Local Organizations and Urban Governance in East and Southeast Asia: Straddling State and Society

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Benjamin L. Read, Robert Pekkanen
Routledge, Jun 2, 2009 - Political Science - 208 pages
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This edited collection brings together enterprising pieces of new research on the many forms of organization in East and Southeast Asia that are sponsored or mandated by government, but engage widespread participation at the grassroots level. Straddling the state-society divide, these organizations play important roles in society and politics, yet remain only dimly understood. This book shines a spotlight on this phenomenon, which speaks to fundamental questions about how such societies choose to organize themselves, how institutions of local governance change over time, and how individuals respond to and make use of the power of the state.

The contributors investigate organizations ranging from volunteer-based organizations that partner with government in providing services for homeless children, to state-managed networks of neighborhood- or village-level associations that perform representative as well as administrative functions and seeks to answer a number of questions:

  • When do the "vertical," top-down imperatives of the state stifle "horizontal" solidarities, and when might the two work in harmony?
  • Are useful social and administrative purposes served by this type of fusion?
  • Does it amplify or merely muffle citizens’ voices?
  • What does it tell us about existing accounts of community, social capital, "synergy," "complementarity," "subsidiarity," and related concepts?

Representing seven countries: China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Singapore this volume will be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates and academics in Asian studies, political science, sociology, anthropology, development, history, nonprofit studies.


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Statelinked associational life illuminating blind spots of existing paradigms
Membership without advocacy
The role of RTRW in postSuharto Indonesia
4 The mutual colonization of state and civil society organizations in Vietnam
5 Municipal governments and the role of Cooperative Community Groups in Thailand
State cultivation of neighborhood social capital in China and Taiwan
Vertical and horizontal tensions in Vietnamese Churchstate relations
Residents Committees in Singapore

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About the author (2009)

Benjamin L. Read is an assistant professor in the Politics Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Robert Pekkanen is chair of the Japan Studies Program and an associate professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.


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