Beyond Oligarchy: Wealth, Power, and Contemporary Indonesian Politics
Michele Ford and Thomas Pepinsky
Beyond Oligarchy is a collection of essays by leading scholars of contemporary Indonesian politics and society, each addressing effects of material inequality on political power and contestation in democratic Indonesia. The contributors assess how critical concepts in the study of politics—oligarchy, inequality, power, democracy, and others—can be used to characterize the Indonesian case, and in turn, how the Indonesian experience informs conceptual and analytical debates in political science and related disciplines. In bringing together experts from around the world to engage with these themes, Beyond Oligarchy reclaims a tradition of focused intellectual debate across scholarly communities in Indonesian studies.
The collapse of Indonesia’s New Order has proven a critical juncture in Indonesian political studies, launching new analyses about the drivers of regime change and the character of Indonesian democracy. It has also prompted a new groundswell of theoretical reflection among Indonesianists on concepts such as representation, competition, power, and inequality. As such, the onset of Indonesia’s second democratic period represents more than just new point of departure for comparative analyses of Indonesia as a democratizing state; it has also served as a catalyst for theoretical and conceptual development.
The 26 scholars contributing to this volume have helped shape the field of Indonesian studies over the last three decades. They represent a broad geographic background—Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Canada—and have studied in a wide array of key disciplines—anthropology, history, linguistics and literature, government and politics, art history, and ethnomusicology. Together they reflect on the “arc of our field,” the development of Indonesian studies over recent tumultuous decades. They consider what has been achieved and what still needs to be accomplished as they interpret the groundbreaking works of their predecessors and colleagues.
This volume is the product of a lively conference sponsored by Cornell University, with contributions revised following those interactions. Not everyone sees the development of Indonesian studies in the same way. Yet one senses—and this collection confirms—that disagreements among its practitioners have fostered a vibrant, resilient intellectual community. Contributors discuss photography and the creation of identity, the power of ethnic pop music, cross-border influences on Indonesian contemporary art, violence in the margins, and the shadows inherent in Indonesian literature. These various perspectives illuminate a diverse nation in flux and provide direction for its future exploration.
Economic Change in Modern Indonesia: Colonial and Post-colonial Comparisons
Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance Without Liberalism
Indonesia’s Islamic organizations sustain the country’s thriving civil society, democracy, and reputation for tolerance amid diversity. Yet scholars poorly understand how these organizations envision the accommodation of religious difference. What does tolerance mean to the world’s largest Islamic organizations? What are the implications for democracy in Indonesia and the broader Muslim world? Jeremy Menchik argues that answering these questions requires decoupling tolerance from liberalism and investigating the historical and political conditions that engender democratic values. Drawing on archival documents, ethnographic observation, comparative political theory, and an original survey, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia demonstrates that Indonesia’s Muslim leaders favor a democracy in which individual rights and group-differentiated rights converge within a system of legal pluralism, a vision at odds with American-style secular government but common in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. More Information