This introduction provides an overall context to the discussion of how regime rulers in Southeast Asia have clung onto power; it also investigates the resistance of grassroots communities to the strategies, such as rent extraction from natural resources, employed by incumbent rulers to remain in power. The chapter then explains key concepts underpinning the discussion of how protests are organised to target both the government and the corporations. It frames a ‘protest cycle’, or the way in which movements of civil society organisations orchestrate protests in the hope of the government regulating the corporations to address the formers’ demands; these demands are construed here as the expected outcomes of the protests. The chapter defines how a movement fails or succeeds in achieving its demands; thus, key determining factors, such as strategies, networks, political opportunities and resource mobilisations of social movement theories, are discussed. The chapter explains that these factors are not conclusive in delineating why and under what conditions some movements fail while, simultaneously, others succeed in a political regime. In essence, political survival—that is, how the rulers have clung onto power for more than a regular term by designing extractive economic institutions—is discussed in relation to social movements and collective actions. The degree of failure or success of a movement within a regime is contingent on notions of, firstly, repression and, then, co-option (concession, in other words) on the part of the rulers to remain in power. These two approaches duly define not only the responses of the corporations, but also the outcomes—success or failure—of social movements such as civil society organisations.
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In the individual chapters detailing particular Southeast Asian countries, I will assess and classify which regime type each country belongs to.
Rent-seeking can be bad or good according to Tullock (1988). The latter is deemed more injurious to society in dynamic rather than static settings.
Corporations choosing to invest in such countries are presumably offered a share of rents, perhaps via local monopolies, implicit subsidies and other protections.
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Young, S. (2021). Political Durability and Protests. In: Strategies of Authoritarian Survival and Dissensus in Southeast Asia. Palgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-6112-6_1
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