The Antipolitics of Good Governance

Author: Kanishka Jayasuriya; Kevin Hewison


This article sets out to understand the relationship between the complex process of structural change and the proliferating political strategies and programs implemented to manage the process of political and social change. More particularly the authors examine how in the wake of the Asian economic crisis international financial institutions advocated a new global policy through programs such as Social Investment Funds. The thread that runs through the global social policy is a distinctly political project that uses the liberal language of participation and empowerment as a strategy of “antipolitics” that marginalizes political contestation. The authors argue, however, that the antipolitics of technocratic social policy gave way to a more populist form of antipolitics of a new government led by Thaksin Shinawatra. This article examines the nature of governance projects and seeks to explain the shift between them. This new populism may be a precursor to a new “authoritarian statist” mode of political regulation that could come to dominate Southeast Asia, buttressed by the requirements imposed by the “war on terrorism.”

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December 2004
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