Monday, May 11, 2009

Politics and Democracy in Indonesia

With the Indonesian general elections just completed, and the presidential election forthcoming, here are 5 books focusing on the state of Indonesian politics and democracy.

  • Indonesia, Islam, And Democracy: Dynamics In A Global Context by Azyumardi Azra, an internationally respected historian. It explores explores Islam and Democracy and the democratizing and civil society policies of President Abdurrahman Wahab; addresses Islam and Indonesia's international dimensions and policies; and looks at the dynamics of the country's various Islamic movements and trends and also at recent elections.
  • Political Islam and Violence in Indonesia by Zachary Abuza presents a penetrating new investigation of religious radicalism in Indonesia. Indonesia is long known for its diversity and tolerant brand of Islam, but since the fall of Suharto, a more intolerant form of Islam has been growing, one whose adherents have carried out terrorist attacks, waged sectarian war, and voiced strident anti-Western rhetoric. Abuza paints a picture guardedly optimistic about the future of Indonesian democracy, with concerns about the increasing role of conservative and radical Islam in Indonesian society.
  • The Revival of Tradition In Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism by Jamie Davidson and David Henley. The Indonesian term adat means 'custom' or 'tradition', and carries connotations of sedate order and harmony. Yet in recent years it has suddenly become associated with activism, protest and violence. This book investigates the revival of adat in Indonesian politics, identifying its origins, the historical factors that have conditioned it and the reasons behind its recent blossoming.
  • The Indonesian Parliament And Democratization by Patrick Ziegenhai. Democratisation in Indonesia has altered the political decision-making processes in many ways. It has also brought about tremendous change to the role of the Indonesian parliament in the country's political system. Once characterized as a powerless rubber stamp, the parliament has developed into a comprehensive and more representative body. Ziegenhai addresses the parliament's contributions towards the process of democratisation in Indonesia.
  • Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From Turbulent Transition to Democratic Consolidation by Marcus Mietzner. This book provides an in-depth account of the military's struggle to adapt to the new democratic system after the downfall of Suharto's regime in 1998. Unlike other studies of the Indonesian armed forces, which focus exclusively on internal military developments, Mietzner's study emphasises the importance of conflicts among civilians in determining the extent of military involvement in political affairs.

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