Cover of Protest and Possibilities by Meredith L. Weiss
Protest and Possibilities
Civil Society and Coalitions for Political Change in Malaysia
Meredith L. Weiss

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2005
344 pp.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804752947
Paper ISBN: 9780804752954
Digital ISBN: 9780804767767
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Protest and Possibilities explores the pursuit of political reform in Malaysia, an illiberal democracy, and contrasts coalition-building and reform processes there with those of electoral authoritarian Indonesia. The study considers the roles of civil society agents (CSAs) in promoting alternative (especially noncommunal) political norms and helping to find common ground among opposition political actors, and compares recent reformist initiatives with past political trajectories. The nature of illiberal democracy encourages a combination of contained and transgressive contention, with CSAs and political parties performing distinct but complementary roles. Enough space has been allowed over time for CSAs and political parties to accumulate coalitional capital, or the mutual trust and understanding necessary for groups to find common cause and work in coalition. In addition, shifts in political opportunities and threats encourage both CSAs and political parties to alter their strategies and thinking to take advantage of windows for change, facilitating long-term normative as well as institutional change.

About the author

Meredith L. Weiss is Assistant Professor of International Studies at DePaul University.

"Weiss... looks with fresh eyes, uses new analytical tools, and makes this book an important read for both area studies students and political theorists."CHOICE

"By comparing the "illiberal" democracies of Malaysia and Indonesia, Weiss sheds light on the significance of specific state structures to the types of coalitions, agendas, and institutional and normative reforms that emerge."

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