Dan Slater lecture on Democracy through Strength, UTokyo Nov. 29, 2017

Gregory Noble's picture
November 29, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Political Science

The Contemporary Japan Group at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science

(ISS, or Shaken), welcomes you to a lecture by


Dan Slater

(University of Michigan)


Democracy through Strength: Asia’s Development and Democratization



Wednesday, November 29, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



Contrary to theoretical expectations that authoritarian regimes are most likely to allow democratization as a last resort during times of extreme weakness, authoritarian regimes in Asia have often pursued democratic reforms as a proactive strategy from a position of considerable strength. This presentation discusses the historical forces that have facilitated democracy through authoritarian concession rather than authoritarian collapse in developmental Asia, as well as the dynamic processes through which authoritarian regimes have either brought it into being or failed to do so. Of central importance is the building up of an authoritarian ruling group’s “victory confidence” and “stability confidence” over time. After surveying how victory confidence and stability confidence have historically fostered democracy through strength in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand, the presentation assesses prospects for ongoing reforms in Myanmar as well as potential future democratic reforms in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.


Dan Slater, Professor of Political Science and incoming Director of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan, specializes in the politics and history of democracy and dictatorship, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. The author of Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Slater is currently working with Joseph Wong on a book project that explores the phenomenon of “democracy through strength” in Northeast and Southeast Asia. Earlier articles on this project can be found in Perspectives on PoliticsSouth East Asia Research, and the Journal of Democracy. Slater has also published in journals such as the American Journal of Political ScienceAmerican Journal of SociologyComparative PoliticsComparative Political Studies, International Organization, and World Politics. He taught at the University of Chicago from 2005, when he received his PhD from Emory University, until 2017.


The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
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Gregory W. NOBLE (noble@iss.u-tokyo.ac.jp)


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