SOJOURN Vol. 33/1 (March 2018) and Vol. 33/S (Supplement 2018)

About the Publication

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, SOJOURN is publishing not only the regular March issue but also a special supplementary issue highlighting the journal’s contribution to the study of Southeast Asia during the past three decades. The supplementary issue includes an introductory essay prepared by Barbara Watson Andaya, which is available for free download.


PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 33/1 (March 2018) [Whole Publication] 38.00 USD
Preliminary pages Download
A Building with One Side Missing: Liberal Arts and Illiberal Modernities in Singapore, by Philip Holden, authorAbstract
Raffles College, Singapore’s first comprehensive institution of higher education, brought a particular pedagogical community into being from its opening in 1928 to its temporary closure during the Pacific War in December 1941. Two areas of tension at the college were the incorporation of Asia and Asians as subjects and objects of study into the humanities curriculum, and forms of subjectification incited by residentially based pedagogy. The experience of the college, viewed through the lens of the present, asks us to revisit issues that remain pertinent in contemporary Singapore and in questions relating more broadly to the development of higher education in Asia.
Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution Revisited, a Critique, by Joseph Scalice, authorAbstract
Reynaldo Ileto’s 1979 work Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840–1910, attempted to reconstruct the categories of perception of “the masses” by using the religious performance of the suffering and death of Christ, the pasyon, as source material. Critical re-examination of his work reveals that the attempt was deeply flawed. It engaged with the pasyon as a literary text, ignored the significance of its performance and treated it in an ahistorical manner. An attentiveness to performance demonstrates that the pasyon was a cross-class and linguistically specific phenomenon. This insight dramatically attenuates the argumentative force of Ileto’s claim to provide an historical understanding of the consciousness of the masses and their participation in revolution.
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Confronting Communism: Sang Phatthanothai and Thailand’s Dynamic Relationship with the Cold War World, 1948–1957, by Mitchell Tan, authorAbstract
As a highly influential political figure in the Second Phibun era (1948–57), Sang Phatthanothai charted unique paths for the Thai nation-state in the emerging Cold War. In multifarious roles — as labour organizer, newspaper editor and back-channel diplomat — Sang orchestrated Thai connections with both the People’s Republic of China and transnational anti-communist organizations like the spiritual Moral Re-Armament movement in the 1950s. An intellectual and political history of his career reveals a flexible and adaptive vision of Thailand’s relationship with international developments in the post-war world. Governing this vision was Sang’s dynamic assessment of what best protected the Thai nation’s identity and independence.
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Between Polygyny and Monogamy: Marriages of the Political Elite and the Thai Regime of Images, by Katja Rangsivek, authorAbstract
The polygynous marriages of Thai kings traditionally fulfilled a range of vital political functions. Comparison between those marriages and the marriages of politicians active in the post-1932 constitutional regime era illustrate the continuing political significance of marriage in Thailand. Polygyny has become highly contextualized with different sections of Thai society operating according to varying marital norms. Performative monogamy is thus necessary. This situation suggests weaknesses in the Thai regime of images as it relates to the notional separation between public and private spheres and to the idea of multiple truths. Neither applies to the marriages of members of the Thai political elite.
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Ɖổi mới in the Classroom? The Portrayal of National and World History in Vietnamese Textbooks, by Martin Großheim, authorAbstract
Examination of the treatment in Vietnamese history textbooks of national and world history against the backdrop of the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc countries suggests that the authors of these textbooks fear that what happened in the Soviet Union could also happen in Vietnam. The purpose of the textbooks’ depiction of the past is to allay these fears. The textbooks reflect Vietnam’s turn back towards China after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and of socialist countries in Eastern Europe. For the leadership in Hanoi, the emphasis on fraternal ties with China has, however, recently lost its allure. Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea have, in turn, prompted many Vietnamese to demand a more comprehensive coverage of Sino–Vietnamese relations in history textbooks.
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On Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema, by Rachel Harrison, Megan Sinnott, Arnika Fuhrmann, authors Download
BOOK REVIEW: Storytelling in Bali, by Hildred Geertz, by Michel Picard, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: The Rise of the Octobrists in Contemporary Thailand, by Kanokrat Lertchoosakul, by Jim Glassman, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jātaka and the Idea of the Perfect Man, by Patrick Jory, by Peter A Jackson, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: Learning, Migration and Intergenerational Relations: The Karen and the Gift of Education, by Pia Joliffe, by Su-Ann Oh, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: War and Peace in the Borderlands of Myanmar: The Kachin Ceasefire, 1994–2011, edited by Mandy Sadan, by Carine Jaquet, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913–1974, by Stefan Huebner, by Ian Brown, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: Tourism and Monarchy in Southeast Asia, edited by Ploysri Porananond and Victor T. King, by Olivier Evrard, author Download
BOOK REVIEW: Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey, by Zhuang Wubin, by Felicia Hughes-Freeland, author Download
The Catholic-Teochew Rhythm: Communal Identity in Hougang, 1945–1981, by Bryan Goh, authorAbstract
Numerous interviews with Catholic Teochews in Hougang indicate the existence of a distinct communal identity in the period between the mid-1940s and the early 1980s. This common heritage of being Catholic Teochew is attributed to the prevalence of three institutions — church, family and school. The widespread influence of these institutions culminated in the emergence of a collective social memory of a routinized Catholic-Teochew way of life. The idea of a “Catholic-Teochew rhythm” that embodies a distinct cultural identity forged in Singapore allows understanding of the narrative of the community of Teochew Catholics in Hougang. The amalgamation of Catholicism and Teochew culture paralleled the growth of the community. Similarly, the consolidation and eventual decline of Catholic-Teochew traditions mirrored the fate of the enclave of Teochew Catholics in Hougang.
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SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 33/S (Supplement 2018) [Whole Publication] 38.00 USD
Preliminary pages Download
Nation-states, Citizenship, Globalization and Regionalism: Enduring Themes in Southeast Asian Studies, by Barbara Watson Andaya, authorAbstract
This introduction to a special issue of the journal SOJOURN begins with a brief overview of the challenges to area studies following the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978. In the 1990s, area studies faced further criticism by proponents of globalization theories. Although these criticisms adversely affected the situation of Southeast Asian studies, especially in the United States, in the region itself the field remained healthy, as demonstrated in SOJOURN’s thirty years of publication. A persisting theme in the articles included in this issue is the relationship between state and subject, nation and citizen, which is explored in several different contexts. A second theme concerns the interaction of global and area studies, especially in regard to the application of Western theory in non-Western environments, and the extent to which locally produced knowledge can contribute to global conversations. The essay ends with comments on the current strength of Southeast Asian studies in the region itself, and on the role of SOJOURN in contributing to that strength.
Pigtail: A Pre-History of Chineseness in Siam, by Kasian Tejapira, authorAbstract
Challenging the reification of ethnic categories, this paper sets out to examine the genealogy of Chineseness in Siam before the early twentieth century by focusing on the pigtail as an alleged sign of Chineseness. A critical scrutiny of G. William Skinner’s arguments in his Chinese Society in Thailand and the political and cultural history of the pigtail in both the Middle Kingdom and the Kingdom of Siam reveal the variable, situational, and pluralistic meanings of the pigtail. With the pigtail as signifier being thus deconstructed, Chineseness turns out to be a recent invention in Thai racist discourse that had little to do with the pigtail as such.
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Internal Colonialism in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, by Grant Evans, authorAbstract
This paper provides a critique of Vietnamese communist policy in the Central Highlands since 1975. It first examines the impact of internal migration on the highlands; then it looks at how Vietnamese anthropologists have understood these developments and extracts from their studies references to the social and cultural changes induced by the policies of the new regime and the practices of some of its cadres. Finally, it briefly surveys what is known of the indigenous peoples’ resistance to Vietnamese internal colonialism.
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The Singapore Way of Multiculturalism: Western Concepts/Asian Cultures, by Ien Ang, Jon Stratton, authorsAbstract
This paper traces the symbolic significance of Singapore’s policy of “multiracialism” by bringing it in connection with the city-state’s post-colonial problematic of national identity. Against the currently dominant, nativist rhetoric which aims to construct Singapore as an authentically “Asian” nation diametrically opposed to its “Western” counterparts, this paper stresses the necessary and inevitable hybridity of Singaporean identity.
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Ritual Passage and the Reconstruction of Selfhood in International Labour Migration, by Filomeno V Aguilar Jr, authorAbstract
This paper reasserts the place of human agency amid the structural forces that seem to overdetermine international labour migration. To explore the meanings attached by migrants to overseas employment, the paper casts the worker’s experience as a type of ritual, a secular pilgrimage knowingly embarked upon by the individual in close dialectical relationship with the social world. Various stages of double liminality are endured by the migrant worker through the balm of commodities and the consumption of modernity, with the journey of achievement eventuating in a new sense of self. Empirical materials are drawn primarily from studies of Filipina and Filipino workers.
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State and Civil Society: Global Context, Southeast Asian Prospect, by Clive S Kessler, authorAbstract
Globalization has not entailed the “eclipse” of the nation-state. While state sovereignty has been eroded, international society still remains organized as a network or “club” of nation-states which jealously guard their borders, especially to control the massive labour migration unleashed by the forces of economic globalization. States increasingly establish their relations to individuals less on the basis of their relations to their “citizens” than through the processes of their management of these transhumant “pariahs” (to borrow Hannah Arendt’s dichotomy). These developments make necessary a reaffirmation of the life of active citizenship within “civil society”, a domain of public human action intermediate between the family and the state. Some impediments hindering, and also prospects for, grounding the concept of “civil society” within the politicial idioms and cultures of Southeast Asian civilization are noted, as are the impact of the region’s colonial legacy and its characteristic post-colonial state structures. Tensions are noted in contemporary Southeast Asia between the impulse to achieve “modernity” via participation in the borrowed sophistication of “brand-name” international consumerism and the enlargement of active citizenship, civil society, and the human space of public civic culture.
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An Approach for Analysing State-Society Relations in Vietnam , by Benedict J Tria Kerkvliet, authorAbstract
This article examines four arenas in Vietnam’s political life in which state-society relations are problematic: governing institutions and processes, mass media, agricultural collectives, and corruption. Each has evidence to support two common interpretations, which argue that the state and its various organizations in society run the political show in Vietnam. Yet, there is also evidence for a third interpretation, which highlights political activities in society beyond the reach of the state and its organizations. The article also finds ongoing deliberations in each arena about what relations between the state and society should be.
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Space, Theory, and Hegemony: The Dual Crises of Asian Area Studies and Cultural Studies, by Peter A Jackson, authorAbstract
The classical form of area studies based on the notion of culture-language areas has been critiqued by globalization theorists and poststructuralists as old-fashioned (pre-globalization) and theoretically naïve (empirical). However, the death of area studies would leave students of Asian societies in a theoretically and politically fraught situation. While the essentialism of classical area studies must be abandoned, the critiques presented by globalization and poststructuralist theorists often presume that capitalist globalization entails the erasure of borders, the homogenization of cultures, and the end of spatiality as a domain of theoretically significant difference. These views are critiqued as ideologically driven and empirically unfounded. Geography remains a theoretically significant domain of discursive and cultural difference under globalization. A theoretically sophisticated area studies project therefore remains an essential method for understanding the twenty-first century world.
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Globalizing Local Knowledge: Social Science Research on Southeast Asia, 1970–2000 , by Solvay Gerke, Hans-Dieter Evers, authorsAbstract
New knowledge is produced at great speed and fed into a global epistemic machinery of data banks, publications, and think tanks. In reverse, global knowledge is absorbed and used locally. Locally produced knowledge is on the increase as society moves towards a knowledge society. Social science research adds to knowledge of societies. If it is locally produced, it can be interpreted as reflexive modernization in so far as it provides paradigms for an interpretation of social processes and structures. This article traces the development of social science research on Southeast Asia and its increasing localization. A model is developed to summarize the output of interpretative schemes and published documents. Statistical data on the global absorption of locally produced knowledge are used to measure the extent of the move towards a knowledge society. Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines have relatively high local social science output, whereas Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos have low output rates. We diagnose four different paths from 1970 to 2000: Indonesia shows a stable high level of dependence, Malaysia and the Philippines are increasing local output but also increasing dependence, whereas Singapore is increasing output with decreasing dependence on global social science knowledge.
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Working in the Islamic Economy: Sharia-ization and the Malaysian Workplace, by Patricia Sloane-White, authorAbstract
This article demonstrates how sharia, the source for developing products in Malaysia’s Islamic economy, has also emerged in some Malaysian businesses as a form of corporate culture, reconfiguring workplace identities and social relations. It takes the form of what I call “corporate sharia”, a set of ideas consciously and deliberately shaped by executives who seek to build corporations based on the rules for commerce and management contained within the Qur’an and Hadith. Corporate leaders also fashion what I call “personnel sharia” — “human resources” rules to ensure that employees exhibit the ethical values and moral principles set by their superiors. As such, the “Islamic workplace” becomes sharia-ized, where the piety and Islamic subjectivities of personnel are shaped, monitored, and enforced, not left to individual, personal choice.
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