From Peacebuilding to Social Justice

Dr Birgit Bräuchler

1Monash University, , Australia

Drawing on multi-sited and multi-temporal fieldwork, this paper follows the intricacies of long-term transformation processes at Indonesia’s margins, from colonial oppression and co-optation, to national integration and conflict, decentralisation and peacebuilding. In this long-term trajectory, we take a specific look at how structural violence, historical inequalities and deep religiosity led to mass violence in Maluku (Eastern Indonesia) that the central government refused to take responsibility of. This triggered indigenous people to revive local tradition to rebuild interreligious bridges and religious figures to instigate interfaith dialogue. These efforts so far fail to promote interethnic dialogue between indigenous people and migrants, which, on the long run, could result in future conflicts. The government’s focus is on economic development that often continues issues of structural violence through, for instance, land grabbing and the exploitation of natural resources. The peace movement and continuing injustices triggered the emergence of yet another kind of movement for broader social justice, in which the youth, local knowledge, international legal frameworks and a global protest rhetoric figure prominently. This paper contributes to the analysis of long-term transformation processes at the margins of post-Suharto Indonesia and argues for the need to broaden our understanding of processes of reconciliation and peace.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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