BRINGING POLITICS BACK IN:
RETHINKING OVERNANCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
This course is designed to help students better understand governance in contemporary Southeast Asia. It focuses on identifying and analyzing the formal and informal actors, as well as the formal and informal structures, which impact policy-making and policy-implementation in select Southeast Asian countries. The course addresses several key questions: First, how do we best understand the role of the state in effecting governance in Southeast Asia? Second, what other institutions are important in our understanding of the policy processes in these countries? And third, what other social/informal actors affect the governance process in contemporary Southeast Asia?
Throughout the module students will be asked to think critically about the dynamics of governance in contemporary Southeast Asia. What are the factors which define and explain good/bad governance in Southeast Asia? Why do some countries in Southeast Asia fair better in the good governance index while others seemed mired in seemingly intractable problems? What are the key political and social constraints that leaders, policy-makers and international aid agencies face in trying to bring about good governance in contemporary Southeast Asia?
The course is divided roughly into two parts. After a two-week general introduction on the role of the state (and other key institutions) in governance and development of modern Southeast Asia, we will focus specifically on understanding the role of the state and other social forces in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Part two of the course focuses on various issue and policy areas related to the question of good/bad governance in contemporary Southeast Asia.
By the end of the course students should be able to explain and understand the dynamics of governance in contemporary Southeast Asia. This includes understanding the role of the different actors, as well as the formal and informal structures, which shape the policy-making and implementation processes. Students should have the capacity to think critically about the key factors explaining “good” and “bad” governance in Southeast Asia, as well as formulate their own thoughts about possible ways to address contemporary challenges to good governance. Students should also be able to understand core concepts relevant to understanding governance in contemporary Southeast Asia. They include:
- State Formation, Agencies, Autonomy and Capacity
- Political Institutions
- Democratization and political reform
- Political Islam
- Civil Society