Bali’s Local Politics in Indonesian Post-Authoritarian Era: Between Local Gangsters and Local Aristocrats

Miss Sandry Saraswati1, Mr Deda Rizky Rainditya

1Universitas Airlangga (Airlangga University), Surabaya, Indonesia

This research focuses on the existence of Balinese local gangsters in the dynamics of post-authoritarian local electoral democracy. Balinese local gangsters – in the context of this research are Laskar Bali and Baladika – apparently have their own agenda wrapped in Balinese locality values: the revival of the local aristocracy (puri) in Bali’s leadership. Using Ernesto Laclau’s Populism theoretical framework, both Laskar Bali and Baladika coalesce into The ‘People’ for articulating the narrative of the revival of the local aristocracy in Bali’s leadership against the local electoral democracy system. As for the rise of local aristocrats in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian era, this is as the response of indigenous people, including the aristocrats, towards the narrative of nationalism and the pressure of the New Order regime with its single ideological narrative (Pancasila). In the context of this research, local aristocrats also have an agenda to participate in fulfilling the civil society narrative that is increasingly inclusive in the post-authoritarian era. Balinese local gangsters are also carrying out the same pattern through articulating the interests of local aristocrats as their strategy.


Sandry Saraswati is an undergraduate student of Political Science in Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia. Her research interest covers Indonesia’s local politics and militia groups, specifically in the East Java and Bali. She is a research and lecturer assistant in the Department of Political Science, Airlangga University. She is also the Head of Research and Development in the Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) in the East Java region.

Deda R. Rainditya is an undergraduate student of Political Science in Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia. He is a research and lecturer assistant in the Department of Political Science, Airlangga University, and often conducts several research in the East Java. He concerns in the field of Indonesia’s Political Economy and neoliberal studies. He also conducts several researches related to election violation with Independent Electoral Monitoring Committee (KIPP) in the East Java.

Ambient Air: Kolkata’s Bicycle Politics and Post-Carbon Futures


1Western Sydney University, , Australia

What political topographies does air pollution create? How do bicyclists in large South Asian cities experience, navigate, and mobilize these topographies? In seeking to answer these questions, this paper argues that air politics, i.e., the various registers through which air is mobilized, imagined, and experienced, are intrinsically terrestrial in nature. Ethnographic attention to degraded air raises both the possibility of post-carbon imaginaries in the age of the Anthropocene as well as the indispensability of bicycles in the lives of impoverished and activist cyclists who rely on them to make a living and to stake claims about mitigating climate change. By paying close ethnographic attention to the lives of Kolkata’s cyclists, I posit that the city’s seemingly emergent pollution crisis has much deeper roots in the unevenness of colonialism, post-colonial electoral democracy, and everyday struggles for road space and legitimacy.


Malini Sur is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society and teaches anthropology at Western Sydney University. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (2012). Her research addresses three lines of inquiry – agrarian borders, urban space and environment. The first examines fences, transnational flows, and citizenship. A second line of inquiry explores the relationship that mobility has to urban space, and specifically, with regard to bicycling and construction sites across Asian cities. Finally, she examines the afterlives of natural disasters, air pollution, and climate change. As an anthropologist, she researches these themes historically and with keen attention to visual representation. She has conducted fieldwork in Bangladesh and India, and with South Asian asylum seekers in Belgium.

The Arabisation of the Z Generation and its Possible Influence on the Democratisation Processes in Indonesia

Miss Monika Piosik1

1Adam Mickiewicz University , Poznań, Polska

For several years now, we have witnessed a religious revival in Indonesia, especially among students fascinated by Middle Eastern Islam. This paper will analyse the origins of the phenomenon of arabisation among young Indonesians, as well as the reasons why Middle East patterns are more attractive than native ones. Nowadays, young people create movements that appeal to ultra conservative Muslim values, including those that promote polygamy, as well as the creation of the Indonesian Caliphate. They manifest their faith strongly through restrictions in clothing and behaviour. Arranged marriages are becoming fashionable again due to the extensive social media campaign. Religion has started to play an increasingly visible role in the politics of the country. What is more, it is becoming a tool for manipulating social moods. Generation Z are young people born between 1994 and 2000, today’s students and voters. Their votes have a real impact on the election results in the country. Do their religious views determine their political choices? If so, the popularity of radical political groups may increase, which in the long-term perspective may affect the democratisation processes in the Republic of Indonesia. The paper is based on data collected during field research in Eastern Java.


Monika Piosik, MA, PhD student at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in the Institute of Eastern Studies. In the years 2014-2015, she was an awardee of the Darmasiswa Scholarship under the auspices of the Indonesian Minister of Education. Her research interests include links between religion and politics, especially in Southeast Asia, as well as the influence of fundamental movements on democratization processes. She conducts research in Indonesia and promotes the field of research on South-East Asia in Poland.

Cross-Cultural Adaptation in the Context of Maternal Involvement in Children’s Education: A Study on Indonesian Mothers in Turkey

Mrs. Durrotul Mas’udah1

1Medi@n Analytics, , Indonesia

This study argues that maternal involvement in children’s education, as an aspect of motherhood, is culture-bound. Thus, when it is experienced by migrant mothers, it is subject to cross-cultural adaptation. This study aims to explore the cross-cultural adaptation experienced by Indonesian mothers in Turkey, through understanding their involvement in their children’s education. Qualitative method is employed in this study, with in-depth interviews with ten Indonesian migrant mothers who reside in Turkey. The interview questions are generated from Young Yun Kim’s Integrated Theory of Communication and Cross-cultural Adaptation, which explores the micro-factors (interpersonal and social communication) and macro-factors (environment and pre-disposition) that influence cross-cultural adaptation. The in-depth interview is designed to answer the following key questions: 1. What kinds of cultural difficulty have the Indonesian migrant mothers faced in their involvement in children’s education? 2. How did they exercise interpersonal and social communication in their cross-cultural adaptation to maternal involvement in children’s education? 3. How did environment and pre-disposition factors influence their cross-cultural adaptation to maternal involvement in children’s education? The findings reveal that the interplay between the micro- and macro-factors facilitates the mother’s cross-cultural adaptation to maternal involvement in children’s education.


Durrotul Mas’udah is a recent graduate from the Master program in Communication Science at Kocaeli University, Turkey. Her research area ranges from Intercultural Communication, Social Media Communication, and Critical Studies of Communication. Currently, she serves as a research assistant and content writer at an Indonesia-based start-up called Medi@n Analytics.

The Roots of Conservative Radicalism in Southern Thailand’s Buddhist Heartland

Dr Patrick Jory1, Mr Jirawat Saengthong1

1University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Studies of southern Thailand since the outbreak of militant violence in early 2004 have focused on the southern border provinces and the Malay-Muslim community. But in the more populous parts of the south with a Thai-Buddhist majority another process of radicalisation has taken place which has been largely ignored in the scholarship. In recent decades the south’s old Buddhist heartland has seen a high level of cultural and religious dynamism. A new field of southern Thai studies and a distinct southern Thai literature have emerged which have contributed to the hardening of a southern Thai Buddhist identity. This identity values struggle and resistance, an aggressive masculinity, self-reliance, loyalty to family and community, and a willingness to use violence in the defence of justice. This paper examines cultural and religious movements in southern Thailand’s Buddhist heartland in recent decades. It offers a new perspective on the recent rise of ultra-royalism, the strengthening of a politicised Buddhist identity, and the growth of anti-democratic sentiment in Thailand.


Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History at the University of Queensland. He worked for nine years at Walailak University, southern Thailand, as Coordinator of the Regional Studies Program. He has recently completed a book on the history of manners and civility in Thailand.

Jirawat Saengthong teaches ASEAN Studies at Walailak Unviersity, southern Thailand. He is currently completing a PhD on the history of Thai film.

Railroading Development: Displacement and Speculation on Laos’ High-Speed Railway

Dr Kearrin Sims1

1James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

In 2004 the Thao family were forcibly displaced from their mountainside village to the provincial capital of Luang Prabang. The relocation was for purposes of development: to prevent environmentally deleterious swidden practices, eradicate opium cultivation, and to provide a remote ethnic minority community with greater access to public services. Yet no assistance was provided to build new homes, grow new crops, or relocate livestock and personal belongings.  In 2010 the Thao family were again forcibly displaced for purposes of development. As tourism expanded, the Thao’s land was needed to undertake an expansion of Luang Prabang’s airport facilities. This time financial compensation was provided, but it was not sufficient to rebuild.  In 2017, the Thao family discovered workers hammering wooden stakes across their farmland to mark the route for a high-speed railway running from China to Singapore. Their land will again be taken, and no compensation will be provided. Drawing on longitudinal research with the Thao family, this paper considers how development processes in Laos constitute a form of ‘slow violence’ against vulnerable communities (Davies 2019). By demonstrating how efforts to connect and modernise Future Asia consistently and repeatedly produce disadvantage alongside opportunity, I contest normative perceptions of enduring prosperity and progress.


Kearrin Sims is a critical development scholar with a particular interest in exclusionary forces, social equity, and connectivity in the Asian region. He is also interested in development studies pedagogy, South-South cooperation, and urban transformations. Kearrin convenes James Cook University’s Master of Global Development.

Becoming and Being a Young Father in the Context of Poverty and Disaster: An Ethnographic Study of Early Fatherhood in a North Lombok Village

Mrs Lisa Colquhoun1

1University Of Newcastle, , Australia

During August 2018, the small island of Lombok in eastern Indonesia was jolted by a series of destructive and shallow earthquakes, killing 563 people and displacing more than 417,000 others, including over 2,800 Sasak Muslim families in the impoverished, rural village of Malaka. Malaka and surrounding villages record some of the lowest levels of development in Lombok and Indonesia more widely, with young people here continuing to enter parenthood much earlier than is the case in neighbouring islands. Drawing on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted in Malaka prior to and following the earthquakes, and underpinned by a critical men’s studies perspective, this paper examines young Sasak men’s transitions to and experiences of early fatherhood and considers the impact of poverty and disaster – and subsequent displacement and unemployment – on their parenting experiences and masculine identities. It focuses in particular on the ways young Sasak men, as gendered beings, negotiate fatherhood and local hegemonic masculinity when suddenly and unexpectedly stripped of their capacity to fulfil their culturally-prescribed role as protectors and providers for their families.


Lisa is a charity fundraiser and PhD candidate in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, where she has also worked as a casual lecturer in the university’s English Language and Foundation Studies Centre. She lives on the beautiful NSW Central Coast with her husband, two children and rescue dog.



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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