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The politics of good governance in post-authoritarian East Java: Intellectuals and local power in Indonesia

Kusman, Airlangga Pribadi (2015) The politics of good governance in post-authoritarian East Java: Intellectuals and local power in Indonesia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The post-authoritarian period provides the socio-economic and political context within which good governance and democratic institutional building has taken place in Indonesia. As strategic actors in governance processes, intellectuals have significant roles in such institutional building. My thesis will uncover the socio-political role of intellectuals in East Java province, especially Surabaya, by utilising a political economy and political sociology analysis. The contribution of intellectuals to local governance processes and democratic politics in East Java is achieved not only through their roles as knowledge-producers and disseminators, but through their actions as participants in the struggle over power and wealth, as members of electoral campaign teams, local government advisers as well as propagandists. East Java intellectuals eased into taking up these roles because there had been no space for creating social bases for progressive forces in civil society under New Order authoritarianism. Hence, there was a strong tendency for East Java intellectuals to have been domesticated or co-opted into the structures of state corporatism. After the fall of Suharto and subsequent democratization, predatory forces previously incubated under the New Order have not been sustained through coercion only but also by hegemonic strategies carried out by an intellectual apparatchik, including academicians, journalists and NGO activists. Because democratic institutions have been dominated by politico-business alliances in national as well as in local political arenas, the practice of governance tends to be dictated by predatory interests, serving neither the cause of the free market nor of empowering ordinary people. The thesis shows that intellectuals play a role beyond producing or disseminating ideas. In fact, various kinds of intellectuals have become directly involved in practices that ensure the mutation of the good governance agenda associated with decentralisation and democratisation into yet another instrument of predatory rule, including at the local level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Supervisor(s): Hadiz, Vedi and Hameiri, Shahar
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