Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Books on Indonesian Politics and Democracy

Here is a list of recent titles on Indonesian politics and democracy, following on from some of earlier lists.

Torn Between America and China: Elite Perceptions and Indonesian Foreign Policy by Daniel Novotny. Based on doctoral study, this is an investigation of the dynamics of foreign policy making in Indonesia in the post-Cold War era. The sections explore the foreign policy-making elite and its perceptions of Indonesia's national interest, of the USA, of China, of other Asian powers, and of the changing world balances. Possible future trends and trajectories are envisaged in the final chapter. With glossary, bibliography and index.

Islamism and Democracy in Indonesia: Piety and Pragmatism by Masdar Hilmy, Masdar. Most scholarly works conducted within the period of post-New Order Indonesia have underlined the fact that Indonesian Islamists reject the notion of democracy; no adequate explanation nonetheless has been attempted thus far as to how and to what extent democracy is being rejected. This book is dedicated to filling the gap by examining the complex reality behind the Islamists rejection of democracy. It focuses its analysis on two streams of Islamism: the two Islamist groups that seek extra-parliamentary means to achieve their goals, that is, MMI and HTI, and the PKS Islamists who choose the existing political party system as a means of their power struggle. As this book has demonstrated, there are times when the two streams of Islamism share a common platform of understanding and interpretation as well as an intersection where they are in conflict with one another. The interplay between contested meanings over particular theological matters on normative grounds and power contests among the Islamists proves to be critical in shaping this complexity.

Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society edited by Edward Aspinall, Edward; Marcus Mietzer. Alternately lauded as a democratic success story and decried as a flawed democracy, Indonesia deserves serious consideration by anyone concerned with the global state of democracy. Yet, more than ten years after the collapse of the authoritarian Suharto regime, we still know little about how the key institutions of Indonesian democracy actually function. This book, written by leading democracy experts and scholars of Indonesia, presents a sorely needed study of the inner workings of Indonesia's political system, and its interactions with society. Combining careful case studies with an eye to the big picture, it is an indispensable guide to democratic Indonesia, its achievements, shortcomings and continuing challenges.

Political Reform in Indonesia after Soeharto by Harold Crouch. A substantial study of political central and regional reform efforts in Indonesia after the 1998 fall of Soeharto. The focus is on: reforms in the Constitution and electoral system; regional autonomy issues; military reform and civilian control; politics, corruption and the Courts; violence in Maluku; separatism in Aceh; and the final chapter is on aspects of the unpromising contexts of much reform effort. Bibliography and index.

Understanding Islam In Indonesia: Politics And Diversity by Robert Pringle. This is a readable and comprehensive basic account of the development and nature of Islam in Indonesia. After a chapter on the background to the 13th century arrival of Islam, the next three chapters highlight aspects of the country's often-turbulent politico-Islamic history to the 1990s. The last four chapters explore the place in recent events and changes of very varied major Muslim institutions and movements including those related to terrorism and Islamic Extremism. The relevance of the country's national mythologies and the swing towards democracy are also addressed. With illustrations, directory of political parties, glossary, reading list and index.

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