Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People offers an up-to-date and broad analysis of the contemporary state of Malaysian politics and society. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, it offers a look at Malaysian politics not only through the lens of political science but also anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, political economy and legal studies touching on both overlooked topics in Malaysian political life as well as the emerging trends which will shape Malaysia’s future. Covering silat martial arts, Malaysia’s constitutional identity, emergency legislation, the South China Sea dilemma, ISIS discourse, zakat payment, the fallout from the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s green movement, Illusions of Democracy charts the complex and multi-faceted nature of political life in a semi-authoritarian state, breaking down the illusions which keep it functioning, to uncover the mechanisms which really underlie the paradoxical longevity of Malaysia’s political, economic and social system.
Sophie Lemière is a political anthropologist at the Ash Center for Democracy in the Democracy in Hard Places Program at Harvard University and is currently a visiting fellow at CSEAS, Kyoto University (until December 2019). She has also been awarded visiting fellowships at the Humanities Center at Stanford University and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington DC, in 2020. She holds a PhD and a Masters in Comparative Politics from Sciences-Po (France).