This article demonstrates how an integral element of the fabric of governance on the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok, and many other parts of the Indonesian archipelago, are non-state local security arrangements, such as night watches and militias. These groups play a significant role in the local infrastructure of security and law enforcement. Consequently, this article challenges a common assumption by legal scholars, and many other observers of Indonesia, that state-based institutions such as the police are the exclusive, and only legitimate, mode of law enforcement in Indonesia. Through an ethnographic engagement with the idea of law enforcement on Lombok, I seek to broaden these assumptions about legitimate modes of statecraft. These non-state entities fill a void in the Indonesian law enforcement architecture that the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil (or potentially finds it more practical to delegate to local non-state institutions).
Jeremy J. Kingsley
In addition to offering insight into the discipline of sociology, sociology of education textbooks constitute a major source of sociological knowledge. This article examines the scholarly content of Indonesian sociology of education textbooks by focusing on the degree of commonality between their core content and sources, and between their core content and academic scholarship. The results of this examination reveal a low level of commonality among the core contents of the seven selected textbooks—a heterogeneity that reflects not so much the plurality of Indonesian society and educational institutions or the application of sociological theories and approaches required by the Indonesian curriculum, but rather the diversity of the textbooks’ sources and their authors’ scholarly publication records.
Development discourses often assume linear rural transitions, in which educated young people are supposed to leave their rural communities, becoming urban. However, drawing on fieldwork in Flores (East Indonesia), I argue that tertiary educated young people do return to their natal communities upon graduation. There, they want to act—by virtue of their education—as vanguards of positive change and alter what they consider backward, rural livelihoods and practices. Yet, educated young people often depend on these livelihoods and practices, too, especially when they cannot obtain work, which is common in rural Flores. To better understand the tensions inherent to these young people’s position within their rural communities, I map the reasons for their returns to rural Flores.
Fredy B.L. Tobing and Asra Virgianita
English abstract: This article analyzes the causes of low trade relations between Indonesia and Latin American states, arguing that dynamics of international political economy have opened opportunities to increase trade relations between those countries. Having good diplomatic and political relations with similar emerging economies, like Peru and Chile, should drive closer economic relations among them. A qualitative study was conducted using literature reviews, archival analysis, and in-depth interviews. Political will and lack of knowledge pertaining to the business character of each country hamper external relations. Thus, a functional multi-track diplomacy that incorporates state and non-state actors from various fields is crucial for enhancing economic relations among these countries. Trade relations can be particularly strengthened by maximizing cooperation among actors at various levels.
Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza las débiles relaciones comerciales entre Indonesia y América Latina, argumentando que la dinámica de la economía política abre oportunidades para mejorar estas relaciones. Las buenas relaciones diplomáticas y políticas entre Perú y Chile, debería estrechar sus relaciones económicas. Pero la escasa voluntad política y falta de conocimiento del carácter empresarial de cada país, obstaculizan sus relaciones externas. La investigación incluyó revisión de literatura, análisis de archivos y entrevistas en profundidad. Los resultados subrayan la necesidad de una diplomacia funcional de múltiples rutas que incorpore instituciones estatales y no estatales de diversos campos para mejorar las relaciones económicas. Las relaciones comerciales particularmente pueden fortalecerse entre países maximizando su recíproca cooperación en cada nivel (diplomacia multinivel).
French abstract: Cet article analyse les causes de la faiblesse des relations commerciales entre l’Indonésie et les pays d’Amérique latine en faisant valoir que la dynamique de l’économie politique internationale a ouvert des opportunités pour stimuler les relations commerciales entre ces pays. Cette étude qualitative a été menée sur la base d’une étude de la littérature existante, d’analyses archivistiques et d’entretiens approfondis. Le manque de volonté politique et surtout de connaissances réciproques des atouts commerciaux de ces pays entravent leurs relations extérieures. Ainsi, une diplomatie fonctionnelle à plusieurs voies qui intègre des diplomaties étatiques et non-étatiques dans divers domaines est-elle cruciale pour améliorer leurs relations économiques. Les relations commerciales peuvent notamment être renforcées en maximisant la coopération entre ces pays à chaque niveau (diplomatie multi-niveaux).
New Freedoms, Old Worries, and Unfinished Democratic Reform
Michael Nieto Garcia
Indonesia is in the midst of a publishing renaissance. The number of published titles doubled in 2003 to a sum greater than any year under Suharto. Titles unimaginable 10 years ago now line bookstore shelves: books about Marx, books by and about ethnic Chinese, and books with the words ‘sex’ or ‘homosexual’ and ‘Islam’ in the same title. In 2000, the publisher of Nobel Prize–nominated author Pramoedya Ananta Toer released a special Emancipation Edition of the previously banned Buru Quartet, named after the island on which the Suharto regime had imprisoned the writer for almost 14 years.
Indonesian is the national language of the world’s fourth most populous country. Although it has 200 million speakers, it is little known beyond its borders and a narrow circle of area specialists. To reduce its obscurity in the global scheme of things, I will show here how it has developed into an unusually national but ‘un-native’ language. A brief sketch of the language’s history highlights commonsense ideas about language, identity, and nationalism that the Indonesian case does not fit, further reinforcing its uncommon aspects.
Its Chinese Alters in Transnational Space
Donald M. Nonini
Chinese businessmen in Indonesia still want to come [to Australia] for safety for their families, especially their children. Right now many Chinese in Jakarta fear violence, because commercial grudges are actually being settled by attacks on them. Recently, a famous Chinese businessman in Indonesia was shot dead even though he was guarded by men from KOPPASUS [an elite counter-terrorist army unit]. He was killed by men due to some business grudge … I do not want my son to do business in Indonesia because of the violence. He could make a competitive tender for a government or other contract, but then find that someone bears a grudge against him for being underbid and decides to hurt or kill him. One never knows.
In imagining Indonesia’s future, its character as a country with the world’s largest Islamic population emerges as a critical issue. In the post-Suharto period, some commentators have seen the emergence of Islamist politics as a threat to newly attained freedoms. No sooner had women been freed from the constraints of ‘state ibuism’, i.e., the official policy promoting the role of wife and mother (ibu) of the New Order (see Suryakusuma 1996), which endorsed patriarchal familism as a cornerstone of authoritarian politics, than they faced a new kind of patriarchal authority in the demands for the enactment of shari’a as state law. For example, during her 2005 visit to Australia, Indonesian feminist commentator Julia Suryakusuma raised the specter of Islam as the greatest current threat to gender equity and to women as social actors in civic life, whose rights in the domestic sphere are now protected by the state. The growing influence of Middle Eastern Islam in Indonesia, evidenced by funding for organizations, translations of publications, and the increase in Islamist rhetoric, has caused alarm among many observers. This apprehension draws on the stereotype of the Middle East as the source of all that is ‘bad’ about Islam, taken as an undifferentiated whole. But this view of Islam fails to acknowledge debates within Islam and diversity in Islamic practice, not the least of which are the varieties of Islam that can be found throughout the Indonesian archipelago. These diverse practices have emerged as local communities and indigenous polities responded in distinctive and often unique ways during the long period of Islamic conversion, beginning from the thirteenth century.
Indonesia seems perpetually condemned to “live in interesting times,” as the famous Chinese curse goes. The past decade has seen the country attract global notoriety as a land of recurrent economic shocks, ethnic conflicts, terrorist bombings, separatist rebellions, and natural catastrophes. Political authorities have appeared too corrupt and inept to respond effectively. Thus, when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), a retired general, scored a landslide victory in Indonesia’s first-ever direct presidential election in September 2004, the political rise of a military man was widely portrayed as a small blow for stability in a highly unstable nation.
Hadramī Migrants in the Indonesian Diaspora
Johann Heiss and Martin Slama
The article reflects on the role of genealogy in the process of Hadramī migration to Indonesia and explores the relation between genealogy and the construction of hierarchy and identity among diaspora Hadramīs. In addition to persons and ideas travelling along genealogical networks from the Hadramawt to Indonesia, the authors examine long-distance flows originating from Middle Eastern centres of Islamic learning, which were used to question a genealogically based social hierarchy. After discussing the flows and movements of the colonial period, our focus advances to the present, as we investigate the consequences of both new and renewed long-distance connections between Indonesia and the Hadramawt.