Northwestern University

Mon 12:00 PM

EDGS Research Talk: Populist Pathways in Southeast Asia

When: Monday, April 20, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Teri Caraway, University of Minnesota

EDGS Rajawali Research Fellow


Under what conditions do oligarch-led non-programmatic political parties embrace populist policies? And why do populist policies emerge in distinctive ways in different polities? I explore these questions through a comparison of Thailand and Indonesia. In Thailand, Thaksin’s party, Thai Rak Thai, employed populist policies to create a mass base of support that proved to be undefeatable at the polls. In Indonesia, by contrast, none of its many oligarch-led parties have pursued such a strategy. Instead, populist policies have followed a more bottom-up and decentralized logic, with a politically independent labor movement leading the charge. Populist policies followed a top-down party-led path in Thailand and a bottom-up decentralized (and non-party) path in Indonesia. In answering these questions, I will consider how institutional and structural features shape both the possibility of an oligarch successfully pulling off a Thaksin-style power play and the populist pathway followed in each country.

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