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Thursday, June 28, 2007

state of new order

Foreign scholars have not been able to agree on the nature of the new order that has ruled Indonesia since 1966. A major difference of opinion has arisen over the extent to which General Suharto"s regime concentrates or disperses power. A major difference of opinion has arisen over the extent to which general Suharto's regime concentrates or disperses power.
New order Indonesia has been labelled variously as weak or strong, depending (it would seem) on the temper of the analyst and the current quesses as to its economic prospects.
What kind of regime holds power in Indonesia ? Does the Indonesian state have a high or law degree of "autonomy" and "capacity"? what are the major features of state- society relations Indonesia? Is Indonesia a "strong" or "weak" state? Emmerson writing in 1983 described a range of scholarly views of the Indonesian state. At one extreme was Benedict Anderson's portrayal of 'a regime so anthropomorphically purposeful and so cut off from pluralistic Indonesia society.... (that it) left little room for give and take on policy issues or for sensitivity to public needs'. At the other extreme was Karl Jackson's depiction of a'bureaucratic polity' in which 'cligues, circles and patron. Clients ties overrade the importance of institutions.'
Such a perpective of personal rule and a factionalized state leaves little room for any notion of state autonomy or capacity. Emmerson wrote that (w)here Anderson saw a hermetic, intentional state-for-its own-sake, Jackson riddled his own version of the regime with particularistic ties, interests and rivalries. (to be continued)
(sorce: Jim Schiller)

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