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By Gerry van Klinken

Via shut scrutiny of empirical fabrics and interviews, this booklet uniquely analyzes all of the episodes of long-running, common communal violence that erupted in the course of Indonesia’s post-New Order transition. Indonesia democratised after the lengthy and authoritarian New Order regime resulted in may possibly 1998. however the transition was once some distance much less peaceable than is frequently idea. It claimed approximately 10,000 lives in communal (ethnic and non secular) violence, and approximately as many as that back in separatist violence in Aceh and East Timor. Taking a finished examine the communal violence that arose after the recent Order regime, this ebook might be of curiosity to scholars of Southeast Asian stories, social events, political violence and ethnicity.

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Additional info for Communal Violence and Democratization in Indonesia: Small Town Wars (Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series)

Sample text

Amuk is regarded as a typically Indonesian form of irrational violence. Public intellectuals have been discussing it since the early twentieth century, and they did so again in 1998 (Good and Good 2001). Colonial psychiatrists and administrators wrote their speculations about the causes of amuk – whether the Malay or Javanese character, Islamic fanaticism or excessive opium use – against the backdrop of larger discussions about native violence in response to colonial rule. As then, so today (so argued Good and Good), people who write about violence do so from a hegemonic perspective that treats all political action as ‘unnatural’ disorder.

Moreover, and this is a major point, the movements that engaged in communal violence were at least semi-organized. Much of what happened was ad hoc or got out of hand, but much else occurred by design. Indonesian discourse at the time pointed the finger at mysterious ‘provocateurs’ tasked by agencies in Jakarta to wreak havoc in remote places, but a little investigation revealed more convincing local institutional connections. Exactly how locally significant elites and their political parties, churches, mosque organizations, NGOs (non-government organizations) and pressure groups helped organize the crowds on the streets is the burden of this book.

It is also true that one can in theory choose one’s religion but not one’s ethnicity. But the differences should not be exaggerated. In practice people rarely choose their religion, whereas they are known to choose a new ethnicity; indeed new ethnicities are being invented all the time. Why there should have been more communal conflict of the ethnic kind in Kalimantan and of the religious kind further east remains a mystery to me, beyond acknowledging that each pattern arises from a long history of organizational activity.

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