Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Published Title: Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia

We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest title: Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia.
Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia is co-published with Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura and edited by Professor Syed Farid Alatas. 

Post September 11, issues in Muslim societies have been framed into issues of terrorism. Such issues have been understood through an Orientalist lens that looks unfavourably on Muslim culture and its compatibility with democracy and the other aspects of the modern world. This has often provoked nativist responses that assert the immutability of Islam. 

Both these reactions are mirror images of each other, essentializing the Islamic world and preventing mature discussion through stereotyping or apologia.

This book attempts to frame the problems of the Muslim world, specifically Southeast Asia, as part of the challenges facing societies everywhere, namely the problem of development. 

By framing development itself as a model of inquiry, this book proposes three aspects as crucial. First is the need to understand the shifting dynamics of the world economy. This means a grasp of the major global shifts in the financial and political sectors. Second is the need for a rigorous and critical engagement with the different tools, factors and methods of development. This should encompass a rigorous critical self-reflection on long-held beliefs of the causes and strategies of development through a critical look at the historical process of development itself. Third is to identify and nurture the appropriate agents to apply such strategies suitable to the local context. This trinity of factors represents an appropriate model to conceptualize development.

This book is thus a unique collection of essays from a diverse range of economists, sociologists, political scientists and policy analysts. Through discussing the problems of Islamic societies in such a universal framework, this book will appeal to those wishing to know about Southeast Asian Muslim societies and will also provide insights into the problems of development applicable to many other contexts.

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