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Changing patterns of local elite competition in Indonesia : democratisation or oligarchic restructuring?

This thesis investigates the changing patterns of political competition among local elites in Indonesia in recent years. Since the demise of the New Order regime in 1998, the government of Indonesia underwent a transition towards a democracy after forty years of authoritarian rule. Since 1999, moreover, Indonesia has also embarked on a far-reaching decentralisation programme of its political institutions, which has shifted considerable power to the district level. Many hopes that were associated with these reforms have not materialised, with disappointment leading to increasingly gloomy evaluations of Indonesia's transition process. Despite the introduction of free and fair elections and the devolution of political authority, "old elites" from the New Order times have succeeded in maintaining their strategic administrative and political positions. Field research in the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi confirmed that the political elite from the New Order era is still very much in power indeed. However, elite continuity does not necessarily mean continuity for elites. Today, local political elites have to adhere to new strategies in order to stay in power, strategies which differ from those prevalent under the New Order. The aforementioned institutional reforms thus had a profound impact on the way power is accumulated and exercised among these entrenched elites. Yet clearly a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of elite continuity is needed. This thesis draws on 24 months of fieldwork in South Sulawesi and a variety of sources to offer such an enhanced understanding of local politics in post-authoritarian Indonesia. The thesis shows how the political changes and institutional reforms unfolding since the end of the New Order in 1998 have played out at the local level. The thesis traces patterns of both continuity and change in local politics, revealing subtle shifts in the terms of competition among local elites and in the possibilities for local accumulation of power.
Date January 2008
CreatorsBuehler, Michael
PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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