Publications

From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia

Over the past century, Asia has been transformed by rapid economic growth, industrialization, and urbanization—a spectacular record of development that has turned one of the world’s poorest regions into one of its richest. Yet Asia’s record of democratization has been much more uneven, despite the global correlation between development and democracy. Why have some Asian countries become more democratic as they have grown richer, while others—most notably China—haven’t? In From Development to Democracy, Dan Slater and Joseph Wong offer a sweeping and original answer to this crucial question.

Slater and Wong demonstrate that Asia defies the conventional expectation that authoritarian regimes concede democratization only as a last resort, during times of weakness. Instead, Asian dictators have pursued democratic reforms as a proactive strategy to revitalize their power from a position of strength. Of central importance is whether authoritarians are confident of victory and stability. In Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan these factors fostered democracy through strength, while democratic experiments in Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar were less successful and more reversible. At the same time, resistance to democratic reforms has proven intractable in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Reconsidering China’s 1989 crackdown, Slater and Wong argue that it was the action of a regime too weak to concede, not too strong to fail, and they explain why China can allow democracy without inviting instability.

The result is a comprehensive regional history that offers important new insights about when and how democratic transitions happen—and what the future of Asia might be.

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Multiple Barriers: The Multilevel Governance of Homelessness in Canada

Despite decades of efforts to combat homelessness, many people continue to experience it in Canada’s major cities. There are a number of barriers that prevent effective responses to homelessness, including a lack of agreement on the fundamental question: what is homelessness?

In Multiple Barriers, Alison Smith explores the forces that shape intergovernmental and multilevel governance dynamics to help better understand why, despite the best efforts of community and advocacy groups, homelessness remains as persistent as ever. Drawing on nearly 100 interviews with key actors in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, as well as extensive participant observation, Smith argues that institutional differences across cities interact with ideas regarding homelessness to contribute to very different models of governance. Multiple Barriers shows that the genuine involvement of locally based service providers, with the development of policy, are necessary for an effective, equitable, and enduring solution to the homelessness crisis in Canada.

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Winning by Process: The State and Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar

Winning by Process asks why the peace process stalled in the decade from 2011 to 2021 despite a liberalizing regime, a national ceasefire agreement, and a multilateral peace dialogue between the state and ethnic minorities.

Winning by Process argues that stalled conflicts are more than pauses or stalemates. “Winning by process,” as opposed to winning by war or agreement, represents the state’s ability to gain advantage by manipulating the rules of negotiation, bargaining process, and sites of power and resources. In Myanmar, five such strategies allowed the state to gain through process: locking in, sequencing, layering, outflanking, and outgunning. The Myanmar case shows how process can shift the balance of power in negotiations intended to bring an end to civil war. During the last decade, the Myanmar state and military controlled the process, neutralized ethnic minority groups, and continued to impose their vision of a centralized state even as they appeared to support federalism.

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Populist Moments and Extractivist States in Venezuela and Ecuador: The People’s Oil?

This book addresses the intersection of extractivism, populism, and accountability. Although populist politics are often portrayed as a driver of poor environmental governance, Populist Moments and Extractivist States identifies it as an intervening variable at best – one that emerges in response to the accountability deficits of extractive states. Case studies in Venezuela – for many, the prototypical petrostate – and Ecuador – which exchanged agribusiness dependency for oil decades later – illustrate how extractive states are oriented by a colonial logic of export and service. This logic regulates state-society-nature relationships and circumscribes avenues for local stakeholders to hold public officials and extractive industries to account for environmental and human harms. Populist moments of the early 21st century across Latin America responded to these conditions, promising more equitable and sustainable futures. However, rather than reversing the technocracy, verticalism, and exclusion of the recent past, populist moments often intensified and legitimated them in the drive to maximize and distribute resource rents. The result has been cyclical, as populist moments of hope and rupture fall prey to the extractivist states they tried, and failed, to replace.

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The Street and the Ballot Box: Interactions Between Social Movements and Electoral Politics in Authoritarian Contexts

How do discontented masses and opposition elites work together to engineer a change in electoral authoritarian regimes? Social movements and elections are often seen as operating in different terrains – outside and inside institutions, respectively. In this Element, I develop a theory to describe how a broad-based social movement that champions a grievance shared by a wide segment of the population can build alliances across society and opposition elites that, despite the rules of the game rigged against them, vote the incumbents out of power. The broad-based nature of the movement also contributes to the cohesion of the opposition alliance, and elite defection, which are often crucial for regime change. This Element examines the 2018 Malaysian election and a range of cases from other authoritarian regimes across Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa to illustrate these arguments.

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Community Economies in the Global South: Case Studies of Rotating Savings, Credit Associations, and Economic Cooperation

People across the globe engage in social and solidarity economics to help themselves, their community, and society on their own terms.

Community Economies in the Global South examines how people who conscientiously organize rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs) bring positive changes to their own lives as well as others. ROSCAs are a long-established and well documented practice, especially those organized by women of colour. Members make regular deposits to a fund as a savings that is then given in whole or in part to each member in turn based on group economics. This book spotlights women in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia who organize and use these associations, composed of ordinary people belonging to similar class origins who decide jointly on the rules to suit the interests of their members. The case studies show how they vary greatly across countries in the Global South, demonstrating that ROSCAs are living proof that diverse community economies do exist and have been around for a very long time. The contributors recount stories of the self-help, activism, and perseverance of racialized people in order to push for ethical, community-focused business, and to hold onto local knowledge, grounded theory, and lived experience, reducing the need to rely on external funding as people find ways to finance sustainable, debt-free business ventures. The first collection on this topic edited by two women of colour with roots in the Global South, this volume is a rallying call to other scholar-activists to study and report on how racialized people come together, pool goods, and diversify business in the Global South.

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Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China

A compelling examination of a counterintuitive solution to China’s engagement of nonstate actors to coerce citizens into compliance while minimizing backlash against the state. How do states coerce citizens into compliance while simultaneously minimizing backlash? In Outsourcing Repression, Lynette H. Ong examines how the Chinese state engages nonstate actors, from violent street gangsters to nonviolent grassroots brokers, to coerce and mobilize the masses for state pursuits, while reducing costs and minimizing resistance. She draws on ethnographic research conducted annually from 2011 to 2019–the years from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping, a unique and original event dataset, and a collection of government regulations in a study of everyday land grabs and housing demolition in China. Theorizing a counterintuitive form of repression that reduces resistance and backlash, Ong invites the reader to reimagine the new ground state power credibly occupies. Everyday state power is quotidian power acquired through society by penetrating nonstate territories and mobilizing the masses within. Ong uses China’s urbanization scheme as a window of observation to explain how the arguments can be generalized to other country contexts.

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The Daily Plebiscite: Federalism, Nationalism, and Canada

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1990s, Canada was in a state of ongoing political crisis. Within this thirty-year period, David R. Cameron was an active participant and observer of Canada’s crisis of national unity. As a political scientist and former senior public servant, Cameron remains one of the most astute and respected analysts of Canadian federalism.

This volume assembles some of Cameron’s best works on federalism, nationalism, and the constitution, including journal articles, book chapters, speeches, newspaper op-eds, and unpublished opinion pieces spanning nearly fifty years of engagement. In addition, The Daily Plebiscite includes a conversation between Cameron and Robert C. Vipond on the “long decade” of the 1980s in Canadian constitutional politics, a brief history of the mega-constitutional era, and concluding reflections on the broader lessons that other divided societies might take from the Canadian experience.

Providing rich fare for anyone interested in questions of federalism, nationalism, and constitutionalism, The Daily Plebiscite offers an informed, insider’s perspective on the national unity question and considers the challenges faced by a federal, multinational, and multicultural country like Canada.

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Provincial Policy Laboratories: Policy Diffusion and Transfer in Canada’s Federal System

Canada’s federal system, composed of ten provincial governments and three territories, all with varying economies and political cultures, is often blamed for the country’s failure to develop coordinated policy responses to key issues. But in other federal and multi-level governance systems, the ability of multiple governments to test a variety of policy responses has been lauded as an effective way to build local and national policy.

Despite high-profile examples of policy diffusion in Canada, there has been surprisingly little academic study of policy learning and diffusion among provinces. Featuring cutting-edge research, Provincial Policy Laboratories explores the cross-jurisdictional movement of policies among governments in Canada’s federal system. The book comprises case studies from a range of emerging policy areas, including parentage rights, hydraulic fracturing regulations, species at risk legislation, sales and aviation taxation, and marijuana regulation. Throughout, the contributors aim to increase knowledge about this understudied aspect of Canadian federalism and contribute to the practice of intergovernmental policymaking across the country.

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Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display

In Show Time, Lee Ann Fujii asks why some perpetrators of political violence, from lynch mobs to genocidal killers, display their acts of violence so publicly and extravagantly. Closely examining three horrific and extreme episodes—the murder of a prominent Tutsi family amidst the genocide in Rwanda, the execution of Muslim men in a Serb-controlled village in Bosnia during the Balkan Wars, and the lynching of a twenty-two-year old Black farmhand on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1933—Fujii shows how “violent displays” are staged to not merely to kill those perceived to be enemies or threats, but also to affect and influence observers, neighbors, and the larger society.

Watching and participating in these violent displays profoundly transforms those involved, reinforcing political identities, social hierarchies, and power structures. Such public spectacles of violence also force members of the community to choose sides—openly show support for the goals of the violence, or risk becoming victims, themselves. Tracing the ways in which public displays of violence unfold, Show Time reveals how the perpetrators exploit the fluidity of social ties for their own ends.

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