Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 40/2 (August 2018)

Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 40/2 (August 2018)
Ian Storey, editor
Date of publication:  August 2018
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  176
Code:  CS40/2

About the publication

  • Attained impact factor of 0.906 in Social Sciences Citation Index 2017
  • Ranked 18th by Google Scholar Metrics 2018 in the Asian Studies and History category


  • Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 40/2 (August 2018)
    [Whole Publication, ISSN: 1793284X]
  • Preliminary pages
  • 1. Hun Sen’s Consolidation of Personal Rule and the Closure of Political Space in Cambodia, by Jonathan Sutton, author
    The crackdown on the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that began in 2017 marks the abandonment of even the veneer of democracy in Cambodia. While previous work has identified China’s support for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the electoral threat posed by the CNRP’s popularity as major factors explaining the turn towards a more assertive authoritarianism, this article highlights the importance of changes within the CPP to understand the speed and extent of political closure in the country. It re-examines Hun Sen’s more than three decades of rule to argue that, contrary to existing interpretations, he succeeded in fully consolidating personal control of the regime only after the death of CPP President Chea Sim in 2015 and the consequent collapse of the long-standing factional divide in the party. This final removal of internal constraints on Hun Sen’s personal rule implies that a compromise solution to the crackdown is unlikely, and that political change through institutional channels in Cambodia is now becoming an increasingly remote possibility.
  • 2. Emotive Politics: Islamic Organizations and Religious Mobilization in Indonesia, by Aulia Nastiti, Sari Ratri, authors
    The rise of political Islam in Indonesia is a conundrum due to the fact that although Islam is increasingly gaining ground in Indonesian politics, Islamist political parties do not receive many votes. If not political parties, what explains the prevalence of the Islamic agenda? This article stresses the role of Islamic mass organizations (ormas Islam) as the key driver for mobilizing Islamic agendas in the political arena. Islamist groups gain political influence by leveraging their moral authority, organizational capacity and brokerage networks with state actors. In particular, this article highlights emotive appeals as an important mechanism through which Islamist groups mobilize popular political support at the local level. Islamic organizations build popular support over certain political issues through the reproduction of impassioned narratives that are portrayed and diffused as everyday religious practices. This argument is illustrated by two case studies: the mass mobilization during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and the implementation of sharia-based regulations.
  • 3. The Role of ASEAN’s Identities in Reshaping the ASEAN–EU Relationship, by Iris Chen Xuechen, author
    In 2017, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) celebrated the fortieth anniversary of dialogue relations. However, it is only in the past decade that ASEAN’s strategic importance in the EU’s external relations has grown. Given the limited scholarly attention that has been devoted to this change in ASEAN–EU relations, this article explores why there has been a greater level of engagement and approximation between the EU and ASEAN. In particular, it asks why the EU, which had long been reluctant to recognize ASEAN as a strategic partner, has changed its policy towards ASEAN. Looking beyond the conventional Eurocentric explanations, this article draws on constructivism — which focuses on the role of perceptions and identities in shaping international politics — and argues that ASEAN’s identities have played a significant role in reshaping ASEAN–EU interactions. Specifically, the article maintains that the corporate and social identities ASEAN has constructed have contributed to the EU’s revised attitude towards ASEAN, which has in turn led the EU to modify its policy vis-à-vis ASEAN.
  • 4. Can NGOs Change the Constitution? Civil Society and the Indonesian Constitutional Court, by Dominic Nardi, author
    Since its creation in August 2003, the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s decisions have had a significant impact on Indonesian politics and the enforcement of constitutional rights. This article argues that NGOs have had a crucial and underappreciated role in determining both which cases reach the justices, as well as the content of the Court’s final decisions. Based on an empirical test of cases adjudicated between August 2003 and October 2013, it finds that NGOs are responsible for bringing the majority of socioeconomic and human rights claims, resulting in some of the Court’s most controversial and far-reaching decisions. In addition, the justices are far more likely to quote petitions submitted by NGOs, meaning that information NGOs include in their briefs shapes the justices’ understanding of the legal and policy issues at stake. These findings suggest that civil society groups have considerably more influence over Indonesian politics and policy than is commonly recognized.
  • 5. Trading a Theatre for Military Headquarters: Locating the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, by Rebecca Gidley, author
    The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, more formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), is a United Nations (UN)-sponsored judicial mechanism based at the headquarters of the Cambodian military. This article examines how the decision to base the ECCC at this location was made. In order to do so it draws on a significant quantity of internal documents from the UN Office of Legal Affairs that relate to the negotiations establishing the ECCC. An earlier trial, the 1979 People’s Revolutionary Tribunal, had been held in central Phnom Penh at Chaktomuk Theatre, and this symbolic venue was initially proposed as the home for the ECCC. However, the Cambodian government proposed the current site that is part of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces headquarters, to which the UN agreed. The headquarters are located on the outskirts of the city, and this has hindered public accessibility and positive symbolism and is instead an indication of the level of control the Cambodian government has been able to exert over the Tribunal.
  • 6. The Role of Chinese Corporate Players in China’s South China Sea Policy, by G W Gong, author
    The growing pluralization of Chinese society has made China’s foreign policy decision-making more complicated. As a result, traditional state-centric approaches to analysing China’s foreign relations may no longer be adequate. A nuanced understanding requires attention to new actors in the formulation and conduct of the country’s foreign affairs, including central state-owned enterprises (CSOEs). This article explores the increasingly important role played by Chinese CSOEs in Beijing’s policy towards the South China Sea. It hypothesizes that although CSOEs are employed by the state as policy tools, they fulfil different roles in Beijing’s South China Sea policy. Some CSOEs mobilize resources to influence state policy; some CSOEs proactively take advantage of state policy when opportunities arise; while other CSOEs are mostly policy takers. In the case of the last category, it is interesting to note that their activities are not just a demonstration of political subjugation to the state; they also combine state-directed political tasks with efforts to seek market opportunities. This article employs three case studies — tourism, energy extraction and infrastructure — to demonstrate how the roles of Chinese business actors vary in China’s South China Sea policy.
  • BOOK REVIEW: Why Terrorists Quit: The Disengagement of Indonesian Jihadists.By Julie Chernov Hwang, by Quinton Temby, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: The Indonesian Way: ASEAN, Europeanization, and Foreign Policy Debates in a New Democracy. By Jürgen Ruland, by Dewi Fortuna Anwar , author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Great Powers, Grand Strategies: The New Game in the South China Sea. Edited by Anders Corr, by Zhang Baohui, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology. By Tuong Vu, by Huong Le Thu, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Chinese Assertiveness in the South China Sea: Power Sources, Domestic Politics, and Reactive Foreign Policy. By Richard Q. Turcsányi, by Bill Hayton, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: Thai Military Power: A Culture of Strategic Accommodation. By Gregory Vincent Raymond, by Paul Chambers, author
  • BOOK REVIEW: India and China at Sea: Competition for Naval Dominance in the Indian Ocean. Edited by David Brewster, by Dhruva Jaishankar, author

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