In the study of social integration, there is continual interplay between fact and concept. As new societies come into the ken of social science, theory and method are stretched or hammered to take account of the novel modes of social solidarity. We have not yet come to terms with the diversity, the breaks in social organization, or the social norms that give Southeast Asian societies their particular forms of integration.
One of the earliest general apprehensions of the nature of social organization in Southeast Asia was put forth in 1910 by J. H. Boeke. This keenly observant Dutch administrator held that there existed from the Indian subcontinent to Japan a special sort of Asian society and culture, the dual society, based on die following major features: it was governed by tradition, and its people were spatially immobile; it was a rural society based on a corporate land tenure system; it was a consumer economy; and it was integrated by religious norms. In Boeke's widely known one-line summary, Asian society is essentially a “religious community of food-crop cultivators all belonging to the same clan or social unity.” There is a sort of Gemeinschaft, an organic unity of peasant cultivators, held togetlier by a value system of a sacred order and subordinating economic activity to the continuity of the social structure.
“The Multiple Society in Economic Development: Mexico and Guatemala,” American Anthropologist, LIX (1957). 825–833.