Reformasi and Indonesia’s Illiberal Turn

Rachael Diprose

Two Decades of Reformasi in Indonesia: Its Illiberal Turn” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1637922) is the last article for a special issue on post-reformasi Indonesia due out later this year.

Dave McRae

This is the Introduction for the Special Issue and is authored by Rachael Diprose of the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia, Dave McRae and Vedi R. Hadiz, both of the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne.

The abstract for the article states:

Vedi Hadiz

There has been an accentuation of Indonesian democracy’s illiberal characteristics during the course of reformasi. The religious and nativist mobilisation that surrounded the controversial 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections was only one manifestation of the sort of pressures leading to such accentuation. This article surveys the impacts of a stronger recent turn towards illiberalism across diverse areas of policy making in Indonesia, including decentralisation, civil–military relations, economic and foreign policy, as well as in the approaches to recognising past abuses of human rights. We find clear variation in its impacts, produced by differing constellations of old and new forces and what is at stake politically and economically in each arena of competition, as well as the salience of coherently expressed public pressure for reform. In particular, where the state and market have failed to address social injustices, more illiberal models have emerged, some under the guise of populist discourses that nonetheless continue to serve predatory elite interests and shift attention away from the inequalities in society. Such developments could be observed all the way to the 2019 presidential contest.

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