Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 1/2010

 Although Southeast Asia experienced major changes during the 20th century that subsequently led to a fundamental transformation of the region’s socioeconomic structure, a textbook authored by a single person that focused on sociological issues and was primarily written for university use has not existed until now. Victor T.

 Although Southeast Asia experienced major changes during the 20th century that subsequently led to a fundamental transformation of the region’s socioeconomic structure, a textbook authored by a single person that focused on sociological issues and was primarily written for university use has not existed until now. Victor T. King’s book The Sociology of Southeast Asia now attempts to fill this gap in the literature written for this purpose. The study is designed as a source and reference book for students interested in the development and history of Southeast Asian societies. Covering the period between the colonial era of the 19th century and the present day, it provides a comprehensive overview of various aspects of life in Southeast Asia as well as covering the associated social science literature. Moving from a review of the classical accounts of the region to the scientific debates conducted during the last century, the author works his way toward identifying new avenues of research. This work will therefore be indispensable for students of the region, no matter whether they are reading Sociology, Regional Studies or a subject beyond the social sciences. …

King admits that there are no detailed features on Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Lao PDR, or Brunei among the case studies. Nevertheless, he has obviously worked through the huge amount of material on societal change in Southeast Asia and compiled this in a structured manner well suited to undergraduate readers. It is to the author’s credit that he has managed to compress the large body of works on the region concerning disciplines ranging from sociology and anthropology to political economics into a newly structured textbook. This publication is a valuable source of information for students of development and change in Southeast Asia. Recommended for anyone studying the present state of Southeast Asian societies, the book illustrates how a historical sociological approach can be utilized to explain the development and change of Southeast Asia.

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