Beyond hybrid regimes: more participation, less contestation in Southeast Asia
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Transition theory literature has been preoccupied with either identifying why democracy has not arrived or with how it can be consolidated where it has emerged. Most recently, arising out of the interest in consolidation, attention has turned to scrutinizing institutions for their democratic quality or lack thereof, not least within so-called hybrid regimes. However, such approaches obscure important political regime dynamics in Southeast Asia. This article argues that the definitive features of a political regime pertain to how social conflict is organized, managed or ameliorated through modes of political participation. Modes of participation encompass institutional structures and ideologies that shape the inclusion and exclusion of individuals and groups in the political process. The paradox in Southeast Asia over the last decade has been that increasing political participation has often been accompanied by a narrowing of the channels for political contestation. The article argues that modes of participation in the region have militated against the organization and mobilization of collective actors around socio-economic cleavages. The emergence of such modes of political participation is also related to neo-liberal globalization and late industrialization, which have been more hostile to collective class-based political mobilization than was true of the experience in Western Europe when representative democracy consolidated.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Politics and International Studies|
Asia Research Centre
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