Oligarchs and oligarchy in Southeast Asia

Jeffrey A. Winters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter examines a set of cases in Southeast Asia from the perspective of oligarchs and oligarchy. It should be noted at the outset that an emphasis on the power and influence of small groups at the top of a social formation does not deny the power of other actors, nor imply that social mobilization is pointless or that electoral democracy is a sham. It is, rather, a recognition that certain extreme concentrations of minority power in society can exist under a variety of regimes ranging from authoritarian to democratic. Oligarchic power in advanced industrial contexts, for instance, is almost universally fused to procedural democracy. Although it is impossible to focus on all the cases in the region of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore have been selected for the ways in which they help develop oligarchic theory and for how the theory helps illuminate important aspects of the cases. We begin with a brief discussion of oligarchs and oligarchy, since the terms are widely used but also highly muddled conceptually.1

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781136579196
ISBN (Print)9780415494274
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Oligarchs and oligarchy in Southeast Asia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this