Renewed authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Undermining democracy through neoliberal reform

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Abstract

In the wake of the Asian Crisis, cases studies from Southeast Asia often reinforced the perception that neoliberalism is thriving in authoritarian states. Processes of intensive neoliberalisation in the region have now been ongoing for over a decade, yet attempts at democratic consolidation have been tenuous, fragile and incomplete at best, calling into question the supposed nexus between democracy and neoliberal reform. Accordingly, there is need for a moment of pause, to take stock of the neoliberalising process in the region, and importantly, to reframe the question and reflect on how and why authoritarianism is continuing to thrive in the neoliberalising Southeast Asian state.

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