Recent Works on Political Economy in Indonesia

The latest articles from the Journal of Contemporary Asia include a number of pieces on the political economy of contemporary Indonesia.  Particularly interesting are articles by Vedi Hadiz and Edward Aspinall that consider current class analysis in Indonesia through the lens of Richard Robison’s 1986 book The Rise of Capital.

While much of the analysis looks at the political economy of elite classes and their relation to the state, Aspinall has this to say about political contestation from below:

Although the organised representation of lower class interests remains fragmented in the post-transition period (Aspinall 2013), there are nevertheless many avenues for their expression in the political field. In the policy positions of governments at all levels over the last five to ten years we have seen many populist attempts to appeal to lower class constituencies, for instance, in industrial relations policy or the emergence of new health care and social security regimes at the local level (see Rosser, Wilson, and Sulistiyanto 2011). In sections of the urban middle classes, on the other hand, we can identify a committed and even enthusiastic social base for democratic rule and more thorough-going liberal reforms. These forces have not dominated the Indonesian transition, but their influence has not been negligible either. We need an analysis of Indonesian class politics that takes them into account, too, rather than writing them out of the frame (13)

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