Jothie RajahAuthoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore

Cambridge University Press, 2012

by Nick Cheesman on December 15, 2014

Jothie Rajah

View on Amazon

In Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Jothie Rajah tells a compelling story of the rule of law as discourse and praxis serving illiberal ends. Through a series of case studies on legislation criminalizing vandalism and regulating the print media, legal profession, and religion in Singapore, Rajah raises critical questions about the meaning and place of law in a postcolony that celebrates colonialism as a cause of its modernity, prosperity and plurality.

Terrence Halliday describes Rajah’s work as “theoretically innovative, empirically compelling, and gracefully written”, adding that it “has far-reaching consequences for national leaders who seek ‘third ways’ in which economic development is partitioned from political liberalism”. As Halliday suggests, the contents of Authoritarian Rule of Law transcend the confines of the small city-state with which it is primarily concerned, and go to global debates about legislation, discourse and legitimacy, as well as to the inherent tensions in the rule-of-law ideal itself.

{ 0 comments }

Michael HawkinsMaking Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South

December 12, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] For many Muslim communities particular religious identities were formulated or hardened within colonial realities. These types of cultural encounters were structural for the various Muslim tribes in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and Sulu during the turn of the twentieth century. In Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military [...]

Read the full article →

Dan SlaterOrdering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia

November 14, 2014

Few books on Southeast Asia cover as much geographic, historical and theoretical ground as Dan Slater’s Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Working across seven case studies, the book argues that existing theories of institutionalization don’t account for regional variation in regime type. Tracing causal processes from [...]

Read the full article →

Denise CruzTranspacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina

November 4, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Asian American Studies] Denise Cruz‘s Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina (Duke University Press, 2012) traces representations of Filipinas in literature and popular culture during periods of transitional power in the Philippines, from the transition from Spanish to American colonial power, then to Japanese Imperialism, then to independence and the Cold War, and [...]

Read the full article →

Thierry CruvellierThe Master of Confessions: The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer

October 31, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Genocide Studies] What is justice for a man who supervised the interrogation and killing of thousands?  Especially a man who now claims to be a Christian and to be, at least in some ways and cases, repentant for his crimes? Thierry Cruvellier has written a fascinating book about the trial of ‘Duch’ the [...]

Read the full article →

Lynette J. ChuaMobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State

October 15, 2014

Singapore has a well-deserved reputation as a state that stifles dissent and polices activism. But as Lynette Chua shows in Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State (Temple University Press, 2014), repressive government nowhere goes unchallenged, even if the forms that resistance takes are not manifest. Turning away from social movement theory [...]

Read the full article →

Tyrell HaberkornRevolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law and Violence in Northern Thailand

September 13, 2014

In a foreword to Tyrell Haberkorn’s first book, Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law and Violence in Northern Thailand (Wisconsin University Press, 2011), Thongchai Winichakul observes, “Haberkorn writes to prevent the fading of life to oblivion, recounting stories that bring the forgotten back to life.” She does this and more. By recalling the forgotten story of [...]

Read the full article →

Tine M. GammeltoftHaunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam

July 22, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] Tine Gammeltoft’s new book explores the process of reproductive decision making in contemporary Hanoi. Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2014) develops an anthropology of belonging, paying special attention to the ways that women and their communities understand and make decisions based on [...]

Read the full article →

Rachel RinaldoMobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia

June 23, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] Are Islam and feminism inherently at odds? Is there a contradiction between piety and gender justice? This is the guiding theme for Rachel Rinaldo, professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, in her book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia (Oxford University Press, 2013). After more than eighteen months of fieldwork [...]

Read the full article →

Peter Maguire and Mike RitterThai Stick: Surfers, Scammers and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade

March 29, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Terrorism and Organized Crime] Reading Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter‘s book Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade (Columbia Press, 2013) is the most fun I have had doing this podcast. Maguire makes a point during the interview that police officers preferred to arrest marijuana smugglers because they were so laid back and [...]

Read the full article →