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Comment: Understanding ‘Asian values’ as a form of reactionary modernization

Jayasuriya, K. (2017) Comment: Understanding ‘Asian values’ as a form of reactionary modernization. In: Rodan, G., (ed.) Singapore. Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis group, pp. 345-360.

Abstract

In recent years the ideological landscape of East Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia, has been characterized by the discourse of ‘Asian values’: that cultural traditions in East Asia are different from those of the ‘liberal’ West, and in turn political behaviour in East Asia demands to be judged against these relative cultural standards. It follows from this that no universal political standards and norms can be deduced and, therefore, political categories need to be relativized to appropriate cultural norms. This article outlines and evaluates three approaches to the analysis of Asian values ideology: culturalist, instrumentalist, and structuralist. It then proceeds to argue for a particular structuralist perspective, that is termed ‘reactionary modernism’, which coptures the distinctiveness of Asian values as an ideological hybrid of reaction and modernity.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis group
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50693
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