Introduction: State in Society in Indonesia
STATE OF AUTHORITY: THE STATE IN SOCIETY IN INDONESIA, pp. 1-16, Gerry van Klinken and Joshua Barker, eds., Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2009
15 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2010
Date Written: December 1, 2009
A major realignment is taking place in the way we understand the state in Indonesia. New studies on local politics, ethnicity, the democratic transition, corruption, Islam, popular culture, and other areas hint at novel concepts of the state, though often without fully articulating them. This book aims to capture some dimensions of this shift. One reason for the new thinking is a fresh wind in state studies more generally. People are posing new kinds of questions about the state, and they are developing new methodologies to answer them. Another reason for this shift is that Indonesia itself has changed, probably more than most people recognize. It looks more democratic, but also more chaotic and corrupt, than it did during the militaristic New Order of 1966–98. This book consists of case studies from many different settings around the archipelago. The studies focus on various types of state representatives, such as village heads, informal slum leaders, district heads, and parliamentarians. They explore the spaces and settings where the state is evident and where it is discussed: coffee houses, hotel lounges, fishing waters, and streetside stalls. They investigate state authority, both as a set of actual practices and as an image of what the state “ought” to be. The case studies, and the broader trend in scholarship of which they are a part, allow for a new theorization of the state in Indonesia that more adequately addresses the complexity of political life in this vast archipelago nation.
Keywords: state, statism, neopatrimonialism, elites, bureaucratic polity, migdal, geertz, weber, marx
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