By Muthiah Alagappa
The countries of Southeast Asia, most of which won their independence after World War II, have had varying degrees of success in establishing governments and political systems that in the eyes of their citizens have achieved political legitimacy - that is, are seen to have the right to rule. Because these countries have much in common and at the same time differ in important ways - with their political arrangements varying from Leninist state to monarchy, personal dictatorship to quasi-democracy - they offer what might be considered a naturally occurring political science experiment. The right to rule affects all political activities and is crucial to an understanding of the politics of any country. This book studies political legitimacy in seven Southeast Asian countries-Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Among the questions is addresses are: What is the meaning and nature of legitimacy? What are its constituent elements? Who is seeking to legitimate what?Who or which groups are crucial for legitimation? On what basis is authority claimed, acknowledged, resisted? Why do legitimation projects succeed or fail? Why is legitimacy contested? Can any overall patterns be observed?