Southeast Asia: Decentralization
Decentralization is an important political process that holds the promise of enhancing any society's enjoyment of democracy and development. This entry focuses on how its two principal types, devolution and deconcentration, have been manifested in Southeast Asia. Specifically, it discusses how colonialism and the later struggle against home-grown authoritarian regimes have put a stamp on the efforts of the countries of the region to close the gap between the rulers and the ruled. The present trend is a movement from centralization to devolution, with even those states choosing deconcentration doing so within a larger governance framework of a limited state and popular participation. The entry ends with warnings about possible pitfalls of decentralization and how these may be contained.