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Ordering Power
Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia

$29.99 (G)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521165457

$ 29.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Like the postcolonial world more generally, Southeast Asia exhibits tremendous variation in state capacity and authoritarian durability. Ordering Power draws on theoretical insights dating back to Thomas Hobbes to develop a unified framework for explaining both of these political outcomes. States are especially strong and dictatorships especially durable when they have their origins in “protection pacts”: broad elite coalitions unified by shared support for heightened state power and tightened authoritarian controls as bulwarks against especially threatening and challenging types of contentious politics. These coalitions provide the elite collective action underpinning strong states, robust ruling parties, cohesive militaries, and durable authoritarian regimes – all at the same time. Comparative-historical analysis of seven Southeast Asian countries (Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Vietnam, and Thailand) reveals that subtly divergent patterns of contentious politics after World War II provide the best explanation for the dramatic divergence in Southeast Asia’s contemporary states and regimes.

    • Explains the origins of strong states and durable authoritarian regimes with a single theoretical framework
    • Offers the first comparative political history covering all the major countries of contemporary Southeast Asia
    • Explains under-theorized but highly familiar and notorious cases of durable authoritarianism such as Burma and Singapore
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Three cheers for Dan Slater! One for showing that elite opposition to democracy has taken quite different forms in Southeast Asia. Another for revealing how different kinds of counterrevolutionary politics have been a response to different types of political challenges. And the third for demonstrating how comparative-historical analysis can brightly illuminate just these kinds of large and consequential processes. All serious students of state formation and democratization will want to read Ordering Power.”
    – Jeff Goodwin, New York University

    “Ordering Power is one of the most important books on either political regimes or state-building to be published in the last two decades. Though focused on Southeast Asia, the book will be required reading for all students of democratization and state-building. Slater brings the state back into contemporary regime analyses, showing why state infrastructural power is critical to authoritarian stability. Based on impressive historical analysis, the book explores the roots of state power in Southeast Asia. Whereas much previous work on state-building focused on external military conflict, the book shows how internal conflict – and specifically, early periods of mass mobilization and communal conflict – may induce elites to enter a protection pact that can serve as a foundation for long-term authoritarian stability. Of the many recent studies of the sources of authoritarian stability, I find Ordering Power to be most compelling.”
    – Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University

    “Ordering Power tackles big questions in a powerful and nuanced way, connecting to a broad range of important debates. Dan Slater has produced an extremely powerful and important book that will be of considerable interest to a wide-ranging audience in the social sciences, history, and Southeast Asian studies.”
    – T. J. Pempel, University of California, Berkeley

    “With the publication of Ordering Power, Dan Slater has demonstrated with impressive skill and sophistication the importance of social forces and conflicts for underpinning authoritarian rule, in Southeast Asia and beyond, as well as the broader intellectual promise of an approach to comparative politics rooted in the tradition of comparative historical sociology. Slater has singlehandedly raised the standards – and the stakes – of cross-national comparative analysis of Southeast Asian politics. It is to be hoped that serious scholars of the region will rise to the challenge of engaging with his work.”
    – John T. Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science

    “Slater’s emphasis on noneconomic incentives for elite collective action is a welcome correction to a literature that has focused overwhelmingly on patronage as the central mechanism in authoritarian durability.” -David Art, Comparative Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521165457
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 1 map 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Puzzles and Arguments:
    1. To extract and to organize
    2. States and the regimes that run them
    Part II. Contentious Politics and the Institutions of Order:
    3. Colonialism, cleavages, and the contours of contention
    4. Mobilization and countermobilization amid colonial retreat
    5. Varieties of violence in authoritarian onset
    Part III. The Foundations and Fates of Authoritarian Leviathans:
    6. Protection and provision in authoritarian leviathans
    7. Contentious politics and the struggle for democratization
    Part IV. Extending the Arguments:
    8. Congruent cases in Southeast Asia
    9. The consequences of contention.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Comparative Politics Senior Seminar
    • Complex Social Organizations
    • Political Sociology (seminar)
  • Author

    Dan Slater, University of Chicago
    Dan Slater is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His published articles can be found in disciplinary journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, and Studies in Comparative International Development, as well as Asia-oriented journals such as Indonesia and the Taiwan Journal of Democracy. He is also a co-editor of Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis (2008). Professor Slater has conducted fieldwork since the late 1990s in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

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