Southeast Asian Images: Towards Civil Society ?by Niels Mulder
This unusual study discloses the public discourse among educated, urban Southeast Asians in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and considers how these people conceive of their society and its problems and process. It examines basic patterns of thought, the interpretation of observed behavior, the opinions of public intellectuals, and the diagnoses of novelists. Together these provide the basis for evaluating whether or not an activist civil society can develop. Because of the muddled situation prevailing in the countries under scrutiny, the emergence of a public committed to change seems to be a necessary condition for strengthening the society and civilizing the state. Will it happen?
Critical acclaim for the author's Images books:
"Anyone interested in a critical approach to Thailand's self-presentation would profitably read this extremely lively account of a series of aspects that go to make up the 'public discourse' of the Kingdom."-Annette Hamilton on Thai Images, in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
"Indonesian Images provides us with a valuable and critical assessment of the main character of public culture in pre-crisis Indonesia that, given its readability, is an excellent book for student reading lists."—Victor T. King in Aseasuk News
"Our cultural leaders and workers and culture scholars should take up the challenge and opportunity that Filipino Images presents."—Andres Cristobal Cruz in the Manila Standard
DR. NIELS MULDER has been actively engaged with life in Java, Thailand, and the Philippines for more than thirty years. As an independent anthropologist, he first charted the culture of the private world in these three Southeast Asian countries and together as a region, which resulted in his four Inside books. The present publication is the last of his four Images books, which examine the culture of the public world.