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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #183: February 21, 2005

Modern Asian Studies

Journal Name: Modern Asian Studies: Volume 39 - Issue 01 - February 2005
Print ISSN: 0026-749X Online ISSN: 1469-8099

A Moving History of Middle Sumatra, 1600–1870 (pp1-38)
FREEK COLOMBIJN (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden)
The history of the early modern Malay world has been told largely in terms of processes of Islamization, the rise and demise of states, European voyages of discovery, trade with China, India and Europe, and colonial conquest. With a few important exceptions, these studies underestimate, if not ignore, the role of transportation in the historical transformations of Southeast Asia. Just as Clive Ponting's (1992) well-known A green history of the world rewrites the world's history in ecological terms, this article aims to describe the political and economic history of Middle Sumatra in terms of transportation of goods and people. Hence this is a moving history.

Rethinking the Colonial Conquest of Manchuria: The Japanese Consular Police in Jiandao, 1909–1937 (pp39-75)
ERIK W. ESSELSTROM (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Historians often characterize Japan's foreign policy regarding China during the 1920s as dominated by economic priorities and a commitment to peaceful cooperation within a collaborative system of treaty port imperialism. In that narrative, the Manchurian Incident of 1931 thus stands as a watershed moment in modern East Asian history when Japan returned to a policy of acquiring formal colonial territory. Akira Iriye made this thesis famous with his groundbreaking international history of East Asia during the 1920s. More recently, Peter Duus has reinforced this paradigm in his summary of Japan's informal empire, pondering why it was that 'just when Japan appeared to be emerging as the paramount foreign economic power in China within the framework of the treaty system, it embarked on a new policy of establishing direct political control over Manchuria' in the autumn of 1931. Similarly, Mark Peattie has also suggested that 'in the overheated atmosphere of the 1930s, the Japanese empire once more became expansive,' clearly emphasizing the notion that a return to previously abandoned patterns of colonial conquest was underway.

Secret Societies and Organized Crime in Contemporary China (pp77-107)
AN CHEN (National University of Singapore)
The emergence of criminal secret societies in post-Mao China has closely correlated with the criminal subcultures, massive unemployment, impoverishment, economic inequality, relative deprivation, and political corruption that have arisen from the reform process. Although perceived as the roots of organized crime worldwide, these variables have generated crime incentives—mainly among disadvantaged and marginalized social groups—far stronger in China than in most of Western societies. The factors underlying organized crime in China are not simply the by-products of economic liberalization, but rather related to the structural problems caused by flawed reform policies and China's particular political context. These problems account to a large extent for the double nature of many criminal organizations as both anti-social and anti-state forces. The regime's crackdown on organized crime may hamper efforts for greater socio-political pluralism. But in the long run, it may strengthen the rule of law and lead to the improvement of relevant reform policies.

The Foreign and Native Banks in China: Chop Loans in Shanghai and Hankow before 1914 (pp109-132)
SHIZUYA NISHIMURA (Hosei University, Tokyo)
Three or four decades ago it was a consensus among scholars in Chinese history that China before the advent of the Western impact was a stagnant economy under the yoke of a pre-modern regime and that the opening of China to foreign trade exacerbated the predicament of peasants by forcing commercialization on them, while the inflow of Western manufactures destroyed the handicraft industries of China. This perception has since been largely contradicted. According to Hans van de Ven, 'The greatest achievement of China scholarship in the past decade has been the discovery of the eighteenth century. New vistas have been laid out that make clear how dynamic the period was.' In response to this dynamism, there emerged two kinds of financial institutions serving the needs of the economy. One was the so-called Shanhsi banks (Wade-Giles mode of spelling is used throughout this paper in order to preserve consistency with Chinese words in quotations), that is, p'iao hao, which deployed nation-wide networks of branches and was engaged in long-distance remittances, and, after the T'aip'ing Revolution, remittances of provincial tributes to Peking came to be handled by them. At the end of the nineteenth century there were 32 of them, having 175 branches in all the major cities of China. Their main function, however, was remittance business and their spare cash was lent to the provincial authorities, to individual officials and to the ch'ien chuang. That is, they did not lend money directly to commerce and industries.

The Social Impacts of the Public Welfare Lottery: An Empirical Study in Taiwan (pp133-153)
YU-KANG LEE (College of Humanities and Social Sciences, ChaoYang University of Technology) and CHUN-TUAN (DEBBIE) CHANG (Institute of Economics and Management, National University of Kaohsiung)
In Taiwan, the legalised gambling sponsored by the government—the Public Welfare Lottery—was re-introduced on January 2002. Since then, the unprecedented lottery fever has become a social phenomenon that deserves our attention. This research focuses on the 'public welfare' effects as the name of the lottery was billed. The study consists of qualitative and quantitative analyses, which has served effectively to assess the advocacy of the 'social ill' for the 'social good'.

Labour and Neo-Liberal Globalization in South Korea and Taiwan (pp155-188)
TAT YAN KONG (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
As they increasingly embrace neo-liberal economic policies (especially since the 1997–8 Asian financial crisis), the Northeast Asian NICs of South Korea and Taiwan are now said to be losing their uniqueness as alternative capitalist models. Central to the neo-liberal project is labour flexibility. This entails the reform of employment legislation and of the wider social settlement between state, business and labour. This article will argue against the 'homogenization' thesis by revealing the distinctive political, economic and ideological characteristics that distinguish the recent market-oriented labour reforms in South Korea and Taiwan from neo-liberal transitions elsewhere. The sources of variation in the pathways of labour market reform within the Northeast Asian NICs will also be explained.

Toward Pokhran II: Explaining India's Nuclearisation Process (pp189-236)
BHUMITRA CHAKMA (The University of Adelaide)
The basic objective of this paper is to assess India's acquisition of nuclear weapons in light of the general debate why states 'go nuclear' and build nuclear arsenals. In general, analysts proffer four arguments about proliferation of nuclear weapons. They are: (1) security concerns; (2) prestige; (3) technological imperatives; and (4) domestic politics. The first posits that security concerns directly related to a state's physical security and survival might drive a state to acquire nuclear weapons. A state, when operating in an environment of anarchy and acute security dilemmas, remains very concerned with national security and survival. Depending on the intensity of security dilemmas, states often resort to developing lethal military forces, including, in some instances, nuclear weapons. For example, the 'first generation' nuclear powers (the USA, the USSR, the UK, France and China) and the 'second generation' nuclear states (India, Pakistan etc.) acquired nuclear weapons because they each faced an acute security threat from a strategic adversary.

Making the Difference: The Differing Presentations and Representations of South Asia in the Contemporary Fiction of Home and Diasporic South Asian Women Writers (pp237-256)
LISA LAU (University of Durham)
Contemporary South Asian women writers write from almost anywhere in the world; from all parts of Asia, from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, and USA. Many of these women writers choose to focus their writings on their experiences of life as South Asian women. In this article, the diasporic literature I will be working with is by South Asian women writers from Canada, UK, and USA, and I therefore may occasionally group these countries under the term, 'the West', for ease of reference. For the same purpose, writers writing from within South Asia have been designated the term 'home writers'. (It must be noted that home and diasporic South Asian women writers are inclined to define themselves as such, based on race, culture, and family background, rather than on nationality and political status.)

Modern Asian Studies (2005)
Copyright ©2005 Cambridge University Press

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