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Forthcoming Issue

December 2016

Perilous Waters: People Smuggling, Fishermen and Hyper-Precarious Livelihoods on Rote Island, Eastern Indonesia

issue_images_89_4_missbach_rote-islandAntje Missbach, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Keywords: Hyper-precariousness, illegal(ized) and criminalized work, fishermen, people smuggling, Eastern Indonesia, Australia


Recent research has found that since 2001 a disproportionate number of Indonesian offenders sentenced to jail for people smuggling, both in Indonesia and Australia, are fishermen from Eastern Indonesia, the poorest part of the country. Based on three field trips to the Eastern Indonesian island of Rote, a frequent departure point for asylum seekers to Australia, and semi-structured interviews, this article investigates the socio-economic backgrounds of sentenced offenders from this area to explain their high numbers amongst imprisoned people smugglers. Through the narratives of fishermen who have been involved in the transport of asylum seekers, this article seeks to reconstruct their decision-making and risk-taking strategies in light of their generally precarious lives. issue_images_89_4_missbach_rote-island-2Their motivations to become involved in people smuggling are correlated with two structural problems they face, overfishing and pollution, which have exacerbated their economic situation over the last years. Understanding the local structural constraints of these impoverished fishermen helps provide a clearer understanding of why and how transnational people-smuggling networks succeed in recruiting them. Rather than viewing the decision to become involved in people smuggling as an individual’s poor judgement and its negative outcome as self-inflicted misery, this article stresses the notion of collective hyper-precariousness, which is enhanced by extrinsic factors such as Australian policies that have further limited the meagre choices for making a living legally on Rote. Chinese Translation of Abstract – 摘要

Constructed Hierarchical Government Trust in China: Formation Mechanism and Political Effectsissue_images_89_4_su-et-al_govt-trust-in-china-ea-image02

Zhenhua Su, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Yanyu Ye, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Jingkai He, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
Waibin Huang, Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou, China

Keywords: Hierarchical government trust, modernization, economic development, propaganda, cultural traditions


The Chinese government has long enjoyed a higher level of popular trust in its central authority than in its local governments, which means that the Chinese public’s trust in government is hierarchical. While existing research has highlighted hierarchical trust’s role in bolstering the Chinese regime’s rule, the formation mechanism of such trust has not been adequately explored empirically. In this paper, we use data from the China General Social Survey (2010) to explore the issue_images_89_4_su-et-al_govt-trust-in-china-ea-image01formation mechanism of hierarchical government trust and find that economic development, adherence to traditional values, and high frequency of Internet usage contribute to the decrease of hierarchical government trust, respectively. These findings challenge conventional views that cultural traditions and Internet use help sustain hierarchical government trust and show that propaganda is the only variable that sustains the pattern of hierarchical government trust. We further challenge existing literature that views hierarchical government trust as a natural outcome of China’s hierarchical administrative structure and empirically prove that such trust is in fact intentionally constructed by the central government through propaganda campaigns and an institutional design aimed to strengthen the central government’s authority and guide people to divert dissent to local governments. Our findings make an important contribution to the dialogue and highlight a new area of authoritarian durability.  Chinese Translation of Abstract – 摘要

Good Gifts, Bad Gifts and Rights: Cambodian Popular Perceptions and the 2013 Elections

Astrid Norén-Nilsson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Keywords: neo-patrimonialism; patronage politics; clientelism; vote buying; rights; citizenship; Cambodia


In the Cambodian national elections in 2013, the opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) saw a strong surge in support, finishing a close second to the long-incumbent Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Whilst the CNRP campaigned on an anti-money politics, rights-based agenda, the CPP has relied on gift-giving practices to maintain the link with voters. This article explores changing popular issue_images_89_4_nilsson_cambodia-election-perceptions-ea-image02-jpgconceptions of appropriate models of provision to assess to what extent there has been a growth of a democratic, rights-based conscience in Cambodia under the current neo-patrimonial regime. Building on qualitative interviews with 192 voters in post-election Cambodia, it finds that gift-giving practices play a different role than expected by current ideas on popular politics in general, and Cambodian popular politics in particular. Ordinary Cambodians are found to make a distinction between contingent and non-contingent exchanges in electoral mobilization, rejecting the former and embracing the latter. CPP gift-giving in its current guise is consequently devoid of popular legitimacy across the political camps. At the same time, the idea of meritorious gift-giving lives on as an ideal, especially among CNRP supporters.


Aid as Transnational Social Capital: Korea’s Official Development Assistance in Higher Education

Rennie J. Moon, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

Gi-Wook Shin, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

Keywords: higher education aid, development assistance, transnational social capital, foreign students, foreign professionals, Korea


In this paper, we explore a new framework for higher education official development assistance (ODA) with a focus on the transnational bridging benefits of social capital. We first explain why and how a transnational social capital approach can improve the current focus on human resources and local bridges in higher education development. We then illustrate its merits by examining, 1) the transnational bridging potential of social capital formed by foreign students currently studying in Korea; and 2) the actual transnational social capital contributions of foreign professionals who returned home after completing a Korean higher education ODA program. In doing so, we direct particular attention to the value of transnational social capital in promoting development cooperation and public diplomacy. We conclude by discussing how our approach has conceptual importance and practical implications for development cooperation in higher education. Chinese Translation of Abstract – 摘要


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, attend a ceremony of signing agreement at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. (Wu Hong/Pool Photo via AP)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left

Forging Free Trade with China: The Maple Leaf and the Silver Fern

Charles Burton, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada

Stephen Noakes, The University of Aukland, Aukland, New Zealand

Keywords: China, Canada, New Zealand, free trade, economic relations


Why does Canada lack the closeness of economic ties with China enjoyed by other developed Commonwealth countries, such as New Zealand? While these countries take similar positions toward China with regard to human rights and security-related matters, they differ markedly in terms of trade relations—New Zealand inked a free trade deal with Beijing in 2008, while such an agreement between Canada and China has remained out of reach. This article probes the source of this divergence. The answer, it is argued, lies in the sociotropic effects of political opposition groups on both the left and the right in Canada, and the absence of parallel conditions in New Zealand. Chinese Translation of Abstract – 摘要

All issues include 45+ book reviews
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