a1 University of Colorado, Email: email@example.com.
a2 Emory University, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is it that some governments recognize only one language while others espouse multilingualism? Related, why are some governments able to shift language policies, and if there is a shift, what explains the direction? In this article, the authors argue that these choices are theproduct of coalitional constraints facing the government during critical junctures in history. During times of political change in the state-building process, the effective threat of an alternate linguistic group determines the emergent language policy. If the threat is low, the government moves toward monolingual policies. As the threat increases, however, the government is forced to co-opt the alternate linguistic group by shifting the policy toward a greater degree of multilingualism. The authors test this argument by examining the language policies for government services and the education system in three Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand).
Amy H. Liu is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her area of scholarly interest is comparative politics, with a substantive focus on language politics and regional concentration in Southeast Asia. Her book manuscript examines language regime choice and the economic effects of this choice. She has published in various journals.
Jacob I. Ricks is a Ph.D. candidate in the Political Science Department at Emory University. His research interests include the political economy of development, national identity issues, and democratization. He is currently writing his doctoral dissertation about the conditions that encourage developing states to engage in institutional reforms necessary for participatory water resource management. He has published his work in academic journals.
* This article originally circulated under the title, “Language Regimes and State-Building in Southeast Asia.” For their helpful comments and often much needed advice, we thank Andrew Bennett, David S. Brown, Michael Buehler, David Collier, Rick Doner, Stephan Haggard, Joel Moore, James Ockey, Charles Ragin, Jason Seawright, and Dan Slater. We also thank the participants at the Southeast Asian Student Initiative at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and the Pizza and Politics working group at Emory University. We are particularly grateful to the three anonymous World Politics reviewers for their comments and guidance. The usual caveat applies.