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About this book

This lively and accessible new edition provides a uniquely broad-ranging introduction to the governance and politics of Pacific Asia.

Thematically structured around the key institutions and issues, it is genuinely comparative in its approach to the whole region. A range of representative countries (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines) are used as key case examples throughout and each of them is subject to a detailed full-page country profile.

This diverse region is a fascinating area for study. Politics in Pacific Asia provides a framework to form a coherent understanding of the region's politics; it balances persistent patterns with the latest developments and general characteristics with the differing cultures, histories and institutions of individual countries.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
To write a textbook on politics and government in Pacific Asia is not an easy matter. Two things in particular make this a great challenge. First, the diversity of the region is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Since the 1950s, all the types of state and forms of government found in the world can be found in Pacific Asia. On various governance indicators, Pacific Asian countries exhibit greater differences among themselves than in comparison to other regions. As students of political science, we want to see patterns and regularities so that we can explain what happened and, if we are ambitious, ponder what might happen in the future. However, the great diversity of Pacific Asian politics defies easy generalizations. This book is written with these concerns in mind. Throughout the text, diversity and change are emphasized as the underlying dynamics that shape government and politics in Pacific Asia. Identifying common themes in this diversity and using these to explain change has been a key task for the text. At the same time, the subject is treated as a coherent system of knowledge, organized with comparable concepts and frameworks in the discipline, as well as major debates on critical issues. Before we move on to explain further how this text should be used, let us define the subject matter in more detail
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 1. Political traditions in Pacific Asia

Abstract
Politics and government in Pacific Asia can appear very foreign to students of comparative politics with little experience of the region. This chapter aims to provide tools for organizing the study of early Pacific Asian states and a context from which to understand contemporary events, structures and institutions. The chapter is important, especially for those students unfamiliar with the complicated history of the region, because the remainder of the text presumes some knowledge of the traditional practices and structures in the region. Early politics in Pacific Asia provides students and researchers with key examples of state formation and early forms of politics and government. The region exhibits a variety of patterns of state formation, varying structures of governance and differing patterns of political behaviour. This is evident across different geographical areas and over different historical periods. These rich empirical cases are therefore ideal material from which to approach comparative questions of state formation and premodern politics and governance that sit at the heart of comparative politics. Pacific Asia has produced some of the worlds most impressive early states and some of the most sophisticated early systems of politics and state organization. The Chinese bureaucracy, its vast governing structure and the system of scholar-officials that not only governed but also acted as scholars and social elites are some of the most sophisticated examples of governance anywhere in the premodern world.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 2. Building the modern state

Abstract
From the mid-nineteenth century, Pacific Asian countries experienced a series of efforts to reform and change the political system in their countries. These efforts aimed to transform existing institutions and establish new institutions according to modern ideas, principles and values. For more than a century following the beginning of these efforts, incremental reform, revolution and mass political movements have supplanted the traditional political order of Pacific Asia. The considerable challenges Pacific Asian states have experienced building the modern state over this period can be partly explained by the massive social, economic and political changes that took place as elites and social groups pushed for reform and revolution but also by the vulnerability this transitional period created for the new states. On the other hand, however, modern state building unleashes contestation between different political actors and interest groups over how the modern state will support differing ideals and values. There has been no single blueprint for modern state building in the region. The ideas that underpin it range from communism to socialism, nationalism to imperialism, republicanism to democracy and socialism to capitalism.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 3. Types of states in Pacific Asia

Abstract
In this chapter, we shall take a close look at the constitution of the state, and the structure and legitimacy of state authority and explain the phenomenon of state dominance (see Box 3.1). More specifically, this chapter will cover four main issues in the constitution of the state and structure of state authority: State-making projects: How variable are the problems and imperatives that drove the state-making projects of modern Asian states? What kind of state apparatus emerged in the process? How and why do these differ? What are the consequences? How have different colonial heritages shaped the emergent state and with what contemporary consequences? The international construction of the Asian state: To what extent and in what ways and means are Asian states constructed in response to external agents? How far and in what ways have the goals and practices of the USA, Japan and the World Bank and IMF had an impact upon state institutions, state projects and regime imperatives in Asia? How far have external pressures had an impact upon the domestic political economy?
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 4. Organization of government

Abstract
This chapter examines how government is organized. We look into different forms of government, where heads of government are located in different parts of the state structure and how different branches of government support government purpose and functions. In Chapter 3, we discussed the problem of state dominance in terms of the organization and structure of the polity. In this chapter, we shall further discuss the dominance of state power and perhaps, more precisely, executive dominance, in terms of the relationships among principal branches of government. Let us start with the various models of how government is organized. More importantly, there seems to be a residual impact of the traditional state models in Pacific Asian countries that adds to the complexity and diversity of their structures of government. The notion, and indeed the historical practice of the unity of state power, represents a conception of state authority and government power that is different from those of separation of powers and fusion of powers.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 5. In the name of the state: bureaucracy and public service

Abstract
Pacific Asian countries have a long tradition of sophisticated bureaucratic systems. The bureaucracy plays a great role in administering government, formulating public policy and managing the overall political system, to the extent that some countries in the region are referred to as bureaucratic states. Bureaucrats are those permanently employed to carry out government functions. Bureaucracy is the system in which bureaucrats are organized and bureaucratic functions are performed in the formulation, implementation and enforcement of public policy and regulations and the delivery of public services Bureaucrats are those permanently employed to carry out government functions, and the bureaucracy is the system in which the bureaucrats are organized and bureaucratic functions are performed. As we shall see in this chapter, what makes the problem of bureaucracy more challenging in Pacific Asia is not only those generic issues that affect bureaucracy in any country, but also the specific issues associated with the traditional structure, the challenge of industrialization and modernization and ongoing political development in Pacific Asian countries.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 6. The state and the economy

Abstract
Given the central importance of industrialization and economic development in Pacific Asian countries in recent decades and the intense debate that Pacific Asian practices have caused over the role and function of the state in development, this chapter is devoted to this critical aspect of Pacific Asian government and politics. The chapter ends with a survey of the strategies and scenarios in the transformation of Pacific Asian countries, coverage of the development model debate and an overview of the paradigm shifts that are fundamentally changing the relationship between the public and private sector in the region. This chapter is therefore not about economic miracles in Pacific Asia. Rather, as part of an introductory textbook on Pacific Asian government and politics, it is about how the state sees its core functions, and how it associates itself with national economic activities. It concerns the fundamental debate in the discipline about the role and function of the state in modern society.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 7. Political parties, elections and political order

Abstract
Political parties and elections play a significant role in modern politics. They are the core practices of democratic politics. Without the freedom of assembly and open and fair elections, there is no genuine democracy. Moreover, different parties and electoral systems affect the way that interests are represented and how political power is distributed in a political system. Indeed, the differentiation in the development of modern political systems can partially be explained by the differences in party and electoral systems. The problem of political parties and elections is more acute in Pacific Asia because of the different roles they play in governance and politics, and their close association with the rise and fall of different political regimes in post-war political development. This chapter discusses, in the first part, the role of political parties in Pacific Asian politics, party politics in different political systems and the organization of political parties; and, in the second, the electoral systems in Pacific Asia, how they affect politics and governance, and key issues in recent electoral system reforms. The focus of this chapter is on the institutional arrangements in the party and electoral systems, and how they shape the patterns of political mobilization and participation, as well as the overall political structure.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 8. Political society: power, participation and advocacy

Abstract
Access and participation are important for members of a political community. This chapter begins with a survey of scholarly views on the structure of political society in Pacific Asian countries. Given the dominance of state institutions, the way that political society is structured and how different sectors of society participate in the political process are of particular importance. Not all individuals are equal in their political influence. This is particularly true in Pacific Asian countries. Of particular importance is the unique influence of the elites. There is a recognized pattern of elite governance, where select individuals or groups have greater access and influence. A section of the chapter therefore looks at key elite groups and explains how they shape politics and governance. While there is a consensus on the role of elites in Pacific Asian politics and society, views vary on the role and political attitude of other societal groups. Here we discuss gender and social inequality and ask how the position of women in society and government has changed from the traditionally mendominant form in Pacific Asian social structure
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 9. Nation and state: ethnicity, religion and culture

Abstract
The idea of the nation-state and the political movement to build the interstate system on a national basis is a core element of modern state building, particularly as seen in early modern state building in Europe (Tilly, 1975). In Pacific Asia, as in many other parts of the world, however, the boundaries and structural substance of nation and state are complicated and the forces that shaped their interaction and mutual constitution are highly complex. The various ways the tension between nation and state has been dealt with in contemporary Pacific Asia has led to the shaping of different models of how nation and state relate to each other. This issue continues to impact the constitutional character of the state, how state institutions relate to religion, and ethnic groups and the very existence of the state itself.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young

Chapter 10. Pacific Asia and the world

Abstract
In earlier chapters, we found that one cannot fully understand politics and government in Pacific Asian countries without grasping the impact of the international system, regional structure, and transnational dynamics and movements. From colonialism to independence movements, from modernization to globalization, from Marxism and socialism to capitalism and democracy, all these major ideas, movements and institutional developments in Pacific Asian countries have their sources or roots outside these countries and outside this region. Conversely, politics and government in Pacific Asia have been sources of international tensions, confrontation, war, as well as development and world order.
Xiaoming Huang, Jason Young
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