physicist pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced to time already served in prison, having spent 227 days in solitary confinement.

The historical record also shows that in the case of Qian Xuesen, there was no “genuine injustice” and that far from being a victim of “McCarthyist excesses,” the missile scientist lost his security clearance at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, when he had attempted to return to China, and then in 1955 was deported in return for 11 American airmen captured in Korea. McCarthy, whatever his faults, played no part in Qian’s lengthy house arrest in California.

The alternative view to Moore’s is that the tradecraft employed by the Chinese is a distraction from the problem of nearly 200,000 Chinese students at liberty in the United States, subsidized by Uncle Sam, who are, or have the potential, to loot the country’s industrial secrets. This is not a series of case histories, as exemplified by the Chi Mak exposure or the Katrina Leung scandal, but rather a thoughtful analysis of a veritable haemorrhage of sensitive, commercially valuable information, ranging from atomic weapon blueprints, systems algorithms, and even entire jet engines. This short-circuit of international trade restrictions and tariff barriers has, so we are told, kick-started an economy that Mao all but razed to the ground. Worse, American politicians have failed to grasp either the hideous reality, or what is required to restore that much-contested arena, the level playing-field.

However, the authors conclude that the comparatively chaotic, uncoordinated Chinese intelligence and scientific monolith makes it impossible to reassemble the myriad pieces of information “for maximum exploitation and gain” (192). In other words, the Chinese are stealing secrets, so they assert, but do not benefit from them because of an intrinsic failure to prevent them from being “likely stove-piped and fragmented” (192). Thus we are now in the realm of speculation, rather than analysis of verifiable facts.

The authors have sidestepped a potential minefield by paying lip-service to the prevailing views on profiling by asking the rhetorical question: “How does the strategy explain Chinese recruitment of non-ethnics?,” of which there are certainly a few (198). The obvious response is that the MSS, like anyone else in the intelligence collection business, will be opportunistic when gift-horses materialize. It seems unlikely that the MSS invokes a house rule not to recruit Indians, Malays or Caucasians, and the statistical evidence supports this, but this does not obscure the common denominator in the overwhelming majority of espionage cases.

Nigel West, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Washington, DC

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BEYOND TERRITORIAL DISPUTES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: Legal Frameworks for the Joint Development of Hydrocarbon Resources. NUS Centre for International Law Series. Edited by Robert Beckman, Ian Townsend-Gault, Clive Schofield, Tara Davenport, Leonardo Bernard. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar; Singapore: NUS Centre for International Law, 2013. xx, 351 pp. (Figures.) US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-78195-593-2.

The book, Beyond Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea: Legal Frameworks for the Joint Development of Hydrocarbon Resources (hereinafter “the book”), is an excellent work of collective wisdom on solving the disputes in the South China Sea region. Fourteen scholars contributed their intellectual analysis on the possible flashpoints in the East Asian region, and more importantly, they offered an extensive study on joint development, which is a feasible resolution to the disputes. The book mainly covers two aspects of joint development, i.e., a discussion of the legal contents of joint development and an introduction to certain precedents of joint development implemented in Northeast and Southeast Asia, basically around co-operation regarding hydrocarbon resources.

Furthermore, in the book’s final chapter, the editors establish a formula or procedure for constructing a joint development mechanism and for offering a flow of thinking in case the relevant agreement is concluded. These include: 1. Clarifying claims in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (this is necessary if the claimants want to understand what the legal basis is for each other’s claim); 2. Identifying areas for joint development; 3. Increasing knowledge of features in the Spratly Islands, especially the interpretation of an “island” under Article 121(3); 4. Increasing knowledge of nature and of the location of hydrocarbon resources; and 5. Starting such development in small areas with limited parties that would be easier and less complicated to reach an agreement on the development.

In a nutshell, just like the book notes, “One of the benefits of joint development arrangements is that the claimants concerned can agree on joint co-operation arrangements in a specific defined area without any of them having to give up or clarify their claims to geographic features or maritime space” (327). This is the spirit behind the process of joint development.

Having said that, a couple of supplements could be made to replenish the aforementioned formula/procedure:

  1. Emphasizing co-operation among Parties concerned is an obligation. One of the issues to be considered is that of the duty of states to co-operate whether they be friends or foes. This concept can be traced back to certain documents made more than four decades ago. For example, a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970 states, “States have the duty to co-operate with one another, irrespective of the differences in their political, economic and social systems, in the various spheres of international relations…” Furthermore, this duty could be characterized into two aspects: a duty to enter into negotiations or a duty to negotiate and to reach an agreement. Obviously both duties of co-operation will require negotiations entered into in good faith (or bona fide). Moreover, the Parties concerned should be obliged to work together in good faith to attempt to reach an agreement. This is also provided in Article 74(3) and Article 83(3) of the UNCLOS. The wording, “in a spirit of understanding and co-operation,” indicates that the Parties concerned should negotiate in a spirit of good faith. The obligation to seek agreement in good faith is also well-defined in some international juridical cases. In the 1969 North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated, “[T]he parties are under an obligation to enter into negotiations with a view to arriving at an agreement and not merely to go through a formal process of negotiation as a sort of prior condition for the automatic application of a certain method of delimitation in the absence of agreement; they are under an obligation so to conduct themselves that the negotiations are meaningful” (101). Also, in its 1984 report on the Gulf of Maine Case, the ICJ stated that the Parties were under duty to negotiate in good faith and with genuine intentions of achieving positive results.
  2. Joint co-operation mechanism in the utilizing fishery resources could be regarded as another feasible and practical alternative for starting a regional co-operation regime and could be used as a feasible measure to solve the South China Sea disputes, apart from the joint development on hydrocarbon resources mentioned in the book. It sidesteps the issue of sovereignty and focuses upon a common interest co-operatively, namely the utilization of living resources. This is encouraged under Article 123(a) of the UNCLOS. It also defers long-term negotiations with respect to delimitation of the continental shelf relating to the hydrocarbon resource issue. Thus, as co-operative relationships are forged with regard to fishery resources, mutual confidence might be promoted among the Parties concerned that may eventually contribute to successful co-operation with respect to hydrocarbon resources. Under the pressure of heavy demands on food security in the region, fishery resources management is crucial in preventing over-exploitation or overfishing and may become a touchstone of the Parties’ sincerity. Without affecting jurisdictional boundaries as laid down in the UNCLOS, it is certainly possible to have joint co-operation on fishery resources management in the South China Sea as the starting point for further co-operation. If all Parties concerned treat co-operation as a key step toward achieving mutual benefit, then the future for such a regional joint development or joint co-operation mechanism could be assured.

To conclude, this book is informative and pragmatic in its academic nature. In addition, it is also important for providing a great amount of legal discussion on solving the South China Sea disputes through the construction of joint development mechanisms, while also presenting successful past experiences in such matters.

Kuan-Hsiung Wang, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

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CHINA’S GROWTH: The Making of an Economic Superpower. By Linda Yueh. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. xviii, 349 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-920578-3.

March 2014. World stock exchanges from New York to London to Tokyo are sent into tailspins with major declines in equities and in futures prices for key commodities such as oil, metals, and food stocks. The reason? Fears that economic growth in the People’s Republic of China is fading to just over 7 percent from its previous annual highs at 10 percent or more.

Thirty-five years ago in 1978, when the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, led by Deng Xiaoping, announced dramatic economic reforms, including plans to open the previously insulated and autarkic Chinese economy to the outside world, no one could have foreseen such a turn of events. Yet with plans to maintain 30 to 50 international conglomerates with many listed in the Fortune 500 and a growing middle class in what is now the second-largest economy in the world, China is by all accounts a major player in the international economy, a situation that will only expand. The reason for this growing economic prowess is, of course, the dramatic annual growth rates that the Chinese economy has sustained for the last thirty years or so between 9 and 10 percent. It is to this basic question that the author, a prominent economist in Europe and China, has turned her accomplished analytical skills and data collection abilities in what is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive, if sometimes a bit overloaded, books on this crucial question on the origins of China’s rapid and sustained economic growth.

Utilizing standard models of economic growth and relying on the extensive research of existing prominent research on China’s roaring economy, the author emphasizes that she sees “specific aspects” of Chinese economic growth that go beyond the standard theories. Like most works on this heavily studied topic, the exhaustive sources and research employed in the book, which the author stresses draws on more reliable micro-level over macro-level data, demonstrates that fully one-half of this growth stems from the continuing and substantial capital accumulation in China, financed primarily by a very high savings rate among the general population, corporations, and even the government. Also contributing to this rapid growth have been labour accumulation and development of human capital (10-20 percent), transfer of knowledge and technology that have accompanied joint ventures with more technologically advanced foreign corporations, and increasing investment in research and development by domestic corporations aimed at engendering “indigenous innovation.”

For this reader, one of the most interesting aspects of the book is its focus on institutional developments, especially the slow but evident creation of legal protection of property rights (2007 Property Rights Law), patent law and courts, and adherence to standards mandated by the World Trade Organization, to which China ascended in 2001. “Improved protection of property rights,” the author argues, “appears to have contributed to the strong industrial output that boosted the GDP growth of the 2000s” (315). To the extent that an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime is strengthened, especially protection of patents that are increasingly applied for by Chinese firms for protection from other Chinese firms, benefits will continue to accrue to the macro economy and hopefully the Chinese consumer.

Despite these evident gains over more than three decades, China’s economy is not without major structural and institutional problems which could affect its future prospects for continued economic growth. The most serious is the “financial repression” that rewards persistently inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with cheap and almost unlimited credit at the expense of the more efficient private-sector corporations that too often are starved of domestic capital. And while the role of the state has retreated considerably from the pre-1978 era to the point that government spending at 19 percent of GDP is among the lowest in the developing world, the author calls for recasting the Chinese state’s role from economic management through the ubiquitous Party cadres in SOEs and a government-owned and run banking system to a more conventional role of protecting property rights, especially land, and ensuring social protection for its population through comprehensive social insurance. Whether and how the Chinese state, which for more than six decades has directed China’s economy, can make this transition is left unanswered.

Even more important is a significant growth in consumption that since the 1990s has fallen dramatically largely because of stagnant wages, along with an expansion of the service sector that remains at a rather paltry 40 percent of GDP. The 12th Five-Year Economic Plan (2011-2015) calls for a rebalancing of the Chinese economy with increased domestic demand and less reliance on exports, but until capital markets, specifically interest rates, are reformed and labour mobility is less restricted, Chinese workers will continue to see their dramatic improvements in productivity go elsewhere.

A prodigious work with reams of data, numerous charts, and mathematical models and equations, this is without question an enormously well-researched book. Yet, for a non-technical economist such as this reviewer, the narrative at times gets a bit overwhelming and even leaden, with excessive references and asides in the text that should have been relegated to endnotes. Still, this is an invaluable book for anyone interested in understanding the various factors—economic, political and technological—behind China’s experience at promoting economic growth for over three decades and the necessary measures for increasing privatization, marketization and rule of law that will ensure its continuing economic prowess.

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

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CONTESTATION AND ADAPTATION: The Politics of National Identity in China. By Enze Han. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Xiii, 207 pp. (Maps.) US$74.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-993629-8.

The Uyghur and Tibetan people have had a notoriously difficult relationship with the state. Even today, most of them continue to reject, sometimes violently, the form of national identity it proposes. By comparison, most of China’s other 53 ethnic minority groups have been much more accommodating. Why? This is a complicated question which Professor Enze Han, a lecturer on the international security of East Asia at SOAS in London, is attempting to answer. By and large, his explanations are convincing.

The essence of his argument is that focusing on domestic factors, e.g., a lack of economic opportunity or limited religious and cultural freedoms, is, of course, crucial to determine whether a group will contest the legitimacy of the state. But this approach only yields an incomplete picture. External factors are equally important, particularly for groups that entertain close links with an organized diaspora. For instance, most Uyghurs will naturally find that the lives of their ethnic kin in Central Asia have much greater meaning than those of any “domestic other.” As Han rightfully points out, “the dynamic of ethnic political mobilization is different for ethnic groups that have extensive external kin relations” (11).

This is a highly sensible premise. But how does it measure up to reality? After briefly describing the historical context in which China’s recent nation-building policies have developed, Han explores this question in five short chapters, each one focussing on a different ethnic group: the Uyghur, Joseonjok—or Chinese Korean—Mongol, Dai and Tibetan. Using data he gathered through his own fieldwork between 2006 and 2008, Han shows how domestic and international factors have modulated in different ways the response of each of these groups to state policies.

Han begins with the Uyghurs. For years, this Turkic minority has been living under well-documented cultural, religious and economic restrictions. This largely explains its tense relationship with the state. But that is not all. As Han points out, when the Uyghurs turn their gaze to the near abroad, they see various examples of prosperous Turkic peoples. For example, Han uses the most recent statistics available to show how GDP per head has consistently been lower in Xinjiang than in Kazakhstan, where the largest population of Uyghur expatriates live, or Turkey, which still exerts a significant cultural influence. In recent years, this contrast has been further accentuated by the fact that Xinjiang’s robust economic growth has brought few tangible benefits to the Uyghurs.

By comparison, being part of China has brought much clearer economic gains to the Mongol community: two decades of rapid growth ensured that by 2007, GDP per head in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), where most ethnic Mongols live, was twice as high as in Mongolia. But not all is rosy in the IMAR and Han’s surveys show that many Mongols believe their struggling culture is actually much better protected across the border. They also recognize that Mongolia is a democracy, albeit an imperfect one, and that it offers greater political freedoms than China. In theory, such sentiments could be exploited to foster a more acute sense of identity within the Mongol populations of China, but there is no widely recognized international organization or charismatic leader in a position to do so. This is in marked contrast with the Uyghurs and Tibetans, both of whom benefit from the support of outside advocates, the World Uyghur Congress and the Dalai Lama, respectively. This lack of outside assistance and encouragement partly explains why the Mongols have not articulated grand strategies of self-determination.

What of the Dai? This minority group, which is found mostly in southern Yunnan and numbers just over a million people, maintains close kinship relations with communities in Burma, Thailand and Laos, none of which have been bastions of political or economic stability in recent years. This has made the Dai realize the relative prosperity they have enjoyed in China and so their gripes have largely focused on local concerns.

The Joseonjok, a population of approximately two million people from China’s northeast, constitute a somewhat special case: a large segment of their external kin, i.e., those how live in South Korea, are vastly more prosperous and enjoy incomparable political freedoms. So why have the Joseonjok not mobilized to contest the state’s legitimacy, like the Uyghurs or the Tibetans? Han points to several factors, most significantly that neither of the two Koreas, nor any outside organization for that matter, has shown interest “in supporting the Joseonjok politically on issues related to group autonomy within the Chinese state” (66). Equally important, the Chinese Korean minority has had a relatively stable relationship with the state: it was an early supporter of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its members still occupy a disproportionately high number of positions in the Party’s structure. Thus, for those dissatisfied with the status quo, the dominant strategy has been to immigrate en masse to South Korea; according to some estimates 10 percent of all Joseonjok may now be living south of the 38th parallel.

Han ends his study with a chapter on Tibet. Since he was unable to conduct fieldwork in the Tibetan Autonomous Region or in neighbouring provinces with large Tibetan communities, his narrative is largely based on secondary sources. Here, Han has chosen to give less importance to economic factors due to his assumption that “the omnipresent status of Buddhism in Tibetan society also means that “earthly” obsessions with material wealth and comforts are perhaps not as important as in the other societies discussed in the book.” This feels a little bit gratuitous and somewhat self-serving, but Han nonetheless convincingly shows how the ebb and flow of external support has closely conditioned the relationship of the Tibetan community with the Chinese state.

If one must point to a weakness in Han’s study, it is probably that his samples are often small. His work on the Dai, for example, focused on a single community, that of Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, while his surveys in the IMAR and the Joseonjok areas targeted relatively small numbers of individuals whose opinions may not be representative of the communities as a whole. To be fair, conducting fieldwork in China, particularly on a highly sensitive issue such as the contentious relationship between ethnic minorities and the state, is often challenging. Despite this shortcoming, this book constitutes a useful addition to our understanding of the relationship between the Chinese state and its ethnic minorities.

Embassy of Canada, Beijing, China                                                                  Martin Laflamme
(Views presented are solely those of the reviewer)

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RETURN OF THE DRAGON: Rising China and Regional Security. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Denny Roy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. vi, 279 pp. US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-15900-5.

Few topics in today’s increasingly interconnected world are as pertinent as “the rise” of China. China’s ascent has both an economic dimension as the country expands its global commercial footprint, and a security dimension resulting from its ability to project power to safeguard self-interest. While the economic aspect of China’s rise—and the resulting trade imbalances—are widely acknowledged, Denny Roy (East-West Centre, Honolulu) contends that “identifying and specifying the security consequences of a stronger China is relatively challenging” (1). In Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security, Roy provides an ambitious sweep of China’s regional engagement from northeast Asia to Iran. Roy sees China’s ascent as disruptive to the status quo, arguing that “ultimately China’s expectation of a sphere of influence will create or worsen dangers for China’s neighbors” and that an “extraordinarily strong China will decrease security for the region” (2). One reason, in the author’s opinion, lies in the rising state’s aspirations to make itself stronger relative to others, resulting in new tensions with neighbours. This may lead to a “security dilemma” whereby the true intentions of a state are opaque to others, and appear as hostile, generate mistrust and are locked in a “spiral of rising tension” (3). Another reason is that China is a “returning” power that has a strong historical sense about its proper place in the world (4-5).

Although Roy’s framing of China’s rise is decidedly cautious—the conclusion is a zero-sum view that China’s gain shall be someone else’s loss—the eleven chapters that make up Return of the Dragon provide a comparatively more balanced assessment of the variables that shape China’s regional engagement. Addressing China’s relations with its neighbours (Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as South and West Asia) alongside broader foreign policy variables (military modernization, maritime border disputes, the US strategic role in Asia), Return of the Dragon presents a broad and up-to-date overview of China’s regional foreign policy and how it shapes regional security. The book is well written, carefully structured and shall be particularly welcomed amongst policy makers and a non-academic readership looking for a survey of contemporary China’s extensive regional impact.

In recent years, China has adopted an assertive posture in its maritime disputes: Roy’s overview of the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands, as well as its maritime claims in the South China Seas presents these complex historical issues in a comprehensible manner and reaffirms his argument that an ascendant China shall be more assertive regionally. These tensions notwithstanding—much of which are framed by modern history as is the case with Chinese relations with Japan—Return of the Dragon approaches Chinese foreign policy considerations as deliberated and measured. Referring to Deng Xiaoping’s “twenty-four character strategy,” that had cautioned China to bide its time, Roy notes that this policy of “remaining calm, cooperative, conciliatory … has served China well” (31). He astutely notes that the domestic agenda, which includes addressing corruption, income inequality and uneven development looms large in China’s list of priorities and acts as a break for a more assertive foreign policy (30, 144-145). Roy also correctly highlights variables that mitigate an overly assertive foreign policy on China’s part: a lack of consensus in Beijing that China ought to replace the United States (or even form a so-called “G-2” with the United States), as well as increasing economic interdependence on the United States and an acknowledgement that a conflict with Washington would be extremely costly for Beijing.

While Return of the Dragon shall be well received as a useful overview of China’s multifaceted engagement with its neighbours, critical academic readership may take issue with some aspects of the book. First, the book does not directly engage with the vast amounts of material on foreign and security policy from China (communiqués, policy statements, white papers), which alongside Chinese are increasingly available in the English language on the Internet. The reader also does not get a sense of the individuals and institutions making Chinese foreign and security policy, or of the role played by specific members from within China’s elite. Engagement with non-Chinese scholarship is likewise minimal; while Roy refers to about half-a-dozen recent English-language volumes on Chinese foreign policy (8-10), his engagement with this scholarship is largely limited to the introduction. The book has a total of thirteen pages of notes (263-276), which includes bibliographical references. The two-and-a-half-page index is not adequate, lacking entries for Central Asia (125), “G-2”/G-7/G-8/G-20 (145) (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not indexed and is instead listed under Russia-Chinese relations). Maps would also have been illustrative, especially in the discussions on border disputes.

Roy also frequently finds himself making claims on behalf of others, such as “most Chinese think,” (39), “Many Chinese elites believe” (40), “Many observers believe”(89), “analysts of contemporary China argue” (162, 164), “some Chinese statements … suggest” (255) whilst neither identifying the alleged claimants nor his sources. References to the possible relevance of historical periods and structures—the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) or the tribute trade system, for example—are cursory and do not reference the extensive scholarship on these topics. Instead, the author alludes to their continued relevance based on the views of (unidentified) “analysts of contemporary China” (for the Warring States) and an unspecified “theory” (for the relevance of the tribute trade system) (162).

These criticisms notwithstanding, Roy has made a useful contribution through arguing that an ascendant China shall be a more assertive regional power. Return of the Dragon is an ambitious book in its attempt to tackle China’s recent engagement in a diverse and complex region, and it is successful in illustrating the different ways in which an increasingly powerful China could affect the Asia Pacific. Given Beijing’s economic and strategic engagement with a growing number of states and non-state actors today, Return of the Dragon shall be welcomed by readers looking for an accessible survey of Chinese foreign policy and its regional security implications.

Hasan H. Karrar, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

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LOST IN TRANSITION: Hong Kong Culture in the Age of China. SUNY Series in Global Modernity. By Yiu-Wai Chu. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2013. viii, 219 pp. (Tables.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-4645-5.

A content analysis of world press coverage of Hong Kong in recent years would certainly show the predominant themes to have been business and politics. Both are fast-moving topics that are in many respects quantifiable. But of equal interest to these two spheres is the less tangible one of cultural change. This is not of course a separate sphere since it relates closely to both politics and economics. Culture requires some form of economic base to exist and, in a society where democratic activity is as narrowly circumscribed as it is in Hong Kong, it becomes a proxy arena for political conflict.

Interest in Hong Kong is rising again. This partly reflects the installation of a new chief executive in Hong Kong completely different in character to the first two, and this has been accompanied by the rise to power of a new regime in Beijing: a regime, it seems, with a new and distinctive ideological mission. Added to these political shifts are current predictions that in the business field the “One Country Two Systems” framework will be dead by about the year 2020.

In these circumstances a serious study of the cultural dimensions of contemporary Hong Kong is much needed, and this is what Yiu-Wai Chu provides in his new book. Much of this work has appeared in other formats as events unfolded, but here he sums up and extends his research in an impressive way.

The basic thesis of the book is that in the process of transition from colony to SAR the vitality that local culture exhibited so vigorously in the 1970s and 1980s has been lost. The paradox implicitly addressed here is that this decline in grassroots local culture has taken place at a time when Hong Kong has, increasingly, been attempting to assert an identity in the face of potentially crushing commercial, political and cultural pressures from the mainland.

In the 1960s and 1970s most Hong Kongers were too pre-occupied with everyday life and careers to be introspective. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government reinforced the contemporary tendency to ignore the realities of the mainland until, finally, the shock waves of the Cultural Revolution irrupted onto the political scene in 1967. Reflections on Hong Kong’s special characteristics were thus largely left to Western journalists such as Richard Hughes (Hong Kong: Borrowed Place-Borrowed Time, 1968) while the images known best to the outside world were provided by films such as Love is a Many Splendoured Thing (1955) and The Countess from Hong Kong (1967).

The situation changed radically in the 1980s and 1990s. The economy was strong at the time and this supported a surge of film making and musical activity. At the same time local academics and others began to reflect much more seriously on what aspects of Hong Kong might be sustainable under the One Country Two Systems regime.

The core of the author’s book is the story of how the Hong Kong government (and in particular former chief executive Donald Tsang) has attempted to foster a “top-down” culture of values, images and activities that differentiates Hong Kong, while combining these policies with a strong, pro-mainland Chinese nationalism.

In its early stages this cultural “branding” policy was more or less independent of other policies, but after the world financial crash of 2008 cultural policy suddenly assumed much more importance as the basis for potential new pillars of the economy. New pillars were needed because the old four pillars had not delivered the high growth of the colonial period, and financial services in particular were seen as being unlikely to increase their share of local GDP for the foreseeable future.

The book includes detailed case studies of both the film and music sectors to illustrate the author’s argument that truly local cultural initiatives have been weakened rather than strengthened by the top-down government activities.

Yiu Wai Chu is particularly critical of the “neo-con” Central District values which he sees as underlying recent cultural policies. There are, however, other obstacle to cultural policy success not really explored here. Leadership is one problem. It is always relatively easy to fill high profile, highly paid, top jobs in Hong Kong. What is missing is the next level down, where what is needed is well trained and experienced staff who know the Hong Kong situation and can implement plans effectively. Linked to this is the problem of higher education and its contribution. To respond to government initiatives requires a rapid and serious re-orientation of the HE sector, but inertia and vested interests at every level of the system seem likely to ensure that this will not happen in the near future.

Finally, there is the wider issue of the state of freedom of culture and expression. Googling Hong Kong/academic freedom produces some depressing reading these days. Holding, let alone attracting, cultural talent and activity will be hard if current trends persist. Ironically, pressures on Hong Kong may well encourage migration northward, since in the large, more localized world of the mainland, there may in practice be more degrees of freedom than can be found in the city state model of Hong Kong.

Christopher Howe, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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COMMUNICATION, PUBLIC OPINION, AND GLOBALIZATION IN URBAN CHINA. Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication, 18. By Francis L.F. Lee, Chin-Chuan Lee, Mike Z. Yao, Tsan-Kuo Chang, Fen Jennifer Lin, and Chris Fei Shen. New York; London: Routledge, 2014. xvi, 199 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71320-7.

Since the Mao era drew to a close, scholars have been interested in how Chinese citizens perceive the world around them. Despite gradual openings in the 1970s and 1980s, the average Chinese saw the world in a decidedly narrow way. In the last two decades, economic development and technological innovations have given more Chinese the opportunity to experience the world more broadly. Amidst globalization, how do urban Chinese perceive the world? Francis L.F. Lee and his coauthors tackle this very question. Well written, full of pithy and purposeful prose, their book provides a systematic analysis of urban Chinese views of globalization and the role of media in shaping them. They seek to fill a gap between the concept of “cosmopolitan communications” and its measure by disaggregating media into local, national and transnational parts. The authors argue that while all forms of media are important in understanding Chinese attitudes on globalization, domestic media has the strongest effect on citizens’ views, whereas foreign media reinforces preexisting worldviews.

In reaching these conclusions, the authors draw heavily upon a groundbreaking large-scale, comprehensive study of urban Chinese media consumers. Their survey instrument was distributed to four cities—Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi’an—using a multistage probability sample, analyzed through multivariate regressions and descriptive statistics. The authors offer a well-reasoned case selection rationale and detailed explanation of survey distribution methods. This careful attention extends to their use of key concepts throughout the book; they define and operationalize “globalization,” a term often used but rarely defined in academia and popular media.

Before addressing Chinese views of globalization, the authors wisely establish the context within which Chinese experience the world. In chapter 2, survey data shows that most urban Chinese have limited personal interaction with the world around them (i.e., a small percentage traveled abroad, few reported having friends or relatives living abroad, most expressed little interest in the world), thus setting the stage for media to have a particularly strong effect on perceptions. Mindful that globalization can impact China through both structural and individual-level effects, the authors examine foreign media consumption in chapter 3. Their survey, conducted in 2006 and 2007, showed that Chinese people consume media primarily through television. Like many other behavioural patterns in China, foreign media consumption varied across regions: in political centres with tighter political control, like Beijing, foreign media exposure was low; in economically strong cosmopolitan centres that can support local media, like Shanghai, foreign media consumption was also quite low.

The following chapters focus on the effect of this exposure. Chapter 4 explores the general relationship between media and nationalist sentiment, concluding that foreign media does not make people more nationalistic, but it shapes the kind of nationalism they display. Chapter 5 more narrowly focuses on Chinese attitudes towards the United States, which is often seen to best represent contemporary globalization. The authors point to a general ambivalence toward America: respondents viewed US political institutions positively, but its leaders more negatively. This ambivalence might be differently characterized as nuanced, one further revealed in chapters 6 and 7, in analyses of Chinese awareness and attitudes towards globalization. Survey respondents conceived of globalization more abstractly (which might not make them unique in the world); they thought of it as a very “global” phenomenon, but one that affected individuals differently based upon where they lived. The authors wisely differentiated respondents’ attitudes toward globalization’s effects on the country and the individual: the survey revealed the Chinese were less likely to see it as having a positive effect on them as individuals, rather than on the country as a whole. Analysis by age cohort, perhaps not surprisingly, revealed interesting variations: younger urban Chinese saw the positive effects more than older individuals, in large part because they were more likely to encounter outsiders through media or personal relations.

A major challenge inherent in media studies is how fast-changing technology can make findings seem quickly out of date, a problem compounded by the slow-moving book publishing process. The survey that forms the empirical core of this book was conducted before Chinese use of the Internet and microblogging tools like weibo exploded. While technological innovations may not fundamentally challenge the authors’ findings, the way in which these platforms increase accessibility to foreign media speaks to the need for follow-up studies. This is not to suggest that their analytical framework cannot withstand inquiry into new media. In fact, such study would be in line with the authors’ interest in the individual-level effects of globalization; there is nothing more individually experienced, it would seem, than microblogging.

Changes in technology aside, Lee and the other authors paint a finely detailed portrait of urban Chinese consumers of media. But while the book is quite consciously a study limited to consumption of media, readers might be left wanting to learn more about the production side, as well. Especially in recent years, with the growth of Internet use and China’s soft power push (a point the authors only allude to, 70), the country is as much a producer of media as a consumer of it. This book will whet the appetite of those searching for a better understanding of China as an active, rather than passive, participant in this process of globalization. Attention to the microblogging phenomenon, too, would go far in understanding the production of media.

To their credit, the authors are well aware of the changes in the media landscape since the survey was conducted. As they suggest, this book—and the impressive survey upon which it is based—provides a baseline stay from which future studies might build upon. Scholars interested in how Chinese views of the world are changing, particularly amidst rapid shifts in technology and communication, will find this book of real benefit as they move forward in their research. This solid foundation of understanding might also allow others to place China into a more comparative context and generalize the findings beyond a single case study.

Timothy Hildebrandt, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

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INTOXICATING MANCHURIA: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China’s Northeast. Contemporary Chinese Studies series. By Norman Smith. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012. x, 298 pp. (Figures.) US $99.00, paper. ISBN 978-07748-2429-3.

In Intoxicating Manchuria: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China’s Northeast, Norman Smith treats the reader to a rich analysis of the roles played both by alcohol and opium in northeast China between the late nineteenth century and 1945. His study aims to examine how “recreational intoxicant consumption was understood and characterized in the first half of the twentieth century,” especially amidst the half-hearted efforts at prohibition by the state of Manchukuo during the 1940s (2). In eight chapters, Smith illustrates very vividly that both alcohol and opium have indeed had deep and substantial impacts on northeastern Chinese life and culture, and that throughout the period under investigation, the dependency of successive regimes on the opium trade ensured its continuity. Through a wide variety of media and literature, including alcohol advertisements, government propaganda, and contemporary Chinese fiction, Intoxicating Manchuria explores a wide array of alcohol and opium narratives, few of which ended happily.

In chapter 1, Smith grounds his later examination of alcohol’s impact in northeast China with a swift and convincing illustration of the historical evidence for alcohol consumption by Chinese since the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BCE). From the exploits of the earliest kings to the writings of dozens of later poets and chroniclers to the discoveries of modern archaeologists, Smith demonstrates convincingly that “the intoxicant industries of China today have important precedents in Chinese history” (21). The steady stream of eye-opening references to alcohol consumption throughout China’s imperial history shreds the oft-held belief that alcohol consumption has not played a meaningful cultural role. Likewise, Smith asserts that for most of its history, opium was also accepted and used as a medicine, rather than recreationally, and that while it was not used as widely as was alcohol, it too was culturally important. Smith’s approach here parallels Brett Hinsch’s masterful challenge to the ridiculous assertion that there is no such thing as a Chinese homosexual, which Hinsch destroyed so completely in The Passions of the Cut-Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China (University of California Press, 1990).

Chapter 2 sets the stage for alcohol and opium sale and use in Manchuria during the first few decades of the twentieth century, detailing the region’s transition from a Qing-era Manchu homeland, to a local warlord redoubt in the 1920s, to a Japanese-controlled narco state by the 1930s and 1940s. Smith’s third chapter discusses alcohol use in Manchukuo, which was often viewed positively during the early 1930s, but was increasingly criticized by the middle of the decade as newspapers, essays and popular writers warned of the dangers of intoxicants, especially for women (64). Smith closes the chapter by noting that “in the short span of a decade, alcohol had shifted from a marker of modernity to a symbol of disease, disorder, and a society on the edge of collapse” (69). He then turns in chapter 4 to an analysis of alcohol advertisements that appeared in contemporary Chinese-language newspapers and journals. Ads for Asahi and Sapporo beer come as no surprise, but the most revealing ads were for a sweet port wine called Red Ball, created in 1907 by Shinjirō Torii, the founder of Suntory. Red Ball ads promoted the positive, healthy effects of red wine, which was touted as “number one in the medicine world for everyone,” especially for those engaged in physical labour (79). Ads even encouraged “good wives” to ensure that their husbands drank a few glasses every morning before work (81)! Rival products likewise stressed the positive aspects of alcohol consumption, though by 1940 government propaganda began to equate alcohol with smoking, tuberculosis, and constipation as one of “The Four Big Poisons that Destroy Health” (88).

In chapter 5, Smith turns to contemporary Chinese novels and plays dealing with alcohol and especially opium addiction. Despite official guidelines aimed at muffling criticism of the state, these works offered implicit criticism of Manchukuo and its anemic efforts at opium prohibition. Similarly, Smith’s sixth chapter illustrates the alluring dangers of women working as hostesses in modern bars and opium retail outlets during the 1930s. Though they were seen by some as symbols of modern living, they were frequently denounced by social reformers as manipulative temptresses who corrupted public morals. Finally, chapters 7 and 8 illustrate the steps taken by Manchukuo to help opium addicts recover, often at private clinics and hospitals, but also at state-run institutions known as Healthy Life Institutes. Here, Smith makes a terrific contribution to the literature on Manchukuo by detailing the efforts to help Chinese patients recover from years of chronic addiction. While he concedes that much of the available evidence is state propaganda, and that it is also difficult to reconcile the efforts of health professionals with the state’s tacit allowance of the opium trade, there were nevertheless Japanese who attempted to help Chinese in Manchukuo. As Smith asserts, the movement of Japanese into Manchuria was one of the largest migratory waves in modern history, but “the experiences of these pioneers remain hardly known, partly because of the Manchukuo legacy” (197).

As a historian familiar with Japanese business ventures on the continent during this era, this reader wanted more financial details on how the state opium monopoly functioned during the Manchukuo era, especially given the importance of tax revenues during Japan’s “Holy War” against Anglo-American imperialism (90). Smith seldom discusses production costs, distribution channels, pricing, or state revenues directly, as his principal focus is on cultural perceptions of opium and alcohol, rather than the economics of the trade itself. Nevertheless, readers looking for these kinds of details will find many valuable references in his extensive and varied bibliography.

The depth of Smith’s research is impressive, and he writes with the admirable flair and ease of a scholar well-versed in Manchuria’s history. Intoxicating Manchuria features over 40 well-placed photos, ads, cartoons and illustrations that bring the narrative to life, and at just 198 pages of text with richly detailed endnotes, it will appeal to scholars and students alike.

Jeffrey Alexander, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, USA

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CHINESE COMFORT WOMEN: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves. Contemporary Chinese Studies. By Peipei Qiu, with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013. xx, 254 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2545-0.

This is an important book that signals fundamental shifts in understandings of the Japan military’s use of “comfort women” in Asia during the Second World War. To date, most discussion of “comfort women,” the English translation of the Japanese euphemism ianfu, has focused on roughly 200,000 Korean and Japanese nationals. This volume sheds light on the suffering of an approximately equal number of Chinese women who were forcibly drafted by the Japanese military and whose experiences were silenced for decades. It is the first English-language monograph to record the memories of Chinese women at the “comfort stations” and it does a fine job of introducing these important findings to international audiences. The volume centres on oral interviews with twelve survivors conducted by Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei from 1998-2008, more than five decades after the “comfort women” system was dismantled and the women were “liberated.” One of the great strengths of this work is the demonstration that these women’s suffering continued long after the Japanese military was defeated and the war ended.

The volume consists of three sections. The first recounts the establishment of the “comfort women” stations, stressing the deliberate and calculated mass abduction of local women. Many of the women’s families struggled to raise the ransoms that the military demanded to free them, challenging often repeated assertions that Chinese do not value daughters. The middle section is a harrowing recounting of the experiences of the twelve women, who came from regions as diverse as the north of China and the southern island of Hainan. Their personal narratives are, as to be expected, moving and reflective of an enormous level of unjust suffering. The final section recounts the women’s postwar lives and the grassroots movement that has arisen to seek redress for the injustices that they endured. It clearly spells out the long-term costs that these women paid for the Japanese military’s violation of the most basic human rights and dignity.

The authors make clear that the purpose of this monograph is to facilitate understanding between Japanese people and their neighbours and not to encourage antagonistic, nationalistic stances. They argue that it is necessary to transcend the posturing of nation-states and recognize that the suffering caused by war is a violation of individual human lives. Whether this goal can be achieved may be debateable but the Japanese government’s ongoing failure to fully acknowledge the nature and extent of these war crimes is not. At the heart of this book lies the ruthless, militaristic nature of the “comfort women” system and the Japanese Imperial Army’s direct involvement in an unimaginable level of violence towards Chinese people that the Japanese government still refuses to be held morally, legally or otherwise responsible for. Chinese Comfort Women makes a very strong and compelling case that the Japanese military was systematically and deliberately involved in the kidnapping, sexual exploitation and enslavement of enormous numbers of Chinese women. While the purpose of the “comfort stations” was, according to Japanese military leaders, to ostensibly prevent mass rape and the spread of venereal diseases, the effect was to shatter and shame Chinese—and ultimately discredit the much-vaunted propaganda of Imperial Japan liberating China from Caucasian imperialism.

A chief contribution of this volume is the demonstration that massive numbers of Chinese “comfort women” were obtained locally and viewed as no more than military supplies, treated as “public latrines.” The scale of this inhumane treatment was enormous, with Su Zhiliang estimating that around 200,000 Chinese women were forced into sexual slavery by and for the Japanese military. The political symbolism of the system, with the raping and killing of Chinese women symbolic of China’s subjugation to Imperial Japan, compounded the women’s suffering by fuelling prejudices toward them and their suffering. Some of the women whose lives fill these pages were welcomed back into their families while others survived to find their families utterly decimated; to add further insult to injury, they were denounced as collaborators in the subsequent Maoist era. These women’s fates appear to have differed little from those of the countless thousands of other, mainly Korean, “comfort women” who also suffered enormously at the hands of the Japanese military—and patriarchy—and have been the major focus of “comfort women” research to date. While the authors do point out varied significances of the patriarchal norms within which the Japanese military operated, perhaps an even deeper, more prolonged analysis of patriarchy would strengthen further the authors’ stated ambition to move beyond nation-state renderings of the topic.

“Comfort women” have attracted increasing attention in recent years but this is the first English-language monograph to focus on the suffering of those Chinese women whose lives were forever altered by the abhorrent behaviour of the Japanese military. The twelve women whose experiences are recounted here deserve a great deal of credit for having survived the wartime crimes committed against them, subsequent persecution in the Maoist era, the refusal of the Japanese government to take full responsibility for the actions of its military, and the interviewing process, all of which must have been traumatizing. Chinese Comfort Women does an excellent job of linking these women’s lives to forces that darkened much of China’s tortuous twentieth century yet remain far too little understood.

Norman Smith, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

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LU XUN’S REVOLUTION: Writing in a Time of Violence. By Gloria Davies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. xxvi, 408 pp., [14] pp. of plates. US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-07264-0.

In this eloquent book, an important subject has met a masterful interpreter. Lu Xun, the foremost writer of twentieth-century China, can be heard addressing himself to critical dilemmas not only in his own culture but in global literature more broadly. Davies’ skilled reconstruction of both the historical and literary contexts that shaped Lu Xun’s voice enables readers to hear afresh the political and creative struggles that shadow subtle minds in times of political violence. In fact, this book offers such a nuanced view of cultural productivity that one almost forgets how rancorous, vindictive and prejudiced Lu Xun could be in his own “revolutionary” circles during the 1930s.

Gloria Davies paints the canvass of Lu Xun’s last decade with dense details that honour the bewildering Nanjing decade of 1927-1937—which also corresponded to the brutal years of the White Terror. The book’s opening section, modestly titled “Guide and Chronology,” aligns key events during the 1920s and 1930s with the timing of Lu Xun’s writings. Not only are these concise pages a great help to historians and literary scholars (be they beginning students or seasoned researchers), they also shed light upon the parametres of thought in the midst of social chaos. In 1926, for example, Davies reminds us, several of Lu Xun’s students were killed on March 18th. Less than a month earlier, he published a sharply critical essay entitled “A bit of Metaphor.” In this confluence we glimpse a larger truth about modern China’s predicament in which literary allusions about carnage do not stay metaphorical for long. The cannibalism of social revolution keeps catching up with and surpassing the worst nightmares of writers, again and again. Similarly in 1935, just a few months after Lu Xun began the serious effort of translating Russian and Soviet fiction, Qu Qiubai was killed by Nationalist troops. Again, the project of cultural transmission was overwhelmed by grief and the demands of commemoration. Mourning and writing collide and reshape the inner landscape of a tired, ill and politically ambivalent leader of the leftist writers in Shanghai.

By evoking with narrative skill the complex terrain of revolutionary debates in the 1930s, Davies’ book stands as a powerful alternative to the “wooden officialese” (316) that characterizes Lu Xun’s rehabilitators on the Chinese mainland. Here, we have a vividly evoked thinker who tried to gain ethical and literary clarity against all odds. Gloria Davies is especially insightful in helping us re-read some of Lu Xun’s canonical essays with a deeper appreciation of the conflicts that coloured his “perspicacity.” Although this concept is a mouthful, it does justice to Lu Xun’s effort as reflected, for example, in his work “On Seeing with Eyes Wide Open.” Written barely six weeks after the killings of the “May 30th Movement” of 1925, this essay is part of the corpus of zagan (mixed impressions), which cannot be reduced to any one political point of view or any literary fad.

It is not only Lu Xun who comes to be seen more clearly in this book, but the larger project of vernacular literature as well. Davies’ focus is mostly on the intra-leftist debates about the role of writing when guns hold sway. Nonetheless, readers interested in the relationship between intellectuals and social consciousness will find important insights here. The baihua—plain talk—movement in China was never about language alone. It was, as Davies shows us, part of an ambivalent effort by classically educated men and women to turn the knife of cultural change against themselves. Davies’ sophisticated metaphor for this project centres on Ouboros, the self-devouring snake of ancient Greek mythology. Thirty-five years ago, when I first began to write about Lu Xun and revolutionary literature, I recall being infatuated with Gramsci, Sartre and Brecht and marveling at what they had termed the importance of being “willing in the face of necessity.” Now, after reading much of the new Chinese and Western scholarship about Lu Xun’s legacy, I find that Gloria Davies’s understanding of a “self-consuming encounter with literature” (271) has the ring of a historically seasoned truth that is absent in previous works.

Davies herself nods with familiarity toward various European literary theorists in order to place Lu Xun’s experimentations in a world critical context. Not surprisingly Derrida, Foucault, Bakhtin and Heidegger appear as paradigms for the politically engaged yet self-reflective writer. More enriching than these theorists, in my view, are Davies’ reflections on the luminosity of literature, its unique ability to de-familiarize as well as to cherish the familiar. While Lu Xun was fully (and fiercely) engaged in the internecine squabbles of the Creation Society, Crescent Moon Society and the League of Left Wing Writers, Gloria Davies shows him to be also a kindred spirit to Jorge Luis Borges, who had observed that “we grow blind to the familiar objects in our midst because they ‘serve us like silent slaves’” (313). Even while shouting about the need to free the oppressed and to answer guns with words of fire, Davies’ Lu Xun is revealed as a man who warred against the silence of an unreflective mind. The price he paid for his inner struggles was that he became haunted by metaphorical and political demons—each of which is placed in a historical and literary framework that draws deeply upon classical Chinese culture.

In the end, however, this is a book not only for historians or literary scholars. It is not even limited to cultural critics looking for a dash of comparative elegance. It is about the boundaries of moral empathy in times of social upheaval. Expanding this empathy was not only one Chinese writer’s dilemma but remains a challenge for Western intellectuals today. Lu Xun had embraced this mission with the fullness of his heart and a towering mind. Gloria Davies matches her subject every step of the way.

Vera Schwarcz, Wesleyan University, Middletown, USA

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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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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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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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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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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.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA 

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Northeast Asia


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada                                                            

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eriko Maeda, Independent Scholar, Himeji, Japan

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MIGRANT WORKERS IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN: An Institutional Perspective on Transnational Employment. Japanese Society Series. By Kiyoto Tanno; Translated by Teresa Castelvetere. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services (exclusive distributor), 2013. xxxii, 376 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$89.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92090-160-8.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan is primarily concerned with changes in social institutions within the context of globalization and the implications of these changes for the lifestyles of people living and working in Japanese society. Kiyoto Tanno regards the essence of globalization as “the reintroduction of disparities” (xvi) to relationships in the most fundamental social institution, i.e.,the division of labour. Globalization in this sense has not only dismantled Japan’s mythical tradition that made the lifetime employment and seniority-based wages of regular workers the ideological norms, but has also promoted the rapid growth of irregular workers. Within this restructuring of the Japanese labour market, Tanno draws special attention to the formation of the “transnational employment system” (xiv) that brings in labour from beyond its national borders to meet its needs. He also emphasizes that it is crucial to carefully investigate the long-unexplored “fiction (lie) surrounding workers who cross national borders” (xxx). This refers to the Japanese state’s official stance that does not recognize the existence of trans-border migrant workers engaged in so-called “unskilled” jobs because of its principal ban on the entry of these workers to Japan. With these frameworks coherently underpinning the arguments in the book, Tanno aims to disclose the economic and political logics driving the incorporation of transnational migrant workers—in particular, the Nikkeijin (Japanese descendants) mainly from Brazil who are able to work legally in Japan—into Japan’s reorganized division of labour in an era of globalization.

The book is divided into three parts.Part 1 explores the ways in which the transnational employment system has been created.With a focus on peripheral, irregular work under short-term contracts, chapter 1 shows how Japan’s labour market reform, ushered by calls for deregulation, has shifted the role of migrant workers from simply alleviating the shortages of low-skilled and low-wage labour to constituting part of the expanding insecure contract labour force.Chapter 2 describes the function of the brokers who recruit Nikkei migrant workers in Latin America and deploy them to Japan’s local labour markets, while chapter 3 demonstrates how the lifestyles of these migrant workers have been influenced by the increasing prevalence of service contracting companies that assemble flexible workforces as needed.In chapters 4 and 5, Tanno further unpacks the dynamics of the transnational employment system, highlighting the spread of stratification and diversification among migrant workers, mainly due to their ethnicity and legal status.

Part 2 of the book brings together a range of quantitative and qualitative data from primary research conducted by the author in order to empirically illustrate the development of the transnational employment system. For example, chapter 6 traces the historical inflows of the Nikkeijin as migrant workers to Japan and elucidates the ways in which the increasing demand for these workers hasbeen derived from profound changes in the Japanese management of employment contracts. Chapter 7 offers a summary of the findings from a survey of manufacturing factories in Toyota City—most of which are related to the automobile industry—and following interviews with those who identified their experience of hiring migrant workers. It illuminates emerging differences among these firms in terms of their reliance on migrant workers according to their position within the hierarchically organized subcontracting structure (known as keiretsu, which is one of the key elements that characterize Japan’s industrial relations).Based on an ethnographic study of a service contracting company in Toyota City that distributes Nikkei migrant workers to the factories, chapter 9 reveals specific labouring and living conditions imposed on these workers in Japanese society.

Finally, part 3 attempts to explore “the social foundation of [migrant] workers who straddle national borders” (xxxi), though it is not entirely clear how, exactly, the three chapters in this section are connected. Chapter 10 extends the analysis put forward in chapter 2 of the broker structure that sends the Nikkeijin from Brazil to Japan, delineating its linkage with the Japanese service-contracting companies and its transformation over time.Chapter 11 dwells on one particular court case concerning the system that grants special permission for unauthorized migrant workers to stay in Japan.Although the chapter sheds some light on the minimum requirements set by the state for unauthorized migrant workers to make their residence in Japanese society legitimate on a permanent basis, itcreates a sudden disruption from the previous discussion of the transnational employment system with a central focus on the Nikkeijin.Chapter 12 examines genealogically the definition of Japanese nationality.It should be noted that this last chapter is not in the original Japanese version of the book, and the reason for its inclusion is not clarified anywhere in this English translation.

Migrant Workers in Contemporary Japan has much to contribute to the study of transnational labour migration to Japan. Of particular importance are Tanno’s efforts to combine various original sources in order to generate a more comprehensive and empirically grounded analysis for understanding the transnational employment system under conditions of globalization. However, while carefully disclosing the complexity of the transnational employment system, this book does not precisely explore the fiction surrounding cross-border migrant workers, which, in Tanno’s view, is another key framework that endorses its arguments. The link between a transnational employment system and the fictitious perception of migrant workers should have been more clearly articulated, possibly in part 3. Indeed, another salient question left unaddressed is: How far and in what ways does the specific study of Japan contribute to a growing body of literature regarding international labour migration and globalization? Despite these shortcomings, this book must be welcomed as an important resource for researchers, activists and policy makers who are interested in global labour migration and the politics of contemporary Japan.

Hironori Onuki, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia                                         

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MORAL NATION: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History. Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes, 29. By Miriam Kingsberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xvii, 304 pp. (Figures, maps, tables, illus.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27673-4.

As a late-coming Asian nation in the West-dominant world order, Japan’s modernity consisted of constant struggles to establish itself as an equal to European and American counterparts. After Japan fully entered the global community by signing unequal treaties with Western powers in the 1850s, the country underwent a turbulent century. Japan’s assertion of autonomy soon turned into a claim to regional domination, and the country’s defeat in World War II left the nation in a state of devastation, exhaustion and despair. In her recent book Moral Nation: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History, Miriam Kingsberg tells a tale of Japan’s repeated self-reinventions as a modern nation by tracing its narcotic policies during this period.

Moral Nation chronicles three episodes of legitimacy crises and subsequent anti-narcotic moral crusades during Japan’s first century in the Westphalian system. Each episode occurred in a different geopolitical context, prompting distinctive narratives of drug use. The first episode took place in the early period of Japan’s imperialism, following their surprise victory in the Sino-Japanese War and the cession of Taiwan. Kingsberg argues that, in this early period of the Japanese Empire, narcotics policies were a key ingredient of Japan’s justification of imperialism. Opium smoking, which was prevalent in China and Taiwan but not among Japanese, became a politically useful marker for Japan to distinguish the civilized self from the uncivilized Other, for it placed non-opium-smoking Japan among Western powers and apart from their defeated and drugged Asian neighbour. In Taiwan, Japan regulated the opium trade through a government monopoly, claiming its commitment to eventual extinction of this barbaric habit of natives. This approach allowed Japan to generate a substantial profit and the approval of Western colonizers, who were also enjoying profitable opium monopolies in their own colony.

The author placed the greatest emphasis on the second episode: Japan’s increasing political isolation in a global community during the interwar era and the anti-opium crusade in the Kwantung Leased Territory (KLT). After the failure in gaining international approval for Manchukuo, Japan shifted the basis of its legitimacy claim from the Western standard to traditional Confucian values. Under the Japanese rule, the KLT’s port city of Dairen witnessed unprecedented levels of narcotic trafficking. Antidrug initiatives in the KLT employed the language of a benevolent government (jinsei) and framed drug control as a benevolent act of liberating smokers from their enslavement to opium. While the drug use in the KLT, in reality, was diverse in the choice of substance as well as the nationality of users, anti-drug discourses exclusively targeted opium addicts, who were predominantly Chinese. The narrow focus of the moral crusade on opium resonated with a larger political narrative of the salvation of colonial subjects by civilized Japan; however, it did not help eradicate the actual problem of wide-spread narcotic addiction in the region.

The third episode in the book is a methamphetamine epidemic called the “hiropon age” and anti-meth crusade during the 1950s in Japan. Methamphetamine, which was legal in Japan until 1950 and was marketed as a safe and inexpensive stimulant by major pharmaceutical companies, rapidly gained popularity in postwar Japan. The fact that meth users were neither other nationals nor colonial subjects, but the Japanese themselves, led to different narratives of drug addiction and a distinct orchestration of anti-drug initiatives. In the moral crusade against meth, Japanese addicts were seen as an embodiment of the bruised and humiliated nation; conquering the meth problem became a symbolic act of re-establishing Japan as a modern nation with its former strength, confidence and high moral ground.

Moral Nation, meticulously researched and sensibly written, is a welcome addition to the library of Japanese studies. By examining Japan’s symbolic boundary-making and identity assertion through the lens of narcotic policies, Kingsberg makes a fresh contribution to a growing body of research of modern Japanese national identity. Critical criminologists have repeatedly reported the political use of anti-narcotics policies as means to stigmatize particular groups and legitimize their subordination. The book contributes to broader historical studies of social problems through its careful examination of the cultural production of drug problems.

The book also comes with some weaknesses. Kingsberg uses moral entrepreneurship as the book’s core theoretical framework. While the author astutely acknowledges the substantial diversity in narcotic discourses and roles of different actors such as merchants, law enforcement, scientists and medical doctors, the book frequently refers to unidentified ‘moral entrepreneurs’ as if they had been a unified entity. Such generic use of the label blurs the multiplicity of voices in moral crusades. Compared to rich discussions on narcotic policies in the interwar period, the book’s coverage of the hiropon age, contained in the last chapter, is limited both in the breadth of data and the depth of analysis. Furthermore, the lack of a clear conclusion may leave a reader with a sense of incompleteness. A concluding chapter that examines the lasting consequences of these narcotic moral crusades might provide a better ending to the book.

While Moral Nation exclusively focuses on a period between the 1850s and 1950s, the value of this volume goes beyond historical specificities. The political dynamics articulated in the book offer a useful perspective for sociologists, criminologists, political scientists and social historians who are eager to learn the use of deviance in the construction of self, other and nationhood.

Ryoko Yamamoto, State University of New York
College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, USA                                               

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REGIONALIZING CULTURE: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia. By Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxv, 230 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$42.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3694-8.

In an information age, our globalized world is increasingly impacted not only by the intraregional and interregional flows of financial capital but also by the movements of cultural commodities. While the cultural industry worldwide continues to boom, it is now one of the hottest business trends in Asia. Particularly in East Asia, the sector of popular culture products has experienced rapid growth in recent years, fuelled by a large number of emerging middle-class consumers with higher disposable income. From such a viewpoint, this book gains importance and assumes a responsibility for timeliness.

Structured in six chapters excluding a general introduction, the single-authored volume has become a reality with funding, logistic and advisory supports received from a number of related sources, institutions and people. It endeavours to explore a regionalized system of Japan’s popular culture proliferation in urban East Asia, and to examine the illustrative effect of its cultural industries on the dynamics of East Asian regional formation. As its findings reveal, the country’s popular culture products have been widely disseminated and consumed in many East Asian cities over the last three decades. The researcher’s core argument is that cultural industries underpin regionalization in East Asia by creating regional markets and propagating a regionwide transformation of the structural framework for commodifying and appropriating culture. I would however like to present my following straightforward feedback about this publication.

First, it is clear that the research has been conducted on East and Southeast Asia. But as the author clarifies, “In this study, East Asia refers to both Northeast and Southeast Asia” (185), the term “Asia” used in the book’s subtitle is misleading. While “Asia” and “East Asia” have been interchangeably used throughout the volume, other subregions of the greater Asian continent (South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and North Asia), where the rate of Japanese pop-culture diffusion is relatively low, are clearly left out.

Second, with a concise conceptual analysis about “popular culture” and “high culture,” the researcher has used the term “popular culture” to refer to commercial cultural commodities mainly including music, animation and television dramas. It is also good that an integrated “political economy” approach has been utilized in the study. When a link between political economy and popular culture has been made, a difference between regionalization and regionalism has essentially been shown as well. Nonetheless, this transregional research project should have been realized by an international political economy approach. In this connection, it seems excessive that the book covers almost a chapter-long description on the production mechanisms, local markets and organizational concerns of the Japanese image factories.

Third, to be more skeptical, this volume begins with some inconsistent statements recognizing the potential of soft power for the East Asian governments and publics while at the same time viewing Japan’s ever-expanding cultural export industry as a multibillion-dollar business. Since the author himself has rightly asked “If we can think of economy and security as factors that define a region, why shouldn’t we be able to think of popular culture in the same way?” (184), it is seriously questioning the relevance of the entire book. Actually, he has paid more attention to the “economic aspects” and placed less emphasis on the “political affairs.” In other words, this study basically deals with the mass-commercialization of Japanese cultural exports for money making, and it does not investigate how the politics of Japanese popular culture as ideological values can help shape the contemporary East Asian international relations order.

Fourth, the researcher has of course better justified the rationale for selecting Japan as a useful case study. Besides, the research is basically based on fieldworks at several hybrid cultural cities in the region comprising Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok and Seoul. Moreover, this practically grounded project includes in-depth interviews with 68 cultural industry insiders in addition to a survey of primary sources in Japanese, English and other languages. But I am not so convinced by the research results. More concretely, when the author has disclosed “The research focuses on East Asia’s nine biggest markets for Japanese cultural exports” (xxiv), a full-fledged chapter on any above-mentioned city (except Tokyo) might have made genuine sense. In fact, he regards Japan’s pop-culture industries as a forerunner “regional model” of production and circulation, and tells us numerous success stories of its highly profitable manufacturing enterprises. Frankly speaking, he has taken neither a logical approach to fault-finding nor a bold stance throughout the volume. It is a major problem.

Fifth, when the concluding chapter summarizes the book’s main findings and it ends with some questions, it would have been valuable for the well-informed readers if this section had sharply answered the following pressing and stimulating questions: (1) Why is Japan despite its status as a pop-culture powerhouse failing to mobilize the nation’s available soft power resources so that it can exercise more cultural influence globally? (2) How can the country project its goodwill of “Cool Japan” around the whole geography of Asia given that Japan still has image problems in East and Southeast Asia for its imperialist past? (3) How does Tokyo’s public diplomacy relate to the strategic interests of Japan as a leader in East Asia and more specifically as a counterweight to Beijing as China’s thriving economy makes it more powerful and attractive?

Finally, when it comes to my overall assessment, regardless of a few weak points and some gaps in coverage, the principal purpose of this book has been realized in a rewarding manner. In the publishing world, there are already many books (written mainly by sociologists) on East Asian popular culture in general. But I have not found any piece that specifically analyzes the regionalization of Japanese cultural industries within a political-economic context. By doing so, it fills an academic gap in globalization studies literature on cross-cultural relations. I understand that this young scholar has shown passion, patience and true commitment to his field of specialization to produce this volume, for which Nissim Otmazgin is congratulated. Because of its distinctiveness, the volume can be suggested for everyone involved and interested in the subject-matter.

Monir Hossain Moni, Asia Pacific Institute for Global Studies, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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GENDER AND LAW IN THE JAPANESE IMPERIUM. Edited by Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. ix, 301 pp. (Table, graph.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3715-0.

Susan Burns and Barbara Brooks have put together a markedly revisionist anthology, with nine case studies analyzing legal reforms concerning prostitution, reproduction, sexuality, female criminality and family, while paying attention to relationships between Japan and the West, Japan and its colonies, and state and society.

Following Burns’ introduction, chapters are organized thematically in three parts. In part 1, Douglas Howland and Sally Hastings discuss the origin and abolishment of legalized prostitution in modern Japan. Howland examines the 1872 Maria Luz Incident, which juxtaposed the similarly inhumane indentured labour practices of Chinese coolies and prostitutes. Kanagawa assistant governor Ōe Taku, in charge of this case, established a legal context in improving conditions for prostitutes, propelled by Japan’s desire to present itself as a civilized and humanitarian, and thereby modern nation, in the international labour migration debate. Hastings investigates another action to liberate prostitutes from mistreatment in the 1950s. Newly enfranchised and elected female Diet representatives, in favour of eradicating prostitution, regarded prostitutes as victims of human rights violations. Not everyone, however, shared this view, as brothel owners and unionized prostitutes advocated for their right to work. For bipartisan female Diet members, the passage of the 1956 Prostitution Prevention Law was bitter-sweet because, while selling daughters was made illegal, prostitution itself was not.

Part 2 investigates criminal and penal law with an emphasis on applications beyond definitions. Using actual court cases involving abortion and infanticide in the early Meiji period, Susan Burns challenges Fujime Yuki’s influential theory of the prewar judicial system as gendered and oppressive, designed to limit women’s reproductive and sexual choices. Rulings demonstrate that gender biases against female reproducers were remarkably limited, as their male sexual partners as well as parents and in-laws were routinely punished for reproductive crimes. Similarly, in his examination of the legal double standard of adultery, Herald Fuess presents court decisions which were more sympathetic toward wives than adulterous husbands by granting the former divorce through some liberal interpretation of laws. Daniel Botsman’s chapter illuminates that men and women in premodern Japan committed different types of crimes. The gendered pattern of crimes and punishment did not change following the post-1868 “modernization” of Japan’s penal system. His study tentatively links an intriguing decline of female prisoners during interwar years to the medicalization of female criminality and calls for further investigations. Darryl Flaherty’s richly contextual study of female criminality focuses on a very specific event, the 1928 Tokyo Court’s first jury trial of alleged arsonist-for-insurance Yamafuji Kanko. The all-male jury trial upheld Yamafuji’s acquittal precisely because she was a woman in need of paternalistic sympathy. This portrayal of women reinforced the prevailing gender stereotypes, which ironically coincided with such democratizing and hierarchy-fighting experiments as the jury system, “new women” and “modern girls.”

Part 3 highlights legal decentralization and centralizing efforts in the Japanese empire. Diverse legal definitions of family existed because Japan allowed customary laws in Taiwan and Korea. Chen Chao-ju offers a new theoretical reading of a customary law governing the Taiwanese tradition of sim-pua, an adoption of a young girl who was often expected to marry her adoptive brother, which invited later interventions by Japanese authorities. Legal handbooks informed the late Barbara Brooks of how the boundary that divided colonizer and colonized through separate household registration systems was “porous” (219), as Japanese women married colonial men and they had “hybrid” offspring. Matsutani Motokazu’s study of the bitterly detested sōshi kaimei (often translated as name-changing) policy rejects the commonly held view that the policy, issued in 1939, reflected Japan’s intent to promote assimilation by means of the forced adoption of Japanese names at the expense of Korean identity. Matsutani’s provocative essay concludes that the central tenet of the policy was to “reform” the traditional Korean family system so that it could align with the Japanese family system. Incidentally, women, who had been used to retaining their natal family’s clan name (sei) after their marriage, came to share the same newly created family name (shi) with their husbands.

From these summaries, one may sense new sources, approaches, perspectives and interpretations in the volume. Additional examples sustain the important claim that this volume is indeed revisionist (7). A comparative approach is particularly productive. According to Fuess, “[a]s adultery laws evolved, change did not proceed exclusively in a linear fashion as a story of women’s liberation, nor did all the Western models that were evoked support notions of gender equality” (110). His discussion reveals that the adultery law of supposedly progressive and egalitarian France and that of supposedly conservative and male-chauvinistic Japan were strikingly similar. Likewise, Chen notes that Taiwan’s customary succession system had exhibited greater “equality” than that of Japan, typically deemed more “modern” than its “backward” colony (204). Botsman also challenges “any simplistic equation of mass incarceration with modernity” since “imprisonment was already a relatively important form of punishment for women” in late Tokugawa Japan (137). Matsutani’s discussion on whether a woman would take the family name of her husband upon marriage could have been used to question the linearity of feminist master narrative as well. As Burns mentions, in contemporary Japan and the world, feminists argue requiring the one (often husband’s) surname for a married couple is discriminatory (14), and a wife’s retention of her maiden name can be seen as progressive and liberating. However, as Matsutani illuminates, Japan’s “modernizing reform” regarding Korea’s family system moved in an opposite direction by promoting one last name within a family, though not only female identity, but also choice was at stake. Taken together, all this evidence pushes us to reevaluate the oversimplified notion that the modern West was a source of inspiration and model for progress elsewhere, as well as the question of what is “liberation” for women.

If they are looking for thought-provoking ideas in discourse analyses rather than recovery of women’s voice, scholars and students in Japanese and comparative gender history will benefit from this finely edited volume with coherent and mutually cross-referenced chapters.

Sumiko Otsubo, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, USA

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RACE FOR EMPIRE: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II. Asia Pacific Modern, 7. By T. Fujitani. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013, c2011. xxi, 488 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28021-2.

T. Fujitani’s Race for Empire is a very insightful book that examines how the authorities in both the United States and Japan actively sought to integrate a key ethnic minority—Japanese Americans in the US and Koreans in the Japanese Empire—within the nation and have them actively participate in their respective war efforts. This required the creation and dissemination of a new discourse that reinvented the traditional relationship between nation, race and soldiering, a discourse which denied the existence of racial discrimination within their borders. Fujitani’s objective is not to describe in detail the soldiers’ experiences during the war, but rather to “utilize the two sites of soldiering as optics through which to examine the larger operations and structures of the two changing empires … as they struggled to manage racialized populations within the larger demands of conducting total war” (6). Another recurrent theme is how both empires used these soldiers as part of their wartime propaganda offensive to, as Edwin Reischauer stated in a 1942 memorandum, “[win] the peace” (102).

Part 1 of the book exposes the theoretical framework which sustains—and, in a real sense, drives—the analysis. Drawing on Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and bio-politics, Fujitani argues that, faced with the irrevocable exigencies implied by the logic of total war, both governments were progressively driven to enfold the heretofore unwanted populations and to tap them for soldiers and workers for their wartime industries. Officials deployed modern technologies of bio-power and governmentality to nurture and control these individuals, effectively turning them into free-thinking citizens and giving them the right to die for their nation. As Fujitani indicates, however, the discursive shift which allowed the minorities’ passage from the periphery to within the nation did not completely erase all forms of discrimination against them: while the more blatant, “vulgar” expressions of racism were officially denounced and repudiated, other forms of racism (which Fujitani refers to as “polite”) persisted. The first chapter of part 2 thus examines the American authorities’ efforts to discursively integrate the Japanese-American population within the nation and to collect its energies for their war effort. The second chapter offers samples of the reactions of the targeted individuals to this new discourse and their various attempts to negotiate their place within the nation, while the third chapter is dedicated to the analysis of Robert Pirosh’s movie Go for Broke (MGM, 1951), presented as representative of the new, “politely racist” discourse. In part 3, Fujitani follows a similar approach as he shifts the focus to the Koreans in the Japanese empire.

Missing from Race for Empire is any formal attempt to systematically compare the experiences of both ethnic minorities as they navigated their way into their respective nation. The author does, however, expertly bring into conversation a number of elements which, taken together, challenge our understanding of loyalty and patriotism, and subvert received narratives sustaining national identities. For example, upon describing how many Koreans reacted positively to volunteer recruitment drives for the Japanese imperial army, Fujitani writes that “[t]he idea that they might respond with patriotism to a regime that continued to discriminate against them despite official disavowals of racism is only as absurd or reasonable as the notion that patriotic Japanese Americans volunteered out of internment camps to defend the freedom they did not have” (251). More broadly, Fujitani does not shy away from showcasing Japanese Americans and Koreans as seeking to improve their own socio-economic situation, sometimes at the expense of other political and ethical considerations: that is why, for example, many Japanese Americans asked for guarantees in exchange for their unconditional loyalty (176). When we consider the fact that the total number of Japanese-American volunteers was well below the government’s targets, this undermines the “model minority” discourse which lauded the Japanese Americans’ participation in the war, and thus confronts the postwar myth of America as a multiracial and multiethnic democracy with its own contradictions. Conversely, Fujitani warns against the uncritical acceptance of the narrative according to which all militarized Koreans were unwilling victims of the colonial power, as a large proportion of volunteers were economically well off. He writes: “those who benefited materially from colonialism and the possibility of incorporation into the expanded concept of ‘Japan’ had the most to gain from acting as if they were loyal to the Japanese nation” (251). The overall result is a delicately nuanced, decidedly fair, study of the processes through which the two warring empires redefined their “problematic” ethnic minorities into idealized ones, and how these populations responded to their new circumstances as free, calculating agents.

Race for Empire is an outstanding contribution to a growing number of studies focusing on racial politics in Japan and the United States, which began in earnest with John Dower’s War Without Mercy (Pantheon Books, 1986). Canadian scholars will undoubtedly draw useful comparisons with Mutual Hostages (University of Toronto Press, 1990), by Patricia Roy et al., and especially Stephanie Bangarth’s Voices Raised in Protest (UBC Press, 2008) and Greg Robinson’s A Tragedy of Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2009), books which engage, at least partly, with the question of race and the wartime treatment of Japanese Canadians in a transnational setting. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Race for Empire nevertheless feels like it should have brought the concept of “race” under more critical scrutiny, especially as it evolved from what is, apparently, a strictly biological phenomenon to one with more cultural undertones. For example, Fujitani notes how Japanese American volunteers who practiced “quintessentially Japanese and nationalistic sports” such as kendo and judo were rejected as a result of the authorities’ cultural racism (154). In fact, however, many martial arts dojo on the American West Coast were in a trans-Pacific relationship with such nationalist organizations as the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, which included individuals with proven, strong links with the Japanese military. That members of these dojo would appear suspicious to the American military during times of war is not racist in itself. This should not, however, detract from what is otherwise an excellent book.

Daniel Lachapelle Lemire, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

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OPENING A WINDOW TO THE WEST: The Foreign Concession at Kōbe, Japan, 1868-1899. By Peter Ennals. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xxiii, 237 pp. (Maps, illus.) US$29.48, paper. ISBN 978-1442614161.

Japanese treaty ports have been neglected as a subject of study by foreign historians so it now almost appears as if nineteenth-century globalization bypassed Japan’s harbours. In Japan, treaty ports now symbolize a time when Japanese sovereignty was impaired by the “unequal treaties,” which is a period the public would rather forget. From a comparative perspective, Japanese treaty ports also seem less interesting to global historians, as this era was rather short in Japan (1859-1899) and limited to a few places. By Chinese standards the foreign community in Japan remained small while the Japanese government also took meticulous care in ensuring that foreigners did not transgress treaty boundaries so these ports did not become stepping stones for further imperialistic encroachment. As a result, Japanese treaty ports, which used to be the main places of cultural and economic interaction between Japan and the outside world, are marginalized in Japanese and international history. Peter Ennals, a Canadian professor emeritus of geography, has now published a very readable, well-informed concise history of the Foreign Concession in Kobe, which together with Yokohama, was Japan’s main international port in the late nineteenth century.

In the first three chapters of his book Ennals places Kobe geopolitically in the broader region and leads us through the establishment of the physical and political infrastructure of the foreign concession in relation to the native town of Hyōgo. When Kobe opened in 1869, ten years after Yokohama, its foreign planners wanted it to become a better location to work and live for middle-class Western merchants than other East Asian treaty ports. Just like other planned international settlements of the time, it included a grid-pattern for housing lots with streets and canalization, and a waterfront imitating the famous Bund at Shanghai, with the prominent building of a Japanese customs house for clearance of all international transactions. Unlike more nationally fragmented treaty ports, Kobe’s Foreign Settlement was united administratively and thus able to conduct its municipal development more effectively. This common core, designed to enable Western merchants in their business and maintain facilities for residents, manifested itself in a large brick municipal building for council meetings, which also housed a fire brigade, rooms for consular courts, and even a jail. The transient Western population of sailors, however, was provided for through inns and grogshops in the native town and high property prices in the settlement induced a stronger social segregation than for example in Yokohama.

The next two chapters explain Kobe’s economic basis. Silk and cotton textiles formed the backbone of Japan’s international trade and industry in the nineteenth century. Ennals shows how merchants at Kobe went through a period of trial and error, hoping to match Yokohama’s strength in silk exports, but failing due to market inexperience. The 1870s for them turned out to be rather disappointing. Eventually Kobe settled on its competitive economic advantage: assembling, processing and selling Japanese green tea to the American West and to Canada. The green tea export market thus came to influence the urban landscape in the Kobe settlement. Godown storage spaces with tea firing facilities and Japanese day labourers to handle tea leaves turned into a common sight. The seasonality of the tea trade meant very busy and intensive seasons followed by a stretch of time with much lower commercial activity. While North America became the prime destination of Kobe tea, the trade was mostly organized by British merchants with a surprisingly weak American presence, which was more prominent in the Yokohama silk trade. The economic chapters pay more attention to the initial years than Kobe’s burgeoning import trade, even though Kobe’s key economic success was its emergence as Japan’s leading import harbour, surpassing Yokohama by 1893. The reason Kobe’s second-largest group of foreign merchants was from Germany, which remained an insignificant destination for Japanese exports, may also have been related to the fact that German imports and shipping to Japan was on the rise. Foreign entrepreneurs later engaged in industrial activities such as the repair and building of ships as well as paper production but the most promising ventures were eventually bought by Japanese investors.

The last three chapters explore the social dimensions of the Foreign Settlement, which was separated by “Division Street” from the older Japanese town. Just like other treaty ports with an expatriate community where men outnumbered women, selective clubs and physical recreations provided an important venue of male sociability. The Kobe Club became the premier gentlemen’s club with a strict dress code and a bar. The Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club, with the support of the municipal council, turned a former river valley adjacent to the concession into sports grounds for horse racing, cricket, soccer and a gymnasium that could also be used for theater performances. Protestant missionaries established schools teaching English and the Bible.

Peter Ennals’ excellent and pioneering study relies exclusively on English-language material. British and American perspectives are thus well documented through diplomatic reports, corporate archives and the English-language local press, which also catered to other Western nationalities. To what extent Kobe, as the book title suggests, “Opened a Window to the West” or remained an extraterritorial enclave with limited local impact is more difficult to assess. As a showcase model of overseas life, Kobe’s role in introducing the Japanese people to Western culture and politics can be deduced in the partial spread of Western-style architecture in the Japanese part of town but we also know that despite all earnest missionary efforts in Kobe and elsewhere, the spread of Christianity often disappointed the proselytizers. Kobe in the nineteenth century appeared to be a port for processing and moving goods more than people, with Japanese overseas passenger traffic not yet playing a major role. One wonders how the overall narrative would need to be amended when continental European, Japanese or Chinese sources and voices were integrated more fully into the picture. This caveat does not detract from the fact that Peter Ennals has written a wonderful history of the Foreign Settlement at Kobe, which appears especially strong in its analysis of spatial developments and patterns of architecture.

Harald Fuess, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany                                                               

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EXPERIMENTAL BUDDHISM: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. By John K. Nelson. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxiv, 292 pp. (B&W photos, figure, table.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3898-0.

Modern pressures of rapid global development are being keenly felt by religious institutions around the world. Their future will depend to a great extent on how readily religious leaders can adjust to these changes while still maintaining relevance for their members. John K. Nelson’s Experimental Buddhism, anew study of this phenomenon in contemporary Japan, is a welcome addition to Asian cultural studies, providing an intimate and well-researched examination of a wide range of efforts currently being made by major Buddhist denominations to survive the current competition for hearts and minds in the new globalized Japan.

A cultural anthropologist from the University of San Francisco, Nelson has produced important written works and documentaries surveying the current Japanese landscape of religious meaning and practice. In the present work, through a series of interviews with priests and administrators from 40 different Buddhist temples, the author attempts to uncover the kinds of changes being tested to slow the recent dramatic decrease in parishioners, and to offer new entryways to Buddhism that would attract greater levels of interest among various demographics. Nelson states in his introduction that the book provides a broad survey of these experiments across a number of denominations, without focusing extensively on any one institution. In order to maintain flexibility, he also recognizes that he could not rely on a single methodology, but rather needed to employ several approaches across disciplines in order to respond effectively to the unique challenges of the study.

Beginning his first chapter with a striking example of the kinds of experimentation occurring among long-established temples in Japan, Nelson relates the story of a 400-year-old Pure Land temple in Kyoto that burned to the ground, killing the head priest. The priest’s eldest son left Kyoto for another location, and what was left had to be run by a board of advisors. Faced with little political or economic support, they rented out parking spaces on the temple grounds for a period of time, and eventually designed a seven-story tenant building with shopping, restaurants and bars on the first six floors, and a temple on the seventh. Because the temple lost most of its parishioners after the fire, its uncertain future will depend almost completely on the ability of the tenants to continue making a profit.

In chapter 2, Nelson provides a brief, yet informative history of Japanese Buddhism, and then focuses on three denominational headquarters (Tendai, Sōtō and Pure Land), to provide greater detail about approaches taken by administrative officials to improve public interest. The next chapter of the text, “Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism,” responds to the common question, “Does Buddhism really have anything to offer the social world given the practices of renunciation and the primary concern for personal liberation?” Nelson answers the question in the affirmative, finding evidence throughout Buddhist history of monks providing for the social good. In contemporary Japan temples are attempting to become more relevant to the citizens they serve by responding to concrete problems of human suffering. Two prominent examples provided by the author are suicide prevention programs, and aid for victims of the March 11, 2011 “triple disaster” earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.

In chapters 4 and 5 Nelson surveys a range of temple experiments, first detailing the approaches of four prototypes, and in chapter 5, examining some of the more ground-breaking, even risky, attempts at innovation. The chosen temple prototypes in chapter 4 tend to have common narratives involving a disillusioned or jaded young priest who, after experiencing a life-altering moment, chooses to return to temple life with a new vision. There is a Pure Land priest who only sees possibilities for his vocation after witnessing the devastating effects of the Kobe earthquake and Aum Shinrikyō attacks in 1995. Creating a new temple, not in the funerary business, but rather one offering a calendar of lectures, concerts and performances, his mission is to become a credible source of “learning, healing and enjoyment” (117). There is also a Rinzai priest who finds his calling in caring for child victims of the Chernobyl incident who are suffering from thyroid cancer; a priest of a prominent temple in Nara establishes “Everyone’s Temple” in the shopping district of the city, available to anyone who wants to walk in and receive counseling; a Pure Land priest opens a drinking establishment in Ōsaka, an astute means of conversing with customers in a relaxed environment. Other temple innovations surveyed in chapter 5 include temple web sites, pet memorials, organizations for temple wives, chanting concerts, musical performances in rock, jazz and rap, and fashion shows of priestly robes. In the final chapter of the text Nelson concludes that the future of Buddhism in Japan remains uncertain, and there is no telling whether or not the experiments currently being tried by temple priests will prove to be successful in achieving a sustained relevance for the general public.

Because Nelson limits his interviews to priests belonging to prominent denominations, there are certainly some gaps in his study. More interviews with parishioners would have provided greater understanding of the actual effectiveness of temple experiments. Investigating New Religions would have clarified how these rival institutions may be influencing the changes being made in the more traditional sects. But Experimental Buddhism fills an important need in the study of contemporary Japanese Buddhism, illustrating the kinds of challenges facing the clergy, and the necessities of making meaningful changes in everyday temple life in order to respond to the needs of persons living in the twenty-first century. The text would make a fine addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses in contemporary Asian studies or cultural Buddhism. Nelson writes in an engaging and accessible manner, and students will find great pleasure in reading the pages of his book.

Victor Forte, Albright College, Reading, USA         

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JAPANESE PERCEPTIONS OF FOREIGNERS. Japanese Society Series. Edited by Shunsuke Tanabe. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Portland, OR: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2013. xviii, 182 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$79.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-920901-54-7.

This book is an English translation of a work published in 2011 in Japanese that deals with Japanese perceptions of issues related to migration and their interrelation with political views. The analysis is based on results from a nationwide survey held in 2009 that focused on eight themes: nationalism, immigration, coexistence society (or tabunka kyōsei), citizenship, neoliberalism, support for political parties, swing voters and populism. Subjects were Japanese nationals aged 20 to 79 years and the authors collected 3610 samples, with a 43.4 percent return rate. The themes covered by the survey correspond with the topics of the eight chapters, which are organized into two groups: the first deals mainly with issues related to perceptions of migrants and the second focuses more on political views and their interrelation with immigration-related issues. Overall, this book presents a significant contribution to the still infrequent quantitative studies of Japanese perceptions of the growing foreign population in general and to relating these to political orientations and social characteristics of populations in particular. As the editor himself emphasizes, issues of nationalism, anti-foreign sentiments and political attitudes have tended to be considered separately in Japan and the integrative approach presented here underlines the significance of this work.

In the introduction, Shunsuke Tanabe outlines the background to this study: the changing face of nationalism in the age of globalization, a growing foreign population in what was once believed to be a single-ethnic Japan, and the relationship between an increasingly fluid political situation and (the new) nationalism in Japan. One of the characteristics of this survey is that it was conducted after the general elections in 2009 that meant a change of ruling parties in Japan after more than five decades. This is mainly related to the second part of the book, yet issues concerning foreign residents, such as suffrage, have been on the political agenda of the new ruling party as well. In the first chapter, Tanabe challenges the simplistic views of a relationship between political stances and nationalism and elaborates on the factors contained in the term nationalism in present-day Japan. In particular, he focuses on the views of ordinary people and outlines three dimensions of nationalism in Japan: patriotism, exclusivism and purism. These three dimensions, which he explains and describes both theoretically and empirically, represent core concepts that connect the remaining chapters of the book. The second chapter deals with differences in opinions on foreign residents in Japan by respondent’s occupation, education or region. Unsurprisingly, those with managerial jobs, a higher level of education and more contact with foreigners view the contribution of foreigners to the economy in more positive terms. On the other hand, blue-collar workers tend to see foreigners’ role more negatively and these views are associated with purism and patriotism. The third chapter focuses on support for multicultural coexistence in Japan. The author identifies four major types of perceptions of multicultural coexistence based on the degree of acceptance of equal rights and willingness for communication. The ideal type of autonomous coexistence, when both equal rights and mutual communication are promoted, has been found only among around 30 percent of respondents whereas the majority have more exclusionary ideas of coexistence. The fourth chapter aims to uncover the determinants of support for the political rights of foreign nationals in Japan. Indeed, the results confirmed the hypothesized relationship between purism and patriotism on the one hand and the support for suffrage on the other. Interestingly, however, the author found no correlation between support for suffrage and the socio-economic situation of an individual. This uncovers an intriguing point: the relatively tolerant views of socio-economically well-situated individuals towards migrants do not necessarily translate into support for migrants’ political rights.

Chapters in the second part of the book focus more on the contemporary trends among voters in Japan. Due to the brevity of the review, I focus here only on results related to views on migrants. The fifth chapter focuses on aspects of neo-liberalism and discusses their correlation with nationalism. Patriotism in particular was found to be strongly related to all aspects of neo-liberalism. The sixth chapter analyzes the shift in voter support after the general elections in 2009. In regard to migrants, the analysis uncovers a link between LDP support and low support for extending rights to foreigners. The seventh chapter scrutinizes the voting preferences and socio-economic characteristics of swing voters and shows that those swinging to DPJ were more tolerant toward migrants. The eighth chapter analyzes the characteristics of supporters of populist politicians. Similar to LDP voters, populist supporters are also inclined to be more patriotic and less tolerant towards an extension of foreigners’ rights. The book concludes with Tanabe’s chapter summarizing the main findings and discussing the new nationalism in Japan in light of these findings.

Whereas the findings of this survey suggest some important and interesting points about views concerning foreign nationals in Japan, the analysis and discussion of the results tend to be limited in some places. For example, the discussion of support for the rights of foreigners is largely limited to that of suffrage, although the data provide views concerning other social or civic rights as well and the author undertook a considerably more elaborate analysis and discussion of a similar topic elsewhere (Kikuko Nagayoshi, “Support of Multiculturalism, But For Whom? Effects of Ethno-National Identity on the Endorsement of Multiculturalism in Japan,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37, no. 4: 561-78). Furthermore, whereas the particulars of the sample of this survey are sometimes discussed (e.g., 18), a more comprehensive discussion is lacking elsewhere. For instance, the authors do not discuss some major differences (21) in their results with other similar surveys such as ISSP’s module National Identities. Nonetheless, the book represents a valuable contribution to studies on migrants and their acceptance in Japanese society and it unveils, through empirical methods, links between various aspects of nationalism, political orientation and socio-economic characteristics.

Miloš Debnár, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

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THE NATURE OF THE BEASTS: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo. Asia: Local Studies/Global Themes, 27. By Ian Jared Miller; foreword by Harriet Ritvo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xxvii, 322 pp. (Figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-271869.

“The zoological garden thrives in a culture of alienation that it helps to produce,” writes Ian Jared Miller in his impressive The Nature of Beasts (20). Miller deconstructs the history of Tokyo’s Ueno Park Imperial Zoological Garden—once the exhibitionary crown jewel of Japan’s Empire—in order to reveal the distinct human structures, institutions and values that have shaped Japan’s visions of the natural world from the 1880s through the post-World War II period. As Miller demonstrates, the Ueno Zoo and its exhibitions were an attempt by zoo administrators, scientists, colonial authorities, nationalist bureaucrats and Japanese patrons to seek “the wellspring of humanity” (20) in a modern world that was increasingly industrial, urban and disorienting. The zoo itself served as an institutional metaphor for a people and an empire seeking to achieve revitalization, but ultimately struggling to negotiate fantasies of nature with the complex realities of war, colonialism, national sacrifice and potential extinction.

In its struggle to make sense of the natural world as most zoos do, the Ueno Zoo was a product and producer of what Miller calls “ecological modernity”(2)—human beings’ attempts to situate themselves and non-human nature in the modern world. The first two chapters consider the establishment of the Ueno Zoo as a mechanism of evolutionary theory, modernization and imperialism that was designed to separate human beings from the rest of nature. In doing so, zoo administrators and scientists envisioned a broader mission of instructing the Japanese people of their own separateness and special mission in the world. By the early twentieth century, Japanese imperialism across East and Southeast Asia broadened the zoological horizons of the Japanese people by offering new exotic wildlife trophies for display. The Ueno Zoo did the important ideological work of empire by providing a colonial outlet for Japanese immersion in the natural and seemingly authentic. These distinct representations concealed the brutal realities of colonial war and reminded patrons of where Japan was gloriously headed, as was powerfully reflected in the name of a female giraffe born at the zoo in 1942: “South” (85).

The third and fourth chapters deal entirely with the zoo in wartime. In further blurring boundaries, the Ueno Zoo mobilized its animals for the purposes of total war as dogs, pigeons, elephants, camels, yaks and especially war horses were celebrated and memorialized. Animal displays projected patriotic messages of civilian production and soldierly duty. By far, the most powerful episode comes in chapter 4, when the Tokyo municipal government and zoo officials organized the 1943 massacre of dozens of zoo animals (a process occurring across Japan’s dwindling empire). Faced with increasing food shortages and security concerns over escaped animals during impending air raids, Tokyo and Ueno Zoo administrators utilized the excruciating killing of its popular animal residents as a potent ideological demonstration of national martyrdom in the face of imminent destruction. Through the killing and subsequent pageantry memorializing the animals, “the Great Zoo Massacre” offered a coded language to discuss the unthinkable issue of defeat. This traumatic event proved to be a moment of rupture in the zoo’s history as the full excesses of the war’s sacrifices sparked a move away from civilizational collapse and towards the gradual embrace of human redemption in the face of extinction. The final two chapters examine this transition in the context of the postwar zoo and how it became an institutional incarnation of postwar Japan itself. In a rejection of the nation’s recent past, Ueno embraced a children’s zoo to teach Japan’s postwar children lessons in productivity, social order, innocence and human compassion for animals. The Children’s Zoo embodied the broader pains of postwar trauma, normalizing relations with the United States, demilitarizing both humans and animals, and concealing Japan’s colonial past. Miller finishes by examining the more recent history of Ueno’s attempts to breed pandas. This process entailed the “panda diplomacy” of rebuilding ties with China, but it also revealed Japan’s latest phase of ecological modernity: enclosing the natural world for its own protection from human exploitation. As Miller demonstrates, ecological modernity has reached perhaps its most problematic stage. Ueno Zoo’s attempts to artificially reproduce threatened species as a cure for mass extinction have only highlighted the paradoxes of the very same modernity that originally fueled such a crisis.

In exploring the Ueno Zoo and broader Japanese imperial cultural attitudes towards the natural world, Miller offers a necessary non-Western history of such exhibitions alongside the other great histories of zoos, including Harriet Ritvo’s The Animal Estate (Harvard University Press, 1987) and Nigel Rothfels’s Savages and Beasts (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). Miller’s contribution, however, offers a fundamentally different framework for understanding zoos during the height of global imperialism. Prevailing narratives in recent Japanese environmental histories, as well as zoo histories more generally, emphasize decline: either the decline of humanity’s intimacy with the natural world or the decline of nature itself. As Miller argues, the Ueno Zoo, through its contributions to ecological modernity, offers a story neither of environmental decline, nor institutional progress, but rather a narrative of negotiations and contradictions through humans’ attempts to situate themselves in nature. In doing so, Miller presents one of the first major histories of zoos to be situated explicitly within the Anthropocene, a geological epoch typified by humanity’s impact on most aspects of life on Earth. By historicizing the Anthropocene through the story of Japan’s empire over nature, Miller successfully deploys cultural history as a mechanism for understanding the complex human behaviours and structures that have produced and impeded our full understanding of humanity’s place in nature, climate change and ongoing mass extinctions. The Nature of Beasts is a critical intervention in global zoo, environmental and Japanese histories. It stands on its own as a fascinating and thoughtful history, but also provides opportunities for future scholarly exploration into patterns of human dominion over nature across the East Asian world.

Noah Cincinnati, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, USA                                     

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PRECARIOUS JAPAN. By Anne Allison. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. x, 246 pp. US$23.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5562-5.

The cover of Anne Allison’s new publication sets the tone for the whole book. It is a photograph by Dominic Nahr of two elderly Japanese women who have taken refuge in a school after the triple disaster of 3.11. The two women are looking anxiously into a dark forest beyond a parking lot, under a gloomy sky. They seem shaken by what has happened to them, but the photographs also convey the impression that they are even more worried about future events; it is as if a dark force may be lurking out in the wilderness, ready to engulf them. Whilst this is unquestionably a high-quality picture, one also feels somehow reminded of a horror movie poster. The same can be said about the content of the book. It is not an easy read; rather, it is a highly emotional account that takes us into the murky underside of Japan. It is an impressive ethnographic study of exclusion, precariousness and struggle that will leave no reader untouched; nevertheless careful reflection suggests that as a scholarly analysis it is not fully satisfying and at times its argument risks drifting into sensationalism.

Allison’s study starts with the story of a middle-aged man whose corpse was found one month after he had starved to death alone in his apartment. Surrounded by wealthy Japan, in his last diary entry the man expresses the simple, yet unfulfilled, wish to eat a rice ball (onigiri). Rice balls are a staple food that can be bought at any hour of any day throughout Japan for little more than one US dollar and rice is also a core symbol of Japanese culture. The anecdote shows us a man who has not only been abandoned by society; even his socio-cultural existence has been annihilated. In the first chapter Allison puts this and other stories into the broader context of precariousness, the new social risks and insecurities which have become an issue in Japan and in many Western industrialized societies. The second chapter illustrates Japan’s transformation from a society of stable institutions and predictable life-courses into a fluid society, in which the unstable margins are creeping towards the core. Allison identifies changes in human resource management, neoliberal reforms and demographic aging as the main factors in this transformation. In the next two chapters Allison discusses examples which illustrate how this new instability leads to the dissolution of “home” as a secure place in society and the emergence of new forms of homelessness, the breakdown of the family as a unit and withdrawals from society. Chapters 5 and 6 are centred on aging, death and hopelessness. In these chapters examples are used to show the effects of Japan’s liquidization. The loss of social stability leaves those excluded alone, outside in the social cold, struggling with circumstances for which they have not been prepared. The final chapter embeds examples of the triple disaster of 3.11 into this narrative of precarious Japan. Three eleven and its impact are not discussed as a singular event, but as an example of Japan’s new fragility.

The book is part of a recent wave of studies on social inequality in Japan. For many decades, Japan was not only lauded for its outstanding economic growth, but was also identified as a prime example of social equality and fairness. The existence of harshly discriminated-against minorities and other marginal groups was often overlooked and absent from public discourse. However, from the late 1990s onwards, Japan’s self-view started to shift fundamentally. A new model of Japan as a “gap society” (kakusa shakai) became dominant and issues like atypical employment and poverty started to fill newspapers and television programs and prompted new research. Allison has made a valuable contribution to this field. Most studies involve quantitative analysis of structural changes, but she has focused on daily life. For readers not aware of the dark side of contemporary Japan, the book will be an eye-opener. The examples are powerful and some feel like punches to the stomach. However, readers already familiar with the debate about Japan as a “gap society” may not be fully satisfied by this book. Its structure and theoretical foundation are a kind of potpourri. The argument is not introduced at the beginning, nor does the book end with an overall conclusion. It is also hard to find a clear thread running between the strings of examples discussed in the chapters. Although in the second chapter Allison develops a concise model of former Japan as general middle-class society, in the chapters which follow she too rarely makes use of this model as a comparative tool to contemporary Japan. Instead, she introduces new theoretical concepts based on studies of Western societies throughout the book. Because similarities and differences between precariousness in Japan and Western societies are not fully discussed, these concepts add another layer of theoretical complexity, but rarely a new dimension to the analysis. It would be beside the point to reproach a qualitative study for being unrepresentative, but some of the examples here seem somewhat exploitative in character. For example, Allison discusses what she acknowledges may be a fictitious story of a homeless boy who becomes a famous comedian (108-112). It is a breath-taking story, but why include it in an empirical study if it might be manufactured? Although it is not openly stated in the book, Allison seems to position herself both as a researcher, and as an activist for Japan’s underprivileged classes. Her political commitment notwithstanding, choosing less stark examples would have made possible a more subtle analysis; after all, the existence of poverty and marginal groups in Japan is not a completely new phenomenon. I would argue that the paradigmatic change of recent years has been the return of such groups into the limelight, indicating a new fear of social downward mobility among the middle classes. Despite these caveats, and although the analysis may not be wholly convincing, Allison’s new book will surely be highly impressive for many readers and a good resource for discussions in courses on contemporary Japan.

David Chiavacci, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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WAR, GUILT, AND WORLD POLITICS AFTER WORLD WAR II. By Thomas U. Berger. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. vii, 259 pp. (Tables.) US$30.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-67495-0.

This book is an exceptionally timely investigation into the role of history as a determinant of foreign relations in “an age of apology and recrimination” (8). This applies particularly in the case of Japan, but a recent television drama Unsere Muetter, Unsere Vaeter (“Generation War”) in Germany also reignited historical debates in that country and sparked renewed acrimony with its Polish neighbour. In this volume Berger seeks to deconstruct the way that three states—Germany, Austria and Japan—have formed their official historical narratives and trace the domestic and international consequences that resulted. To achieve this he employs a concept he dubs “Historical Realism,” (2) which exhibits a dual nature. In the first sense it identifies the power of the state to shape official narratives, often for practical political purposes. Second, he adds that there are caveats and limits to the ability of the state to exercise complete control of historical discourse, due, for example, to “insurgent narratives” from other (unrepresented) quarters of society (3).

In the first chapter Berger provides an analytical framework to superintend the discussion of the three cases studies. The framework, guided by the principle of historical realism, outlines three core approaches to conceptualizing historical memory. These are, respectively, “historical determinism,” “instrumentalism” and “cultural explanations.” Briefly stated, these are distinguished in the following ways: historical determinism is the basic, supposedly “objective” account of “what actually happened,” the neutral recording of the “facts” (14-19). Instrumentalism considers what happens to collective memory when political actors (inevitably) manipulate it for their own national or sectarian purposes; in this approach “history has become the extension of politics by other means” (22). The third approach of culturalism looks at how historical memory becomes embedded in certain ideas, beliefs, values and social practices, and is thus shaped by, or subordinated to them (23). The analytical spectrum thus ranges from the deterministic claim to positivistic objectivity, through a cyphering of the facts due to instrumental political processes, to a strongly constructivist or sociological perspective, in the last of the three. Berger rightly sees these three approaches as complementary “ideal-types,” but also as synergistic, explanatory tools.

Thus equipped with this analytical framework he then proceeds to examine Germany as the “model penitent,” arguing that although it took longer than is usually imagined, Germany, partly as a result of the enormity of its crimes, serves as the standard for national repentance and redemption. He then introduces the less well-known case of Austria, “the prodigal impenitent,” and shows how the country only belatedly faced up to its complicity in Nazi crimes after decades of denial. Lastly, he turns to Japan, “the model impenitent,” that has yet to face squarely the crimes it committed in the name of its empire in Asia. In the process he explains how an official narrative stressing the victimization of Japan itself,through the fire bombings and atomic bombings, and the callous rapacity of their own militarist system, prevented the nation from internalizing the suffering that Japan had caused as an aggressor in Asia.

Before concluding, the last chapter is dedicated to a more detailed account of “The geopolitics of remembering and forgetting 1991-2010.” It tracks the revival of history issues as an impediment to Japan’s contemporary relations with Korea and China, looking again at how external pressures (gaiatsu) created difficulties for Japanese foreign policy, in particular a slew of popular support for restitution for Japan’s wartime victims, such as the “comfort women,” a collective fury at nationalist textbooks, and the prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine (which also houses war criminals). The instrumental and cultural explanations are in evidence here as national governments sought to coopt the anti-Japanese zeitgeist; one fuelled by relentless media portrayals of the devastating greater East Asia war, caricaturing Japanese barbarities.

One important point to register here is that, despite widespread misperceptions to the contrary, Japan has made substantial and repeated efforts to apologize for its wartime conduct to its aggrieved neighbours. But, as Berger points out, “Japan’s apologies have been limited in scope, challenged domestically, and singularly unsuccessful in improving Japan’s relations with its foreign neighbours” (124). The continued historical spats between Tokyo and Seoul/Beijing are testament to this sad predicament. In addition, the author indicates how contested historical understandings have become fused with contemporary territorial disputes between Japan on the one hand, and Korea (Dok-do/Takeshima) and China (Senkaku/Diaoyu) on the other, leading to potential physical as well as political conflict. In the conclusion the author reviews the efficacy of the analytical framework in teasing out such questions, as well as looking at policy implications.

In sum, this an incredibly important book dealing with a fascinating and pertinent topic, and one which provides a great deal of thought-provoking and introspection on the part of the reader. Comparisons will inevitably be made to Ian Buruma’s landmark volume The Wages of Guilt, yet Berger’s is the more analytical work, and scarcely less readable for it. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to gain greater insights and understanding of the thorny historical issues that continue to plague relations between Japan and its Asian neighbours, and the comparisons to be drawn with that country’s former German/Austrian allies.

Thomas Wilkins, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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MONEY, TRAINS, AND GUILLOTINES: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan. Asia-Pacific. By William Marotti. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013. xxi, 417 pp., [16] pp. of plates. (Illus.) US$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-4980-8.

Postwar Japanese art has recently attracted much attention amongst academics and curators in North America and Japan. An anthology of critical essays, manifestos and other writings in this field was published by the Museum of Modern Art in 2012, while prominent artists’ groups like the Gutai Art Association (1954-72) and Mono-ha (active in the late 1960s and the early 1970s) had retrospectives at major American museums and galleries, accompanied by scholarly monographs. William A. Marotti’s Money, Trains, and Guillotines is a long-awaited book that deals with artist Akasegawa Genpei and the group Hi-Red Center in the social and political context of 1960s Japan, providing for the first time to an English-language audience access to one of the most important figures in postwar Japanese art.

Marotti’s book is divided into three parts. Part 1 discusses the historical background of the “Model 1,000 Yen Note Trial.” In 1965, Akasegawa was prosecuted for the crime of “currency imitation” after making partial prints of the 1,000-yen banknote as an art project. Marotti argues that the freedom of speech, guaranteed by the postwar Constitution, is limited under the idea of public welfare, arguing how paternalistic state authority, enshrined under the Meiji Constitution of 1889, is retained in the revised postwar Constitution. The author also makes a careful reading of “Spy Rules” (later renamed “The Ambiguous Ocean”), a short story that Akasegawa likely wrote during the preparation of his banknote prints. Marotti argues that the story reflects Akasegawa’s views on contemporary politics, especially the demonstrations against Anpo (the Security Treaty with the US), and the hopes he held for a revolutionary transformation of everyday life and society, as articulated in his subsequent artworks.

The subject of part 2 is the Yomiuri Indépendant, the yearly non-jury, non-prize exhibition sponsored by the newspaper company Yomiuri Shimbun between 1949 and 1963. Marotti shows how the company’s sponsorship and support of a range of exhibitions including the Yomiuri Indépendant led to erase memories of its wartime propaganda activities and postwar labour conflicts and replace them with positive images of high culture and a democratized system of participation and viewing. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the annual exhibition became a major venue for young avant-garde artists, engendering playful competition in a variety of media, including objets, installation and performance. The author discusses how, through their diverse artworks, these young artists focused on the everyday world and developed critical philosophies of political action through art.

“How do you restart political activism in a time of apparent uneventfulness?” Starting with this question, part 3 discusses how young artists reorganized their artistic practices during the temporary abeyance of mass activism in the early 1960s. The author first details a 1962 event in Tokyo in which young artists, two of whom would later form Hi-Red Center with Akasegawa, resorted to “direct action” with their performances on Tokyo’s trains after a friend, Imaizumi Yoshihiko, failed in realizing his plan for erecting a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. “Theses on ‘Capitalist Realism,’” an article written by Akasegawa after his first police interrogations, is analyzed to show how the artist articulated a critique of the pseudo-reality of money, identifying it as “an agent of hidden forms of domination” (206) supported by state authority. The author also studies another essay by Akasegawa, “The Intent of the Act Based on the Intent of the Act—Before Passing through the Courtroom,” reading it as a response to his indictment, to discuss how it critically anticipates the trial’s reduction of his work to either conventional art or crime, affirming the potential of a radical artistic practice to generate moments that allow “glimpses of emancipatory possibilities in everyday life” (206).

Within Japanese scholarship, the art activism of Akasegawa and his colleagues has been largely discussed in relationship to the anti-art movement. Money, Trains, and Guillotines, the product of many years of painstaking research, successfully locates Akasegawa’s practices in a broader historical (not only art-historical), political, and social context by explicating his art in relation to key historical moments such as the making of the new Constitution (especially in relation to the emperor), the formation of the Yomiuri Shimbun, the transformation of mass protests and demonstrations. The author’s use of Jacques Rancière’s term “police,” the distribution of the perceptible, functions effectively in the discussion of the political dimensions of Akasegawa’s art, making an important contribution to the theorization of the 1960s art in Japan and elsewhere.

This book’s other major contribution is Marotti’s detailed analyses of the enigmatic essays and stories Akasegawa wrote in his early period. These writings contrast sharply with the straightforward prose of his later writings, known for their light and witty style. The author read these writings as direct responses to specific events in the artist’s career: “Spy Rules” (June 1963) to his printing of the banknotes in January 1963 and its use as an invitation to his one-man exhibition in February;Theses on ‘Capitalist Realism’” (February 1964) to the police interrogation and the newspaper article in January; and “The Intent of the Act Based on the Intent of the Act” (January 1966) to his indictment in November 1965. Some might question how far one can appraise Akasegawa’s texts, given their ambiguous and allegorical quality, as effective responses to contemporary urgencies. But Marotti’s subtle readings of these texts, underappreciated in Japanese scholarship, make a strong case for their importance within art history. Money, Trains, and Guillotines not only fills in a major gap within English-language understanding of postwar Japanese art. Once translated into Japanese—which it should be, promptly—it should sharpen the discourse within Akasegawa’s home country.

Kenji Kajiya, Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan

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PINK GLOBALIZATION: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific. By Christine R. Yano. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. xiv, 322 pp. (B&W photos.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5363-8.

What do you think of when you hear the word pink? A satirical pop star? Barbie? Breast cancer? Gays? When I saw the title of this book, I thought it referred to the last, as in the “Pink Dollar,” having something to do with tourism.

I was wrong: the subtitle gives the subject clearly.

The book is a series of essays, I suspect, topics compiled over a decade or more by a cultural studies-leaning anthropologist, but rounded into a coherent text about what the author calls “Japanese cute-cool,” with the linking theoretical theme of Joseph Nye’s (1990/2004) concept of “Soft Power” that bookends the volume. “Soft Power” may be a relatively new concept in the social sciences, but it has been a feature of international relations for some decades, whereby a country seeks to enhance its power position in the world through promoting elements of its culture. Typically, this is done through councils (i.e., the British), institutes (i.e., the Confucius) and a variety of other means such as sponsoring particular events.

“Hello Kitty” is a different matter as it began as a commercial challenge (by to Disney’s mouse by a Japanese cat-like creature with a blank expression and, sometimes, a waving arm/paw. The core of the book’s argument is on page 32:

No longer only a part of children’s consumer culture, Hello Kitty serves less as a generational divide than as a shared bridge. How it manages to do so—that is, convincing consumers within a broad span of ages of the desirability of the global icon, of the irresistibility of Japanese Cute-Cool—is in large part the subject of this book.

Perhaps I am just unobservant in my travels, but I always associate Hello Kitty with Asia, Asian shops in Sydney where I live and Asian countries where I travel from time to time. When I think of Japan modern, I don’t think of it as being cute. I think of consumer brands like Sony, Toyota and Nikon: technically advanced and well-manufactured products, even if many of them are made far from archipelagic Japan. But Yano sees more than that through her over 300 (sometimes B&W illustrated) pages of text divided into 7 chapters, plus an introduction and two appendices.

Chapter 1, “Kitty at home,” uses “cute” (kawaii) and kyarakutā (character) to analyze Kitty in Japan, noting at the beginning that Kitty is the “perfectly affordable souvenir” (45), termed a “trinket seduction” (72) later in the same pages. “Marketing Kitty” (chapter 2) features insightful interviews with Sanrio employees and others from a few years ago, recording their thoughts on the development of the product, while chapter 3 (“Global Kitty Nearly Everywhere”) explores interviews with Kitty consumers and why some people like to have “the cat” around as a “best friend.” The emphasis shifts in chapter 4, “Kitty Backlash,” looking at those who repudiate Kitty’s “core message … [of] … friendship, happiness and intimacy” (163). Views about Kitty, expressed in more interviews, are perhaps not unlike, and for similar reasons, emotions encompassing other consumer cute kitsch, such as Barbie. Chapter 5, “Kitty Subversions,” has two long interviews and several quotations from informants to show how Kitty may be used to critique consumerism and branding. Chapter 6, “Playing with Kitty,” “mixing Hello Kitty into edgy art worlds” (231) continues the topic, though in contrast to chapter 4, the artists involved are often commissioned by Sanrio, with the intention of furthering their brand. The concluding chapter seeks to contextualize “Japan’s cute-cool as global wink.” Kitty launched in the 1970s according to the Sanrio narrative and Yano began her fascination in 1998, so the printed sources and interviews flow over those decades.

Yano minimizes the Gift element of Kitty, quoting “happiness tinged with pink” (118) and “small gift, big smile” (70, the Sanrio Company’s slogan). Marcel Mauss is in the bibliography, but little used when discussing the extensive Japanese gift culture: the index shows one citation on page 68, but no discussion. “Cool Japan” and “soft power” reappear, as you would expect, in the summary that mentions tourism’s “nation branding” (259). I think, like many international symbols and brands, Kitty is multivalent, negative and positive depending on context, Coca-Cola and McDonalds being other such examples. Even simpler in design is the dollar sign ($) that may be used to show success and desirability or greed and rapacity. The book finishes with a short postscript about the March 2011 tsunami, the effects of which continue to play out. In a cute kitsch and tacky kitsch combo, Sanrio joined with the crystal brand Swarovski to produce Kitty crystal figures, to be auctioned in support of the Japanese Red Cross. Appendix 1 is a Kitty timeline, with appendix 2 listing artists who participated in Sanrio’s Thirtieth Anniversary [of Kitty] Exhibit and Catalogue (2004), and 22 pages of notes, 14 pages of bibliography and a 10-page index complete the volume.

The core audience for Pink is that group interested in the culture of postwar Japan, with the larger constituency being those ruminating on prominent cultural symbols, the long-time terrain of us anthropologists and the core of more recent “cultural studies” writers. In spite of the documented arguments, I cannot see Kitty as “global.” I accept the argument of Kitty’s ubiquity in Japan, where the character originated. Hello Kitty can be found in North America, hardly South, rarely in Europe, and not at all in Africa; Kitty predominately is a pan-Pacific kyarakutā (character), but without much impact beyond. Of course, often for people in the US, if something is in their part of the world it is unquestionably “global.”

Grant McCall, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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TOKYO VERNACULAR: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies. By Jordan Sand. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xiii, 208 pp. (Figures.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28037-3.

This book explores how since the 1950s Japanese citizens have actively drawn on traces from the vernacular past to express local identities, while rejecting grand-scale, state-led expressions of nationhood and the commodification of urban experiences linked with capitalist agendas. It thereby fills an important gap in the English-language literature about Japanese heritage and preservation. Based on a detailed examination of an impressive range of Japanese-language materials, Sand produces an original and insightful account of the historical emergence of four distinct groups of engaged inhabitants of postwar Tokyo. The capital city forms the spatial frame for an ambitious analysis (in four chapters) of ideals of urban belonging as expressed by protesters in public spaces during the 1960s, amateur preservation activists producing a local magazine as well as professionals engaging in street observation studies during the 1980s, and those involved in the creation of museums of everyday life during the 1990s.

In chapter 1 Sand argues that during the 1960s a shift occurred from mass protests held in sanctioned urban spaces such as the “citizen’s plaza,” created to express a unified national voice, to a political activism that championed vernacular urbanism and favoured a more spontaneous, organic use of public space. He gives a fascinating account of how in 1969 the Shinjuku West Exist Plaza, in front of one of Tokyo’s busiest underground stations, envisioned as a capitalist space of transit and flow, was transformed on Saturday evenings into an urban commons where spontaneous civic actions ranging from playful demonstrations to sing-alongs took place amongst citizens who did not know each other. Although these gatherings were forcefully brought to an end, they resulted in theoretical discussions about and practical demands for urban democratic spaces where people could debate freely. Still, as Sand rightly demonstrates throughout his book, civic activities based on worthy ideals can always be appropriated by groups driven by other agendas, and the consumption-orientated leisure zones created during the 1970s and 1980s negate the anti-capitalist stance at the base of the protests. Moreover, the spread of television produced a new kind of democratic public space that could be enjoyed by everyone, albeit passively, from the comfort of the home.

In chapter 2 Sand narrates the motivations of three housewives who in 1984 started editing the Yanesen magazine, employing oral histories and everyday local news to foster a sense of community in their neighbourhood. He rightly contextualizes this initiative within the larger machizukuri (town-making) movement, that emphasized the preservation of the “traditional” urban streetscape, and that swept Japan during the 1980s as a reaction against the alienation associated with living in large urban housing estates (danchi). However, unlike most town-building projects strongly associated with local government, Yanesen “asserted a collective claim that the district belonged to its residents” (84). Paradoxically, the magazine’s popularity also caused an influx of tourists and the “boutiquification” of the area during the 1990s.

Chapter 3, also set in the 1980s, follows an eclectic group of professionals (architectural historians, cultural critics and artists) who questioned established theories about urban generation and preservation by documenting and categorizing idiosyncratic, incidentally found objects such as manhole covers, building ornaments or street gardens. By calling these purposeless objects, primarily valued for their material presence, “deviant property,” (92) the group made a political statement against the state-endorsed speculation of urban property by developers. Importantly, this movement rejected any kind of abstract theorization or authorship, focusing instead on offering ordinary citizens new tools to reclaim their city. Sand argues that ultimately this movement, like the activists he previously discussed, failed to achieve its goals because, as it gained in popularity and became the focus of media attention, the trivial objects at its centre were transformed into useful commodities. Moreover, critical observational activities were turned into a fun pastime of nostalgic discovery, and the government saw it as a useful device for redesigning the city.

Finally, in the fourth chapter Sand turns his attention to historical museums that aimed to produce a more inclusive notion of heritage by concentrating on everyday life exhibits. In his view, the Edo-Tokyo museum, built in 1993, exemplified a shift in focus in Japanese heritage thinking from production and timeless peasant life to consumption and domesticity, epitomized by the reconstruction of ordinary 1950s home interiors centred around the low dining table (chabudai) embodying family togetherness. Although the focus on everydayness was thought to encourage visitors to question official historical narratives, in practice the widespread use of similar nostalgic domestic displays resulted in the creation of a national, homogenous everyday life. In this chapter Sand also praises the Showa Everyday Museum in Nagoya for breaking with museum conventions, abandoning authorized public history in favour of visitors’ personal memory. It is an inspiring example that indicates how, by broadening the scope of his research to include engaged communities outside the capital, Sand could have added another level of complexity to his argument, while also transcending the usual Tokyo-focused, English-language scholarship about Japan. Nagoya is particularly interesting in this respect because the city also has a long tradition of amateur street observation groups and could therefore offer an insightful comparison in chapter 3.

The book concludes with situating these Japanese case studies within global trends towards preserving the past. For me, this section is less successful because Sand is rather quick to dismiss cultural specific understandings of authenticity, thereby disregarding the growing body of literature about this topic. Moreover, the book would also have benefitted from a more in-depth discussion of new forms of civic actions emerging after the 2011 earthquake, especially considering the important role of the Internet. None of this, however, detracts from the fact that this is a rich and ambitious work that achieves what it set out to do in showing that authenticity is an ongoing process produced by the State and the Market, but also by various mobilized communities who imagine the past in different ways, but who are never fully detached from the abstracting forces they are contesting.

Inge Daniels, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY ISSUES IN NORTH KOREA. Hawai’i Studies on Korea. By Kyung-Ae Park. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press; Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai’i, 2013. ix, 265 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$54.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3739-6.

A recurring, though mostly unspoken current in many analyses of North Korea builds on a perception of North Korean immutability. This notion of North Korean stasis in turn leads to a high predictability of responses to developments in North Korea. This predictability is fed by a very narrow interest span. Simply put, North Korea gains international attention when it stirs political waters and reminds the world that the Korean conflict is ongoing, the war unfinished. Policy towards North Korea is then unsurprisingly reduced to and driven by security concerns. Non-Traditional Security Issues in North Korea seeks to address this question from two different angles. For one, it questions the prevailing realist approach to North Korea as sterile and largely out of touch with the development of both IR theory (Copenhagen School) and practice (UN initiatives regarding Responsibility to Protect and human security). Second, this volume engages this new theory and agenda and asks what non-traditional security issues North Korea faces and how these inform the traditional security agenda. Brendan Howes’s concluding chapter neatly summarizes these theoretical developments and how they confront the international community with a North Korean “insecurity dilemma” (239): how to deal with an internally weakened state that adopts an outwardly strong posture, in a changed international normative environment driven by “comprehensive security” concerns. A very concrete example of this dilemma is raised in Tsuneo Akaha’s chapter on Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the face of North Korea’s failure to protect its citizens. In a meticulously crafted chapter introducing the development of the UN debate on R2P, Tsuneo Akaha not only shows the normative shifts taking place within the international community, but also highlights the tension between a formally rather narrowly defined R2P and the broader concept of human security (as favoured by the UNDP). Despite the fact that the UN General Assembly in September 2005 agreed that the principle of R2P meant the international community had “a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means … to help States build capacity to protect their populations” (159), Akaha narrowly interprets international intervention as military intervention only. Intervention as meant by the above cited paragraph 139 reads rather (and primarily) as a call for engagement.

How engagement leading to the easing of some of North Korea’s non-traditional security issues affects traditional security concerns is broached in the contribution by David von Hippel and Peter Hayes, from the Nautilus Institute, on North Korea’s energy security and in W. Randall Ireson’s chapter on food security. Written by experts with plentiful experience on the ground, these chapters stand out for their detailed, nuanced and informed assessment of the complexity and interrelatedness of these security challenges, and of the role the international community can/has to play in alleviating them. (In turn, Mark Manyin’s statistically rich chapter on North Korea’s external sources of food security is an antidote for daydreamers who ignore Pyongyang’s strategic playing off of foreign partners.) Both chapters on energy and food security are also refreshingly nonpolitical in their reading of the problems and their solutions, something that returns in Scott Snyder’s nuanced discussion of the specific contribution NGOs can make to North Korea’s non-traditional security. Snyder reminds us for example that both North Korean authorities and NGOs went through a learning curve after North Korea opened up to international aid. He makes a particularly strong case for a specific NGO role in alleviating non-traditional security needs, whether in terms of energy, food or health-related development projects. He stresses in this respect the importance of NGOs’ political independence from both the home and local government. The same is true when it comes to securing the rights of North Korean refugees, a subject raised by Shin-Wha Lee in a chapter on the international legal ramifications of the North Korean refugee situation, particularly in China. The legal complexity of the refugee crisis is readily apparent in the confusion regarding the naming of this group: refugees, asylum seekers, defectors or illegal migrants. Clearly, politically independent NGOs have an important role to play in raising public awareness and keeping pressure on the UNHCR and relevant governments.

Looking at security beyond the state, Kyung-Ae Park reminds us that there is a gender-specific aspect to North Korea’s economic crisis. The economic meltdown of the late 1990s and the rise of a market economy led to a certain economic empowerment of women. However, this empowerment is qualified by the largely unregulated nature of the markets and the actual legal void within which women traders operate. Another gender-specific aspect is the overrepresentation of women among refugees, many of whom end up in various kinds of exploitative relations.

In a bold contribution, David Kang returns to the 2005 Banco Delta Asia episode, demystifies North Korea as the “Soprano State,” and questions the politics of the criminalization of North Korea. Not only does he do what any serious scholar and/or journalist ought to do: the sobering exercise of checking the facts; he also brings in a much needed comparative perspective when discussing North Korea’s alleged counterfeit super dollars (78), or its drug trafficking (81-2). While not discounting North Korea’s illegal activities, Kang does ask a pertinent political question: “Is the United States willing to co-exist in a long-term relationship with North Korea?” (86).

Although the individual contributions are somewhat uneven, and the various case studies are too narrowly North America focused (ignoring EU programs), this is a stimulating collection of papers that may help scholars, analysts and policy makers think differently about North Korean security issues. A greater effort could have been made to integrate the different contributions into a well-structured edited volume.

Koen De Ceuster, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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IN DEFENSE OF JUSTICE: Joseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality. The Asian American Experience. By Eileen H. Tamura. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. xv, 228 pp., [8]pp. of plates. US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-252-03778-8.

This book provides a notable addition to the revisionist literature on the wartime removal and confinement of West Coast Japanese Americans (often, if imprecisely, called the Japanese American internment). In contrast to popular accounts that underline the patriotism of the American citizens of Japanese ancestry herded into government camps, revisionist accounts have emphasized the active role of the inmates in resisting their condition and protesting racist treatment. Among the best-known (or most notorious) dissidents was Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara, a World War I veteran embittered by mass removal. His actions in camp, especially his role in the chain of events leading to the so-called Manzanar Riot, have attracted significant attention since the war years. Yet the man himself has remained rather in the shadows. Eileen Tamura, a professor in the College of Education at University of Hawai’i Manoa, has produced a first biography of Kurihara.

Tamura’s early chapters deal with Kurihara’s boyhood in turn-of-the-century Hawaii. In Tamura’s portrait, Kurihara emerges as an idealistic and ambitious youth. Alone among his siblings, he decided to attend Catholic school in place of the Territory’s free public schools, and ultimately converted to Catholicism. In 1915, he moved to the mainland in hopes of attending medical school. However, after the US entered World War I, Kurihara enlisted in the US Army, though he served in combat duty for just two weeks before the Armistice. After 1919, he settled in California, despite the racial prejudice there, working as an accountant and on fishing boats.

The bulk of Tamura’s work covers Kurihara’s wartime confinement experience. Kurihara believed that the unconstitutional actions of the government in confining him on racial grounds without due process (the more insulting given his record as a veteran) voided his allegiance. At public meetings at Manzanar he proclaimed his attachment to Japan and denounced pro-American Nisei, notably members of the Japanese American Citizens League, as traitors. Because of his advanced age and experience, and because he was willing to speak out openly, he became an influential advocate for anti-administration forces. In December 1942, after JACL leader Fred Tayama was beaten by dissident inmates, the kitchen workers’ leader Harry Ueno was arrested for the crime. Outraged, a mob of inmates formed. Kurihara addressed the mob in English mixed with Japanese, calling for Ueno’s liberation and for the “exterminationˮ of a list of accused informers, whom he named. In the ensuing revolt, gangs invaded the suspected informers’ barracks, while protesters marched on the police station where Ueno was held. Military guards sent to restore order opened fire on the crowd, killing two inmates and wounding others.

In the wake of the incidents, Kurihara, Ueno and other “troublemakersˮ were arrested. Over the following months, they were held at a pair of isolation camps, Moab in Utah and then Leupp in Arizona, before being sent to the Tule Lake segregation camp. As Tamura recounts, Kurihara acted as a model inmate in these facilities. Chastened by his Manzanar experience, he refrained from political activism and was even threatened with violence at Moab for cooperating with administrators. Nevertheless, Kurihara determined to renounce the United States. Stripped of his citizenship, he accepted deportation to Japan, where he had never visited. Despite the hardships of life in postwar Japan, he remained there (working initially for US Occupation authorities, ironically enough) for the remaining twenty years of his life.

Tamura’s study is the last of a line of works in the University of Illinois Press’s Asian American Experience series supervised by the renowned historian Roger Daniels, who added a foreword (full disclosure: I edited a volume in this same series). Her work is noteworthy in that, while it underlines Kurihara’s exceptional activism, it uses his biography as a lever for examining larger questions about Japanese American wartime experience, notably the meaning of citizenship and the fluid nature of loyalty and resistance: for all of Kurihara’s asserted Japanese identity, his activism revealed his essentially American character. To her credit, while Tamura admires Kurihara’s principled stand—such can certainly be inferred from her book’s subtitle —she does not shy away from considering its paradoxes, and devotes an extended section to exploring whether he should be considered a hero or villain. The book is also a product of impressively thorough research, incuding Kurihara’s unpublished autobiography, while the author displays a mastery of the main secondary literature.

There are a few substantive matters the reader wishes Tamura had further addressed. First, while she explores Kurihara’s early embrace of Catholicism as an idiosyncratic and assimilationist move, she fails to note its connections to education, especially given Kurihara’s dream of attending medical school. Mainland Catholic colleges such as Loyola University in New Orleans admitted various Nisei, including some from Hawaii. Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska distinguished itself by graduating over a dozen Japanese-American medical students from Hawaii in the prewar decades. Another element deserving further study is the ambivalent connection between Kurihara and Togo Tanaka, the onetime Rafu Shimpo editor whose death Kurihara called for at Manzanar. Tamura notes their durable mutual esteem despite their disagreements, and cites Tanaka’s postwar articles praising Kurihara, but does not explain the context of their appearance. Worse, the author seems unaware of an important moment of missed collaboration between the two men. In February 1942 Tanaka and Larry Tajiri (the future editor of the JACL newspaper Pacific Citizen) proposed creating a United Citizens Federation in hopes of averting mass removal, and held a public meeting to organize it. Kurihara, unable to be present, wrote Tanaka to offer support and propose himself as leader of the fledgling organization, stating “I will gladly sacrifice my personal liberty, and resources for the sake of the the niseis,ˮ While Tanaka reprinted the letter text in his diary, he apparently never acted on Kurihara’s offer. It is tantalizing to consider whether Kurihara’s wartime stance might have been altered had he undertaken partnership with his future adversaries following Executive Order 9066.

Greg Robinson, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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CINEMA OF ACTUALITY: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics. Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society. By Yuriko Furuhata. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. Ix, 266 pp. (Illus.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5504-6

Yuriko Furuhata’s new book on political filmmaking in 1960s Japan adds significant depth, nuance and context to a topic that has, for good reason, long captivated an audience of cinephiles, activists and researchers. She describes this project as a media history of cinema’s response to journalism’s shift to television, one that draws on film studies, media studies, cultural studies and art history to craft an understanding of the discourses on “actuality” (akuchuaritii) and the “image” (eizō). I would argue it to be more as well—this book is ultimately a genealogy of the cultural politics of radical Japanese filmmaking historicized within the global, mediatized “Long Sixties.”

Cinema of Actuality is organized into five provocative chapters on the following issues: intermedia experimentation, the event-nature of cinema, remediation of journalism, the “landscape” discourse (fūkeiron), and militant cinema against television. The filmmakers who figure prominently here include Ōshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, Adachi Masao and Wakamatsu Kōji, but equal treatment is given to major players in the creation of a rigorous and politicalized film discourse at the time—Matsuda Masao, Nakahira Takuma and Hariu Ichirō—as well as to an earlier generation of intellectuals with whom these figures engaged, such as art critic Hanada Kiyoteru or the materialist philosopher Tosaka Jun. These foundational thinkers were actively responding to international discourses on “actuality” (Aktualität, actualité) and positioning themselves against idealist tendencies in phenomenology, so the narrative’s movement to Adorno and Heidegger feels grounded here, not forced. Furuhata further enlivens her analysis through useful engagement withRancière (on spectacle and policing), Derrida (on “artifactuality,” the construction of an actuality-effect), and Foucault (on governmentality and discipline).

The combined effect of Furuhata’s careful balance of close analysis of films, rich archival work, and theoretical framing is a series of bold insights into the political tactics at work in both filmmaking and art discourse. One example is in demonstrating Matsumoto’s praxis of Hanada’s theory of a strategic merger between documentary and the surreal in order to use “actuality” to shatter the illusions of socialist realism (replacing them with a more radical revelation of actuality-as-contingency). Another is a corrective to our understanding of Ōshima’s Death By Hanging from a reflexive restaging of a historical event (the 1958 Komatsugawa incident) to Furuhata’s reading of the film as a conspicuously artificial documentary of a historical event itself already deeply theatrical from its inception (since Ri reported his own murder, mediatizing it as it emerged into public consciousness). What is at stake in this shift is recognition of the complicity between the criminal and the journalist, the way they collaboratively generate the media spectacle.

By placing the so-called “landscape films” in the context of politicized directors’ turn away from media spectacle toward the everyday, Furuhata makes sense of work by Adachi and Ōshima that has often vexed analysis. The idea that a shift away from the thrill of conflict to contemplate the politicization of the most mundane of spaces is compelling and necessary to shift the consciousness of activists from myopic tactical blows to the riot police, say, toward a broader, strategic transformation of society. That said, Matsuda Masao’s close reading here of a portrait of a city street devoid of both police and protester as more political than a direct image of conflict still strikes me as odd. Had he left it alone, this argument might have some traction in its suggestion that the images of conflict between student and cop had already been coopted by the media machine. But by drawing our attention to the words on the manhole cover—“Imperial University Sewer”—the suggestion becomes one in which Japan’s imperialist legacy still pervades the very streets on which everyday citizens go about their day. The risk here, in overstating the pervasiveness of centralized government power, is that Matsuda himself becomes complicit with the hegemonic logic of the regime, which will always exaggerate its capacity to police. What gets downplayed is the extraordinary amount of underregulated social space available to citizens, space in which to begin the transformation immediately. It is this side of landscape cinema—the tension between these seemingly passive images of networks and the ready availability of them—that makes these films so disconcerting, and indeed (still) vexing.

Furuhata’s analysis of Adachi and Wakamatsu’s The Red Army / PFLP was carefully handled and sharp. The logic of the project was to juxtapose the violent spectacular imagery of the Palestine conflict captured from television sources together with footage of everyday life from militant refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. Most remarkable here was the pushback Adachi received even from guerillas when he articulated his interest in documenting this radically different form of everyday life (in which one cooks meals with an AK-47 leaning against the kitchen counter). It is the everydayness of war in these camps, the way armed conflict and the threat of violent attack is woven into the fabric and necessarily desensationalized that Adachi seems to have identified as the important note on actuality that needed to be conveyed to activists back in Japan. While I understand the rationale for staying focused on the film, I did find myself curious to know how Furuhata would analyze the way the Japanese (and international) media has handled the Lod Airport massacre by the Japanese Red Army in relation to this film and these filmmakers. It seems that recent coverage has recast Okamoto Kōzō and Wakamatsu Kōji as a nostalgic human-interest story, almost spectacularizing the everydayness of their reunions.

Furuhata’s Cinema of Actuality is an important book that makes a strong contribution to research on Japanese cinema, 1960s political culture, and theoretical work on image politics. I expect that it will, as intended, provoke response and debate.

Steven Ridgely, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

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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 her doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington. She 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 her 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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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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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

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.

Jørn Borup, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

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AN INDIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY: Integrating Markets, Democracy and Social Jutice. Editors: Sunil Khilnani, Manmohan Malhoutra. Box edition. New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2013. 2 vols. (Figures, tables, B&W photos.) Rs.1995, cloth. ISBN 978-81-7188-994-5.

These two volumes are the outcomes of the tenth conference organized by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, held in Delhi in November 2010. The conference brought together an extraordinary group of intellectuals, policy makers, activists, and business people—a real galaxy of serious thinkers, rather than of stars—from within India, and from overseas, presided over by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to discuss the challenges and the prospects of an Indian social democracy. As the principal architect of the conference, Sunil Khilnani, puts it in his short introduction, the realization of sustainable growth in India, and in such a way as to ensure that the majority of the people can benefit from it, requires “the renewal of our social contract … (one) … that integrates and renovates India’s foundational commitments to democracy and social justice with recognition of the necessity of open markets for economic growth.” As he goes on to say, “Such a social contract is best described in social democratic terms …” (quotes [I] 15). He, and others, are to be congratulated for their courage in using this language, for the idea of “social democracy” has often been regarded negatively in India, even though it seems to many of us that it is what the Nehruvian state aimed at achieving.

The volumes include 16 substantial papers, of which nine are by major Indian scholars: Sunil Khilnani, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vijay Kelkar, Kaushik Basu, Nitin Desai, Pranab Bardhan, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Sudipta Kaviraj and Yogendra Yadav. Two are by outside scholars, Michael Walton and Steven Wilkinson, who have written important work on India. Four other papers bring in comparative experience from Europe, China and the United States, and a global perspective (this from Pascal Lamy, then director-general of the WTO); while Pierre Rosanvallon of the College de France contributes an historical perspective on democratic society which makes the useful distinction between “relational” and “arithmetic” understandings of equality and presents a strong case for striving to establish a society of equality rather than only seeking to reduce economic inequalities. These papers, supplemented by the text of a memorial lecture given on the occasion by Joseph Stiglitz, on “A Social Democratic Agenda for a More Dynamic Indian Economy,” constitute the core of the two volumes. They also include transcripts of the presentations made by the paper writers and of the discussions that took place and which involved a wider group of comparably distinguished individuals.

As might be expected, the books are a bit of a curate’s egg, though for this reader at least, there is more good than bad in the various parts. The transcripts do include valuable points in addition to the arguments of the papers, though they take some digging out. Khilnani sums up broad conclusions as being, first, that “a sustainable social democracy for India must be based less on directly redistributive policies” than on building people’s capacities for participating in economic growth. As others have pointed out, too, for all the remarkable achievements of the Congress-led UPA governments between 2004 and 2014, in establishing a new rights-based welfare architecture for India, there was an awful failure to improve public education and health services. The second broad conclusion was that India must aim to replace the current
cats-cradle of anti-poverty schemes,” most of them supposedly aimed at particular groups, with “a more simplified set of universal schemes, delivered by more efficient and trustworthy mechanisms” (so easy to say, so hard to achieve). And third, “the state must be wary of assuming large-scale fiscal responsibilities, which in future it may be unable to fulfill.” More generally, what is envisaged is not the kind of welfare state established in the West in the postwar period, but rather a polity based on principles of mutuality “between state, citizen and enterprise” (quotes [I] 17).

It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the richness of the core papers. For me the outstanding ones are those by Pratap Mehta, Pranab Bardhan and (especially) Michael Walton, though I also believe that the paper by Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah on finance and economic policy, is particularly worthy of attention, while Sudipta Kaviraj’s on “Indian Social Democracy and Questions of Culture” brings together ideas of his from writings over many years in an illuminating way. The core of the argument is summed up in his words: “Deep inequalities of culture, rooted in different levels of education, differential access on the basis of language, prevent our democracy from developing a real deliberative culture” ([II] 245).

Mehta’s paper is especially significant, I think, for its discussion of how and why social justice has come to be seen in India so much in terms of caste, and of what the implications of this are. He elaborates upon arguments that both he and Niraja Gopal Jayal have developed elsewhere about how the pursuit of affirmative action for particular social groups has led to a situation in which there is competition for power in order to secure benefits from the state for a particular set of people rather than in order to bring about transformations in society as a whole. Bardhan supplies a trenchant critique of social protection programs in India and advocates—in the spirit of encouraging serious rethinking—the possibilities of the payment by the state of a Universal Basic Income (in place of the “cats-cradle” of programs referred to above).

Walton offers, in short compass, a comprehensive review of arguments about why it does make sense to consider a social democratic resolution for India, what this might require, and its feasibility. The argument is conducted through comparisons with experiences elsewhere, both in Latin America and in Sweden, in particular, and the paper includes some detailed discussion of policy design for equity and growth. Walton’s conclusions about the feasibility of social democracy in India are not very optimistic. In the light of the victory of Narendra Modi in the Indian general elections that were completed shortly before I began this review, Modi’s evident commitment to big corporate capital (in spite of his tearful statements in parliament about serving the poor), and the evidence marshalled by Walton amongst others, of the extent of crony capitalism in India, one wonders whether there is much prospect, for now and the middle term at least, that Indian capital can possibly be part of a social democratic settlement. Walton concludes: “Sound social democratic designs are almost certainly in Indian capitalism’s long-term interest but this would involve a form of long-sightedness and collective action that is not apparent now” ([II] 68).

These books deserve close attention, offering as they do an alternative vision for India than the one that I suspect will be pursued by the new government.

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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COMMERCE WITH THE UNIVERSE: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination. By Gaurav Desai. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xiv, 291 pp. US$50.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-231-16454-2.

For centuries, the Indian Ocean has been ferrying people, goods, beliefs, ideas and thoughts across Africa and India. Maritime movements propelled by commercial instincts of traders on either side have not only transported ivory, silk, fruits and other cargo, but have shipped numerous vignettes of trans-continental cultures as well. The African continent is replete with examples of such cultural transplants. Mainstream historical narration of the continent, however, tends to explain its contemporary social and institutional structures largely as outcomes of its interactions with the West. Desai attempts an alternative understanding of the history of the continent by widening the context to include Africa’s sustained unbroken exchanges with the East, particularly the Indian subcontinent.

The radical re-interpretation of the mainstream historical narration and understanding of Africa in Commerce with the Universe proceeds through critical examination of a body of diverse literary work spanning the Indian Ocean trade and experiences of Asians in Africa. The author reviews well-known novels like Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land and M.G. Vasanji’s The Gunny Sack along with a series of other literary works, including several travel accounts, biographies and memoirs. The research covers meticulous inspection of a remarkably diverse range of documents and ideas for gathering inputs in penning a sincere alternative account.

Constructing a convincing alternative is not easy when a powerful mainstream explanation exists. Desai’s painstaking research for discovering new insights from works that are already much-discussed and debated, yields results due to his willingness to view through multi-disciplinary prisms. By giving equal importance to historical narration, sociological and ethnographic approaches, and also occasionally and contextually to political and economic analysis, Desai succeeds in identifying the understanding of Africa as far more complex than what many scholars of the continent and the Indian Ocean have gauged it to be.

A typical example of the complexity is the new insight gathered on outcomes of colonization. The usual explanation of colonization in Africa (and elsewhere) is to interpret it as a binary process in terms of the structural duality between the “settler” and the “native.” Desai challenges the loose application of the construct in the African context. He argues that the presence of Asians in East Africa from well before the beginning of the formal European colonization of the continent makes it difficult to characterize the process in such a typical fashion. Indeed, the history of colonization and its outcomes in Africa become a far more complex process given the involvement of several more actors. The finding corroborates Desai’s hypothesis of the significance of viewing Africa’s history through not only its interaction with the West, but also the intense and varied interactions it had with the East and India.

An alternative account cannot help but grow out of a critique of the mainstream. One of the interesting critiques that Desai successfully builds is in underpinning the salience of cosmopolitanism in the Indian Ocean trade that unmistakably resonates in In an Antique Land, and the possibility of the narrative marginalizing of other significant simultaneous historical processes such as the sub-Saharan exchanges. Desai does not appear to be too comfortable with the passionate interpretation of several historical narratives of the Indian Ocean in identifying its commerce as a key contributor of the cosmopolitanism and religious and ethnic tolerance manifesting on the shores it touched. He is acutely conscious of the caveats that his research throws up in vindicating such passionate endorsement.

Notwithstanding the arduous effort and bold approach, the book falls short of connecting to its contemporary context through its conclusions as effectively as one would have expected. The introduction underscores the historical significance to the backdrop of the book: the struggle for survival between capitalism and socialism as ideologies influencing national development strategies given the cyclical reverses both have suffered in the last couple of decades. The initial context also points to the renewed engagement of Africa by China and India and the revival of the Indian Ocean as a key maritime route in global strategic geography. It is not completely clear how the various findings of the book contribute to a more objective understanding of Africa in these contexts. While the importance of looking closely at Asia and India in understanding both historical and contemporary Africa is well understood—and can be flagged as a success of the alternative discourse that Desai aimed to build—greater connectivity between the discourse and the context is missing. That said, the book deserves careful study by scholars of various disciplines for its commendable effort in throwing new light on important, but largely neglected, aspects of the interactions between Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Amitendu Palit, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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THE DARJEELING DISTINCTION: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India. California Studies in Food and Culture, no. 47. By Sarah Besky. Berkeley: University of California Press, c2014. xx, 233 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-27739-7.

This is an anthropological study of tea plantations in Darjeeling. This region is famous for its special variety of tea that is known for its specific flavour. The history of tea plantations that are over 150 years old is important for this region. The tea industry is closely linked to the growth of this district as it is its main economic activity. The industry gives the district and its people a unique characteristic that sets the latter apart from the state of West Bengal in which the area officially lies. The book covers different aspects of the district that are vital for its economy and identity.

The author has done considerable archival work that is evident from her second chapter. She gives a new understanding of the district as an entity. She shows how Darjeeling was originally a part of Nepal and was later given to the kingdom of Sikkim. Later, the East India Company took Darjeeling from Sikkim in order to establish a sanatorium for British soldiers because of its pleasantly cold climate. This part of Darjeeling’s history is important because both Nepal and Sikkim have laid claims to Darjeeling after India was free of British rule in 1947. The author’s study provides a clear picture.

The author’s writings on fair trade are important. The author has studied plantations that are endorsed by the fair trade label and finds that they are as exploitative of their labour as the other plantations. Moreover the benefits of fair trade are taken by the planters whereas the conditions of their workers remain unchanged. She also critiques the concept of fair trade because it gives so much emphasis to individual entrepreneurs’ individual entrepreneurs and not on collectives She argues that fair trade operates in the neo-liberal environment and can function best under free trade (chapter 4).

Unfortunately, when it comes to contemporary history she falters because she leans too heavily on what her informants told her. She should have double-checked these views. For example, she is very critical of the role the communists played in the Gorkhaland movement because because this was the view of her informants. As a researcher she should have verified these facts because the communists were the first to recognize that the Nepalese in Darjeeling constituted a distinct identity. She keeps referring to the communists as Communist Party of India Marxist and she describes how the party entered the district in 1943 (77-78). She should know that CPI(M) did not exist at that time, as it was formed only in 1964 after a section split from the Communist Party of India (CPI). The CPI(M) distanced itself from this resolution and strongly opposed any form of autonomy for Darjeeling. The CPI still holds on to its original resolution of autonomy. The author should have tried to understand such differences.

The author’s explanation of the decline of Darjeeling’s tea industry in the post-colonial period is controversial. She states that the workers suffered a setback during these dark days because they were unionized and the planters started rolling back the facilities they had earlier given to them. The author notes that the deprived workers had to resort to violence against the managers and they also burnt down tea factories (79). In other words it was the communist unions that provoked the planters to deprive the workers who in turn retaliated by burning down factories.

The author also hints that the Plantation Labour Act (the only law granting protection to plantation labour) was one of the reasons why British planters left as it increased costs of production and the communist unions pressured the employers to implement the provisions of the Act (78). The Act was passed in 1951, a few years after India was independent of British rule, and its main provisions relate to facilities for plantation workers such as permanent quarters, sanitary and bathing facilities in the labour lines, provision of clean water, hospitals and primary schools for the children. Most of these facilities (except for medical facilities) did not exist in plantations. The Indian Tea Association (an association of mainly British planters) readily agreed to implement the Act. Yet the author feels that it has ruined the industry.

In most cases the author has put together voices of workers, managers, intellectuals, etc. without verifying their authenticity or analyzing their views. As a result we get a compilation of contradictory and opposing views. The views she puts forth on the decline of the tea industry are based on the statements of the managers (157). She has not looked at the living and working conditions of the workers. Though she is sympathetic to the women workers she does not look at their problems of defecating in the open because there are no toilets even though the PLA makes this mandatory.

The author believes the managers when they say that labour unrest is a result of the male population: “Some suggested that ‘too many males’ on the garden created unrest, both in the plantation and in regional politics” (157). She has not verified if this is true. The fact is that a large section of the unemployed males in plantations have been recruited in the military and paramilitary forces.

Despite the contradictory views presented in the book, the author is clear about one view that she keeps reiterating, namely, the decline in tea production started after the British left and the natives took over the plantations. She has admitted that the British “ran their gardens like fiefdoms, but they kept the men under control” (195). Could such a system continue in a democracy? Her concluding sentence—“But workers are keenly aware that in a market for justice, the plantation is not going anywhere” (220)—contradicts what she has put forth in the earlier sections.

Sharit K. Bhowmik, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

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BOLLYWOOD: Gods, Glamour, and Gossip. Short Cuts, 52. By Kush Varia. London; New York: Wallflower Press, 2012. 126 pp. (Illus.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-906660-15-4.

The Hindi-language cinema based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has acquired global recognition in the last two decades under the label “Bollywood,” and the same period has seen the welcome publication of numerous scholarly works devoted to it, as well as the proliferation of college courses surveying its history, conventions and transnational impact—finally acknowledging that this “other” of Euro-American filmic conventions has been one of the world’s most avidly consumed and influential entertainment forms for well over half a century. Recent entrants in the category of introductory overviews include Tejaswini Ganti’s Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (2nd ed., Routledge, 2013), and Kush Varia’s book, reviewed here, written for the “Short Cuts” series that is meant especially for film studies courses.

Despite some commendable features, Varia’s book is regrettably uneven. Much well-written and insightful analysis—sometimes addressing interesting topics (such as diasporic fandom and gay readings of films) not treated in other introductory works—alternates with awkwardly written and even ungrammatical passages, and the plot summaries of important films, presented as sets of “case studies” to illustrate each thematic section of the book, are at times confusing and inadequately contextualized. In addition, unexamined and misleading clichés (such as that which forms the book’s alliterative subtitle) occur periodically, despite the author’s stated aim to go beyond such journalistic formulas and to address, within a brief compass, the historical breadth and thematic depth of this prolific cinema.

After a brief introduction that outlines the book’s aims, the first chapter, “History and Industry,” traces the development of cinema on the subcontinent, noting precursor art forms and performance genres, early feature films and studios, the impact of sound (which ended the dominance of imported films and established both the convention of operatic melodrama and of Hindi-Urdu as a cinematic lingua franca for much of the region), and the evolution, through several thematic periods, of cinema after Indian independence. Much of this is factually sound, clearly presented and accompanied by citation of relevant scholarship, although the author’s periodization of post-1947 cinema appears to owe more than a little to the 2004 first edition of Ganti’s book, which is not cited. Films selected as case studies here are both apt and initially well-analyzed (e.g., Pyaasa, 18-19, Mr. India, 23-25), though the two most recent choices (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Lagaan, 27-30) receive more cursory treatment; curiously, the seminal Amitabh Bachchan films of the 1970s, though mentioned, appear as case studies only in later, topical chapters.

Chapter 2, “Narrative and Genres,” is less well organized. An illuminating discussion of, for example, the persistence of religion in Hindi cinema’s brand of “melodrama,” and of its linguistic registers, is followed, unaccountably, by sloppy analyses of two of the most celebrated films of the 1970s (in reverse-chronological order: Amar Akbar Anthony and Sholay, 34-36). A decent treatment of the vital role of music and song culminates in clumsy and inadequate plot summaries of Baiju Bawra and Dil Se (42-44). The general discussion of “Genres” that follows is notably weak, introducing only “the Social” and “Romance” (categories so broad and vaguely defined that they may be applied to most Hindi films); later sections address, with somewhat greater clarity, “The Historical and the Islamicate Film,” and “Supernatural Genres”; a final section on “Other Genres” briefly alludes to war and gangster films.

The third chapter, “Characters and Morality,” is similarly uneven. Insightful discussion of the persistence of classical and familial role models is followed by cursory and confusing analysis of three films (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…!, Mother India, and the 1955 Devdas), again in unexplained reverse-chronological order. A following section on “Villains and Vamps” is again well written, and the chapter concludes with a welcome discussion of “Gay, Lesbian and Transgender characters.”

Chapter 4, “Settings and Style,” is a disjointed collage, ranging from thoughtful discussion of stock film sets (mansions, huts, cabarets, hospitals) to less cogent treatments of animals, rainstorms, religious festivals and costuming. To illustrate the latter topic, two important films, Shree 420 and Khalnayak, are discussed—the former, decently (though the author cites the “colour” of a character’s dress in this 1955 b/w film); the latter, less so. The next chapter deals with “Stars and Audiences” in similarly erratic fashion. Bachchan is treated at last, but is over-emphasized and a-historically identified as “Bollywood’s biggest star” (98); the immense popularity of other male and female actors, through more than six decades, goes unmentioned, apart from the (interesting and notable) identification of gay male fans, especially in the diaspora, with tragic heroines like Meena Kumari. A brief conclusion (“Bye-Bye Bollywood?”) muses appropriately on some of the changes occurring in the industry today.

It is fairly common these days to find academic books that appear to have escaped the diligence of a copy editor or proofreader, and Varia’s Bollywood offers a particularly egregious example of this trend. To the instances of poor writing already mentioned must be added frequent typographical errors, some of which appear to be relics of an auto-correct function allowed to go unchecked (e.g., “transgression,” apparently for “transition,” on page 63, and the nonsensical “which has spurned some of the greatest successes,” on page 70, where the author doubtless meant “spawned”). In addition, a number of words or phrases are accidentally repeated, and an entire sentence beginning “But the main reason for the failure of A Throw of Dice to connect to domestic audiences” occurs twice in the same paragraph on page 13. A few jarring factual errors mar discussions of important films—thus, star Shashi Kapoor is misidentified as his brother Shammi in the synopsis of the seminal Deewaar on page 97. It is disappointing to see such sloppy non-editing in a prestigious film studies series, and it unfortunately compromises the suitability of this often-interesting book for use by today’s undergraduates—who sorely need examples of lucid prose.

Philip Lutgendorf, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

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DALIT ASSERTION. Oxford India Short Introductions. By Sudha Pai. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013. xli, 201 pp. (Tables.) US$17.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-809593-4.

During the 2009 national elections, with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP–Majority People’s Party) riding high on the back of its electoral success in the 2007 State Elections in Uttar Pradesh, the party leader Mayawati was openly touted as a potential prime minister and was regarded as a key player in national politics. Fast forward to the recently concluded 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the BSP hardly merits a mention. A low-key campaign culminated in a wipe-out in which the party failed to secure a single victory. Other Dalit parties, such as the Tamil Viduthalai Ciruthaigal Katchi (Liberation Panther Party) whose leader Thirumavalavan came to prominence as an MP during protests over the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009, and his interventions on the Ambedkar Cartoon controversy in 2012, also drew a blank. Some of this is due to the “Modi wave” which dominated media coverage long before it became a reality, but it also reflects uncertainties, questions and critiques surrounding Dalit politics. Professor Sudha Pai’s introduction to Dalit Assertion, thus, is both timely and welcome and helps to contextualize and explain some of the central processes and debates around Dalit mobilization in India.

After an introduction to the emergence of Dalit politics—both institutional and extra-institutional—the book comprises five key chapters that deal with the ideological underpinnings of Dalit assertion, mobilization at the grass-roots level, the performance of Dalit political parties, the rise of Middle Class activism and a consideration of possible future directions. The introduction sets the scene well; it is neither too detailed and dense for the non-specialist nor so simplistic as to put off more expert readers. Pai highlights the rise of Dalit assertion in multiple forms but also outlines the fissures within the Dalit category and analyzes what is described as an “impasse” in Dalit politics. We then receive an overview of the ideological strands of the Dalit struggle. Here the book focuses on three prominent ideological currents: the Dravidian, Gandhian and Ambedkarite (including Kanshi Ram’s adaptation of Ambedkar) approaches. The reflection on non-Brahminism in South and West India is heartening given the frequent neglect of Southern experiences in such accounts. The key positions of each strand are outlined and Pai reflects on how popular and durable each approach has been, before concluding that Ambedkarite ideology is on the rise and best captures the intent of younger Dalits. Some reflection on why Communist parties failed to address Dalit issues and retain the Dalits who were initially mobilized in class struggles would have been welcome here, though I would not quarrel with the main focus of the chapter.

The rationale for the three substantive chapters is persuasive, since there is clearly no one form or mode of assertion. The tripartite division into grassroots, political party and middle-class activism allows Pai to capture important currents of Dalit mobilization and assertion. The book draws on examples and research from across India in these three chapters, which demonstrate the author’s familiarity with key developments and trends in Dalit struggles. The first chapter documents the localized challenges to caste discrimination that have tackled forms of untouchability head on, but also reflects on the impact these contests have had. Pai notes how challenges from below are often met by violent responses, not from those at the apex of the caste hierarchy but from Backward Caste groups seeking to defend their power and prestige. The book also charts the rise of intra-Dalit conflicts as different castes compete for scarce resources and rally behind different leaders or strategies. One reason why Dalit assertion has slightly stalled of late, it is suggested, arises from these internal divisions. Nor are these divisions confined to caste, as we see in the chapter on parties: the move to political institutionalization has entailed a split between the radical Dalits, who wish to break with the system and annihilate caste, and more pragmatic activist,s who seek a share of power within the existing system of political relationships. The compromises and debates entailed in this process are captured here and offer one reason for the decline in Dalit political fortunes, as does the discussion of how Dalits at the grassroots level are increasingly frustrated by identity politics and desire economic and social development. Nevertheless, as Pai notes, Dalit parties have “introduced greater social inclusiveness into the political system” (107).

The final substantive chapter addresses the debate about an impasse from a different angle. What Pai shows here is that newly educated and affluent Dalits who benefitted from early assertion and reservation but are now disillusioned by Dalit parties are not necessarily insulating themselves from less fortunate Dalits, but are engaged in a range of interventions that seek to rethink Dalit involvement in society. This chapter focuses on the Bhopal document, the debates around reservation in the private sector, and calls for supplier diversity. These campaigns mark a recognition that the significance of the state as an employer is declining and demonstrate a shift in Dalit aspirations. The call for supplier diversity shows an understanding of innovative policies that might undermine the networks of caste that inform decisions about who to employ or trade with and serve to perpetuate forms of exclusion. The conclusion then thinks through key issues with each of these main strands of Dalit struggle and reflects on how a more meaningful and socially equitable democracy might be attained. At a time when Dalit voices in Europe and the US are increasingly prominent, some reflection on global links and struggles would have been welcome, as would some consideration of the increasing use of social media by Dalit activists, but these are minor quibbles. Overall this is an excellent and highly recommended introduction to the diversity and impact of Dalit assertion which helps us think through the current state of Dalit politics.

Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom                                  

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THE PROMISE OF POWER: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan. By Maya Tudor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xiii, 240 pp. (Table, figures, maps.) C$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-03296-5.

In the author’s own words, “the central puzzle motivating this study has been why, despite broadly similar institutional inheritances and colonial legacies, did India’s and Pakistan’s democratic trajectories quickly diverge upon independence?” (205). Why and how was democracy institutionalized in India and authoritarianism entrenched in Pakistan so soon after both emerged from a common colonial experience is not a new question, but Maya Tudor’s Promise of Power offers probably the most comprehensive and thorough answer to date. Going beyond the traditional notion that the prospects of democratization in a post-colonial developing country are invariably linked to its level of economic development, social make-up and emerging institutional stability, Tudor builds a solid historical-political case to explain how the post-colonial states of India and Pakistan developed such divergent political trajectories after 1947. The answer, she explains, does not lie merely with the politics, parties, personalities and institutions that emerged after independence; the phenomenon of political divergence has deeper roots in developments that long preceded the transfer of power in 1947.

Following a useful introductory chapter, in which the central argument of the book, its intended theoretical and substantive contributions to the subject matter are clearly explained, the following four content chapters offer detailed and comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the class composition and consequent political programs of the Indian nationalist movement and the Pakistan campaign. In these carefully crafted chapters that are well supported by sound empirical evidence, Tudor clearly elucidates the differences between Indian National Congress organization and the nationalist movement that it led on the one hand, and the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, and the Muslim and provincial politics that it engendered, on the other. Here, the key thrust of the book emerges: class differences and their historically conditioned interests fundamentally affected the shape, content and political agenda of the parties that eventually dominated the politics of the late colonial state and the subsequent successor states of India and Pakistan.

The composition of the dominant classes, and the alliances that they formed to protect or further their material interests, not only determined the strength, reach and durability of the political parties that emerged to contest political power in the 1930s and 1940s, but also compelled their political trajectories, leading to particular outcomes. The Indian National Congress, which essentially represented the urban and rural middle class, was able to develop consensus and unity through alliances of various social interests, complex leadership structures that linked high command to grassroots, as well as salient and inclusive programmatic reforms, thereby laying strong foundations for a stable and durable democratic system after independence. The Pakistan movement, on the other hand, depended on the “coalition of convenience” built by the landed aristocracy in the Muslim majority provinces in northern India to secure political power in order to protect their vested interests. There was less desire on the part of the political elites to effect democratic and distributive reforms to groups that did not share class interests, but were only tenuously linked to the party on the basis of shared religious identity. The Pakistan movement was also defined “negatively” as a response to the threat of Hindu majority domination and therefore lacked strong grassroots party infrastructure and programs for mobilization. This resulted in the absence of institutionalized power-sharing structures during the transition to independence. The outcome was regime instability leading to autocratic regimes and subsequent periods of bureaucratic-military rule in Pakistan.

In both countries, post-colonial developments followed the trajectory already set in the preceding decades. At this “critical window of transition” (217), the relative strengths and weaknesses of the respective political parties in India and Pakistan thus determined if they were able and willing to forge compromises, institutionalize power sharing through effective constitution making, and maintain organizational integrity as they assumed political power at independence. The outcome of all that, Tudor argues, was to result in the consequent long-term democratic stability in India and the constant regime instability in Pakistan.

This is a carefully researched and clearly written study that not only makes a compelling argument but also offers perceptive insights into the history of the Indian and Pakistani political movements. While the broader political and social contexts that accompany the narratives in the chapters are not necessarily new to readers familiar with the political history of India and Pakistan, the author must be commended for the convincing manner in which the historical conditions and circumstances in the lead-up to 1947 and beyond are marshaled to support her overarching argument. Overall, this illuminating book is an enjoyable read. The Promise of Power is a valuable study that has much to offer to those wishing to comprehend the political dynamics of India and Pakistan. It is, at the same time, an important contribution to the literature on the challenges of democratization in post-colonial developing countries.

Tan Tai Yong, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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CITIZENSHIP AND ITS DISCONTENTS: An Indian History. By Niraja Gopal Jayal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. viii, 366 pp. US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06684-7.

This is a rare superbly written magisterial book on the idea and practice of citizenship in India. It is a political and ideational constitutional history of citizenship that takes a clear intellectual position on citizenship and development. Three significant themes are dealt with. First, is India moving from a liberal conception of citizenship by birth and naturalization (jus soli) towards the more conservative jus sanguinis principle of citizenship by descent? Second, the book elaborates the tension between group differentiated rights and the creation of a civic community. Finally, debates over the question of social and economic rights, and civil and political equality are detailed in an exhaustive and nuanced manner.

The first chapter is a graphic account of the dilemmas of “imperial citizenship” and “colonial citizenship.” Imperial citizenship refers to the treatment of transnational Indians who were discriminated in relation to British-born, Dominion-born and European-born people in colonial India. Colonial citizenship refers to the rights of Indians in India. Indian laws generally empowered the rich, the landed and the educated, while paying some regard to minority communities and the disadvantaged. The Indian quest for equality at the time of independence therefore arose from its absence during colonial rule.

Legal Citizenship and the Shadow of the Partition tells a nuanced story about the Indian commitment to jus soli and clear deviations from it. The deviations, for example, pertain to Muslims wishing to return to India from Pakistan after partition and their claims to property, and the treatment of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam in the 1980s. In both cases, being Muslim was a disadvantage. Liberal voices nevertheless prevailed when the Supreme Court upheld the rights of Muslims who were inadvertently trapped in Pakistan at partition and returned back with Pakistani passports. The narrative reveals not only the Hindu-Muslim problem but a more complex problem of the Assamese not accepting Bengalis and other such inter-ethnic issues.

The next chapter details how migrant dalits and adivasis from Pakistan have had to struggle to obtain citizenship, and even more its benefits, while the rich and powerful Indian diaspora has been wooed by the government.

The book moves from a fascinating section on legal status to a section on citizenship and rights. The chapter “Pedagogies of Duty” presents a fascinating history of how the British first deployed the idea of citizenship and rights to legitimize rule over a divided society. It was this agenda of citizenship and arguments for obedience to which there arose a nationalist response: arguing why these rights lacked substance and morality. It provided an opportunity for the educated elite to rise above social and cultural differences to make political arguments about political and social equality. The next chapter details debates in the Constituent Assembly that led to a privileging of civil and political rights over social and economic rights. The historical detail and interpretation of various views on why Ambedkar changed his mind about the primacy of economic and social rights is just one example of the attention to historical detail.

The final chapter on rights describes how civil and political rights were highlighted in the constitution but not social and economic rights. The chapter remains skeptical about the new rights-based approach to development initiated after 2005, where citizens have been granted the right to food, work and education, among others. The chapter argues against the selective approach to targeting the poor and certain depressed social categories. And, it opposes cash transfers in lieu of public services. It concedes that the period of corporate-sector-driven growth in India, is one where these rights have been provided, even though the book is skeptical about the benefits of industrial deregulation and globalization.

The next section of the book is devoted to citizenship. Chapter 7 describes how the dominant view within the Congress Party was largely opposed to group-differentiated citizenship for a variety of different reasons. It was the Muslim League and Ambedkar who sought representation of special interests. Women received some special rights. Hindu nationalists favoured a Hindu India with no special rights for other communities. The chapter details these ideational and political struggles in colonial India. Chapter 8 tells the story for scheduled tribes, who received special rights and reservations but whose human condition has only exacerbated internal violence, and the rise of the idea of backwardness and reservations for backward caste groups.

The book bemoans challenges to civic citizenship in the form of group differentiated rights. While these arguments are powerfully articulated, reservations have played a role in the creation of a scheduled caste party—the Bahujan Samaj Party and numerous backward caste parties in states like Tamil Nadu—where development has taken hold and gotten entrenched. One would have liked to learn more about the Indian citizen’s newfound civic rights to education, work, food and privileged government information. Where the book succeeds most brilliantly is in charting the historical roots of India’s developmental predicament through the conceptual lens of citizenship and rights.

 Rahul Mukherji, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN INDIA:Sovereigntyand (Anti)Conversion. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 60. By Goldie Osuri. New York; London: Routledge, 2012. xii, 204 pp. (Figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-66557-5.

The front page identifies Goldie Osuri as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Australia. In the epilogue,subtitled “Conversion as profanation,” she describes her personal background and the reasons for writing the book. Born into a fourth-generation Christian family in Narasapur, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, she grew up in a multi-religious environment, where Hindus, Muslims and Christians of various denominations apparently lived peacefully side by side. However: “In 2010 the state of Andhra Pradesh experienced the second-highest number of attacks against Christians in India” (159). Osuri comments: “Conversion now is a charged issue in the state and the violence encouraged by Hindutva groups is on the increase. I offer this ethnography of lived conversions to Christianity in Andhra Pradesh as a way of engaging in a counter affective biopolitics, a counter to Hindutva incitement of hatred” (159).

The chapter titles reveal the book’s theoretical orientation: 1. (Anti) conversion as exception: genealogies; 2. (Anti) conversion: transnational bio/necropolitical engagements; 3. Sovereignty and the Indian secular; 4. What’s love got to do with it? Sovereignty and conversion; and 5. Profaning religious freedom.

Much space is taken up by discussions on political philosophy and legal theory, quoting Aristotle, Kant, Spinoza, Carl Schmitt, G. Agamben, J. Derrida, M. Foucault and A.S. Mandair. The relevance of these writings to (anti)conversion in India is not always very clear. The bibliography contains some 400 titles: the only comprehensive work on Hinduism listed is Wendy Doniger’s controversial Hindus, An Alternative History (by now banned for distribution in India). P.V. Kane’s monumental History of Dharmasastra is not mentioned, though it is certainly of greater relevance to India than the writings of the extensively quoted Carl Schmitt (a prominent law professor in Hitler’s Germany). Nor are there any references to classical Indian writings on political theory or to the sources of traditional Indian/Hindu law.

Osuri challenges the claim of Hindutva organizations to represent the original and essential India. She is unqualifiedly hostile towards the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She repudiates Vir Savarkar, the “conceptual founder of Hindutva,” who held that “Indian national identity, must, at its foundation, be based within the political philosophy of Hindutva” and approvingly quotes Chaturvedi: “Hinduism is only a fraction, a part of Hindutva, whereas Hindutva is not a word, but a history” (2).

Osuri is aware that “(anti)conversion” during the British Raj, especially in Adivasi areas, had much to do with economics and local politics. While the British colonial government supported Christian missions in India, some native rulers passed anti-conversion laws, especially in tribal areas. Discussing the background to the 2010 disturbances in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, involving around 50,000 (mainly Christian) Adivasis and Dalits, Osuri acknowledges the complexity of the issues, but puts the blame for the violence squarely on Hindutva activists. She also hints at pro-Hindutva bias in the commuting of the death sentence for the murderers of Australian medical missionary Dr. Graham Staines and his two young sons, burned to death in 1999 in their camper by members of the Bajrang Dal.

Chapter 4, different in style and content from the rest of the book, discusses two popular Bollywood productions: Jhodaa Akbar is a historical film about the love-marriage between the Muslim Emperor Akbar and the Hindu Rajput princess Jhoda, who continued worshipping Krishna at the court of Agra. Saat Khhoon Maf tells the story of a Goanese Catholic woman, who killed her seven husbands—Hindu, Muslim and Christian—and died a Catholic nun.

Chapter 5 takes aim at the influential Hindu American Foundation, which she dubs Yankee Hindutva, commenting: “Ironically, in the 21st century, transnational Hindutva attempts to align itself with US Imperial sovereignty in a post 9/11 context” (133).

I agree with Osuri’s condemnation of the attempted violent and/or deceitful Hinduization of Adivasis, of the jarring totalitarian language of some proponents of Hindutva, and of the politicizing of religion. However, I am missing an equally critical stance towards Christian missions, which came to India with the totalitarian claim of possessing the only true religion and being the only way to salvation. While Christian missions in British India were more humane than the Spanish-Portuguese conquista in the Americas, and while some Christian missionaries effectively protected Adivasis against exploitation and abuse by outsiders, the Portuguese in Goa, Diu and Daman placed before the Hindus the alternative of either being baptized or leaving their homeland. They introduced the Holy Inquisition, which from 1560 to 1812 tortured and killed thousands.

Religious conflicts are not amenable to rational solutions: the “sovereign” majority—right or wrong—will always prevail and minorities must accommodate themselves. “Tolerance” is a modern secular concept and neither universally practiced nor enforceable. The 1950 Constitution of India, shaped by modern Western models, is very liberal. It guarantees the free exercise of (all) religions, including their propagation. But it also allows an interpretation like that of the Niyogi Commission in 1957. The commission (which also included an Indian Christian), ruled that “conversion” (to Christianity) can be legally prohibited for reasons of public peace and national security.

Osuri’s work is a major contribution to the debate on religious freedom in general and in India in particular. Since she is an Indian Christian, one can understand her bias against militant Hindu organizations and Hindu political parties. However, an unbiased outside observer would agree with the moderate proponents of Hindutva that Bharat is the cradle and the home of Hinduism (however vaguely defined) and that Hindus in India have the right and the duty to protect their own traditions from undue and unfair outside interference. Traditional Hinduism has been largely tolerant and Hindus have lived for centuries in peace side by side with other faith communities—as Goldie Osuri’s own hometown Narasapur has shown.

Klaus K. Klostermaier, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

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ECOLOGY IS PERMANENT ECONOMY: The Activism and Environmental Philosophy of Sunderlal Bahuguna. By George Alfred James. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2013. xii, 266 pp. (Illus., maps.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-4673-8.

In this book, George Alfred James explores the life, ideas and activism of the Gandhian environmentalist and social worker, Sunderlal Bahuguna. The book provides insights into the intellectual influences on Bahuguna and how his experiences as an activist shaped his ideas over time. One of James’ major aims with this book is to explore the intellectual roots of Indian environmentalism, focusing particularly on the environmental ideas inherent in India’s spiritual traditions and Gandhian philosophy. James illustrates the practical values of these ideas, by showing how they have been embodied in Bahuguna’s work.

It should be acknowledged that this book does not claim to be aimed at an academic audience. Rather, James’ intended audience is “people of all ages, but especially young people who will be inspired and motivated to further study the environment and to be involved in the struggle for the future of the planet” (3). Perhaps for this reason, the book is written in a simple and accessible style and does not assume too much background knowledge from the reader.

The book’s central chapters are arranged around major events in Bahuguna’s life, presented chronologically. Chapters 2 to 6 describe Bahuguna’s formative years, examining his major intellectual influences and his early experiences with activism and development work. These chapters provide an informative and accessible introduction to Gandhian philosophy and its evolution and application in the Garhwal hills. We are introduced to the work of Sri Dev Suman, Mirabehn, Saralabehn and Vinoba Bhave, all of whom had a profound influence on Bahuguna and his wife, Vimla Nautiyal. There are also detailed accounts of the role of Bahuguna and Vimla in the development of Sarvodaya collectives in Tehri-Garhwal in the 1950s, which aimed to promote Gandhian-inspired development in the region.

Chapters 7 to 10 deal with different aspects of the Chipko movement: the mobilization for forest protection and local employment with which Bahuguna’s name is most associated. In these chapters, James gives an overview of the events of the movement, considers different “modes of resistance” employed (placing special emphasis on the role of religion) and examines different perspectives on the Chipko message. The final chapters deal with Bahuguna’s later activism. Chapter 11 describes the foot march (padyatra) that Bahuguna undertook between 1981 and 1983, in which he walked the breadth of the Himalaya to promote environmental awareness and develop a broad perspective on the condition of the Himalayan ecosystem. Chapters 12 and 13 explore Bahuguna’s involvement in the movement against the Tehri Dam. James considers some of the controversies surrounding the role of Hindu nationalists in this movement and the question of whether the movement was a “failure.” Finally, chapter 14 presents a summary of Bahuguna’s philosophy, which brings together Gandhian ideas, ecological science and spirituality. James’ account of the role of religion in Bahuguna’s thought is particularly elegant, highlighting the value of a perspective that sees the divinity in nature and opposes the illusion (maya) of the capitalist economy.

The book is highly effective as a work of biography. It provides a very clear sense of Bahuguna’s motivations, intellectual influences and changes in his viewpoint over time. The book falls short, however, in its aim of providing insight into Indian environmentalism. This is chiefly because its primary empirical content is a series of interviews with Bahuguna and secondary materials written about him. James rarely takes a critical perspective on this material. When he does engage with critiques of Bahuguna, the aim seems to be to defend Bahuguna, rather than to carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his position. We receive very little insight into the perspectives of rank-and-file members of the movements that Bahuguna came to represent. Such perspectives are surely important to develop any comprehensive view of “Indian environmentalism.” This is particularly evident in James’ representations of Chipko. For example, in chapter 8 he argues that religion was a major force for mobilization in the movement, citing the use of padyatras (foot marches, or “pilgrimages”), fasts and prayer recitals. However, since James’ claims regarding the significance of these mobilizational techniques is based almost exclusively on Bahuguna’s accounts, the reader is left uncertain as to how significant they really were for Chipko’s rank-and-file supporters.

In chapter 10, James does make some attempt to engage with criticisms of Bahuguna. He considers some of the claims that Bahuguna was at the centre of a division within Chipko between those who favoured development and those who favoured forest conservation. James makes an important contribution by countering some of the simplistic representations of Bahuguna as being anti-modern and anti-development. He demonstrates that Bahuguna’s philosophy was always informed by the economic needs of Uttarakhand’s villages, though his understanding of “needs” and “development” were informed by an ecological and Gandhian perspective. He goes on to argue that the supposed divisions within the Chipko movement were exaggerated by academics and journalists. In saying this, James appears to gloss over claims that Bahuguna’s ecological narrative was at odds with the perspectives of local participants in Chipko, who were more in favour of local-led development than environmental conservation per se. On these issues, James simply reproduces Bahuguna’s perspective: that local people’s claims were always for forest protection, while the claims for the development of small-scale forestry were made by local industries. This overlooks that local industries are led and potentially supported by local people. In the absence of any empirical data on local perspectives (besides Bahuguna’s), the debate that James presents is simply one of competing assertions from activists, journalists and some academics.

Even if this book is aimed more at young activists than scholars, these lapses are not helpful. The quest for sustainability requires honest appraisals of points of tension between environmental conservation and local development aspirations—not just celebrations of prominent and articulate activists.

Trent Brown, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia

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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 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 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


SOUNDING OUT HERITAGE: Cultural Politics and the Social Practice of Quan Họ Folk Song in Northern Vietnam. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. By Lauren Meeker. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013. viii, 192 pp. (Figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3568-2.

Village quan họ singers in Vietnam’s Bắc Ninh province say that their songs “rise up and out of the belly” (64). The singers, who sing in pairs (hát đôi), appear to be whispering to each other, and their performances involve minimal movement. But their voices loudly resonate as they “play an instrument in the throat” (57). Their bodies become infused with stoic energy, fueled by sentiment, and the singers would say that they “did not know how to get tired” (63).

As Lauren Meeker shows in this compelling ethnography, the songs performed in the villages of Bắc Ninh, where quan họ is said to have originated, are not something one simply goes to “watch.” Building from fieldwork in Diềm village, the book details the fascinating social dynamics of quan họ in the village setting, showing how singers, gathered in partner groups called bọn, would engage in ritualized exchanges of song with groups from other villages with which they had established friendship relations. In this way, the book not only provides a clear and detailed analysis of one of Vietnam’s most important styles of folk song, but it also depicts the larger “soundscape” of quan họ, in which cultural performances express, produce and reproduce social relations at both the village and inter-village levels (18-20).

But these soundscapes are not confined to Bắc Ninh. The book documents how this musical style has been an object of national attention by Vietnamese folklorists, ethnologists, intellectuals and culture workers ever since Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France in 1945. In 2009, furthermore, UNESCO registered quan họ as an element of “intangible cultural heritage.” Thus, in addition to offering a detailed study of Bắc Ninh, the book also shows how quan họ is appropriated and heralded as a part of Vietnamese national heritage and national character. Quan họ has been updated, revised and “corrected” by experts or culture workers from Hanoi (only 30 kilometres away) who transformed the music to make it harmonize with various historically situated agendas, ranging from socialist projects of egalitarianism in the 1950s, to the exaltation of heroic struggle and unity of the war years, to more recent efforts to capitalize on the potential “value” of cultural heritage and branding in the post-reform era.

For the purposes of nationalism, part of the allure of quan họ stems from the very fact that it is deeply local. While this might seem like a contradiction, Meeker develops compelling arguments about the way heritage in twentieth-century Vietnam speaks in the universalizing idioms of the state, all while national rhetoric claims to build on diverse local practices as sources of authenticity. Both local singers and national folklore experts alike will commonly assert that people from Bắc Ninh have a special capacity to embody the music, and Meeker’s evocative ethnographic discussion of “the way of practicing” (lối chơi) quan họ in Diềm village help explain some of the logic behind such assertions. The book’s clear explanations of quan họ performances, coupled with carefully chosen and precise ethnographic details, shows how the situated, embodied and relational practices of village-based performance tightly integrate this style of folk song into a complex set of social relations. As such, it is hard to imagine how quan họ could be performed outside of this web of social relations. But this is the magic of nationalist heritage, as it transforms diversity into a source of unity. As Meeker shows, the emergence of a professional, staged, style of “new quan họ” after 1969 encouraged professional singers to transcend the local context and present quan họ as part of a national repertoire. In the process, they simultaneously elevated and transformed many of the attributes of village quan họ. What emerges is a distinct set of differences between new and old-style quan họ. Where old-style quan họ is rooted in the village, new-style quan họ is performed on a stage and can be broadcast anywhere. The old style is meant to be listened to, and is performed by sentimental, slow moving, often elderly, coy and drably dressed members of a parochial but sentimental rural society symbolically associated with the premodern past. The new style, by contrast, is meant to be watched, and the performers are theatrical, full of stylized movements, often young, flirtatious, colourfully dressed citizens of a gregarious national society made modern by a commitment to preserving their national heritage for the future.

It would appear from these strings of difference that the new and the old styles of quan họ are irreconcilable opposites. But Meeker shows how these binary oppositions are in fact mutually entangled with each other in a series of productive tensions that are not so much contradictory as generative. A local, “authentic” old-style quan họ rooted in Bắc Ninh is not undermined by the development of a national “new-style” quan họ. Instead, Bắc Ninh’s authenticity as the centre of quan họ is reinforced by the nationalist impulse to find local cultural essences, even as those imperatives themselves transform the conditions within which that authenticity is produced. In developing this argument, Meeker goes a long way in showing how the sounds of quan họ do different things for villagers, young and old, yesterday and today, than they do or did for revolutionary cadres and ideologues of the past, or for modern-day government officials, scholars, media companies, culture departments and international agencies. To see this required going, as Meeker’s informants always insisted, to Bắc Ninh. But in going there, she also shows what happens when the sounds of quan họ rise up and out of the belly of Bắc Ninh to be broadcast across the nation, and inscribed in the records of UNESCO.

Yale University, New Haven, USA                                                                 Erik Harms

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INTERACTIONS WITH A VIOLENT PAST: Reading Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam. IRASEC-NUS Press Publications on Contemporary Southeast Asia. Edited by Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe. Singapore: NUS Press in association with IRASEC, Bangkok, 2014. xi, 300 pp. (Maps, plates, tables.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-701-3.

Over the last decade, an exciting body of scholarship has emerged on the socio-cultural consequences of some thirty years of extreme warfare over the former states of French Indochina: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. This renewal is part of a wider intellectual shift in scholarship focused largely on the world wars of the twentieth century. Scholars of World War I led the way, as George Mosse’s classic study, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (1990) and Paul Fussel’s landmark The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) attest. The emphasis on historical memory was itself connected to innovative and theoretical attempts to understand what this might mean. Pierre Nora’s magisterial Les lieux de mémoire (1997) comes to mind as does Paul Ricoeur’s work.

With the publication of their edited volume, Interactions with a Violent Past, Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe make a major contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural impact of the wars for Indochina on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and how a wide range of peoples living in these countries have remembered, forgotten, retailored and continuously lived with these wars and their memories to this very day. In their introductory chapter, the editors focus the book thematically on the notions of “post-conflict landscapes” and “violent memories.” In different ways, all of the contributors to this book (initially a conference) show how the war has deeply affected “these countries’ human and physical landscapes.” “From battlefields and massive bombing,” the editors write, “to reeducation camps and resettled village, the past lingers on in the physical, often ruined, environment, but also in precarious objects such as unexploded ordnances that are shallowly buried in large areas of contaminated land” (6).

All of the authors effectively demonstrate the different ways war transformed physical reality; but they also show that the postconflict landscape is not some sort of an objective reality existing “out there” (6). The unexploded ordnance and the Agent Orange continue to transform that landscape quite literally, while people for all sorts of different and ever-changing reasons continue to remember the landscape—now and then—in a myriad of ways. And in so doing, they constantly change the contours of the landscape.

Consider the following. Elaine Russel and Susan Hammond take up the question of the still very real dangers of “Living with Unexploded Ordnance” and “Redefining Agent Orange, Mitigating its Impacts” (chapters 4,7). But both go beyond mere description of the consequences to take up questions of how people live with this passé qui ne passe pas. Oliver Tappe, Marksus Schlecker and Ian Baird show us in different and quite original ways how local peoples in Vietnam and Laos today have carefully contested and reshaped official sites and narratives of memory. Vatthana Pholsena zooms in on Route 9 in southern Laos to serve as her postconflict “landscape.” She teases out nicely how people in Sepon see this road as being more than just a source of development and modernity, but also as “a source of healing, with travel and trade resumed, craters filled in, and lingering memories of violence slowly dwindling” (182). Christina Schwenkel tapped into recent scholarship on “the productive life of risk” to provide a highly original and insightful study on the question on how landscapes “heal” and get wounded again. Yes, she concludes, the rapid economic development—new roads, homes, forests, buildings and markets suggest that regeneration and renewal are well under way in Quang Tri—but the global demands for war debris, for example, have led people, including children, to take extraordinary risks to unearth relics of the war. In so doing, they leave holes in the ground and they often leave their lives behind, as the war and its hidden landscape continue to maim and kill.

Each contributor has conducted very impressive fieldwork and advances solid arguments. They also provide us with a vast array of new information and insights. While my eyes sometimes glazed over when certain authors bogged us down with unnecessarily academic jargon, it’s worth carrying on. For, together, they have succeeded in providing us with new insights into the socio-cultural consequences of war in this part of the world and how the peoples who suffered through it still cope with this violent past in a variety of different and ever-changing ways.

Christopher Goscha, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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SURABAYA, 1945-2010: Neighbourhood, State and Economy in Indonesia’s City of Struggle. Souteast Asia Publications Series. By Robbie Peters. Honolulu: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with the University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xvii, 254 pp. (Illus.) US$27.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3864-5.

The city of Surabaya has gone through several ups and downs in the past seventy years. Its history reflects, of course, in many ways the changes that have taken place in Indonesia as a whole, but Surabaya also has idiosyncratic characteristics. One trait that distinguishes Surabaya from its biggest rival, the capital city of Jakarta, is the policy to allow most kampongs to stay in the city centre and not to demolish them to make room for office towers, hotels, shopping malls, and elite housing. Robbie Peters has written a fascinating account of the city, from Independence (1945) till 2010. The focus is on the way state interventions and the economic ebb and flow have impinged on the lives of kampong residents and how these residents have struggled to carve out a pleasant living for themselves.

The work is based on an extensive study of local newspapers and other literature, and intermittent ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 1997 to 2010. Peters stayed in the kampong Dinoyo during the whole of 1998, a momentous year during which the Asian crisis hit Indonesia hard, long-reigning President Suharto stepped down, and so-called ninja killings peaked. He returned regularly to Dinoyo after 1998. The focus of the book rests on this kampong, but Peters often widens the angle, making the connection with developments in Surabaya or Indonesia as a whole. For each period, a few themes take central stage, which are analyzed with a range of theoretical concepts.

Two-thirds of the people fled the city during the fierce Battle of Surabaya of 1945, but a reversed flow of migration already started during the Indonesian Revolution. After the transfer of sovereignty (1949) many people moved from the hinterland into town; old and new residents of Dinoyo often found work in the adjacent industrial estate, Ngagel. In 1957 the workers’ movement seized Dutch-controlled factories in Ngagel, but within a fortnight the army took over the seized factories and brought them under army control. Henceforth, labour unrest inevitably developed into a conflict between unions backed by the Indonesian Communist Party and the army (as selfish managers of the companies), culminating in the dramatic prosecution of Indonesian communists in 1965 and 1966. Peters sheds new light on these events by his economic approach to the conflict, with the army targeting the communists not so much for political as economic reasons. The stories of two labourers, Eko and Rukun, show how people tried to survive the purges.

In the next decades, the municipality embarked on a path of kampong improvement and new investments in the urban infrastructure. Data collection as a prerequisite for urban planning reminded the kampong residents of the searches for evidence of communist involvement in the mid-1960s. In the 1980s industries were moved from the inner city to the outskirts and Ngagel was developed into malls and hotels. This created new jobs for young, pretty girls from Dinoyo, like a certain Ria, because the consumer society required beauty as a precondition “to ‘promote’ the sale of commodities” (105).

The Asian crisis of 1998 brought new hardship and drove dismissed workers to the street to engage in informal economic activities. Kampong residents thus ventured outside of their secure environment into the streets associated with danger. Some years later, the War on Terror gave the state an excuse to step up scrutiny of the kampong residents, in order to distinguish between locals and outsiders (allegedly potential terrorists). The state definitions and boundary making, however, do not match the local definitions of belonging, which are based on the participation in ritual meals (slametans), death rituals and activities like pigeon racing. The residents of Dinoyo have until today successfully resisted state intrusions into their community.

It happened that I read Surabaya, 1945-2010 while staying in a Surabaya kampong myself and I found the book very inspiring for my fieldwork. The book is an excellent companion to Howard Dick’s Surabaya, city of work: A socio-economic history, 1900-2000 (NUS Press, 2003), which gives the general history of Surabaya with more “hard facts,” but lacks the experiences of ordinary people, and Lea Jellinek’s The wheel of fortune: The history of a poor community in Jakarta (Allen & Unwin, 1991), which must have been a model for Robbie Peters, but which hardly or not at all covers the disconcerting events of 1965 and 1998. The fact that the illustrations of the book are of an incomprehensibly poor quality is of no import, because of the very vivid descriptions in words that make illustrations superfluous. The book is a real page-turner, because of the lucid argument and colourful scenes, especially where Peters develops his case with the help of short vignettes about kampong residents.

From what I know of other Indonesian kampongs, my biggest concern is that the book might give an overly romantic view of a harmonious community of like people. The preface leaves no doubt that Peters’ sympathies lie with the kampong residents (and shows his excellent rapport with the residents). How about gender differences? We learn more about the men than the women and may wonder whether they liked the pigeon races as much as the men. When young girls go to work as sales girls, are they still controlled by male relatives? And how about class differences? In colonial times the composition of kampongs was determined by low incomes, but nowadays it is not uncommon to see houses with three storeys and a car port in the midst of basic dwellings in a kampong. Monthly expenditure figures of eleven residents (124) testify to enormous income differences, but go unanalyzed. Do the rich and poor get along well with each other or is there a lot of hidden strife? These queries should not distract from the fact that Surabaya, 1945-2010 is an excellent, admirable book.

Freek Colombijn, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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CULTURE, POWER, AND AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE INDONESIAN STATE: Cultural Policy across the Twentieth-Century to the Reform Era. Southeast Asia Mediated, v.3. By Tod Jones. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. xviii, 312 pp. (Tables.) US$116.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-25509-8.

This book is a major study of cultural policy (seen as a state apparatus for social control) as it develops over time in the course of twentieth-century Indonesia. It comprehensively documents key debates, institutional formations and regulations around the production, circulation and reception of cultural policy in Indonesia across different political regimes (though a large part is devoted to the New Order under Suharto, 1965-1998). “Culture” here is understood as an institutionally mediated practice which involves the interplay between structure and agency. This is a definition drawn from Michel Foucault and developed by Tony Bennett with a particular focus on the themes of accommodation, contradiction, misrecognition and, should we say, resistance. The author, Tod Jones (in a theoretically well-informed introductory chapter) offers the notion of “culturality” as a concept to help illustrate the working of those themes in order to show how cultures, while constituted by formal (state) institutions, were shaped by a constellation of other unofficial practices. The book thus can be seen as having a theoretical agenda to show how culture is formed through different forces, even as the formal state discourses remain the most dominant.

To write a book about the complexity, or better, the difficulty of producing and regulating culture is indeed a difficult task. One could go into the messiness of dealing with the irreducibility of cultural practices. Jones however manages to “escape” from the messiness of cultural production by sticking with his main target: cultural policy, a domain that represents the cultural strategy of government. The key actors of the study thus are those associated with the different layers of government structures, and in a way we could say that the study is moving within and around these layers, but never quite beyond them. Playing with these layers, Jones shows the tension and negotiation between the regional and the Pan-Indonesian in asserting cultural strategies. The central theoretical struggle in Jones’ book thus is the question of whether cultural policy is best understood as a formulation from above but one that is deeply shaped by “culturalities,” the discursive cultural practices, from below. Such struggle could be seen in his different twists in the study, for instance he relies on governmental discourses and acknowledges the state’s power, but he aims at showing the different implications of the policy. In the end, we see cultural policy as a set of incomplete attempts and unclear desires of the state to control “culturalities.”. The point Jones wants to make however is that while the government cannot control culture, it can keep producing it through policy.

Central to the study thus are the continuous attempts by the government through its network to issue cultural policy and its institutions. While the efforts are not always working, cultural policy is considered important to maintain order and stability in a socio-political domain filled with often uncontrollable culturalities. This imperative applies to all political regimes. Jones’ theoretical formulation allows “old” modes of governance to keep returning to “new” regimes. This has made the study non-linear even as the book is organized chronologically following the rise and fall of each political regime: Dutch colonialism, Japanese occupation, the Constitutional Democracy and Guided Democracy of Sukarno era, the Suharto’s New Order and the Reform era. The main empirical finding is the influence of colonial cultural policy in the postcolonial era and how the supposedly democratic Reform era is never quite able to leave behind the cultural policy shadow of Suharto’s New Order.

The New Order of Suharto is understandably central to the book, as it provides a bridge between the colonial and postcolonial mode of governing cultures, and it continues to shape the contemporary reform era. The book argues that the New Order replayed the cultural policy of the colonial era which sought to both preserve and develop Indonesian culture according to the state’s aesthetic and moral norm, and in ways that supported development goals. The discourse of preservation was constructed through the idea that there is a realm of unchanging spiritual qualities in Indonesian cultures. Cultural policy is supposed to protect the spiritual domain by isolating it from politics. After the collapse of the Suharto regime, the preservation of the spiritual domain has been relegated to the regional governments.

The strength of Jones’ study however is also its weakness. With a focus on governmental discourses and their definition of cultures, the study follows logically the purview of the state, thus leaving out cultural forms that did not receive attention from cultural policy makers. What has also been left out in the study is the cultural policy on ethnic Chinese which Jones mentions only in two footnotes. Jones is aware of this limit as acknowledged in various instances. Culture, Power, and Authoritariansm in the Indonesian State is a major contribution to the study of cultural policy in a postcolonial country.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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BUDDHISM IN A DARK AGE: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot. By Ian Harris. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xi, 242 pp. (Tables, illus, B&W photos.) US$22.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3561.

Most scholars of Southeast Asia are well aware that an individual’s relationship with the Buddhist community, or Sangha,is central to Khmer religious practice, and that Buddhist monks occupy essential sociocultural roles as educators and spiritual guides in Cambodian society. But despite the importance of Buddhist monks to most Cambodians, the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s (CPK) violent persecution of the country’s ethnic minorities tends to take the spotlight in the existing scholarship on the Cambodian genocide. It is for such a reason that Ian Harris’ Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under Pol Pot is such a welcome addition. An Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Cumbria, Harris combines archival materials with dozens of interviews with genocide survivors to argue that successive Cambodian regimes “have sought to disengage Cambodian Buddhism from its traditional roots through the introduction of a modernist emphasis on the value of the monk’s engagement in socially progressive activity” (170). Rather than something disembodied, passive, or “devoid of purchase on historical and political reality,” Harris asserts that Buddhism remained influential even in lieu of the Sangha’smarginalization and the defrocking of monks, serving as an extant source for CPK thought and policies (3).

Buddhism in a Dark Age consists of seven engaging chapters that cover the period from the rise of Prince Sihanouk’s Buddhist socialist SangkumParty in the opening chapterto the rise and fall of Democratic Kampuchea (DK) and the emergence of the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). The second and third chapters—the latter is arguably Harris’ most interesting—traces “filial links between the ideology of Angkar [the CPK] and the more traditional Buddhist categories and attitudes that are well established in Cambodian history and culture” (44). Subsequent chapters discuss the ways in which the CPK treated Buddhist monks during its reign, the Party’s destruction of wats and removal of monks from their traditional roles as educators, and the topic of monk mortality during the DK years. The final chapter explores the attempts to rebuild, unify and “(re)-politicize” the Sanghaunder Vietnamese rule (163).

As a whole, the book introduces the erosion of the Buddhist state in Cambodia, the CPK’s persecution of monks, and the long and trying process of rebuilding the Sanghain the post-DK years. Harris’ discussion of the ways in which the CPK pushed monks away from their usual study of classical scriptures and practices of meditation and towards “productive” labour shows the reader one of the many Party practices that brought the Sanghato its near total destruction. The two chapters that attempt to link Theravada Buddhism to Cambodian/Khmer communism present intriguing pathways into understanding the extant ideas that possibly influenced CPK thought. Yet such efforts also raise questions on the role Buddhism played in the development and promulgation of CPK thought, among others.

Indeed, Harris argues that many of the CPK’s policies are identical to and possibly informed by Buddhist practices (43-44). Such efforts bear resemblance to Frederic Wakeman’s History and Will, in which Wakeman argues that earlier Western philosophical tracts informed Mao Zedong’s later ideology and practices. But such connections do not necessarily “fit,” thus giving the impression that Wakeman—like Harris—is exploring backward and finding continuities in disparate sources that may very well have figured less prominently in the subject’s thought as ideology matured. How do we know, for instance, that Buddhist modes influenced many CPK leaders’ ideologies to the degree Harris suggests, especially after their conversion to communism in Paris during the 1950s? Or that Cambodians endorsed the CPK because of the Party’s allusions to Buddhism, and not, say, references to Cambodia’s oral history and tales of past greatness (Angkor)? While an understanding of the confluence of extant, pre-revolutionary political thought with alternative ideas from outside sources is necessary to explain CPK thought, the primacy Harris places on Buddhism as the possible driving force behind the nature and form of the CPK’s political thought ultimately raises more questions than it answers.

Harris also argues that in some areas Buddhist influence was “explicit” while in others “it led to the inversion of customary Buddhist modes of praxis” (63). One wonders if a link exists between the CPK’s inversion of Buddhist modes and the inversion of Maoist precepts in the doctoral dissertations by the CPK’s intellectual thrust (Khieu Samphan and Hou Yuon). Despite the author’s partial siding with Karl Jackson—who argued that Khieu’s doctoral dissertation was a blueprint for DK (51-52)—there is almost no discussion of it or its impact on the nature of Democratic Kampuchea.

The author also relegates the importance of the Cultural Revolution as an influence on CPK practice. Harris interestingly makes no connection between the CPK’s “Year Zero” and Mao’s campaign to destroy the “Four Olds,” both of which broke with orthodox Marxist analysis, nor does he link Mao’s Great Leap Forward to the “Super” variant the CPK initiated. The absence of engaging the topic of nationalism is also a disappointing omission. It would have been interesting for Harris to situate his assertions on Buddhism in contrast to Penny Edwards’ “temple complex” argument—that the symbol of Angkor Wat came to signify Cambodian sovereignty and faith in Cambodia’s past glory and fears of impending annihilation. Indeed, the French construct of the glorious Khmer past, which contrasted with Cambodia’s present state of weakness, is necessary in explicating the CPK’s weltanschauung.

These questions and criticisms notwithstanding, Buddhism in a Dark Age is a well-researched and thorough analysis of the struggle of Buddhist monks over the past century. Harris’ book is both a long overdue contribution to the literature on the Cambodian genocide and an ambitious study that reminds us of the resilience of Buddhism in Cambodia—even to those who sought so fervently to eradicate it.

Matt Galway, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                             

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RESISTING GENDERED NORMS: Civil Society, the Juridical and Political Space in Cambodia. Gender in a Global/Local World. By Mona Lilja. Farnham, Eng.; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013. xii, 150 pp. £60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4094-3431-3.

This book is part of a series that explores global forces and local gender identities. It contains 11 chapters divided into two main parts. The first three chapters are devoted to adapting James Scott’s theory of resistance to notions of “disciplinary power” and “biopower” and exploring these within the context of postwar gender norms in Cambodia. The author presents arguments that globalization is making space for Cambodian women to forge new political identities through access to technology, discourses on democratic practices that are inclusive, and through material culture shaping new images identifying women as politicians.

The first main section of the book is entitled “Gender, Resistance and Gender Based Violence.” This section focuses on non-governmental organizations’ approaches and understandings of this subject. It contains slim chapters (co-authored with Mikael Baaz) on the handling of GBV issues within the Extraordinary Court of the Chambers of Cambodia (ECCC) and “biopower and resistance” in the ECCC.

Case studies based on interviews with women in politics and NGOs from the 1990s form the basis of the rest of the book. Cambodian perspectives on gendered identities and new roles for women and men were gathered through the author’s interviews with 41 women and men from a variety of political parties between 1997 and 2007. It is not stated how many of each were interviewed. In addition, 11 NGO workers were interviewed from four NGOs. All but two of the interviewees were based in Phnom Penh. For the chapter on how the ECCC dealt with gender-based violence, the author and Mikael Baaz conducted 33 interviews in 2010 of investigating judges, lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses, victims and civil parties. English was the language of most interviews with interpreters used for some. The length and details of the interviews were not reported.

In the chapter reviewing women politicians and their resistance to gendered norms of male power, the author posits that Western models of the state are referred to in order to justify their ambitions. The irony that women in Western states are also politically marginalized is not discussed. The author concludes: “globalization provides subaltern groups with discourses from abroad that they can employ to renegotiate power sites, in this case the gender equalities within the public administration” (99).

The following chapter examines the strategies and approaches of four local non-governmental organizations in combating gender-based violence. Here it is argued that because the NGOs are largely financed by Western organizations, the values of gender they espouse have an influence over the approach of the work. This is not argued so persuasively by the evidence presented, however, especially as the chapter focuses more on techniques of male trainers with men in local communities and less on value systems and gendered identities.

From initially focusing on women, the NGOs moved to include men in their training and awareness-raising campaigns. Concepts of universalism (in so far as hegemonic masculinity is at play) and particularism are used to examine men’s roles as family members (fathers, sons, husbands) and as those who hold most power in society. The subject position of women in Cambodian society as marginalized and passive is discussed as a hurdle that both men and women have to overcome in order for gender-based violence to be reduced. It would have been interesting for the author to include the approaches to combat GBV by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs since it was the key institution in crafting the law against domestic violence and also works with NGOs to spread key messages and help change attitudes of men and women.

One of the more interesting chapters of the book is an examination of the struggles to get the issue of gender-based violence to be part of the ECCC agenda.. These focused foremost on the phenomenon of “forced marriages” of which up to 500,000 took place during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. These marriages were often conducted en masse, among couples that did not have a say in their union.

In light of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 that recognizes the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace negotiations, various international and local human rights organizations began to advance the issue of “forced marriage” as a legitimate civil party complaint. However, some court staff, including those who themselves remained in forced marriages, objected to these cases. The author writes: “Male Cambodian court staff, some of whom still live in ‘forced marriages’, seemingly obstruct or refuse to admit the existence of trauma, thereby undermining the survivors’ credibility… . In all, the resistance from the men in power was often substantial against the new victims’ stories of ‘forced marriages’ (65)” and this had the result of undermining the confidence of some witnesses in the efficacy of the ECCC to deliberate their cases with impartiality.

This book will be of interest to Southeast Asianists who teach or study global/local gender relations. So, too, it will be of interest to scholars and students of Cambodia generally, and especially to those interested in post-1975 social developments.

Kate Grace Frieson, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                             

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ENTERING UNCHARTED WATERS?: ASEAN and the South China Sea. Edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xi, 288 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.90, paper . ISBN 978-981-4380-26-3.

Robert Kaplan, writing in the 28 October 2011 issue of Foreign Policy, called the South China Sea the “future of conflict.” Yet on 22 May 2014, after over 20 years of negotiations, Indonesia and the Philippines signed a maritime border agreement delineating the boundaries of their overlapping exclusive economic zones. However laboriously achieved, the spirit of compromise and cooperation in this agreement is very much needed to try to settle the plethora of conflicting territorial claims involving what the NY Times editorial board on 29 May 2014 characterized as a seemingly endless list of Asian nations, including Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, China and Taiwan. There is also a consensus among strategic thinkers of varying schools of thought that the United States has played, and continues to play, a key role in the South China Sea, although they differ in their interpretation of the American influence. The concept of the United States as a safeguard against a rising China having a stabilizing effect by creating a feeling of security within ASEAN is one perception.

At issue in the South China Sea is which nation state controls the large reserves of oil and gas that are thought to be available.. Living marine resources are also important. According to the NY Times editorial board, the territorial disputes in the South China Sea have strong economic motives but they also reflect a deep-seated nationalism and as the Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin put it, the South China Sea is central to China’s very existence as a global economic power.

The Philippines recently filed a legal case against Beijing with an international arbitration panel in the Hague, seemingly undaunted by China’s sometimes aggressive rhetoric and expansionist claims to nearly all of the South China Sea. The strategy of the Philippines clearly has implications for others in the region with similar claims against China, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Vietnam and China have been sending warships into the South China Sea to confront one another.

This volume, entitled Entering Uncharted Waters?: ASEAN and the South China Sea is in this context an exceedingly important and timely piece of scholarship based on a workshop organized by the ASEAN Studies Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) at the initiative of Ambassador K. Kesavapany, who asked the question: “What does ASEAN have to do with the South China Sea?”

The answer is that all ASEAN nations, both individually and as a whole, have a deep and abiding interest in peace and stability in the South China Sea. All ASEAN nations, both individually and as a whole, also have a deep and abiding interest in the freedom of navigation and over flight above the South China Sea. Simply put, much of ASEAN members’ commerce, including traded food and energy resources, passes through or over the South China Sea.

ISEAS was very fortunate to have so many leading scholars participating in this workshop who are acknowledged experts in South China Sea issues. The list of contributors to Entering Uncharted Waters constitutes a veritable “who’s who” in South China Sea law and policy and includes Robert Beckman, director of the Centre of International Law at the National University of Singapore and head of the Programme on Ocean Law and Policy, and Ambassador Hasjim Djalal, former vice chairman of the Delegation of Indonesia to the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference. Even if all of these experts did not necessarily speak for their respective governments they at least well understood the positions and interests of those governments. Importantly they also offer genuine hope that increased knowledge might lead all claimants to bring their claims within the framework of the 1982 Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, to which all of the nation states of the South China Sea are party. They also point out that what continues to be regrettably conspicuous by its absence in the South China Sea is an understanding that compromise and cooperation need not threaten national sovereignty and that the quarreling nation states need to return to the spirit and intent of the 2002 ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea. The NY Times characterized the 2002 ASEAN Declaration as a lofty but non-binding agreement. However, the 2002 ASEAN Declaration included commitments to international law, a pledge to resolve disputes peacefully and a promise not to occupy uninhabited islands.

Regrettably, as noted by the NY Times editorial board on 29 May 2014, as long as the nation states in the South China Sea continue to make maximalist sovereignty claims, there will be no agreed-upon maritime borders and only missed opportunities to manage the resources of the sea and the seabed of the South China Sea for the benefit of present and future generations.

Richard Kyle Paisley, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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TRAILS OF BRONZE DRUMS ACROSS EARLY SOUTHEAST ASIA: Exchange Routes and Connected Cultural Spheres. Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series. By Ambra Calo. Rev. new ed. Singapore: ISEAS, 2014. xxx, 228 pp., [76] pp. of plates (Charts, maps, figures.) US$69.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4517-86-7.

Ambra Calo makes a significant contribution to the extensive literature on the bronze drums of the Dongson type by choosing to consider these ritual metallaphones in their entire geographical range. In doing this she avoids nationalistic debates and at the same time provides rich insights into the extensive trading networks and pathways along which Dongson drums moved during the late metal age (300 BCE–500 CE). Calo makes use of a select set of “regional clusters” of bronze drums that she then uses to study the routes and timing of transmission of drums produced in workshops like those of the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam, her first regional cluster. Calo uses her impressive mastery of archaeological detail to trace a series of “distribution domains” that include the Dongson and Dian cultures of northern Vietnam and southern China, the cross-regional routes of mainland Southeast Asia and the islands of western

Indonesia. By meticulously examining the archaeological record for regional clusters found in these distribution domains she is able to build an accurate picture both of centres of production and important nodal points in the trading pathways by which bronze drums spread throughout mainland and insular Southeast Asia.

Calo first focuses on her first and third regional clusters, the bronze drums and situlas produced in the Dongson culture of the Red River Valley in northern Vietnam and southern Yunnan, and the closely related artifacts of the Dian culture of Yunnan. In the process she provides convincing solutions to earlier debates on the relationship between these two separate, but closely related, traditions of bronze casting. In her second chapter Calo provides a detailed overview of the larger domain of Dongson-style drums on the Southeast Asian mainland and western Indonesia that brings into clear focus the routes of transmission along exchange networks connecting much of Southeast Asia c. 300 BCE–100 CE.

In other chapters Calo examines the later movement of drums of Dongson provenance into eastern Indonesia (200–600 CE) that her model “envisions […] entering a series of inter-island trade networks controlled by local seafaring traders” (113). She then gives a detailed description of the similarities and differences between Dongson-type drums of mainland origin and the bronze drums cast in the workshops of Bali, demonstrating that the method of using a separate tympanum attached to the hourglass-shaped base of the drum with a flange represents a bronze-casting method of local origin. She goes on to show that important find sites of these drums in Bali are at critical junctures in the riverine system of south-central Bali, which was harnessed by the early dynasties of Bali in the service of the irrigation networks that supported their domains.

There is a great deal of solid scholarship and scientific detail in Calo’s work that will ensure its usefulness for many years to come, and her contribution to our understanding of the timing and routes of transmission of Dongson-type drums is enriched through her methodological choices, which introduce the very useful concepts of regional clusters and distribution domains to a wider readership. In addition, in the final chapter of her book, Calo puts forward a challenging thesis, proposing that motifs that figure strongly in the decoration of Dongson drums have their origin in western Borneo, where they are reflected today among the Dayak peoples of western Borneo. Combining ethnographic and ethno-musicological evidence Calo traces lines of connection between the motifs, myths, ritual implements and musical instruments of Dayak society with those of the Dongson culture. Taking a cue from the linguistic evidence, which suggests a large-scale movement of Austronesian speakers from western Borneo to coastal and central Vietnam sometime in the mid-first millennium BCE, Calo proposes cultural links that were strengthened by the movement of speakers of Malayic languages from Borneo to Vietnam, where they developed as the Cham languages of the Austronesian (AN) family. Calo’s evidence suggests that a long history of contact and exchange between speakers of Cham and their close neighbours from the Austroasiatic populations of the mainland led to the sharing of cultural traits that cross ethno-linguistic boundaries.

While Calo’s final chapter promises much with its assertion of an “island to mainland” pathway for much of the ritual and mythological imagery that is featured prominently in Dongson and Dian drums, the author ends her otherwise impressive volume by introducing a brief discussion of a “Neolithic exchange network involving Taiwanese nephrite” with a brief but inconclusive discussion. One might rather hope for a summation of her views on the “island to mainland” pathway that she introduces so convincingly in the concluding chapter of the work.

The photographs, maps and figures in this volume constitute a very important contribution to the field in and of themselves. The resolution might be improved on some of the photographs, but that is a minor point in comparison with the value of having at our disposal a well-organized and strongly representative record of the production and spread of bronze drums in Southeast Asia. The volume suffers from relatively frequent misspellings or typos that we can hope will be corrected in subsequent printings of this valuable resource.

Thomas Hunter, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada                              

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HOT SCIENCE, HIGH WATER: Assembling Nature, Society and Environmental Policy in Contemporary Vietnam. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, no. 124. By Eren Zink. Copenhagen: Nias Press, 2013. xx, 270 pp. (Figures, tables.) £18.99, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-128-4.

Hot Science, High Water is a rare and much needed contribution to the study of how decisions are made and policies formed on environmental issues in intricate relations to the reproduction of culture, politics and society. It shows how scientists are not only experts in their fields but also members of a particular social and cultural order. Behind this insight is not merely the merit of ethnographic work, but also productive engagement with actor-network theory to cast light on activities that have given shape to policy, scientists and ultimately society. Using Latour’s framework, the book productively counters foundational approaches to environmental crisis, such as that of political ecology which seeks to contextualize the crisis within a narrative of capitalism. It also problematizes most effectively the institution of policy making, which often assumes the power of “best practices” in influencing varieties of environmental ideals, norms and ethics.

The author Eren Zink, who teaches anthropology of science at Uppsala University, did an excellent job in assembling accounts that feature the intricate social production of scientific discourse in Vietnam in the context of unequal exchange of knowledge between the Global North and the Global South. Instead of looking at the power of international norms and scientific discourses, such as that of Climate Change, in influencing Vietnamese environmental policy, Zink shows how Vietnamese scientists reworked and appropriated those norms to produce policies that work for their own material and moral ambitions. He tells a story about the production of difference, not so much by way of exposing competing accounts about the environment and Climate Change, but by way of harnessing the knowledge to serve other purposes, an act that dislodged the authority of the international agencies who seek to control the practices of knowledge in Vietnam.

Zink follows the Vietnamese scientists and the mechanism by which they remade matters concerning environmental crises into something that could address other issues. The whole processes of remaking brought in social practices that are far from scientific (such as micro-politics and cultural economies) but are equally important in understanding the Vietnamese way of producing nature and environmental policy. There is no doubt a strong component of constructedness of nature and crises but Zink makes clear that the book is in no way denying the crises. The concern is about how the global environmental crises are made relevant to the local situation and how much such efforts rely on the practices of cultural economy.

The book’s strongest theoretical contribution is situated in Zink’s use of “slippery space,” defined as a space produced (by Vietnamese scientists) for misunderstanding and misrecognition of power and knowledge, which ironically served as a basis for collaboration with international development agencies. He applies this concept (and the more familiar idea of habitus from Bourdieu) rather loosely (or better productively) to capture a variety of instances of exchange between different habitus, between the local and foreign actors and between natural and human actors.

As theory occupies a central component in the framing of the ethnographic finding, Zink opens his narrative appropriately with a useful exploration of the concepts and theoretical tools that have made the actor-network theory an accessible and productive method, if only one is willing to follow the scientists at work. Chapter 2 provides another important angle to understanding the making of nature and society in Vietnam. It demonstrates the power or the agency of history and the culture of scientific training in Vietnam and how the power of Confucian learning continues to shape the contemporary habits of scientists in their production of scientific knowledge. The “Science Histories” chapter is a pleasure to read, as it contextualizes the manner of working of Vietnamese scientists in their habits (chapter 3) and in their negotiation with nature (chapter 4) and international development and scientific agencies (chapters five and six). One of the best parts of the story is how the scientific fact of climate change is made to work for seemingly unrelated things, such as kinship relations, political patron-client, and career advancement, without jeopardizing relations with frustrated international agencies. Another great story concerns the formation of national Climate Change policy, which is based on an acceptance of the scientific facts of Climate Change, but it sides with other developing countries in their refusal to accept the mitigation projects proposed by industrialized countries. The last chapter is most interesting as it tells the story of young scientists who have returned home with new scientific knowledge and their own professional ideals but encountered the habitus that demanded adaptation of their manner of working which would in turn shape their scientific knowledge itself. Young scientists who are moving in and out western institutions have also learned to constitute their own slippery space to deal with older scientific establishments in Vietnam.

We thus return to the central theme of the book – how scientists made a space for themselves in the social space of Vietnam by way harnessing global interests, concerns and ideals about nature and crises. In Taking local culture and politics seriously, Eren Zink presents novel insights into the history and ethnography of science and policy-making while simultaneously contributes greatly towards advancing our knowledge about Vietnamese society.

Abidin Kusno, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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THE UNIVERSITY SOCIALIST CLUB AND THE CONTEST FOR MALAYA: Tangled Strands of Modernity. By Loh Kah Seng et al. Singapore: NUS Press, 2013. 347 pp. (B&W photos.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-9971-69-692-4.

The history of decolonization and the making of independent nation states continues to interest scholars across various disciplines. Competing accounts of the tumultuous fifties and sixties, formative years for the forging of a national identity in Malaya and Singapore, have emerged to enrich our understanding of the past. The monumental memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew can be read against The Fajar Generation: The University Socialist Club and the Politics of Postwar Malaya and Singapore (Poh Soo Kai et al. , Strategic Information and Research Centre, 2010). The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaysia: Tangled Strands of Modernity adds a scholarly, well-researched dimension to this list. Focusing on an important student organization, the University Socialist Club, the authors embark on a riveting account of the Left in Singapore. The Left, whose role is often elided or consigned to footnotes, emerges as a key player in the exciting years of nation formation. The careful control of tonal objectivity in the authors’ skillfully chosen language makes this an admirably balanced account in which no individual or group is privileged.

Solidly grounded in traditional historical sources such as colonial office records and other written documents like student writings, the authors also use oral histories and interviews. As they see it, “our book is one instance of how oral histories can contribute to the imperial archives and student writings to enrich academic scholarship” (11). Organized chronologically, the history of the Socialist Club is explored within the larger context of major political events of the fifties and sixties. Thus the role of the club acquires wider resonances in the context of the Fajar Trial, the resistance to Malaysia and Operation Coldstore, to name a few. The thematic concerns which undergird this study of a formidable student club shares with other postcolonial writings themes such as identity (both individual and societal), the envisioning of a nation, and the surveillance mechanism of managed decolonization. The book is enriched by the authors’ familiarity with subaltern and postcolonial theories on decolonization and nation formation. Referring to Partha Chatterjee’s “derivative nationalism” they see the paradoxical position of the Socialist Club members whose anti-colonial stand did not prevent the adoption of a Western model of modernity. More significantly, the authors are fully cognizant of the power of the discursive dimension in the Cold War order of information gathering. Words were not only referential but “patently accusatory and transformative” (257). Thus terms like “socialist,” “communist,” “left-wing,” and “right-wing” acquired loaded meanings.

Beginning with the Socialist Club’s formation in 1953 and its early activities, the authors then trace the club’s continued role in speaking up for “stifled Malayans” after the Fajar Trial. They question the binary Manichean thinking of official accounts which see a simple divide between apathetic English-educated students and chauvinistic, Communist-influenced Chinese-medium students. Far from being apathetic, club members organized talks to educate students on socialism, helped to “invigorate left-wing trade unions” (86) and, together with other students groups, attempted to form the Pan Malayan Students’ Federation. The club’s promotion of Malay as the national language showed a non-communal approach, privileging class over ethnic-cultural ties. Divergences did occur because conflicting opinions operated both within the club and between the club and its critics. The term “socialist” engendered various shades of meaning as Fabian socialists, liberal socialists and democratic socialists lay claim to “socialism.” In spite of sharing socialist ideals, club members’ overlapping roles reveal that the identity of left-leaning student activists was not homogeneous, but fluid.

A note-worthy contribution is the authors’ recognition that even after Operation Coldstore, club members continued to use their publication to educate and inform. One detail which draws our attention is the club’s refusal to accept Lee Kuan Yew’s offer to grant a new permit for the publication of Fajar if the publication’s name was changed. Such a change of name would alter the historical legacy of the club by dissociating it from “its anti-establishment credentials and history” (200). The range of its critiques on many important issues such as the merger debate would be further neglected.

The theme of curtailment adds to our understanding of the surveillance which the postwar world order mandated. Besides more overt forms, surveillance consisted of the “systematic collection and use of specific forms of information” (155). The authors note the state’s use of paternalistic imagery in representing the student activists as naïve youths easily susceptible to leftist propaganda and thus in need of paternal guidance and chastisement. Arrests, incarceration and the toll on individuals are poignantly portrayed via the use of interviews which makes history come alive, complementing the documented evidence in a mutually enriching manner. Oral history as a reflection on identity is rightly seen as a continuing dialogue between past and present since “even the silences of memory are socially significant” (235).

Careful selection of materials offers us a balanced picture of the achievements and shortcomings of the University Socialist Club. Some members were silent about violations of civil liberties by communist states. The club’s vision of a non-communal Malaya where multi-racial workers unite across racial lines to forge a modernist Malaya underestimated the divisive power of ethnic ties. A socialist nation could not square with that of a fledgling Singapore where, after 1965, rapid industrialization required a vastly different concept of capital acquisition and social engineering.

The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity will appeal to scholars across many disciplines and the general public. Careful not to dismiss the official state narrative of nation formation as mere propaganda or promote the memories of the Left as gospel truth, the authors succeed admirably in adding a nuanced perspective to the history of Malaya and Singapore. Informative biographical sketches of the club’s members will educate future generations about a group of important individuals in our past. For some, the club’s members were too idealistic, fuelled by “moral authority, derived from their nascent roles as intellectuals and change makers” (134). Yet many of them paid a heavy price for their beliefs. They deserve a place in our reflection on the legacies of the past as these impinge on the present.

Wong Soak Koon, Independent Researcher
Universiti Sains Malaysia (retired)

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FAITH AND THE STATE: A History of Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia. Brill’s Southeast Asian Library, v. 1. By Amelia Fauzia. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013. xxx, 346 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$156.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-23397-3.

For the past few decades, an enthusiasm to revitalize philanthropic practices has had far-reaching consequences to the increasing visibility of Islam in the Indonesian public space. Questions about how and why the culture of giving is being rejuvenated within the religious communities are always interesting to pose, partly because the practice of giving, or philanthropy so to speak, is not only about altruistic behaviour. In a nation-state era, philanthropic practices are also constructed by different social, cultural, economic and political factors. This book concerns the historical development and institutional transformation of charitable activities in Indonesian Islam, and examines the political dynamism behind a rapid development of Islamic philanthropic organizations.

The author, Amelia Fauzia, focuses on the state’s role in providing welfare schemes for communities and its consequences to the institutional transformation of philanthropic organizations. According to Fauzia, philanthropy is primarily embedded in civil society, and philanthropic activism is heavily dependent on the state’s welfare policies. She argues that the major factor energizing philanthropic activism among civil society is the state’s weakness in providing an adequate welfare plan. The author also comes to the conclusion that a “weak state” will lead to “strong philanthropy” and a strong state will be characterized by weak philanthropy.

The book consists of four sections divided into seven chapters. In the first section, “From Early Islamization to Islamic Kingdom,” Fauzia provides an overview of the historical development of the religiously motivated giving in Muslim societies. The author highlights the views of ulama (Islamic scholars) and the Muslim interpretation of the normative concept of Islamic philanthropy, such as zakat (almsgiving) and waqf (pious endowment). It is mentioned that, in the past, Muslims in the Indonesian archipelago channeled their zakat to local religious leaders or directly to the poor. Zakat, therefore, functioned as a community-based social security system, as it was fully managed in the hands of society. The absence of any record pointing to the direct engagement of kings or sultans in mobilizing the religiously inspired philanthropic in Indonesian kingdoms indicates that zakat was considered a private matter, instead of a public affair. Nevertheless, she notes that the rise of the nation state has influenced the pattern of the relationship between religion and the state and has changed Muslim views about Islamic philanthropy. Consequently, there are at least two competing streams of opinion among Muslims about how zakat (almsgiving) should be practiced and organized. The first stream is concerned with the revitalization of zakat as a part of the state’s fiscal system; the second stream puts emphasis on the function of zakat as a grassroots social security system.

The second part, “Islamic Philanthropy under Non-Muslim Rule,” discusses the development of Islamic philanthropy from the Dutch colonial period until after Indonesian independence. The author’s detailed exposition of Dutch colonial policies on Muslim philanthropy suggests that zakat was perceived by the Dutch government as a Muslim private matter, and the Dutch colonial government clearly distingushed between the public and private spheres. This type of Dutch policy provided an opportunity for Islamic associations founded in the early twentieth century, such as Muhammadiyah (the modernist Muslim organization) and the Nahdlatul Ulama (the traditionalist Islam), to govern philanthropic funds independently. Active participation of Islamic organizations in philanthropic practices before the Indonesian independence can be seen in the role of Muhammadiyah and the Nahdlatul Ulama in financing a wide array of social enterprises, including the operation of schools, orphanages, clinics, disaster relief agencies and other welfare-oriented social activities. Before the independence era, Muslim concern about zakat was still restricted to Islamic jurisprudential issues.

The next part, “Islamic Philanthropy in the Independent Indonesian State,” examines the process of the bureaucratization of Islamic philanthropy in post-Independence Indonesia, marked by the modernization of waqf during the Old Order era, and the increase of the state interest in zakat organizing in the New Order era. The author critically examines the New Order’s ambiguous policy on Islam. According to the author, on the one hand, the New Order regime firmly asserted Pancasila as the state ideology in order to celebrate the religious and cultural diversity among Indonesian citizens. On the other hand, the New Order also intensified its Islamic policy to accommodate Muslim interest, such as the issuance of regulation on waqf and zakat, as well as the state involvement in sponsoring state-sponsored Islamic philanthropic agencies.This part also presents a contemporary development of Islamic philanthropy. The author draws particular attention to the formation of Indonesian zakat regulation such as the issuance of zakat law and debates on zakat organizing between the supporters of government-sponsored zakat agencies and the advocates of civil-society-based zakat organizations in post-New Order era.

The last section is the conclusion, in which the author discusses two main issues. The author suggests that there have been two competing trends among Indonesian Muslims on how to manage Islamic philanthropy: 1) a strong inclination to privatize Islamic philanthropy; and 2) the state’s enthusiasm to institutionalize (or bureaucratize) Islamic philanthropy. Secondly, the author is concerned with the notions of voluntarism within the communities which have strengthened philanthropic activism in Indonesian Islam. In her reflection, she underlines the necessity to reinforce the institutional capacity of Islamic philanthropic organizations among civil society in order to promote social justice effectively.

This book is a valuable contribution to the literature on Islamic social-political history and should become an important part of studies of Indonesian Islam. It has presented very rich information about the dynamics of encounters between the state and civil society in Indonesian Islam. While the book is, no doubt, very worthwhile for observers in Islamic studies, political Islam and the history of Islam in the Southeast, it has not sufficiently included ethnographic findings of grassroots practices of philanthropy in contemporary Indonesian Islam.

Hilman Latief, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Bantul, Indonesia

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CAULDRON OF RESISTANCE: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam. The United States in the World. By Jessica M. Chapman. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2013. xi, 276 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5061-7.

Recent years have yielded a rich harvest of book-length studies on the period from the end of the First Indochina War (1946-1954) and the Geneva Accords to US imperial intervention, the establishment of the Republic of Viet Nam (RVN, 1955-1975), and the Ngo Dinh Diem regime (1954-1963) in the country’s southern half. Authors like James Carter, Philip Catton, Seth Jacobs, Mark Lawrence, Fredrik Logevall and Edward Miller have expanded our knowledge of, in particular, the politics and diplomacy of the era. Much of that recent work provides a more complex portrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem and the US-supported state he established in the crucial months and years after the Geneva Conference. While the contours of a nuanced treatment of the RVN and the Diem government had already appeared in Viet Nam Studies, such a detailed analysis of Ngo Dinh Diem had been lacking in Viet Nam War Studies, still dominated by US-centrism and largely un-emancipated from Cold War prerogatives. Neither “US puppet” nor “Churchill of the East,” Ngo Dinh Diem emerges in this new literature as a nationalist in his own right, masterful in manipulating political forces around him, and, while beholden to the US, ruthlessly pursuing his own agenda.

Jessica Chapman adds to this œuvre with her important, immensely insightful and readable Cauldron of Resistance. Like many of her recent peers, she focuses particularly on the years 1953-1956: the end of the French war, the Geneva Conference, and political events and diplomatic moves in Viet Nam’s south surrounding the dual replacement of the Associated State of Viet Nam (ASVN, 1949-1955) under Bao Dai with the RVN under Diem and of the French presence with US overlordship. In her treatment of the symbiotic, yet contentious Diem-US relationship itself, Chapman largely focuses on the familiar cast of characters and political and diplomatic archives like other recent publications. She similarly notes the irony of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime: Diem’s personal traits and uncompromising, violent strategies that soon assured the RVN’s stabilization in the country’s southern half also led to his downfall in 1963; his singular feat of imposing central state power over the southern regions came at the heavy price of simultaneously sowing the seeds of the eventual destruction both of his regime and the US neo-colonial project south of the DMZ.

The core contributions of Cauldron of Resistance, however, lie in the twist that Chapman adds to our knowledge of the ASVN and the early RVN. She provides the first sustained study of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen as influential political actors since the 1940s and argues convincingly that these “politico-religious organizations” be considered centrally in any serious analysis of the period. Here Chapman positions herself against prevailing notions in the literature that too quickly dismiss these “sects” and “crime cartel” as regional power brokers without national ambitions and as “warlords” defending their fiefs, whose bloody destruction in 1954/55 only serves to highlight Diem’s success at “nation-building” and as a mere way-station towards the RVN’s ultimate confrontation with communism.

Rather, Chapman argues, these three politico-religious organizations were deeply embedded in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious environment of Viet Nam’s deep south and arose in a milieu of millenarian movements, secret societies, syncretic religious and cultural associations, and multipolar power under a repressive, unsettling colonial regime. They defended their autonomy and pursued their anti-colonial, yet anti-communist national ambitions in uneasy alliances with, variously, the French, Trotskyites, the Japanese, the Viet Minh, and Bao Dai loyalists, or in violent conflict against some of these forces at other times. (Chapman’s chapter 1 provides a superb overview of this multifaceted history from the 1840s to the 1940s.) By the early 1950s, the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Binh Xuyen enjoyed formidable political and military power in the south and prominence in the vigorous public debates and behind-the-scenes maneuvers surrounding the Geneva Accords. In the complex contexts of their times, they were rational political actors.

Cauldron argues that US officials, however, were deaf to the appeals of these politico-religious groups as they misread them—encouraged by Ngo Dinh Diem—as exotic, irrational, anti-modern, “feudal” warlords, bandits and sects. Chapman’s point here wonderfully complements Seth Jacobs’ argument that the US threw their support behind Diem in part because his Catholicism, conservatism, and anti-communism resonated deeply with, and hence was legible to, 1950s US political culture.

Chapman’s second major argument is that it was Diem’s intolerance of the challenge to his power posed by the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Binh Xuyen, more so than any communist threat, that motivated the rapid construction of the RVN’s repressive state apparatus in 1954-1956, when there was no active revolutionary resistance south of the DMZ. Even after destroying the three organizations’ militias by 1955, Diem continued to employ, with active US support, his police state’s “terroristic” campaigns against all opposition, even if outwardly anti-communist, mainly out of concern over lingering politico-religious networks and influences. This is a novel argument challenging conventional Cold War interpretations, but Chapman’s diligent documentation is indeed persuasive.

The book’s important third insight arises from its preceding argument: Diem’s state terror campaigns were so uncompromising, indiscriminate and violent that they eventually drove politico-religious partisans into an alliance of necessity with southern communists and created the late 1950s revolutionary conditions leading to the founding of the National Liberation Front (NLF). Misread by US officials, excluded from power and hunted by Diem, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen leaders and followers became constitutive members of the southern revolutionary resistance that ultimately helped defeat the RVN and the US. Here Chapman gives us an indication that a thorough re-evaluation of the NLF outside of Cold War clichés is an urgent task awaiting the field.

I have a few quibbles with Cauldron of Resistance. With its emphasis on the three politico-religious groups, the book’s title hardly reflects its actual focus and genuine contribution. Given that the power bases of the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and Binh Xuyen were in former Cochinchina, Chapman should have given the reader a better understanding of their political activities and ambitions in other regions, particularly the centre. I also find the author’s use of the term “communist” sweeping, even as she forcefully argues, in the case of “sects,” for a more nuanced terminology. The book’s glossary of Vietnamese diacritics contains quite a few errors. Finally, Chapman’s conclusion with its US foreign policy recommendations and linkage to the so-called “war on terror” seems contrived and naïve; some of its language (e.g., “In Vietnam, the battle between the forces of communism and those in support of American-style liberal democratic capitalism…”) stands in contradiction to the book’s very points.

Nevertheless, Jessica Chapman’s Cauldron of Resistance is a fine achievement and a welcome addition to the study of 1950s Viet Nam and US interventionism, contains a number of important arguments that demand reconsideration of our assumptions, and therefore is highly recommended.

Christoph Giebel, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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ISLAM AND THE MAKING OF THE NATION: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th Century Indonesia. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 282. By Chiara Formichi. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2012. xvii, 244 pp. (Map.) US$49.00, paper. ISBN 978-90-6718-386-4.

If there is one particular form of political Islam in Indonesia that continues to be a security issue today, it is the Negara Islam Indonesia, abbreviated NII (Indonesian Islamic State), that is invariably called the Darul Islam, abbreviated DI, the “abode of Islam” or the ideal Islamic state. The NII was proclaimed by Sekarmaji Marjan Kartosuwiryo (1905-1962) on August 7, 1949 in Cimambang, West Java.

Even though the NII and the DI had been crushed by the Indonesian military more than a half century ago in the aftermath of the capture and execution of Kartosuwiryo in 1962, some splinter groups and cells of the NII continue to remain active underground. It is supposed by many circles of the Indonesian public that a certain splinter group of former NII members remains active, in order to recruit Muslim youth to fight for the cause of the Islamic state of Indonesia. This same splinter group of the NII is also allegedly very close to Indonesian military figures or groups.

The fact that the ideal of, and efforts to create. an Indonesian Islamic State (NII) continue to grip the imagination of a few Indonesian Muslims is briefly outlined by Formichi in this book (185-200). This short discussion deals with the current discourse on Kartosuwiryo’s NII. In the post-Soeharto Indonesia, there is a growing tendency among Islamic-state-oriented Indonesian Muslims to glorify Kartosuwiryo and NII. Despite its brevity, Formichi’s account is one of the most significant strengths of his work compared to other studies on the NII and Kartosuwiryo.

In addition to that, there are some other basic differences to Formichi’s book compared to other earlier works on the NII/DI, particularly the monumental study of Cornelis van Dijk, Rebellion under the Banner of Islam: The Darul Islam in Indonesia (1981). Van Dijk views the Kartosuwiryo’s rebellion mostly as a social movement that used Islam only as a rethoric and rallying cry.

In contrast, Formichi considers Kartosuwiryo’s NII/DI as a genuine expression of political Islam aiming at the creation of an Islamic federation in the archipelago. He argues that roots of the Kartosuwiryo can be traced back to his writings and political activism in the Sarekat Islam (SI, Islamic Association), the earliest Islamic nationalist movement that was founded in 1911 and changed its name to Partai Sarekat Islam Indonesia (PSII, Party of Islamic Association of Indonesia) in 1929.

Very active in the SI since his earliest twenties, Kartosuwiryo’s political career seems to skyrocket when, according to Dutch sources, he was promoted to the position of SI secretary general after the congress of the organization in October 1927. According to SI documents, however, he became very active as a regular writer in the SI newspaper FadjarAsia.

According to Formichi, in his articles, Kartosuwiryo showed his commitment to Islamic ideology. In his articles he criticized colonial policies, socio-economic injustices, abuse of power by police, and Dutch religious and political “neutrality.” In addition, he also addressed the international dimension of the nationalist struggle for merdeka (independence). Reading his articles, it is no surprise that he was regarded by the Dutch authorities as a “religious fanatic” who was more than ready to use (and abuse) Islam for his political cause.

Formichi criticizes the failure of other scholars to take a serious consideration of the role of Islam in the NII/DI movement. In his observation, most works produced between 1949 and the 1980s downplayed the role of Islam in NII/DI’s motives for action, highlighting instead its violent turn in later years and its opposition to the established political authority of the Republic of Indonesia. Formichi argues that the failure to take seriously the importance of Islam in the NII/DI movement has gone hand-in-hand, until recently, with a more general marginalization of Indonesia in discussions of political Islam.

Based on this framework, in Formichi’s view, scholars like van Dijk, mostly viewed the origins of the Kartosuwiryo’s rebellion in the frustration of regional military commanders who were sidelined in the formation of a national army and popular discontent towards agrarian reforms and political centralization in Jakarta. Furthermore, Kartosuwiro was considered as lacking Islamic credentials that would give him credibility to lead the efforts to establish an Indonesian Islamic state.

On the other hand, Formichi argues that the NII/DI movement, which he calls “Indonesian Islamism,” cannot be separated from the rise of political Islam in other parts of the Muslim world. This has actually been also suggested by C.A.O. van Nieuwenhujze in his book Aspects of Islam in Post-Colonial Indonesia (1958) that the DI movement was influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideas. On the the other hand, B.J. Boland, in his The Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia (1982), speculated that Kartosuwiryo got some influence for the Pakistani Abu A’la al-Mawdudi.

While there is no evidence of Mawdudi’s influence on the NII/DI movement, Formichi suggested that there was some contact among Indonesian Muslims in Cairo with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, supposedly included Hassan al-Banna, its supreme leader. These Indonesians in turn transmitted the pan-Islamic ideas that would get a warm reception in those Indonesian Muslims who aspired to create an Indonesian Islamic state.

In conclusion, through this “revisit” study of NII/DI, Formichi is able to show convincingly the Islamic political roots of Kartosuwiryo. With the same token, he shows factors that make this kind of expression of political Islam a failure, not only in the past and the present time, but also beyond.

Azyumardi Azra, State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia

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CONJUNCTURES AND CONTINUITIES IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN POLITICS. Edited by N. Ganesan. Singapore: ISEAS, 2013. xv, 240 pp. (Tables.) US$34.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4379-94-6.

Historical institutional (HI) analysis has become a prominent methodological tool for estimating the impact of institutional variation on outcomes. Areas of study from finance to business to political science have applied HI to investigations, and Conjunctures and Continuities in Southeast Asian Politics places itself firmly within this literature by providing several strong cases for examining Southeast Asian politics through the HI lens.

The book is divided into two sections which include, first, the establishment of an HI framework and second, its application via seven case studies. Conjunctures and Continuities primarily focuses on identifying conjunctures that have occurred within Southeast Asian state politics. A benefit of using conjunctures, also referred to as “formative episodes” or “historical junctures” (1), according to N. Ganesan, is that they allow engagement with both inputs and outcomes, or lack of outcomes (i.e., continuities) of events as opposed to bookending critical historical turning points. The clear methodological foundation outlined in the introduction is applied throughout the book as each chapter follows a similar template: a case is made for the choice of conjuncture, antecedent conditions and key players are identified, and possibilities of path dependence and implications are assessed. The conjunctures chosen by the authors include periods centred around the following events: 1986 “People Power” movement in the Philippines, the road to doi moi in Vietnam, 1988 Uprising in Myanmar, 1992-1993 UN-sponsored national election in Cambodia, 1998 collapse of Soeharto’s regime in Indonesia, 2006 coup against Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, and the 2008 national election in Malaysia.

There are several notable contributions offered by this book. First, while HI analysis is an often divergent field with little methodological consistency, Ganesan’s outstanding explanation of why and how the methodology is being applied puts readers, even those who may be unfamiliar with HI, at ease. Additionally, by firmly establishing a methodology in the beginning, Conjunctures and Continuities avoids the lack of cohesion often present within edited volumes. For the most part, the resulting continuity of structure through the HI framework leads to insights that are easily engaged with from one chapter to the next.

A second strength of the book is that while the cases do not reveal much in the way of new information, they do provide unique analyses. For example, Rommel Curaming and Lisandro Claudio’s chapter on the Philippines convincingly informs readers that the subsequent effects of the “People Power” movement are not limited to structural changes as previous literature has focused, but are also reflected in “discursive resonances, that de-centre analysis from central state institutions” as well as in “long-term changes in political culture” (42). In another example, Tin Maung Maung Than tests the belief that the events of the 1988 uprising in Myanmar should be seen as historically significant, finding instead that its legacies remain “contested, contentious, and problematic” (90) and it is not yet clear if they will have a lasting impact.

A third strength resides in how the authors challenge existing literatures’ tendency to focus only on change when studying significant historical events. In perhaps one of the most enlightening contributions of the book, Ehito Kimura points out that while most literature focuses on explaining and identifying change, social scientists may have as much to learn from discovering why continuities persist in the face of seemingly transformative periods (143). The book reveals through its numerous case examples that considerable insight can be gained from observing instances of continuity, especially in cases where change is expected.

While Conjunctures and Continuities provides several notable contributions, there are some shortcomings. First, while the accomplished goal of the book is to identify some of the historical junctures present in Southeast Asian politics, the book’s theoretical implications would have been strengthened if the authors had applied additional continuity such as pre-determining the institutions to be examined or specifying a type of conjuncture. As it stands the theoretical implications have a hard time traveling outside of each case and this is evidenced in the brevity of the conclusion, which finds only a few ways to assess the chapters as a whole.

A second shortcoming is that the methodological task of each chapter requires that the authors sacrifice depth over breadth, which limits the extent to which the claims travel and allows significant room for debate on the claims that are made. The use of conjunctures as the point of interest in each chapter requires the authors to not only provide enough evidence to support their choice of event, but to also account for the causal pathways that lead to and away from these events and determine what institutions matter and how. The consequence of juggling so many variables is that the chapters provide only cursory understanding rather than in-depth investigations with substantive supporting evidence. For example, Ramses Amer writes that the “main aim of this chapter is to analy[z]e and assess the impact of historical conjunctures on modern Cambodian society” (103). While Amer’s chapter eloquently presents a case for four conjunctures, starting with the overthrow of Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970, the task of assessing causal pathways in over 40 years of history is simply too large to perform in a single chapter with analytical rigour.

Despite these few limitations, however, Conjunctures and Continuities in Southeast Asian Politics stands as a solid contribution to HI literature and offers informative and original insights to the cases. Moreover, the book represents a thought-provoking investment that encourages discussion and opens a doorway for further work.

Kedra A. Hildebrand, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

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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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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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Australasia and the Pacific Islands


THE KANAK AWAKENING: The Rise of Nationalism in New Caledonia. Pacific Islands Monograph Series, 27. By David A. Chappell. Honolulu: Center for Pacific Islands Studies, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa; University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xxii, 289 pp. (Map, figures, tables.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3818-8.

In-depth studies of New Caledonian politics have been rare in the English language over the past 15 years. Anglophones have been typically confined to the snapshots of Melbourne journalist Nic Maclellan in Islands Business monthly, as well as cogent updates by him and Frédéric Angleviel issued by the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at Australian National University. Less accessible, but useful as well, has been an anthology edited in Tahiti by Regnault and Fayaud (New Caledonia: Twenty Years On, 1988-2008, Jean-Marc Regnault and Viviane Fayaud, eds., Paris: Société Française d’Histoire d’Outre-mer, 2010).

In Kanak Awakening, David Chappell, an historian at the University of Hawai’i, competently chronicles the Melanesian insurgency in Caledonia over the past four decades. Yet inasmuch as his study displays political acumen, one further pines for a comprehensive exploration of the issue of the day – e.g., a broad supplement assessing whether the not-quite-a-majority Kanaks will prevail politically over the next four years. Granted, KA styles itself a political history; but with so few sources available, Anglophone students currently have nowhere else to turn for a detailed forecast.

But first to the book’s forte – its account of Kanak political development.

From the perspective of progressive Pacific Islanders, colonialism in the region has long become obsolete. In Caledonia, its continuation is attributed to France’s greed for the control and profits of the territory’s nickel reserves, as well as Paris’ desire to retain a military presence in the Pacific.

Yet dislodging the French is challenging. It’s typically assumed that those who identify indigenously remain nearly 45 percent of the population, while Europeans compose some 34 percent, Polynesian immigrants (largely from Wallis, Futuna and Tahiti) some 12 percent, and Asians (largely from Indonesia and Vietnam) some 4 percent. Building a consensus for independence, then, not only requires Kanak unity, but deft alliance with a progressive slice of Europeans and Polynesian and Asian immigrants.

Chappell’s study expertly recounts the development of Kanak organization. As an astute analyst, he understands that successful movements are typically launched by privileged elites. More objectively than previous studies, he documents the early agitation of Caledonian students in Paris in the late 1960s (organized as the Foulards Rouges [Red Scarves]), and their ensuing alliance back home with the Union des Jeunesses Calédoniennes [Union of Caledonian Youth] in 1973 and Groupe 1878 in 1974. (The three groups join the Parti de Libération Kanak in 1976, which itself becomes a component of the ongoing Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste in 1984.)

The author poignantly reports a conversation in 2009 with the former leader of the Foulards, Kanak chief Nidoish Naisseline. The chief recounts that although the French insurrection in May 1968 catalyzed the founding of the Foulards, his comrades disparaged its ideology:

The Paris students only thought of throwing the culture and values of their parents in the gutter. We, in contrast, dreamed of rehabilitating that of our ancestors, which had been crushed underfoot by the colons. (248)

The quote is revealing, as it exposes a Kanak dilemma: is it possible to effectively federate with other ethnicities while prioritizing one’s traditional culture?

Granting Chappell’s premise that the political development of the Kanaks has been inspiring, the question remains how well the movement relates to its sina qua non – potential allies. Due to intermarriage and official denial of ethnic division, ethnic voting data is difficult to obtain in Caledonia. To measure the size of the European left in Caledonia, one would need to interview progressive figures in the media, universities, trade unions, environmental movement, and sectarian parties. This must be followed by interviews with ethnic leaders in the Polynesian and Asian communities. The subjective data might then inform an analysis of voting behaviour.

In the election to the territory’s Congress this past May, loyalists captured 29 seats while indépendantistes garnered 25. Some observers are skeptical the Kanak-led coalition can top this showing. A riposte would need to weigh Kanak turnout as well as the vote and turnout of potential allies.

It may very well be that Chappell is contemplating an extensive article or book that will address the prospects of independence. Or perhaps he knows of a political scientist who is about to publish such a study. But if neither article nor book appears in English, KA may retrospectively be regarded as a study of Caledonia politics that, true to its mission, ably reviewed the past … but left Anglophone students unguided about the future.

Michael Horowitz, Vava’u Academy, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga 

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THE DEATH OF THE BIG MEN AND THE RISE OF THE BIG SHOTS: Custom and Conflict in East New Britain. ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, v. 3. By Keir Martin. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013. xv, 256 pp. (Illus.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-85745-872-8.

In 1995, several months after the volcanic eruption that covered Rabaul in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, I drove from the airport to the only remaining hotel, stunned at the desolate, monochrome landscape. The road had been cut through metres of ash and the once beautiful tropical township was deserted. The village of Matupit, located on a small island, was covered in ash. Several Tolai people I met assured me that it had gone forever. Keir Martin began his research there in 2002, by which time it had risen from the ashes, was again densely populated and the Matupi were once more demonstrating their legendary adaptability. This superb ethnography documents and analyzes the processes of change and people’s complex responses to them up to the mid-2000s.

Matupit and its inhabitants’ capacity for transformation have been the subjects of numerous anthropological studies since the 1960s, notably by A.L. and T.S. Epstein, who described the various ways that changes introduced by colonial administrations (particularly plantation agriculture and the cash economy) had resulted in dramatic shifts in social relations, land tenure and patterns of settlement. Martin’s research follows many of the same themes, but in a very different historical context. The eruption destroyed the village of Matupit, but almost all Matupi survived to participate in those activities associated with reconstruction, including relocation to the land set aside for them at Sikut, an area many kilometres from their village, inland from the new provincial capital, Kokopo. The land at Sikut, allotted to specific people by the provincial government to enable them to establish cash crops, is legally distinct from that held according to customary tenure. This difference, and the ways that people respond to and interpret their ownership, provides Martin with a central theme of the book, the relationships of land and people in a modern state system that retains customary land rights.

Martin engages with many of the classic topics of Melanesian anthropology: the relationship of people to land; reciprocity and the tensions inherent in exchange relationships; the ways that ritual exchanges are affected by the use of money; inter-generational conflicts; the contested definitions of custom or tradition and the means whereby men gain power and authority. His study locates contemporary Tolai in the global political economy, where the forces of neo-liberalism draw new lines between government and citizens and where new forms of sociality emerge. Martin’s examination of the ways that people have, in some instances, embraced government changes relating to land tenure provides an excellent example of the need for caution in the ways that anthropologists have characterized the Melanesian state as an alien, post-colonial enterprise that routinely ignores the interests of villagers. He shows how the transfer of customary land, when “strengthened through statutory declaration,” actually suits the desires of Tolai. It effectively strengthens the status of that land as “customary,” thus enabling matrilineal descendents to claim it in future generations.

Inter-generational tensions, conflicts and changing outlooks loom large in this ethnography. The Tolai, like many people in Papua New Guinea, often remark and reflect on the changes that they have observed in their lifetime. Elders usually insist (like elders elsewhere in the world) that the younger generations have lost respect for them, have no knowledge of the ways that traditions should be maintained and have become individualistic and selfish. Martin explores these generational differences in ways that acknowledge the mixed emotional responses: regrets and censure, impatience and dismissal, sorrow and anger. But the strength of his discussion of generational tensions lies—particularly in his chapter on the decline of fish trap technology—in the ways he interweaves personal reactions to specific transformations with a broad analysis of the effects of commodification on social transactions and the obligation to reciprocate.

Martin takes on the difficult task of negotiating the divisions in current anthropological interpretations of the nature of socio-economic change in Melanesia. He points out that those who stress “cultural continuity that underlies surface changes” are left in a bind—they effectively return their subjects to “the savage slot” of radical alterity. The emphasis on continuity effectively restores Melanesia to the status of “a discrete, separate and essentially ahistorical culture that is either destroyed by or survives the threat of Westernisation” (177). In his scrutiny of the range of reactions to changes, Martin offers a third way, which stresses not only the differences between people, but also the material grounds for variation. Here, as elsewhere in the book, he presents the ways that moral positions, especially those relating to ideals of mutuality, reciprocity and obligation to kin, derive from the fact that “traditional” and “modern” are coeval and in flux.

The title of this book encapsulates its major themes: the changing forms of leadership, male power and the moral responses they provoke. This provides the context for the author’s critique of the debate about possessive individualism and relational personhood. Once again he moves away from the antinomies of current anthropological debate and exposes the subtleties, contestations and circumstances that make notions of the Melanesian self, moral behaviour and adherence to “kastom” shift and combine. This is a groundbreaking ethnography: brilliantly conceived, clearly written and utterly convincing.

Martha Macintyre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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MAKING SENSE OF MICRONESIA: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture. By Francis X. Hezel. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013. xii, 182 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$27.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3661-0.

Fran Hezel is a Jesuit priest who has worked in Micronesia for 45 years. He’s seen colleagues, Peace Corps volunteers, researchers, contract workers in education, healthcare and development, and a dozen other types of international visitors struggle to understand Island society. This short, readable and informative book distills his substantial scholarship and extensive personal experience of Micronesian life into a form that offers frank and useful advice to the next generations of foreigners lucky enough to spend time in the region.

Like Raymonde Carroll’s Cultural Misunderstandings (1990, U. Chicago Press), Hezel uses the idea of cultural logic to uncover the principles of human relationship that underlie behaviour. His anthropological analysis, though, is soft-focused through straightforward prose and the use of anecdotes and personal experiences to show the principles in action.

The book consists of 12 brief chapters, each dealing with a sphere of life in which Micronesian and American (or “western”) cultural expectations fail to find common ground. Each begins with a personal story, then briefly explains the cultural principle that underlies the behaviour (often puzzling to outsiders), and discusses how changing conditions over the past half-century have created strains in Micronesian life. For example, the chapter on “forging an identity” discusses how matrilineages and extended families governed life, and how recent changes have increased individualism and altered the family’s role, creating problems such as youth suicide. The chapter on “the uses of information” describes how Micronesians—though generous in sharing wealth—tend to hold information close, seeing knowledge as a protected personal resource. Thus, “public information” is hard to come by, and even administrators who have had specialized training at the government’s expense tend to hoard their expertise.

Topics covered are the emphasis on personal qualities, the role of the family, ideas of privacy, the obligation for individuals to respond to family needs, “rights” discourse, sharing and generosity as marks of wealth, secrecy, social signals such as silence and withdrawal, respect, gender relations, sex, expressions of love and caring, and dealing with conflict, loss and grief. While Hezel’s affection for Micronesians and respect for their society is evident, he does not avoid discussion of land disputes, family conflict, incest, alcohol abuse and political challenges. The final section, “In Summary,” argues that this very wide range of behaviours can be understood–by the patient and observant cross-cultural visitor—as the reflection of several underlying cultural principles: personalization, the “primacy of group identity,” and patterns of cooperation.

While anthropologists might disdain quick-read “cross-cultural manuals,” it cannot be denied that they offer a valuable opportunity to inform international workers about a host culture. The worst of these offer brief “how-tos” or lists of “customs” and “taboos.” Hezel’s book takes a much more rewarding approach, inviting the newcomer to think about the cultural principles that underlie unfamiliar behaviour, and to develop the capacity to patiently explore cultural differences.

Those who know Micronesia well will find little that is new here, and they might even disagree with some of Hezel’s evaluations (for example, his assumption that “modernization” is inevitably changing Micronesian society in the direction of Western individualism, or his necessarily brief analysis of gender roles as balanced and complementary). But, even these readers will enjoy the author’s insights and obvious appreciation of island cultures.

The brevity and clear writing in this book make it a great deal more accessible to the non-specialist than nearly all ethnography or anthropological analysis. Yet it should not be thought that this clarity reflects any superficial understanding of Micronesian cultures. Fran Hezel knows the islands and its people intimately, and his goodness in sharing his knowledge so lucidly emphasizes how important he thinks it is that foreigners who go to Micronesia to “help” take the time to learn about the people they hope to serve. “There is no shortcut for understanding a culture,” he writes (164), but this book will surely make the trip easier for those spending time in Micronesia. It might also give Islanders themselves some new ways to think about their culture’s past, present and future.

Lin Poyer, University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA

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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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INTERSECTIONS: 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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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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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 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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