Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

TALK by Prof. Mark R. Thompson: "Democracy and its discontents in Southeast Asia"

  • Wann 07.07.2016 von 16:00 bis 18:00
  • Wo IAAW, Room 507
  • iCal

"Democracy and its discontents in Southeast Asia"

Talk by Prof. Mark R. Thompson
(Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong)



There has been a fundamental tension in the electoral polities of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, and, until 2014, Thailand) between the interests of key elites and their middle class ‘base’ and the dictates of liberal (human rights-abiding) democracy (allowing even pro-poor politicians to exercise power if elected). Paradoxically, electoral democracy in the region was initially a ‘bourgeois’-led project. It utilised a liberal reformist narrative to gain hegemony over cross-class movements which overthrew dictatorships and installed electoral regimes in all three countries. But when democracy did not deliver the expected ‘good governance’ goods, many elites supported ‘people power’ coups against ‘bad’ populists, destroying the democratic system (most notably in Thailand), or backed neo-authoritarian candidates making illiberal appeals, potentially weakening future electoralism (in the 2014 elections in Indonesia and this year’s presidential polls in the Philippines).



Mark R. Thompson: acting head of and professor of politics at the Department of Asian and International Studies (AIS) where he is also director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC), both at the City University of Hong Kong.  He has written on democracy movements and non-democratic rule with a particular focus on Southeast Asia and is the author of The Anti-Marcos Struggle (Yale 1995), Democratic Revolutions (Routledge 2004) and co-editor of Dynasties and Female Political Leaders in Asia (LIT 2013).