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Political Systems in Asia-Pacific

IDAS, Spring 2016

Mondays, 14:10-17:00pm, R271206

Dr. Tsai-wei SUN

Office: Institute of International Relations, R316
Phone: 8237-7276; Email: tws0418@nccu.edu.tw

Course Objectives:

This course will introduce the political systems in the Asia-Pacific region including East and
Southeast Asia. It will also examine the political institutions and the political processes of
countries in this region, and analyze the major issues and challenges confronting them.

Course Description:

This is an introduction course which will provide a broad survey of political systems in East
and Southeast Asia (the Asia-Pacific region). The course will first introduce some classic
readings in the political science field on political system, political development and political
change. Then the course will address government and politics in Asia-Pacific by examining
pre-colonial systems of government, Western imperialism and colonial governments, national
liberation movements, and proxy wars fought by the Superpowers through supporting selected
political regimes in the region during the era of the Cold War.

Industrialization and rapid economic growth transformed many countries from peasant
societies to modern, urban and industrial countries. Other countries remained poor and were
left behind as their neighbors often underwent vast political and economic changes. All of
these forces of change have greatly influenced the political systems in the region, the ways in
which groups and individuals participate in politics, and the degree to which political
institutions are representative. As such, the second section of the course will offer an analysis
of the political systems of the region with an emphasis on understanding political change and
its relationship to socio-economic transformation through selective case studies (9 countries).
The course will conclude with a comparison of political challenges in Asia-Pacific during the
past two decades.


Every week’s short “response paper” 20%

Class participation and presentation 20%
Mid-term exam 20%
Final essay 40%

Response papers: Every student has to write a one-page (single-spaced) response paper on the
readings each week. These are due 11:59 P.M. on Sundays prior to each class via email. NO
LATE SUBMISSION. In every response paper, you should make some substantive comments
of the readings and address 2-3 questions which you want to discuss in class. The paper
should not be a summary of the readings.

Class participation and presentation: This is a reading and discussion seminar. Our class
sessions will focus on discussions of course readings. All members of the seminar should
complete the assigned readings prior to the seminar meeting and come prepared to discuss the
readings. Every student has to choose ONE week to lead the discussion (master students may
have one partner to fulfill this assignment).

Mid-term exam: It’s a one-day open-book take-home exam. The purposes of this exam are to
test whether you have read the required readings, how well you understand the main
concepts/issues of this course, and whether you can use such knowledge to examine the real
cases in a critical way. The questions will be sent to you via email in the afternoon of April
18 (Monday of week 9), and you need to submit your answering sheet before April 19 at
11:59 PM (according to the time on your emails). NO LATE SUBMISSION.

Final essay: Write a 20-pages (double-spaced) final essay on a specific topic according to the
syllabus (master students: 10 pages). There is no specific minimum or maximum number of
books and/or articles to be covered in this assignment, but students should try to identify
multiple perspectives and to review some of the best works on the topic. The essay need not
cover all the assigned and recommended readings, though broad coverage is desirable.
Students should consult the instructor about the topics early in the semester.

Students need to present their FINAL ESSAY OUTLINEs to the class in Week 17 (June
13). The presentation shall be no longer than 15 minutes. The complete papers are due June
20 at 11:59 PM (according to the time on your E-mails). NO LATE SUBMISSION.

Textbooks/Reading Materials:

1. Ikuo Kabashima and Lynn T. White III (eds.). c1986. Political System and Change: a
World Reader. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. {K&W}
2. Xiaoming Huang. 2009. Politics in Pacific Asia: An Introduction. Basingstoke, Hampshire
[England]; NY: Palgrave Macmillan. {Huang}
3. Liang Fook Lye and Wilhelm Hofmeister (eds.). 2011. Political Parties, Party Systems
and Democratization in East Asia. Singapore: World Scientific. {L&H}
4. John Kane, Hui-Chieh Loy and Haig Patapan (eds.). 2011. Political Legitimacy in Asia:
New Leadership Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan. {KLP}
5. Journal Articles
Weekly Course Schedule

Week 1 February 22 Introduction & the historical context of politics in Asia-Pacific

1. *Huang, pp.1-35 (Introduction & ch.1: the historical context)
2. Yoichi Funabashi. 1993. “The Asianization of Asia.” Foreign Affairs

Week 2 February 29 Holiday (no class)

Week 3 March 7 Political system: definitions & functions; and PS in Asia-Pacific

1. *K&W, pp.23-91 (David Easton; Gabriel A. Almond; J. Roland Pennock).
2. *Huang, pp.36-83 (chs.2,3)

Week 4 March 14 Political development and political change

1. *K&W, pp. 95-138; 205-220 (Samuel P. Huntington; Claude Ake).
2. Kim Yung-myung. 2003. “Understanding East Asian Political Systems: Origins,
Characteristics, and Changes.” Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 3(1):45-78.
3. Mark R. Thompson. 2010. “Modernization Theory’s Last Redoubt:
Democratization in East and Southeast Asia,” in Chu Yin-wah and Siu-lun Wong
(eds.), East Asia’s New Democracies: Deepening, Reversal, Non-liberal
Alternatives. London; NY: Routledge. pp. 85-98 (ch.5).
4. *Huang, pp.84-103 (ch.4)

Week 5 March 21 Parties, elections, and democracy in Asia-Pacific

1. *Huang, pp.124-176; 206-228 (chs.6,7,9)
2. Baogang He. 2010.”Introduction to Political Parties and Democracy: Part II: Asian
Parties,” in Baogang He, Anatoly Kulik and Kay Lawson (eds.), Political Parties
and Democracy: Volume III: Post-Soviet and Asian Political Parties. Praeger.
3. Allen Hicken & Erik Martinez Kuhonta. 2011. “Shadows From the Past: Party
System Institutionalization in Asia.” Comparative Political Studies XX(X):1-26.
4. Aurel Croissant and Philip Volkel. 2012. “Party System Types and Party System
Institutionalization: Comparing New Democracies in East and Southeast Asia.”
Party Politics 18(2): 235-265.

Week 6 March 28 (1) Japan

1. *L&H, pp.133-155 (ch.5)
2. *KLP, pp.173-193 (ch.9)
3. Takashi Inoguchi. 2010. “Fledgling Two-Party Democracy in Japan: No Strong
Partisans and a Fragmented State Bureaucracy,” in Baogang He, Anatoly Kulik and
Kay Lawson (eds.), Political Parties and Democracy: Volume III: Post-Soviet and
Asian Political Parties. Praeger. pp.173-189 (Ch.7).
4. Mary Alice Haddad. 2010. “The State-in-society Approach to the Study of
Democratization with Examples from Japan.” Democratization 17(5):997-1023.
5. Tomohito Shinoda. 2012. “Japan’s Failed Experiment: the DPJ and Institutional
Change for Political Leadership.” Asian Survey 52(5):799-821.
6. Shiro Sakaiya and Kentaro Maeda. 2014. “Explaining the Breakdown of Dominant
Party Systems: Party Splits and the Mechanisms of Factional Bargaining.”
Japanese Journal of Political Science 15(3): 397-415.

Week 7 April 4 Holiday (no class)

Week 8 April 11 (2) Korea
1. *L&H, pp.211-241 (ch.8)
2. *KLP, pp.217-237 (ch.11)
3. Jennifer S. Oh. 2012. “Strong State and Strong Civil Society in Contemporary
South Korea.” Asian Survey 52(3):528-549.
4. Jae-Jung Suh, Sunwon Park & Hahn Y. Kim. 2012. “Democratic Consolidation and
Its Limits in Korea: Dilemmas of Cooptation.” Asian Survey 52(5):822-844.
5. Olli Hellmann. 2014. “Party System Institutionalization Without Parties: Evidence
from Korea.” Journal of East Asian Studies 14(1): 53-84.
6. Yoonkyung Lee. 2014. “Diverging Patterns of Democratic Representation in Korea
and Taiwan: Political Parties and Social Movements.” Asian Survey 54(3):419-444.

Week 9 April 18 Mid-term Exam

Week 10 April 25 (3) Thailand

1. *L&H, pp.159-187 (ch.6)
2. *KLP, pp.61-84 (ch.4)
3. Kevin Hewison. 2007. “Constitutions, Regimes and Power in Thailand.”
Democratization 14(5):928-945.
4. Michael K. Connors. 2009. “Liberalism, Authoritarianism and the Politics of
Decisionism in Thailand.” The Pacific Review 22(3):355-373.
5. Paul Chambers. 2010. “Thailand on the Brink: Resurgent Military, Eroded
Democracy.” Asian Survey 50(5):835-858.
6. Thitinan Pongsudhirak. 2012. “Thailand’s Uneasy Passage.” Journal of Democracy
7. Kevin Hewison. 2014. “The Lessons of Protest.” Asian Studies 50(1): 1-15.
8. Kevin Hewison. 2014. “Considerations on Inequality and Politics in Thailand.”
Democratization 21(5):846-866.

Week 11 May 2 (4) The Philippines

1. Paul D. Hutchcroft. 2013. “Understanding ‘Source’ and ‘Purpose’ in Processes of
Democratic Change: Insights from the Philippines and Thailand.” TRaNS: Trans
-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia 1:145-175.
2. Paul D. Hutchcroft and Joel Rocamora. 2003. “Strong Demands and Weak
Institutions: The Origins and Evolution of the Democratic Deficit in the
Philippines.” Journal of East Asian Studies 3:259-292.
3. *KLP, pp.195-216 (Ch.10)
4. James Putzel. 1999. “Survival of an Imperfect Democracy in the Philippines.”
Democratization 6(1):198-223.
5. Nathan Gilbert Quimpo. 2009. “The Philippines: Predatory Regime, Growing
Authoritarian Features.” The Pacific Review 22(3):335-353.
6. Bjorn Dressel. 2011. “The Philippines: How Much Real Democracy?”
International Political Science Review 32(5):529-545.

Week 12 May 9 (5) Indonesia

1. *KLP, pp.85-104 (ch.5)
2. Vedi R. Hadiz. 2007. “The Localization of Power in Southeast Asia.”
Democratization 14(5):873-892.
3. Marcus Mietzner. 2008. “Comparing Indonesia’s Party Systems of the 1950s and
the Post-Suharto Era: From Centrifugal to Centripetal Inter-party Competition.”
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 39(3):431-453.
4. Louay Abdulbaki. 2008. “Democratisation in Indonesia: From Transition to
Consolidation.” Asian Journal of Political Science 16(2): 151-172.
5. Dan Slater and Erica Simmons. 2012. “Coping by Colluding: Political Uncertainty
and Promiscuous Powersharing in Indonesia and Bolivia.” Comparative Political
Studies 46(11):1366-1393.
6. Kolchi Kawamura. 2013. “Presidentalism and Political Parties in Indonesia: Why
Are All Parties Not Presidentialized?” IDE Discussion Paper #409:1-30.

Week 13 May 16 (6) Malaysia

1. *KLP, pp.105-126 (ch.6)
2. William Case. 2009. “Electoral Authoritarianism in Malaysia: Trajectory Shift.”
The Pacific Review 22(3):311-333.
3. Chin-Huat Wong, James Chin & Norani Othman. 2010. “Malaysia – Towards a
Topology of an Electoral One-party State.” Democratization 17(5):920-949.
4. Michael O’Shannassy. 2013. “More Talk than Walk? UMNO, “New Politics” and
Legitimation in Contemporary Malaysia.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 43(3):
5. Meredith L. Weiss. 2013. “Coalitions and Competition in Malaysia – Incremental
Transformation of a Strong-party System.” Journal of Current Coutheast Asian
Affairs 32(2):19-37.
6. Lee Kam Hing & Thock Ker Pong. 2014. “13th General Elections (GE13): Chinese
Votes and Implications on Malaysian Politics.” Kajian Malaysia 32(2):25-53.
7. Edmund Terence Gomez and Surinder Kaur. 2014. “Struggling for Power: Policies,
Coalition Politics and Elections in Malaysia.” Paper presented at the “Dominant
Party Systems” Conference, University of Michigan, 9-10 May 2014. (16 pages)

Week 14 May 23 (7) Singapore

1. *L&H, pp.107-131 (ch.4)
2. *KLP, pp.127-147 (ch.7)
3. Garry Rodan & Kanishka Jayasuriya. 2007. “The Technocratic Politics of
Administrative Participation: Case Studies of Singapore and Vietnam.”
Democratization 14(5):795-815.
4. Chua Beng Huat. 2007. “Political Culturalism, Representation and the People’s
Action Party of Singapore.” Democratization 14(5): 911-927.
5. Garry Rodan. 2008. “Singapore ‘Exceptionalism’? Authoritarian Rule and State
Transformation,” in Joseph Wong & Edward Friedman (eds.), Political Transitions
in Dominant Party Systems: Learning to Lose. Routledge. 231-251.
6. Garry Rodan. 2012. “Competing Ideologies of Political Representation in Southeast
Asia.” Third World Quarterly 33(2):311-332.
7. Netina Tan. 2014. “Why No Liberalizing Outcome? Singapore’s Hegemonic Party
Regime After 2011 Elections.” Paper presented at the “Dominant Party Systems”
Conference, University of Michigan, 9-10 May 2014. (22 pages)

Week 15 May 30 (8/9) Burma/Myanmar and Vietnam

1. *KLP, pp.149-171 (ch.8)
2. Lee Jones. 2013. “The Political Economy of Myanmar’s Transition.” Journal of
Contemporary Asia
3. Adam P. MacDonald. 2013. “From Military Rule to Electoral Authoritarianism: The
Reconfiguration of Power in Myanmar and its Future.” Asian Affairs: An American
Review 40(1):20-36.
4. L&H, pp.49-75 (ch.2)
5. *KLP, pp.39-59 (ch.3)
6. Le Hong Hiep. 2012. “Performance-based Legitimacy: The Case of the
Communist Party of Vietnam and Doi Moi.” Contemporary Southeast Asia

Week 16 June 6 Democratic consolidation: comparative Perspectives

1. Francis Fukuyama. 2012. “The Patterns of History.” Journal of Democracy 23(1):
2. Francis Fukuyama. 2013. “(Commentary) What Is Governance?” Governance: An
International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions 26(3): 347-368.
3. Kanishka Jayasuriya & Garry Rodan. 2007. “Beyond Hybrid Regimes: More
Participation, Less Contestation in Southeast Asia.” Democratization 14(5): 773-
4. William Case. 2009. “Low-quality Democracy and Varied Authoritarianism: Elites
and Regimes in Southeast Asia Today.” The Pacific Review 22(3):255-269.
5. Donald K. Emmerson. 2012. “Southeast Asia: Minding the Gap Between
Democracy and Governance.” Journal of Democracy 23(2):62-73.
6. Aurel Croissant. 2009. “Patterns of Civilian Control of the Military in East Asia’s
New Democracies.” Journal of East Asian Studies 9(2):187-217.
7. Marcus Mietzner. 2011. “Overcoming Path Dependence: The Quality of Civilian
Control of the Military in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia.” Asian Journal of Political
Science 19(3):270-289.

Week 17 June 13 Essay outline presentation

Week 18 June 20 Final essay submission deadline