Southeast Asia has long fascinated development practitioners and researchers for being one of the few regions of the world that has resisted global trends to become a successful developing region. Divided into accessible thematic chapters this book adopts a unique perspective of equitable development to outline the strengths and weaknesses of the transformations taking place in the Southeast Asian region. Focusing on four key themes: equality and inequality; political freedom and opportunity; empowerment and participation; and environmental sustainability, these concepts are used to explore Southeast Asian development and trace the impacts that the growing popularity of market-led and grassroots approaches are having upon economic, political and social processes. Whilst the diversity of the region is emphasised so are some of the homogenising trends such as the concentration of wealth and services in urban areas and the subsequent migration of rural people into urban factories and squatter settlements.The ongoing commercialization and industrialization of rural agriculture as well as the expansion of non-farm income earning opportunities in rural spaces, and the alarming rates of environmental degradation which threaten health and livelihoods are also exposed.
In highlighting how Southeast Asian development is unevenly distributing wealth, opportunities and risks throughout the region, this book emphasizes the need for creative new approaches to ensure that benefits of development are equitably enjoyed by all. Including illustrations, case studies and further reading, this book provides an accessible up-to-date introductory text for students and researchers interested in Southeast Asian development, development studies, Asian studies and geography.
Andrew McGregor is a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and previously worked for UNICEF Australia. His research focuses on the culture, power, and geography of foreign aid programmes in Southeast Asia.