Policies intended to bring stability to fragile states tend to focus almost exclusively on building institutions and systems to get governance right. Simply building the state is often seen as sufficient for making it stable and legitimate. But policies like these, René Grotenhuis shows in this book, ignore the question of what makes people belong to a nation-state, arguing that issues of identity, culture, and religion are crucial to creating the sense of belonging and social cohesion that a stable nation-state requires.
Drawing on a mix of international academic and field expert work, this book presents and analyses contemporary state-building efforts. It offers lessons for the future of state-building relevant to both practitioners and the academic community.
This latest book by award-winning researcher Duncan McCargo, one of the world’s leading specialists on contemporary Thailand, builds on previous projects to elucidate new aspects of the intractable Southern conflict that has claimed more than 4500 lives since 2004. Mapping National Anxieties locates the insurgency in the context of Thailand’s wider political conflicts, exploring the ambiguous relationships between the Thai state and organised religion, along with the recent resurgence of Buddhist chauvinism and nationalism. McCargo examines the way Islamic provincial councils have been drawn into the conflict, and scrutinises the special challenges the conflict has created for Thailand’s media. Journalists have struggled to communicate a confusing story to an increasingly indifferent wider public. The book then moves beyond the crisis itself to look at ways forward, starting with the controversial National Reconciliation Commission that was established by the Thaksin Shinawatra government to propose peaceful options for reducing the violence. Another chapter explores how far Malay Muslims in Thailand’s southern border provinces think of themselves as ‘Thai’, arguing that there is an important distinction between legal citizenship and informal understandings of what citizenship means and entails. Finally, McCargo invites readers to ‘think the unthinkable’ by imagining the possibility of autonomy for Thailand’s deep South, and the implications for the country as a whole.
Singapore has few natural resources but, in a relatively short history, its economic and social development and transformation are nothing short of remarkable. Today Singapore is by far the most successful exemplar of material development in Southeast Asia and it often finds itself the envy of developed countries. Furthermore over the last three or four decades the ruling party has presided over the formation of a thriving community of Singaporeans who love and are proud of their country. Nothing about these processes has been 'natural' in any sense of the word. Much of the country's investment in nation-building has in fact gone into the selection, training and formation of a ruling and administrative elite that reflects and will perpetuate its vision of the nation. The government ownership of the nation-building project, its micromanagement of everyday life and the role played by the elite are three fundamental elements in this complex and continuing process of construction of a natrion. The intense triangulation of these elements and the pace of change they produce make Singapore one of the most intriguing specimens of nation-building in the region. In this critical study of the politics of ethnicity and elitism in Singapore, Barr and Skrbiš look inside the supposedly 'meritocratic' system, from nursery school to university and beyond, that produces Singapore's political and administrative elite. Focusing on two processes - elite formation and elite selection - they give primary attention to the role that etho-racial ascription plays in these processes but also consider the input of personal connections, personal power, class and gender. The result is a study revealing much about how Singapore's elite-led nation-building project has reached its current state whereby a Singaporean version of Chinese ethno-nationalism has overwhelmed the discourse on national and Singaporean identity.
Recent research on multiple modernities and hybridity has brought under fruitful criticism earlier Eurocentric accounts that constructed non-Western countries as passive receivers of European modernism. It has revealed the complexity of interactions across geographies and brought into focus processes of cross-pollination and interpretation, and the dimension of power and agency. However the majority of studies examine the relationship between a ‘Western’ and a ‘non-Western’ context, hence missing issues of influence and antagonism among the neighbouring ‘peripheral’ actors themselves. Building on this stream of scholarship and in response to this vacuum, my research examines the multi-directional flow of ideas and people between Western Europe, Turkey and Greece in the early 20th century, within the framework of modernisation and nation-building. Through this ‘triangulation’, it aims to contribute to the critique of constructed categories such as East-West bipolarities, to uncover unexplored interactions, and to address the complexity of drawing geographical and temporal borders. The window through which this exploration takes place is the transition of two cities, Thessaloniki and Izmir, from the Ottoman context to two separate nation-states. Having lost their minority communities and having been devastated by fire in 1917 and 1922 respectively, they were redesigned by French and English architects. Drawing from reader theory and critical studies on nation-building and modernisation, and based on extensive archival research in Greece, Turkey and France, I explore the urbanist and architectural activity in these two cities during a period when identities were debated and (trans)formed as the Ottoman Empire was dissolved. The relevance of this research lies in its offering a new approach to the modern architectural history of Izmir and Thessaloniki, with wider implications in terms of historical analysis, in its uncovering of unvoiced aspects of the region’s encounters with its past and with the deemed West, and in its contribution to a critical re-reading of our past and present today.
Compares the problems of German national unification and the prospects for unification in Korea. Insists that such an exercise should be undertaken cautiously since the condition of the 2 countries, despite some evident parallels, is marked by no less striking contrasts. (Original abstract-amended)
Has 20 years of separation between the Republics of Moldova and Pridnestrovie (Transnistria, PMR) generated a division in attitudes and beliefs in the two populations? Using near-simultaneous social scientific surveys from the summer of 2010 in the two republics, we measured four localized geopolitical divides: the local economies, historical memories, political legitimacies, and geopolitical orientations. Our findings challenge the notion that Moldova’s territorial disunion has produced separate experiential and attitudinal worlds. Complicating geopolitical commentary that locates an East-West fault-line running through Moldova, we find that separateness has not created an attitudinal chasm, but prospects of ending the separation are not supported by the surveys.
This volume examines the issue of state building in international politics both historically and contemporarily. Developing and applying new theoretical approaches to state building, it also draws on case studies including Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Rwanda