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Issues in Southeast Asian History: Room for Interpretation—A Review Article

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2011

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Three dimensions capture much of the variation in Western scholarly images of Southeast Asian history. Different works attribute to the region different combinations of relative unity or diversity, continuity or change, and originality or dependence. Each of these choices summarizes a major controversy in the study of Southeast Asia. Together they form a cube that can be used to review existing literature and to identify room for future interpretation. In the 1970s, the antithesis of original continuity (historicism) and dependent change (modernism) was orthodox. In the 1980s, scholars could transcend these alternatives by recasting them as an opposition of original change (microdynamism) to dependent continuity (macrosystemism). Historicist and modernist writings have relied too heavily on psychocultural and political explanations, as have the rationalizations of indigenous elites. Pursuing the proposed dialectic could therefore help to rescue economic differentiation and conflict from their present neglect as aids to understanding.

Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1980

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South-East Asia 1930–1970: The Legacy of Colonialism and Nationalism. By Mehden, Fred R. von der. New York: W.W. Norton, 1974. 144 pp.Google Scholar Bibliography, Chronology, Illustrations, Index, Map. 17.95 (hardback); $3.45 (paper).

Southeast Asia: A History. By Williams, Lea. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. xvi, 299 pp.Google ScholarPubMed Bibliography, Illustrations, Index, Maps. $14.95 (hardback); $5.95 (paper).

The History of Post-war Southeast Asia. By Cady, John F.. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1974. xxii, 720 pp.Google Scholar Bibliography, Index, Maps. $15 (hardback); $8.50 (paper).

Southeast Asia: An Introductory History. By Osborne, Milton. Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1979. 205 pp.Google Scholar Bibliography, Chronology, Index, Map. $17.95 (hardback); $8.95 (paper).

In Search of Southeast Asia. Edited by Steinberg, David Joel. Coauthored by Steinberg, David JoelWyatt, David K.Smail, John R. W.Woodside, AlexanderRoff, William R. and Chandler, David P.. New York: Praeger, 1971. xii, 522 pp.Google Scholar Bibliography, Chronological Chart, Glossary, Index, Linguistic Appendix, Maps. $9-95 (paperback).

South-East Asia from Colonialism to Independence. By Pluvier, Jan. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1974.Google Scholar Bibliography, Index, Maps. Out of print.

Southeast Asia: Documents of Political Development and Change. Compiled by Smith, Roger and others. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974. 608 pp.Google Scholar Glossary, Index. $25 (hardback).

1 An example of the general stress on diversity is Tarling, Nicholas, A Concise History of Southeast Asia (New York: Praeger, 1966), p. xi.Google Scholar For a unitarian solution, see Hall, D. G. E., “The Integrity of Southeast Asian History,”Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 4 (1973): 159–68.Google Scholar

2 Notably Benda, Harry J., Continuity and Change in Southeast Asia(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1972).Google Scholar

3 See, in particular, Smail, John R. W., “On the Possibility of an Autonomous History of Modern Southeast Asia,” Journal of Southeast Asian History 2 (1961): 72102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

4 Compare Leur, J. C. van, Indonesian Trade and Society: Essays in Asian Social and Economic History, trans. Holmes, James S. and Marie, A. van (The Hague: W. van Hoeve, 1955)Google Scholar, and Smail, “Possibility.” Hall, D. G. E. began his monumental work, A History of South-East Asia (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1955)Google Scholar, by sounding all three notes. He posited one pre-Indic regional civilization underneath a variety of later overlays, portrayed early “migrations” as much slower and more prolonged than the dislocations connoted by that (Western) term, and decried the temptation to adopt a Europe-centered perspective on Southeast Asia. More recent examples appear below.

5 New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Sixty-six stunning photographs, some in color, make this book a bargain and enhance its pedagogic appeal. But it assumes knowledge beyond that of a beginning student. Rizal and the Thai revolution of 1932, for example, are mentioned (on pp. 20, 106) but not identified.

6 Ibid., pp. 7–9.

7 Ibid., p. 10.

8 Ibid., pp. 94–95.

9 Ibid., pp. 94, 121, 126, 123—by quotation. Page references are in order of occurrence in my text, not the author's.

10 Smail, “Possibility,” makes this point.

11 New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Williams writes with feisty irony. In Batavia in 1740, for instance, the Dutch “ran amok” against the Chinese, while in Cambodia in 1970, the Americans “snatched defeat out of the jaws of stalemate” (pp. 85, 272). The photographs are disappointing. But the text, provided students recognize its bias, should stimulate classroom discussion. Incidentally, the “wit, who merits identification but whose name appears to be lost, [who] cuttingly dismissed the Volksraad as the only successfully multi-racial club in prewar Southeast Asia” (p. 148) was the Dutch Lieutenant Governor General, H. J. van Mook, and he was sincere.

12 Ibid.., pp. 4, 23.

13 Ibid.., pp. 24, 163 (long quote), 49–51.

14 Ibid.., pp. 53, 112, 163. Von der Mehden does argue that plantations “transformed villagers into members of an agricultural proletariat completely dependent on the money economy,” but this comment does not include Thailand, and he chooses not to pursue the possibilities of class conflict and nationalism based on class grievance such a statement raises. For Williams, on the other hand, colonial class formation is a largely urban phenomenon. In his account, “new middle classes” arose in the cities of Southeast Asia less for strictly economic than demographic or (in Thailand) educational reasons. Von der Mehden, p. 15; Williams, pp. 164, 188.

15 Williams, pp. 71–72, 115–16, 117 (“convinced self-righteousness”), 143, 176 (“clash of values”), 275, 264, 270, 11, 121, 130.

16 Athens: Ohio University Press, 1974.

17 Poorly written and apparently unedited, the book lacks a chronological summary, and only two of its seventeen chapters have conclusions. Because the last two chapters are without footnotes, a reader cannot trace the data used to carry the narrative beyond 1969. A map of Southeast Asia in 1973 (pp. 154–55), already marred by sloppy typography, identifies Sabah as a British colony. Errors riddle the index. As for the text, to note only two Indonesian examples, Putera was not the “Indonesian Nationalist Party” and Indonesia's declaration of independence was not issued by a committee (pp. 23–24, 637).

18 This and the preceding paragraph refer to Cady, pp. xix, xxii.

19 Numbered parenthetically according to the relevant sentence in this paragraph, page references are (3): 137, 181; (4): 148, 179, 185ff., 291; (5): 23, 41, 81, 236, 291, 582.

20 As above, (D:80–81;(3):198,232;(4):211, 232,211.

21 In his earlier Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966), on the other hand, both cultural and social history are sensitively summarized.Google ScholarPubMed

22 Cady, History, pp. 20, 363, 364, 320, 606, 364, 39, 25—by name.

23 See Fox, Robert B., “The Filipino Concept of Self-esteem,” in Fred Eggan et al., eds., Area Hand book on the Philippines (New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 1956), pp. 430–36;Google ScholarKaut, Charles, “Utang na Loob: A System ofContractual Obligation Among Tagalogs,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 17 (1961): 256–72;Google ScholarSteinberg, David Joel, Philippine Collaboration in World War II.(Manila: Solidaridad Publishing House, 1967); Frank Lynch, “Social Acceptance Reconsidered,”Google Scholar and Hollnsteiner, Mary R., “Reciprocity in the Lowland Philip pines,” in Lynch, Frank and Guzman, Alfonsode II, eds., Four Readings on Philippine Values, 4th ed. rev. (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1973), pp. 168 and 69–91.Google Scholar

24 See Geertz, Clifford, The Religion of Java (Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1960)Google Scholar, and The Social History of an Indonesian Town (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1965);Google ScholarJay, Robert, Religion and Politics in Rural Central Java (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1963);Google ScholarLegge, J. D., Indonesia(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964);Google ScholarMcVey, Ruth T., “Nationalism, Islam, and Marxism: The Management of Ideological Conflict in Indonesia,” introducing Sukarno, National ism, Islam, and Marxism, trans. Warouw, Karel H. and Weldon, Peter D. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Modern Indonesia Project, 1970), pp. 133;Google ScholarEmmerson, Donald K., Indonesia's Elite: Political Culture and Cultural Politics (Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1976).Google Scholar

25 See Mus, Paul, Viêt-Nam: Sociologie d'une guerre (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1952);Google ScholarMcAlister, John T. Jr and Mus, Paul, The Vietnamese and Their Revolution(New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1970);Google ScholarSmith, Ralph, Viet-Nam and the West (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1971);Google ScholarWoodside, Alexander B., Vietnam and the Chinese Model: A Comparative Study of Nguyên and Ch'ing Civil Government in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971);Google ScholarFitzgerald, Frances, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (New York: Random House, 1972).Google Scholar

26 According to Kenneth Pike, who derived the terms “emic” and “etic” by analogy from “phonemic” and “phonetic” description in linguistics, a system of behavior can be studied “emically” (intraculturally) from within or “etically” (cross-culturally) from without; Pike, Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behavior, 2d ed. rev. (The Hague: Mouton, 1967), pp. 37ff. For a positivistic defense of “etic” epistemology as not only cross-cultural but also more scientific than its “emic” counterpart, see Harvis, Marvin, “History and Significance of the Emic/Etic Distinction,” Annual Review of Anthropology 5 (1976); 329–50.Google Scholar Also notable is Theodore Abel's exceptionally clear exposition of the Germanic equivalent of “emic” understanding, “The Operation Called Verstehen,”American Journal of Sociology 54 (1948): 211–18.Google Scholar

27 See Scott, James C., “Patron-Client Politics and Political Change in Southeast Asia,” American Political Science Review 66 (1972): 91113Google Scholar, and Scott, James C. and Kerkvliet, Benedict J., “How Traditional Rural Patrons Lose Legitimacy: A Theory with Special Reference to Southeast Asia,” Cultures et developpement 5 (1973): 327–39,Google Scholar or as reprinted in Schmidt, Steffen W. et al., eds., Friends, Followers, and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientelism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 123–46 and 439–58.Google Scholar

28 For example, by L. F. Brakel, “Clifford Geertz's Views and Methods Respecting Indonesian Culture: Some Ruminations,” delivered at a conference on Indonesian studies, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, November 26–28, 1976. See also Liddle, R. William, Cultural and Class Politics in New Order Indonesia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1977)Google Scholar, criticizing my use of the santri-abangan distinction; and Vien, Nguyen Khac, “Myths and Realities,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 5 (December 1973): 5663Google Scholar, criticizing Fitzgerald's use of thiên-minh. On many points, the authors cited above (nn. 23–25) are themselves in disagreement. See, for instance, the criticisms of McAlister, and Mus, , The Vietnamese, and Fire, Fitzgerald, made by Woodside in his Community and Revolution in Modern Vietnam (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976), pp. 335 and 338.Google Scholar

29 In his essay Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia, rev. ed. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1956), pp. 12Google Scholar, 7, Robert Heine-Geldern recognized, beneath Indic and Sinic overlays, a common “belief in the parallelism between Macrocosmos and Microcosmos.“But he also observed that, through its interaction with diverse host cultures, Southeast Asian cosmography had developed “numerous variants with often widely differing traits”—Hindu and Mahayana notions of divine kingship, for example, were “in compatible” with Theravada ones—and his essay discussed only Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Java, omitting Vietnam and those parts of the archipelago where, he acknowledged, Islamic and European influences had attenuated the force of originally Hindu-Buddhist symbolizations.

30 Compare Scott, James C., The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1976)Google Scholar, and Popkin, Samuel L., The Rational Peasant: The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).Google Scholar

31 Note the scope of Schmidt et al., eds., Friends and Scott, James C., “Protest and Profanation: Agrarian Revolt and the Little Tradition,” Theory and Society 4 (1977): 138, 211–46.Google Scholar Also see Boeke, J. H., Economics and Economic Policy of Dual Societies, as Exemplified by Indonesia (1953; reprinted ed., New York: AMS Press, 1978)Google Scholar, and Furnivall, J. S., Colonial Policy and Practice: A Comparative Study of Burma and Netherlands India (1948, reprinted ed., New York: New York University Press, 1956), which inspired massive and worldwide literatures.Google Scholar

32 Traceable in English back to Broek, Jan O. M., “Diversity and Unity in Southeast Asia,” Geographical Review 35 (1944): 175–95Google Scholar, no phrase is more emblematic of Western writing on Southeast Asia since World War II. See, e.g., Khoi, Lê Thanh, Histoire del'Asie du Sud-Est (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1959). Also see Williams, p. vii, and Osborne, p. 15.Google Scholar

33 In its sensitivity to these questions, Leach's, E. R.Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study ofKachin Social Structure(1954; reprint ed., London: Athlone Press, 1970) remains exemplary.Google Scholar

34 Williams, pp. 50–51. For antecedents, see Benda, “Democracy,”x p. 452, and Bastin, John and Benda, Harry J., A History of Modern Southeast Asia: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Decolonization (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968), p. viii.Google Scholar

35 See Bennett, Paul J., “The ‘Fall of Pagan’: Continuity and Change in 14th-century Burma,” in his Conference under the Tamarind Tree: Three Essays in Burmese History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1971), pp. 353;Google ScholarWolters, O. W., The Fall of Srivijaya in Malay History (London: Lund Humphries, 1970); Williams, p. 53.Google Scholar

36 Cady, History, pp. xxi, 1; von der Mehden, pp. 42, 51; Williams, pp. 191–92.

37 Kuhn, Cf. Thomas S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2d ed., enl. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970)Google Scholar. The versions of this debate waged over Indonesia have been particularly rich. See van Leur, Indonesian Trade, pp. 247–89,400–407; Smail, “Possibility”; Benda, “Democracy”; Herbert Feith, “History, Theory, and Indonesian Politics: A Reply to Benda, Harry J.,”. JAS 24 (1965): 305–12.Google Scholar That Feith in 1965 and von der Mehden in 1974 should stress dependent change may in part reflect the popularity in their (and my) discipline, political science, of “etic” or “outsider” theories of development.

38 See Meinecke, Friedrich, Historism: The Rise of a New Historical Outlook, trans. Anderson, J. E. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972)Google Scholar, pp. xi (by Isaiah Berlin), lvii, 17, 25, 49, 55, 136, 331, 421, 423, 450; cf., however, pp. xliii and lv. I am not using “historicism” as Popper does, to mean the fallacious prediction of change, nor in Benda's closely related sense of excessive faith in Western models. On the contrary, shorn of their derogatory tone, these usages impute to “historicism” what I would call “modernist” presumptions of change and dependence. Popper, Karl R., The Poverty of Historicism (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957);Google Scholar Benda, “Democracy,” p. 455. Popper himself, when he accuses historicists of deifying modernism (p. 160), verges on making the two labels interchangeable. I prefer to separate them and to use their components, as in the figure, to differentiate more neutrally a wider range of approaches. As for the literature conceptualizing what is “modern,” it. is too vast if not also too familiar to warrant citation here.

39 Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1979. In coverage, length, and readability, this book resembles the work by Williams, but they differ in organization and style. Williams' chapter headings mark periods in time; his subheadings distinguish places. Osborne prefers to move back and forth across polities and phases; one of his chapters scans Asian immigration to Southeast Asia from prehistory to the present. Osborne also seems more aware of being read over his shoulder by colleagues ready to qualify his generalizations. Perhaps that helps to explain his greater balance and self-consciousness—qualities that may appeal more to instructors than to the undergraduates they teach.

40 (1–4): 13–19;(5): 176;(6): 19—parenthetically by sentence in my text, as in n. 19 above.

41 As above, (1): 36–37, (2): 37, 137; (3, 6): 34–35.

42 As above, (1–3): 180–81; (4): 187.

43 Frank H. Golay recognizes these implications when he writes that “the burden of Southeast Asian history is a formidable obstacle to regionalism” and cites the continuing relevance of various traditional animosities between ethnic and religious groups. See Golay, “The Economic Underpinnings of Southeast Asia,” in Raymond, Wayne and Mulliner, K., eds., Southeast Asia, an Emerging Center of World Influence? Economic and Resource Considerations (Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1977), pp. 45.Google Scholar

44 In the sweepingly caustic judgment of Edward W. Said, Western “Orientalism” assumes an “unchanging Orient.” To the Orientalist, “the West is the actor, the Orient a passive reactor.” Consequently, “if history during the twentieth century has provoked intrinsic change in and for the Orient, the Orientalist is stunned.” Said, Orientalism (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1979)Google ScholarPubMed, pp. 96, 109; see also pp. 208, 315. Said's main topic is Western literature on Islam and the Arab world.

45 McVey, RuthT., “Introduction: Local Voices, Central Power,” in McVey, ed., Southeast Asian Transitions: Approaches through Social History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1978)Google Scholar, p. 8. As for the notion, widespread in the literature, that the precolonial village was a closed community, this view is historicist. An example is the use of a Vietnamese proverb to the effect that even the emperor's writ had to cede to the customs of the village. The in this original image is a sealed repository of tradition. What is hard to see in small units is autonomous change. The proverb has been used by Mus, Viêt-Nam, p. 23, trans, in McAlister and Mus, Vietnamese, p. 55, and emphasized by Fitzgerald, Fire, p. 57. Contrast Woodside, Community, pp. 109–18 on rural creativity, intravillage dynamics, and the “semimyth” of village autonomy.

46 Benda, Harry J., “The Structure of Southeast Asian History: Some Preliminary Observations,” Journal of Southeast Asian History 3 (1962): 111, 138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

47 A good entrée into this literature is the judicious overview by Mabbet, I. W., “The ‘Indianization’ of Southeast Asia: Reflections on the Prehistoric Sources,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 8 (1977): 29.Google Scholar Also note the criticism of some of Solheim's claims in Flannery, Kent V., “The Origins of Agriculture,” Annual Review of Anthropology 2 (1973): 284–87;Google Scholar the description of Southeast Asia as a “noncenter” in Harlan, Jack R., “Agricultural Origins: Centers and Noncenters,” Science 174(1971): 472;Google Scholar and the strong case for diversity and change made in Hutterer's, Karl L. essay, “An Evolutionary Approach to the Southeast Asian Cultural Sequence,” Current Anthropology 17 (1976): 221–42 (including comments).Google Scholar

48 Aung-Thwin, Michael, “Kingship, the Sangha, and Society in Pagan,” in Hall, Kenneth R. and Whitmore, John K., eds., Explorations in Early South east Asian History: The Origins of Southeast Asian Statecraft (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1976), p. 206;Google Scholar also see Hall, Kenneth R., “An Introductory Essay on Southeast Asian Statecraft in the Classical Period,” p. 16, and, by Taylor, Keith, “Madagascar in the Ancient Malayo-Polynesian Myths,” pp. 2560Google Scholar, and “The Rise of Dai Việt and the Establishment of Thăng-Long,” p. 149–91.

49 Coèdes, George, The lndianized States of South east Asia, ed. Vella, Walter F., trans. Cowing, Susan Brown (Honolulu: East-West Center Press, 1968), pp. 193–94, 251–56Google Scholar, and The Making of South East Asia, trans. Wright, H. M. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), Part IV, pp. 229–30 (but also p. 133).Google Scholar See also Hall's, D. G. E. criticism of the latter work in his “Preface to the Third Edition” of A History of South-East Asia (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1968), pp. xvi–xvii. Cf. Bennett, “‘Fall’” (1971); Aung-Thwin, “Kingship” (1976).Google Scholar

50 Coedès, George, “Le substrat autochtone et la superstructure indienne au Cambodge et a Java,” Cahiers d'histoire mondiale 1 (1953): 368–77Google Scholar, and Indianized States, pp. xvii, 16, 33–35.

51 Edited by David Joel Steinberg. New York: Praeger, 1971Google Scholar. Many undergraduates to whom I have assigned this book have been put off by its density of factual detail. In my own opinion, Search balances reportage and interpretation rather well. But a concluding summary of its main themes would have enhanced the book's usefulness in a classroom. As it stands, it probably belongs toward the upper end of the microdynamist edge of the cube where the diversity of Southeast Asia is apparent.

52 Steinberg et al., pp. 3–4.

53 The wedge metaphor oversimplifies, of course. Just as any one of these three positions can be staked out against the other two, so any two of them can be used to attack the third. John Legge, for example, has criticized “historicism,” which he calls “the post-van Leur fashion of emphasizing continuity,” for modernist and microdynamist reasons alike. See his “Southeast Asian History and the Social Sciences,” in Cowan, C. D. and Wolters, O. W., eds., Southeast Asian History and Historiography: Essays Presented to D. G. E. Hall (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1976), pp. 396, 402.Google Scholar

54 “Rather than discuss the problem of internal versus exogenous generation of prehistoric change” in Southeast Asia, writes Jean Kennedy, “I choose to disregard the possibility of external forces of change, for which I see no convincing evidence.” How many students of classical, colonial, or postcolonial Southeast Asia would feel able to make such a statement? See Kennedy, “From Stage to Development in Prehistoric Thailand: An Exploration of the Origins of Growth, Exchange, and Variability in Southeast Asia,” in Hutterer, Karl L., ed., Economic Exchange and Social Interaction in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from Prehistory, History, and Ethnography (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1977), p. 23.Google Scholar

55 Steinberg et al., Part I, esp. chaps. 1–2, 5–6.

56 (2, 3): 202; (4): 235; (5): 409, 281, 325—parenthetically by sentence in my text.

57 Steinberg et al., pp. 196–200, 400.

58 See Aung-Thwin, , “Kingship”; Ileto, Renaldo C., “Pasión and the Interpretation of Change in Tagalog Society (ca. 1840–1912),” doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., 1975;Google Scholar and Kasetsiri, Charnvit, The Rise of Ayudhya: A History of Siam in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1976).Google Scholar

59 The Development of Underdevelopment in Southeast Mia,” Journal of Contemporary Asia 6 (1976): 5474CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In the vicinity of the corner farthest from Search, this article tends to focus on unity, continuity, and dependence.

60 Hymer, Stephen H. and Resnick, Stephen A., “International Trade and Uneven Development,” in Bhagwati, Jagdish N. et al., eds., Trade, Balance of Payments and Growth (Amsterdam: North Holland, 1971), pp. 473–94;Google ScholarBaran, Paul A., The Politcal Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957);Google ScholarFrank, AndréGunder, Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America, rev. ed. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).Google Scholar

61 As an economic theory, mercantilism is mainly quaint, for it assumes a zero-sum game of trade in gold and silver in which exporters win and importers lose. As a historical description of metropole colony relations, mercantilism cannot be divorced from competition among the trading nations of Europe in the freewheeling fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, at least not without specifying the subsequent changes in world trade patterns that accompanied changes in those relations. As a political theory, mercantilism accounts for the rise of bureaucratic, centralized nation-states in postfeudal Europe. To label as Mercantilism IV (from 1970) the rise of transnational corporations and a distinctively transnational world-capitalist economy, accompanied by the military-bureaucratic centralization of regimes that are on the receiving end of mercantilism, is to turn the concept inside out. I have no objection to reworking an old term—what else have I done with historicism and modernism? —but when new and old usages differ so sharply, readers should be given an explicit redefinition.

62 Catley, “Development,” p. 71.

63 (1): 56; (2): 55, 58, 62-63, 65, 71 (“demands”, “needs”), 59 (“comprador”, “archaic”), 60 (“called into existence”); (3): 70–71.

64 Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1974.

65 (2): 22, 191;(3):92ff., 269.

66 Pluvier, pp. 191, 74—by quotation; also see pp. 92–103, 192,455, but cf. 211–13.

67 “South-East Asia and Neo-Colonialism,” in Wolfers, Edward P., ed., Australia's Northern Neighbours: Independent or Dependent? (Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1976), pp. 2742.Google ScholarPubMed

68 Feith, “History,” p. 308.

69 Feith, “South-East Asia,” pp. 29–30. Compare the previously noted reference to “‘;new colonialists’” made by von der Mehden, who writes: “It is a paradox that South-East Asia in the past two decades has developed a new elite with all the essential' characteristics of the agents of European imperialism against whom the nationalists struggled for so many years” (p. 131). But if that new elite really is an agent of neo-imperialism, through which world capitalism continues to maintain most Southeast Asians in a state of impoverished dependence, the paradox disappears.

70 Catley and Feith are Australians; Pluvier is Dutch.

71 Landon, Southeast Asia: Crossroad of Religions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949), p. 8;Google ScholarBois, Du, Social Forces in Southeast Asia (1949; re print ed., Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959), p. 28.Google Scholar

72 Bone, Robert C., Contemporary Southeast Asia (New York: Random House, 1962), p. 9.Google Scholar

73 Examples include Durdin, Tillman, Southeast Asia (New York: Atheneum, 1966)Google Scholar, chap. 1 (“Cross roads of Contending Forces”); Stanton, Edwin F., “Foreword,” in King, John Kerry, Southeast Asia in Perspective (New York: Macmillan, 1956)Google Scholar, p. xv (“vast ideological and power vacuum”); Vandenbosch, Amry and Butwell, Richard, The Changing Face of Southeast Asia (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1966), p. 333 (“power vacuum”).Google Scholar

74 See Kennedy, Raymond, The Ageless Indies (New York: John Day, 1942), p. 106Google Scholar, and Islands and Peoples of the Indies (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1943), p. 47.Google Scholar

75 By comparison with Southeast Asia, the more obviously penetrated and peripheral character of Latin America and Africa may have also made it easier for specialists in the latter areas—including André Gunder Frank, Theotonio Dos Santos, Arghiri Emmanuel, and Samir Amin (none of whom is an American) —to think along macrosystemist lines. As for the late British Southeast Asianist Malcolm Caldwell's anti-imperialist scholarship, he was less inclined than these men to write economic history or global theory and more interested in current political events in particular countries; see, for example, his “Problems of Socialism in Southeast Asia” (1966), in Rhodes, Robert L., ed., Imperialism and Underdevelopment: A Reader (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971), pp. 376403.Google Scholar

76 See The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press, 1974) by Immanuel Wallerstein, an American who began his career as an Africanist.Google Scholar

77 Wallerstein, Modern World System, pp. 331–32, 342—44, and “The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis” (1974), in The Capitalist World-Economy (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1979), esp. pp. 56, 27–28;Google Scholar vanLeur, Indonesian Trade, p. 261.

78 A step in this direction has already been made by Resnick, Stephen A., “The Decline of Rural Industry under Export Expansion: A Comparison among Burma, Philippines, and Thailand, 1870–1938,” Journal of Economic History 30 (1970): 5173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

79 Cady, History, pp. 80–81.

80 The exceptions include two European sociologists, W. F. Wertheim and Hans-Dieter Evers. See Wertheim, , “From Aliran towards Class Struggle in the Countryside of Java” (1969), in Wertheim, Dawning of an Asian Dream: Selected Articles on Mod Modernization and Emancipation (Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Antropologisch- Sociologisch Centrum, Afdeling Zuid-en Zuidoost Azië, 1973), pp. 94115;Google Scholar and Evers, “Group Conflict and Class Formation in South-East Asia,” in Evers, ed., Modernization in South-East Asia (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 108–31.Google Scholar

81 Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974. Edited by Roger Smith with the assistance of Clark Neher (Thailand), Josef Silverstein (Burma), Herbert Feith and Alan Smith (Indonesia), Norman Parmer (Malaysia and Singapore), Marjorie Normand and Roy Jumper (Vietnam), Roger Smith (Laos and Cambodia), and David Wurfel (Philippines). The preponderance of official elite statements in this book suits my purpose well, but readers seeking a broader range of material will be unnecessarily disappointed. The absence of nonelite writings in the chapter on Laos probably reflects their actual scarcity, but not so for Vietnam, all save one of whose forty documents were written by high officials of a government or counter government; cf. Chung, Ly Qui, ed., Between Two Fires: The Unheard Voice of Vietnam (New York: Praeger, 1970).Google Scholar The chapters on Indonesia and the Philippines include a larger share of unofficial viewpoints and cover a wider range of ideologies and genres. Overall, this is a useful and illuminating compendium of the ways in which Southeast Asian leaders have described themselves and their environments.

82 Smith, ed., pp. 129, 181–82, 294—by name.

83 (2): 143; (3): 335; (4): 295, 522.

84 (1): 286–87 (2): 289–90; (3): 528, 576; (4): 343, 200; (5): 249.

85 Smith, ed., p. 220 (Soeharto); see also pp. 120, 147 (Sao Shwe Thaik). On “the people,” see pp. 136, 157, 204, 218, 315, 333,487,495, 520. A clear exception is Muhammad Ghazalie bin Sahfie, who exhorts his fellow citizens to help build a “truly” or “authentic[ally] Malaysian middle class” as a requisite to democracy, although to the extent that he means by this “the creation of a Malay commercial and industrial community,” the racial not socioeconomic imbalance between existing classes would appear to be his main concern (pp. 301–302).

86 Cf. Cady, History, p. 28.

87 Pluvier, pp. 65,73. Could “the lower classes” be divided into urban and rural proletariats? Not morally, for despite differences from colony to colony, “the living conditions of the urban proletariat and the coolies in mining and plantation enterprise… were essentially no less deplorable than those of the rural masses.” Not economically, for in this respect surplus labor “in most [Southeast Asian] countries” made the positions of workers and peasants equally weak; nor politically, for “no trade union was sufficiently strong to press” for improvements. Also not disaggregated in Pluvier's account are “the feudal classes” and “the aristocratic classes.” See pp. 70, 60, 73.

88 Var Leur, Indonesian Trade, p. 153. Less well remembered is van Leur' purpose: to reconsider in the light of local conditions “the categories of theoretical economics” including the “proletarian masses” and the “bourgeoisie” (pp. 40, 29–30, 152).

89 Benedict R. O'G. Anderson, “Studies of the Thai State: The State of Thai Studies,” in Ayal, Eliezer B., ed., The Study of Thailand: Analyses of Knowledge, Approaches, and Prospects in Anthropology, Art History, Economics, History, and Political Science (Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1978), pp. 197200.Google Scholar