ANALYSIS FROM THE EAST-WEST CENTER

February 1, 2004

The following are new titles from the East-West Center. Ordering information and abstracts of the publications appear after the listing of titles.

 

Political Parties and Political Engineering in the Asia Pacific Region, by Benjamin Reilly. AsiaPacific Issues, No. 71. December 2003. 8 pp. Printed hard copy available for $2.50 plus shipping/handling. Free downloadable PDF file located at http://www.EastWestCenter.org/res-rp-publicationdetails.asp?pub_ID=1433.

Democracies need both strength and flexibility-enough structure to transform a kaleidoscope of public opinion into coherent debate and effective policy, but enough openness to protect individual rights. Finding this balance is a particular challenge in ethnically diverse emerging democracies. Political parties usually serve a country best when they are limited in number, strong, and broad-based. Their evolution was once left mainly to chance; today, governments often seek to influence the process. Among those attempting reforms are Papua New Guinea, home to hundreds of languages; Indonesia, with its separatist movements; the Philippines, experimenting with ways to balance party interests with other social concerns; and Thailand, whose once fragmented political scene seems headed toward domination by one party. Their strategies for encouraging stable party systems range from minimum-vote thresholds to efforts to stiffen internal party discipline. Much can be learned from these Asia Pacific efforts at political engineering-including the need for a cautious approach that minimizes unforeseen consequences and costs.

Marriage, Work, and Family Life in Comparative Perspective: Japan, South Korea, and the United States, edited by Noriko O. Tsuya and Larry L. Bumpass. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004. xiv, 177 pp. Cloth, $55.00; paper, $22.95. Available online from University of Hawaii Press at http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu, (888)UHPRESS 847-7377 / (808)956-8255.

Families are changing throughout the postindustrial world. In the West, marriage is playing a dwindling role in defining sexual behavior, childbearing, cohabitation, and family stability. In Asian societies, sex increasingly occurs before marriage, young people delay getting married or never marry at all, and divorce is on the rise. Asian government leaders are seeing their countries' fertility rates fall to alarmingly low levels. At the same time, the roles of women and mothers are changing rapidly in both the East and the West. "Family" is at once central to society and the crucible of social change; the transformation of this fundamental institution is among the most profound changes of the last half century.

When we compare Eastern and Western societies, we find similar economic and social forces at work. But the impact of these on family life reflects differences in cultural history and social context. This volume examines family change in Korea, Japan, and the United States, allowing us to contrast the collective emphasis of a Confucian social heritage with the individualism of the West. An impressive group of demographers and family sociologists considers such questions as: How do family patterns vary within countries and across societies? How essential are marriage and parenthood? How do levels of contact between middle-aged adults and their parents who live elsewhere differ in East Asian countries and the U.S.?

Policy makers and demographic and family researchers both in the U.S. and Asia will find this book a vital resource for understanding the dynamics of family life in contrasting modern societies.

Technology and Cultural Values: On the Edge of the Third Millennium, edited by Peter D. Hershock, Marietta Stepaniants, and Roger T. Ames. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003. x, 614 pp. Cloth, $55.00. Available online from University of Hawaii Press at http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu, (888)UHPRESS 847-7377 / (808)956-8255.

A human lifetime no longer plays out against the enduring and familiar rhythms of a relatively constant world. While there are those who enthusiastically celebrate the phenomenal transformations now taking place in every field of human endeavor, and those who critically lament them, there is no contesting their force, profundity, and irreversibility. Easily the most apparent of these changes are the transformations taking place technologically. Recent history makes clear that the quantum leaps being made in technology are the leading edge of a groundswell of paradigm shifts taking place in science, politics, economics, social institutions, and the expression of cultural values. Indeed it is the simultaneity and interdependence of these changes occurring in every dimension of human experience and endeavor that make the present so historically distinctive. What has become equally clear is the fact of unparalleled and accelerating global change acting, at the same time, as an imperative for change, culturally and socially, as well as personally.

The present volume recognizes the new millennium as one of interdependence. Its contributors acknowledge that the blurred distinction between cause and consequence is nowhere so obvious as in the domain of technology and that any useful critical reflection on the process of change must be both intercultural and interdisciplinary. The imperative for change issued by our historical circumstances and their technological underpinnings cannot be successfully met unilaterally, but only through empowering diverse sources of critical innovation.

The essays gathered here give voice to perspectives on the always improvised relationship between technology and cultural values from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Pacific. Drawing on resources from wide-ranging philosophical, religious, and critical traditions, as well as academic disciplines from anthropology to medical ethics to women's studies, this volume represents an attempt to think clearly through the creative challenges of the new millennium.

A Vision for Economic Cooperation in East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea, edited by Lee-Jay Cho, Yoon Hyung Kim, and Chung H. Lee. Seoul: Korea Development Institute, 2003. 444 pp. Paper, $24.00. Available online from University of Hawaii Press at http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu, (888)UHPRESS 847-7377 / (808)956-8255.

Three countries in East Asia-China, Japan, and South Korea-constitute one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world, but it is a region where formal regional machinery such as the European Union or NAFTA is yet to be established. The region may not be ready for such machinery yet, as some have argued, but there are many good reasons why the three East Asian countries should start now on a regional information infrastructure, a regional energy community, and a regional institution for financing infrastructure investment-are presented in this volume.

Search the East-West Center website at for other publications by the East-West Center and its staff. To order the publications referenced above, contact the East-West Center Publication Sales Office at ewcbooks@EastWestCenter.org .

East-West Center Publication Sales Office 1601 East-West Road Honolulu, HI 96848-1601 USA Tel: (808) 944-7145 Fax: (808) 944-7376

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