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Participation without Democracy: Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia

by Garry Rodan Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 300 pages
AU$187.00 NZ$193.04
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Over the past quarter century new ideologies of participation and representation have proliferated across democratic and non-democratic regimes. In Participation without Democracy, Garry Rodan breaks new conceptual ground in examining the social forces that underpin the emergence of these innovations in Southeast Asia. Rodan explains that there is, however, a central paradox in this recalibration of politics: expanded political participation is serving to constrain contestation more than to enhance it.

Participation without Democracy uses Rodan’s long-term fieldwork in Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia to develop a modes of participation (MOP) framework that has general application across different regime types among both early-developing and late-developing capitalist societies. His MOP framework is a sophisticated, original, and universally relevant way of analyzing this phenomenon. Rodan uses MOP and his case studies to highlight important differences among social and political forces over the roles and forms of collective organization in political representation. In addition, he identifies and distinguishes hitherto neglected non-democratic ideologies of representation and their influence within both democratic and authoritarian regimes. Participation without Democracy suggests that to address the new politics that both provokes these institutional experiments and is affected by them we need to know who can participate, how, and on what issues, and we need to take the non-democratic institutions and ideologies as seriously as the democratic ones.


Introduction1. Theorizing Institutions of Political Participation and Representation2. Ideologies of Political Representation and the Mode of Participation Framework3. History, Capitalism, and Conflict4. Nominated Members of Parliament in Singapore5. Public Feedback in Singapore's Consultative Authoritarianism6. The Philippines' Party-List System, Reformers,and Oligarchs7. Participatory Budgeting in the Philippines8. Malaysia's Failed Consultative Representation Experiments9. Civil Society and Electoral Reform in MalaysiaConclusion

''This exceptional book makes an outstanding contribution to the literature on democratization, authoritarian resilience, and Asian politics. Rodan has developed his ‘modes of participation’ framework to its explanatory peak, making Participation without Democracy essential reading for students of democratization everywhere.''

- Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London


''Garry Rodan's book is theoretically innovative, empirically rich, and overall a pleasure to read. Rodan's biggest contribution is the development of the twin concepts of Ideologies of Political Representation and Modes of Participation. These new tools help us understand why states facing similar pressures from capitalist development opt for different combinations of formal and informal institutions.''

- Allen Hicken, Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professor of Emerging Democracies, University of Michigan


Garry Rodan is Professor of Politics and International Studies and Director of the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University. He is a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and is, most recently, coauthor of The Politics of Accountability in Southeast Asia.