Southeast Asia, an economically dynamic and strategically vital region, seemed until recently to be transiting to more democratic politics. This progress has suddenly stalled or even gone into reverse, requiring that analysts seriously rethink their expectations and theorizing. The Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization provides the first book-length account of the reasons for democracy’s declining fortunes in the region today. Combining theory and case studies, it is structured in four major sections:

  • Stunted Trajectories and Unhelpful Milieus
  • Wavering Social Forces
  • Uncertain Institutions
  • Country cases and democratic guises

This interdisciplinary reference work addresses topics including the impact of belief systems, historical records, regional and global contexts, civil society, ethnicity, women, Islam, and social media. The performance of political institutions is also assessed, and the volume offers a series of in-depth case studies, evaluating the country records of particular democratic, hybrid, and authoritarian regimes from a democratization perspective. Bringing together nearly 30 key international experts in the field, this cutting-edge Handbook offers a comprehensive and fresh investigation into democracy in the region

This timely survey will be essential reading for scholars and students of Democratization and Asian Politics, as well as policymakers concerned with democracy’s setbacks in Southeast Asia and the implications for the region’s citizens.

part 1|81 pages

Stunted trajectories and unhelpful milieus

chapter 1|21 pages

Democracy's mixed fortunes in Southeast Asia

Torpor, change, and trade-offs
ByWilliam Case

chapter 2|14 pages

Dead idea (still) walking

The legacy of the “Asian democracy” and “Asian values” debate
ByMark R. Thompson

chapter 3|16 pages

Democratization and human rights in Southeast Asia

BySorpong Peou

chapter 4|14 pages

ASEAN, regionalism and democracy

ByMark Beeson, Kelly Gerard

chapter 5|14 pages

The global context of regime change

ByThomas B. Pepinsky

part 2|140 pages

Wavering social forces

chapter 6|17 pages

Demystifying ‘people power'

An elite interpretation of ‘democratization' in Southeast Asia1
ByYuki Fukuoka

chapter 7|15 pages

The middle class and democracy in Southeast Asia

ByAim Sinpeng, Aries A. Arugay

chapter 9|12 pages

Civil society and democratisation in Southeast Asia

What is the connection?
ByMeredith L. Weiss

chapter 10|23 pages

Ethnicity and democracy

ByJoel Sawat Selway

chapter 11|16 pages

Islam and political democracy

ByRobert W. Hefner

chapter 12|15 pages

Women and democracy in Southeast Asia

BySusan Blackburn

chapter 13|22 pages

Hype or hubris?

The political impact of the Internet and social networking in Southeast Asia
ByJason Abbott

part 3|110 pages

Uncertain institutions

chapter 14|12 pages

Electoral systems

ByBenjamin Reilly

chapter 15|13 pages

Rethinking party system institutionalization in Southeast Asia and beyond

ByAllen Hicken, Erik Martinez Kuhonta

chapter 17|14 pages

Courts and judicialization in Southeast Asia

ByBjoern Dressel

chapter 18|17 pages

Democracy, the rule of law and governance in Southeast Asia

ByNatasha Hamilton-Hart

chapter 19|15 pages

Money politics

Patronage and clientelism in Southeast Asia
ByEdward Aspinall

chapter 20|19 pages

Southeast Asian militaries in the age of democratization

From ruler to servant?
ByAurel Croissant

part 4|109 pages

Country cases and democratic guises

chapter 21|16 pages

Can the Philippines' wild oligarchy be tamed?

ByNathan Gilbert Quimpo

chapter 22|19 pages

Democracy in Thailand

Theory and practice
ByFederico Ferrara

chapter 23|14 pages


Democratic consolidation and stagnation under Yudhoyono, 2004–2014
ByMarcus Mietzner

chapter 24|15 pages


From hegemonic to competitive authoritarianism
ByStephan Ortmann

chapter 25|11 pages


Pseudo-democracy and the making of a Malay-Islamic state
ByJames Chin

chapter 26|16 pages


Transition, praetorian politics, and the prospects for democratic change
ByRenaud Egreteau

chapter 27|16 pages

Democracy and Vietnam

ByBenedict J. Tria Kerkvliet