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Participation without Democracy: Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia, Garry Rodan

Reviewed by Nhu Truong

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The presumption that participation and democracy necessarily go hand in hand has been starkly at odds with the proliferation of formal and informal institutions allowing for various forms of political engagement across regimes. This paradox is front and center in Garry Rodan’s Participation without Democracy: Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia. Central to the book are questions pertaining to emergent forms of participation for articulating and contesting state and societal interests, irrespective of regime type. Rodan develops a new framework that maps the range of state and nonstate sites of participation, termed “modes of participation” (MOPs), for individual political expression and collective action (p. 34). Furthermore, the author draws much-needed attention to how MOPs are imbued with distinct “ideologies of representation”—democratic, populist, consultative, and particularist—as rationales for the incorporation of some groups but not others in the political process (p. 29).

Positioning against the transition paradigm and hybrid regime literature, Rodan aims to transcend what he views as “the constraints of authoritarianism-democracy dualism” (p. 28) in order to conceptualize and analyze MOPs across regimes in their very own terms. Tow

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