By Michael D. Barr
Cultural Politics and Asian Values seems to be on the political, cultural and spiritual heritage of East and Southeast Asian societies and people of 'the West', in order to seeing how they're affecting modern nationwide and overseas politics: democratization, the overseas human rights discourse, NGOs and globalisation.The publication surveys the political heritage and pre-history of the 'Asian values' debate, taking it as much as the period of Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chen Shui-bian and Kim Dae-jung. In chapters on Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and liberalism, Barr explores the histories and conceptual essences of the area religions concerned about or stricken by the controversy.
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Extra resources for Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War (Routledge Advances in Asian-Pacificstudies, 6)
Speaking of countries that he had visited recently and on which he had made observations, he said: ‘Where the social discipline is less, the progress is slower. . If you don’t get social discipline, everybody does what he likes to do, or will not bustle about what he is told to do. ’10 Lee Kuan Yew’s idea of a ‘rugged society’ was communitarian, but from the perspective of this study it is doubly significant that he was trying to build his ‘rugged society’ on the rhetoric and practice of cultural assertion.
The values he wanted to promote are those identified in Chapter 1 as being characteristic of the ‘Asian values’ argument: state and family-centred communitarianism, hard work, thrift and education. Tracing the development of these ideas in Lee’s mind helps us to understand the mixture of ingenuousness and utilitarianism that lies behind the ‘Asian values’ debate. 32 Cultural politics Communitarianism Communitarianism, for instance, was already dominant in Lee’s thinking in the mid-1960s and is found in the rhetoric by which he justified the neo-authoritarian subjugation of the trade unions and most of civil society to the will of the government at that time.
Edu/faculty/fukuyama. Although the statistics for Western countries are startling in themselves, the greatest significance for this study lies in the contrast between the Western countries studied and East Asian countries, especially Japan. This disjunction suggests that the ‘great disruption’ – and by implication the libertarian morality that has emerged from it – was a culturally specific Western phenomenon. Fukuyama’s work also supports the second contention under consideration: that the cultural shift in the West since the 1960s was of such a dimension that it can be considered a force in the development of the ‘Asian values’ reaction.