THE INCOMPLETE PROCESS OF INDONESIAS DEMOCRATIZATION

Paskal Kleden

Abstract

The two editors of the book, Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner have
been actively researching Indonesian politics since their adolescence.
Aspinall lived previously for several years in Malang and Mietzner
conducted his initial research on Indonesia in Ambon. The two editors,
now scholars at the Australian National University in Canberra, belong
to the new generation of Indonesian experts.
The two Australia based scholars represent a shift from the dominance
of the American based experts from the earlier generation such as
George McTurnan Kahin (Cornell University), Benedict Anderson
(Cornell University), and Daniel S. Lev (Washington University), who
researched Indonesia during the Cold War period. At that time Indonesia
was considered as a country threatened by the domino effects of
communism that already swept China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos,
and Cambodia, leading to increased funds for Indonesian studies in the
US, and therefore contributing to in depth political analysis produced
among others by the Cornell Modern Indonesia Project (CMIP).
However, the importance of Indonesia in particular and Asian studies
in general (Ellings & Hathaway 2010: 2) abated in the post Cold War
period as attention is drawn further to more severe con?ict areas.
Therefore, with this book the two editors aim at bringing Indonesia
back to the international political discourse. They argue that most of
the comparativists, for instance like the Washington DC based Freedom
house, have treated Indonesia only as one country among many others
212 | Masyarakat Indonesia
in their quantitative analyses. A number of important work on Indonesia
have also been published by junior scholars, unfortunately they lack
in?uence for triggering a larger international debate on Indonesia.

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