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Continuity and Change. Societal Power and Accountability in Democratic Indonesia

ABI Working Paper No° 1
Lübke, Prof. Dr. Christian von (2015): Continuity and Change. Societal Power and Accountability in Democratic Indonesia. ABI Working Paper Nr. 01.
Kurze Beschreibung / Abstract:

Although Indonesia has been hailed for its competitive elections and far-reaching decentralization reforms, the country’s democratic project has yet to realize the promise of good government. Checks and balances exerted by civil society, and in particular by societal and private-sector associations, continue to be marred by patronage politics and collective action problems. To better understand the limits and prospects of societal accountability, it is important to examine the different sources of power that enhance or obstruct the ability of non-state actors of keeping government misconduct in check. By gauging four different dimensions of policy power (institutional, agential, distributional, and ideational) it becomes obvious that the cards, in Indonesia’s policy arenas, are stacked – at least during the early years of democratic decentralization –against societal actors. Promising impulses for societal accountability, strong enough to challenge well-positioned state elites, are most likely to arise from ongoing ideational power shifts. Accelerated by the phenomenal growth of social connectivity – through social media, trade, and travel – new, more society-centered ideas and identities are shaping public discourses. Reduced costs and risks of mobilization have given rise to novel forms collective action that can elevate societal actors as ad-hoc veto players in public policy arenas. ‘Grounding’ these ideational dynamics in traditional forms of political deliberation constitutes a major challenge. To substantiate these propositions this paper applies a mixed-methods approach, which blends subnational cross-sections and comparative case studies, to shed new light on Indonesia’s recent experience with democratic governance.


Forschungsbereich: Sonstiges
Sprache: English