Politics in Southern Asia

Politics in Southern Asia

Politics in Southern Asia

Politics in Southern Asia

Excerpt

Through the generosity of the Ford Foundation a symposium was held at St Antony's College, Oxford, at the end of 1961 on the subject of 'The Political Evolution of South and South-East Asia since Independence'. The intention was to review the development that had taken place in the region of South and South-East Asia during recent years and to see whether any trends could be distinguished. It would have been possible to approach this task with a preconceived notion of what was wanted, to which contributors might have been asked to conform. This line of approach was deliberately not adopted: partly because the participants in the gathering, although specialists in the area of study, were drawn from different disciplines -- history, political science, geography, journalism, commerce -- and partly because the aim was to see whether from these different lines of approach a common viewpoint or consensus would emerge. The results of this experiment are embodied in this volume.

It begins with a basic question posed by Professor Rupert Emerson of Harvard -- whether South and South-East Asia properly constitute an area suitable for academic inquiry -- a point on which some doubts were expressed. It continues with a series of papers on the evolution of each country in the region; and concludes with three papers which attempt a general analysis of political theory, institutions and operative forces or motivations. Some extracts from the proceedings have been included; much more has had to be omitted through limitations of space. The results are here presented to a wider audience in the hope that they may contribute something to the dissemination of knowledge about South and South-East Asia, and perhaps also afford material for comparison with development in other areas. The region is one which may be described as underdeveloped not only economically but also in terms of academic study, and this volume will have served a purpose if it merely provokes further interest in the political evolution of an extensive and important area of the globe.

In accepting sole responsibility for the editing of the volume I should like to express my gratitude to the participants for their . . .

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