This concluding chapter illustrates the logic of political survival of Southeast Asian authoritarian rulers, and the logical consequences of the social movements of CSOs. This chapter conceptualises the relations between economic structures and political survival, arguing that economic performance, institutionally designed to distribute rent among the winning coalitions (ruling elites), explains the foundational logic of an authoritarian ruler’s office tenure. The consequences of movements of the weak, such as grassroots communities and CSOs, against the foundations of political survival are contingent on the rulers’ rational calculation of concession and repression, and the combination of these responses. As concessions have the potential to lead dangerously to more substantial concessions, and thus to ultimately invite regime change, a combination of the two measures is the logical response of authoritarian rulers and their winning coalitions. Drawing in particular on the cases of Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia and, generally, on the situation in Southeast Asia, the way in which social movements of grassroots communities and CSOs adapt their repertoire vis-à-vis the authoritarian rule is explored. Finally, the chapter presents how ‘small’ players outside the meshes of power have been able to contribute to leadership change in Southeast Asia.
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Young, S. (2021). The Logic of Ruler Survival, and Consequences for Discontents in Southeast Asia. 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_8
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