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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Is there a Distinct Style of Asian Democracy
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Is there a Distinct Style of Asian Democracy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date12/2010
JournalJournal of Asian and African Studies
Journal number6
Volume45
Number of pages11
Pages684-694
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

For a long time, especially through orientalist writings, Eastern or Asian political systems were seen as inherently authoritarian and as the antithesis of the West or Western political systems. Although there is some truth to this, there are aspects of Asian politics and culture which are very much in keeping with Western understandings of political liberalism and this paper tries to focus on some of these similarities. The paper tries to look into the question, ‘Is there is a distinct style of Asian democracy’? The paper argues that there are aspects of Asian culture and politics which sit comfortably with Western notions of liberalism and other aspects which do not. However, for the aspects which do not, these have a lot to do with politicians using aspects of the Asian political tradition, like acceptance of hierarchy and respect for authority, to consolidate their own position when their power base lacks political legitimacy. Before making an assessment of the political systems in Asia, one also has to look at specificities and the particular historical, geographical and sociological context each country is grounded in. This paper has a special focus on South and East Asia and thus makes use of a comparative approach, whilst trying to answer its research question.