Democracy, Corruption and the Politics of Spirits in Contemporary Indonesia

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Indonesia has been an electoral democracy for more than a decade, and yet the political landscape of the world’s third-largest democracy is as complex and enigmatic as ever. Indonesia is simultaneous a country that has achieved a successful transition to democracy and a flawed, illiberal, and predatory democracy.

This book provides a portrait of Indonesia’s contradictory democracy through a series of biographical accounts of political entrepreneurs, from the political ‘periphery’ of North Maluku and the ‘political centre’ of East Java respectively. Each biographical account is focused on one contentious area of democracy in Indonesia – elections, corruption, decentralization, and regional representation. The chapters explore the intimate ways in which the political world and the spirit world are entangled. The core argument of the book is that Indonesia’s seemingly peculiar problems with democracy and spirits in fact reflect a set of contradictions within democracy itself.

The book will be of interest to academics in the fields of Asian Studies, anthropology and political science and relevant for the study of Indonesian politics and democracy in Asia and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRoutledge
Number of pages162
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-81991-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-77380-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesThe Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia

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