The Future of Indonesian Democracy: Views from Within

Dr Agus Suwignyo1, Dr Nanang Indra Kurniawan2, Dr Wawan Mas’udi3, Dr Poppy S. Winanti4, Dr Muhammad Djindan5, Dr Suzie Handajani6

1Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of History, , Indonesia, 2Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 3Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 4Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of International Relations, , Indonesia, 5Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia, 6Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Anthropology, , Indonesia

Chair: Dr Agus Suwignyo


While progressing in many extents, Indonesian democracy over the past twenty years has moved to tumultuous trajectories so paradoxical its future nobody knows. Political reforms, widening freedom of speech and law enforcement are convincingly improving. However, those who live inside Indonesia also witness and experience that identity politics, oligarchy pattern of leadership, and systematic challenges to corruption eradication have gained supports in the recent years which nonetheless are embedded in a democratic mechanism. In this panel, speakers—all Indonesians—will discuss from the insiders’ view the future of Indonesian democracy by examining the working of its ideology, practices of governance, and life style manifestation of the Indonesian youth. The main question is: why should Indonesia defend or give up democracy? The sources of data being analysed include archival texts, surveys, interviews and ethnographic observations. Digging into both conceptual and empirical aspects, the speakers argue that the ideological discourse of democracy and the working of the institutional mechanism of governance have a lot to be improved and synchronized. However, for democratic values to be embraced in the practices of daily life, a shift in the paradigm of participatory society is also required. Indonesian democracy is too complicated with both promises and perils that whether to defend or to give it up hardly earns a good, immediate reason.



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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