The Limits of Ethnic Clientelism in Indonesia
Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs (RIMA), Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 35-65, December 2008
31 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2008 Last revised: 19 Feb 2009
Date Written: December 30, 2008
The rapid growth of religious political parties and the outbreak of ethnic and religious conflict in some places after the end of the New Order in 1998 encouraged the view that from now on religion and ethnicity would set the tone. Clearly a sense of religious and ethnic community plays a stronger role in Indonesian voter behavior than in a western liberal democracy. But how far does this go? What are the limits of Asian communitarianism? We still lack a case study demonstrating from the ground up where the limits of communitarian politics might lie. This article seeks to provide such a case study by focusing on the politics of arguably the largest ethnic organisation in Indonesia, the South Sulawesi Family Association (Kerukunan Keluarga Sulawesi Selatan, KKSS).
Keywords: ethnicity, clientelism, communitarianism, democracy, articulation
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