at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

New Books on Indonesia by ISEAS Publishing


A 14th Century Malay Code of Laws: The Nitisarasamuccaya
Uli Kozok, UH Indo-Pacific Languages, Website

“That is why the impressive results of the fieldwork and subsequent analytical research by the German scholar, Dr. Uli Kozok, are remarkable. By devoting considerable time and funds to his project in the interior of Sumatra, Kozok has produced results that will change the writing of the history of Malay. […] By conducting fieldwork (Kozok saw the text in Kerinci in August 2002), by following up leads from the colonial literature (Voorhoeve’s compilation), by analyzing the text without depending on accepted knowledge and by taking the step of using the latest technology to obtain an empirical perspective about the material, Kozok has succeeded in laying a major part of a foundation for the rewriting of the history of Malay in Indonesia!” – James T. Collins

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Institutional Engineering and Political Accountability in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines
Patrick Ziegenhain

Political accountability is a crucial element of any democracy since it is a safeguard against power abuse and corruption, both urgent problems of many political systems in Southeast Asia. Based on social science theories, the author analyses from a comparative perspective the ways institutional engineering concerning different dimensions of political accountability influenced the quality of democracy in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. By highlighting the successes and shortcomings, this book evaluates the degree these institutional reforms resulted in the deepening, stagnation, or regression of the respective democratization processes in these three Southeast Asian countries.

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Bureaucracy and Development: Reflections from the Indonesian Water Sector
Diana Suhardiman

The fall of the New Order government in 1998 and the political reform that followed posed substantial challenges for Indonesia’s bureaucracy to continue fulfilling its mandate. This book analyses the process of bureaucratic reform in the irrigation sector. Using Irrigation Management Transfer policy as the entry point for analysis, it documents and analyses the irrigation bureaucracy’s ability to sustain its power and prominence in the sector’s development, amidst and against national and international pressures for reform. The book argues that bureaucratic reform in the irrigation sector, rather than attempting to change the bureaucracy’s functioning in the image of national and global (good) governance perspectives and priorities, should instead focus on linking the irrigation bureaucracy’s everyday practice more effectively with farmers’ needs and aspirations. Reform efforts of the past decades show that Indonesia’s irrigation sector development cannot be redirected without the irrigation bureaucracy’s knowledge, experience and cooperation, and without strengthening its downward accountability to farmer-irrigators.

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Decentralization and Its Discontents: An Essay on Class, Political Agency and National Perspective in Indonesian Politics
Max R Lane

“Decentralization is a major trend in Indonesia since the first decades of that nation under Sukarno and Suharto. Max Lane is justly treasured for illuminating those first decades, for example, through his translations of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and his excellent book, Unfinished Nation: Indonesia Before and After Suharto. Anyone who seeks insights into the current trend of decentralization, whether in Indonesia or other parts of the world, will find this work cogent.” – James L. Peacock, Kenan Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“This book opens up the discussion on the history and political economy of the new populist policies that seem to gain momentum in the face of the Indonesian elections. It also addresses questions pertaining to the problems and options related to popular aspirations within this context-all of which cannot be explained very well by any of the predominant theses on Indonesia, whether as an oligarchy or a democratically liberal but economically predatory country.” – Professor Olle Trnquist, University of Oslo

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