Friday, September 24, 2010

Books on Social Issues in Asia

This is a list of recent additions to our collection of books on social issues in Asia:
  • Sex, Love and Feminism in the Asia Pacific: A Cross-Cultural Study of Young People's Attitudes by Chilla Bulbeck. 'Sex, love and feminism' are three aspects of the rapidly changing gender relations that shape young people's lives in the Asia Pacific region. Much has been written about rapidly changing countries in Asia, most recently China and India. With the global spread of capitalist production and neo-liberal ideologies, the claim that the rest of the world's women are treading the path to enlightenment and development forged by women in the West has been revived. This book explores that contention through a comparative analysis of the attitudes of young middle class urbanites in ten countries: the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Drawing on detailed empirical research, the study describes and compares attitudes towards the women's movement, sexual relations and family arrangements in the countries considered. It explores young peoples' image of feminists and what they feel the women's movement has achieved for women and men in their country. The book discusses young people's attitudes to controversial gender issues such as role reversal, sharing housework, abortion rights, same sex sexual relations, nudity and pornography. Through a comparative analysis of the gender vocabularies by which young people understand gender issues, the book highlights the role of differences in history, culture, economics and political leadership.
  • Women's Movements in Asia: Feminisms And Transnational Activism edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards. Women's Movements in Asia is a comprehensive study of women's activism across Asia. With chapters written by leading international experts, it provides a full overview of the history of feminism, as well as the current context of the women's movement in 12 countries: the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Japan, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Pakistan. For each of these countries the manner in which feminism changes according to cultural, political, economic and religious factors is explored. The contributors investigate how national feminisms are influenced by transnational factors, such as the women's movements in other countries, colonialism and international agencies. Each chapter also considers what Asian feminists have contributed to global theoretical debates on the woman question, the key successes and failures of the movements and what needs to be addressed in the future.
  • Social Cohesion in Greater China: Challenges for Social Policy and Governance edited by Ka Ho Mok and Yeun-Wen Ku. This book critically examines the issues and challenges of social development faced by societies in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, with particular reference to the major strategies these societies adopt to promote social cohesion and civil harmony in the context of globalisation. It focuses on people who have been socially marginalised by the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and examines the measures Greater China has adopted to balance economic growth with social development. The book will be of interest to readers who wish to know more about societies in Mainland China, and the effects of globalisation.
  • Poverty and Social Protection in Indonesia edited by Joan Hardjono, Nuning Akhmadi et al.. This book consists of papers that present the findings of research done by the SMERU Research Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia. Most describe the effects on the poor of the Indonesian economic crisis of 1997-98 and the response of the Indonesian government in the form of a Social Safety Net consisting of poverty mitigation programs. With the gradual recovery of the economy after 2000, the Indonesian government began reducing subsidies for fuel products and has channelled budgetary savings into a new series of targeted social protection and poverty alleviation undertakings that include unconditional cash transfers. The effectiveness of Indonesia's poverty alleviation programmes has, however, been reduced by the difficulty of targeting beneficiaries accurately because of a lack of reliable, up-to-date poverty figures. In many instances unsuitable targeting methodology has been compounded by bad governance at the local level, while the introduction of regional autonomy, accompanied by the decentralisation of authority to the district level, has formed a further complicating factor.
  • Myth of the Social Volcano: Perceptions of Inequality and Distributive Injustice in Contemporary China by Martin King Whyte. Is popular anger about rising inequality propelling China toward a "social volcano" of protest activity and instability that could challenge Chinese Communist Party rule? Many inside and outside of China have speculated, without evidence, that the answer is yes. In 2004, Harvard sociologist Martin King Whyte has undertaken the first systematic, nationwide survey of ordinary Chinese citizens to ask them directly how they feel about inequalities that have resulted since China's market opening in 1978. His findings are the subject of this book.

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