How East Asians View Democracy
Columbia University Press | 2008-08-08 | ISBN: 9780231145343 | PDF | 2,34MB
East Asian democracies are in trouble, their legitimacy threatened by poor policy performance and undermined by nostalgia for the progrowth, soft-authoritarian regimes of the past. Yet citizens throughout the region value freedom, reject authoritarian alternatives, and believe in democracy.
This book is the first to report the results of a large-scale survey-research project, the East Asian Barometer, in which eight research teams conducted national-sample surveys in five new democracies (Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Mongolia), one established democracy (Japan), and two nondemocracies (China and Hong Kong) in order to assess the prospects for democratic consolidation. The findings present a definitive account of the way in which East Asians understand their governments and their roles as citizens. Contributors use their expert local knowledge to analyze responses from a set of core questions, revealing both common patterns and national characteristics in citizens' views of democracy. They explore sources of divergence and convergence in attitudes within and across nations.
The findings are sobering. Japanese citizens are disillusioned. The region's new democracies have yet to prove themselves, and citizens in authoritarian China assess their regime's democratic performance relatively favorably. The contributors to this volume contradict the claim that democratic governance is incompatible with East Asian cultures but counsel against complacency toward the fate of democracy in the region. While many forces affect democratic consolidation, popular attitudes are a crucial factor. This book shows how and why skepticism and frustration are the ruling sentiments among today's East Asians.
A careful, fascinating, and sobering cross-national analysis of East Asian public attitudes about democratic ideals and practice. The contributors make the persuasive argument that democratic consolidation has yet to be established in East Asia's new democracies and that even in its older ones, it is more lack of support for authoritarian alternatives than enthusiasm for the established system that keeps these polities democratic. This book not only provides an important analysis of East Asian democracy but also adds a new level of sophistication to the literature on democratic consolidation. -- Gerald Curtis, Columbia University
How is democracy faring in the world's most economically dynamic region? In this first systematic analysis of that question, the contributors conclude that it has been faring surprisingly well. Mass publics have displayed 'democratic resilience' in the face of coups (in Thailand) and coup attempts (in the Philippines) while 'authoritarian detachment' (a suspension of judgment about democracy while reserving authoritarian values) remains fairly limited, compared to what similar surveys in Latin America and Africa have found. Yet democracy is still in a tenebrous 'twilight zone' in the region, with democratic decision making bringing uneven economic results and thriving neighbors such as China displaying satisfaction with their own less democratic political arrangements. All students of contemporary East Asia will benefit from this penetrating, comprehensive analysis. -- Lowell Dittmer, University of California at Berkeley and editor, Asian Survey
The editors of this book have assembled a distinguished group of public opinion scholars to describe citizen orientations toward democracy in eight East Asian nations. The findings make valuable contributions to documenting both the progress toward the consolidation of democratic political cultures and the challenges that still remain. -- Russell Dalton, University of California at Irvine
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