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Capsule Review

Asian Political Institutionalization

In This Review

Asian Political Institutionalization
Edited by Robert A. Scalapino, Seizaburo Sato, and Jusuf Wan
Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1986 312 pp. $20.00 Purchase

This is a pioneering effort by a group of American and Asian political scientists to assess the degree of "political institutionalization" in East and South Asia-a process defined as a regularized, legal and peaceful transfer of power. Scalapino concedes that the quasi-authoritarian systems characteristic of much of East Asia remain essentially unstable. He sees a conflict between a politically authoritarian state and a pluralist society with a vigorous private economy encouraged by the state. But he and his colleagues are cautiously optimistic that this gap can be bridged by greater political openness, including greater roles for legislatures, civilian governance, and more meaningful forms of citizen participation. The chapters on individual countries are of generally high quality. The volume provides a useful framework against which to assess recent turbulence in the Philippines and South Korea and the prospects for political stability in the region.

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