13 Jan 2007

Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism

Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism

During the 1990s, international democracy promotion efforts led to the establishment of numerous regimes that cannot be easily classified as either authoritarian or democratic. They display characteristics of each, in short they are semi-authoritarian regimes. These regimes pose a considerable challenge to U.S. policymakers because the superficial stability of many semi-authoritarian regimes usually masks severe problems that need to be solved lest they lead to a future crisis. Additionally, these regimes call into question some of the ideas about democratic transitions that underpin the democracy promotion strategies of the United States and other Western countries. Despite their growing importance, semi-authoritarian regimes have not received systematic attention. Marina Ottaway examines five countries (Egypt, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Croatia, and Senegal) which highlight the distinctive features of semi-authoritarianism and the special challenge each poses to policymakers. She explains why the dominant approach to democracy promotion isn't effective in these countries and concludes by suggesting alternative policies.

By Marina Ottaway
Published 2003
Carnegie Endowment
Politics / Current Events
256 pages
ISBN 0870031953

Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia (Politics in Asia Series)Asia (Politics in Asia Series) (Hardcover)
by Ariel Heryanto

Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia_ is one of the first substantial comparative studies of contemporary Indonesia and Malaysia, homes to the world's largest Muslim population. Following the collapse of New Order rule in Indonesia in 1998, this book provides an in-depth examination of anti-authoritarian forces in contemporary Indonesia and Malaysia, assessing their problems and prospects.

The authors discuss the roles played by women, public intellectuals, arts workers, industrial workers as well as environmental and Islamic activists. They explore how different forms of authoritarianism in the two countries affect the prospects of democratization, and examine the impact and legacy of the diverse social and political protests in Indonesia and Malaysia in the late 1990s.

This book responds to the impasse of the 'transition from authoritarian to democracy' paradigm by studying social agents and practices that lie beyond formal political institutions and measures of economic performance. It adopts a broader sense of politics, power, and authoritarianism while challenging familiar understandings of gender, Islam, ethnicity, and social classes. It will interest students and researchers of Asian Studies, Political Science, Sociology and Cultural Studies.

Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon; 1 edition (June 24, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0415309417
ISBN-13: 978-0415309417

Or download the book review by Wang Gungwu at a greatly reduced price and pretend you have read it here...
Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia.(Book Review): An article from: Contemporary Southeast Asia


Matilah_Singapura said...

“For men tied fast to the absolute, bled of their differences, drained of their dreams by authoritarian leeches until nothing but pulp is left, become a massive, sick Thing whose sheer weight is used ruthlessly by ambitious men. Here is the real enemy of the people: our own selves dehumanized into ''the masses.'' And where is the David who can slay this giant?”— Lillian Smith, American writer and social critic.

Writers on democracy often use the (adjective) "authoritarian" as an antonym of "democractic". Herein lies the false premise.

As long as people continue relinquish their individuality, to become part of the "masses", freedom may just be a dream. Democracy has NEVER guaranteed freedom. In fact, democracy consistently installs authoritarian regimes.

Democracy is the handmaiden of egalitarianism, and attempts to impose this "equality of opportunity" by political means — i.e. by majority will, and through the institutions of the state.

With so much force and absolute power about, how could anyone possibly be "free"?

"Let's force everyone to be equal, then we can all be free."

What a concept! ;)

Anonymous said...

Alot of shit being dumped here.