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Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family State by David Bourchier (review)

Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family State by David Bourchier (review) David Bourchier. Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family State. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. 318 pp. Jeffrey A. Winters There is a game of social-cultural generalizations that pretty much everyone engages in. New Yorkers are said to be brash. American midwesterners are nicer folk. Italians indulge their passions. Brits are reserved. In the Indonesian context, the Javanese hate confrontation and won’t reveal what they’re really thinking. Bataks are loud and relish a debate. The Madurese and Ambonese are warmhearted, but quick- tempered. Heads nod as various complementary or insulting things get said about broad populations, even though we know these are stereotypes that fall apart quickly at the level of actual individuals in each group. As David Bourchier reminds us in this excellent book, it is a very different phenomenon when powerful actors and states engage in a parallel game of generalizations about the character of their people. The difference lies in the motives. Contending factions of elites are interested in stable control and smooth domination, and they work hard to manufacture political-cultural interpretations that advance these goals. Indonesia’s leaders aggressively promote the view that from the basic family unit, up through villages and neighborhoods, and on to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Indonesia Southeast Asia Program [Cornell University]

Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family State by David Bourchier (review)

Indonesia , Volume 109 (1) – May 15, 2020

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Publisher
Southeast Asia Program [Cornell University]
Copyright
Copyright @ Cornell University
ISSN
2164-8654

Abstract

David Bourchier. Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family State. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. 318 pp. Jeffrey A. Winters There is a game of social-cultural generalizations that pretty much everyone engages in. New Yorkers are said to be brash. American midwesterners are nicer folk. Italians indulge their passions. Brits are reserved. In the Indonesian context, the Javanese hate confrontation and won’t reveal what they’re really thinking. Bataks are loud and relish a debate. The Madurese and Ambonese are warmhearted, but quick- tempered. Heads nod as various complementary or insulting things get said about broad populations, even though we know these are stereotypes that fall apart quickly at the level of actual individuals in each group. As David Bourchier reminds us in this excellent book, it is a very different phenomenon when powerful actors and states engage in a parallel game of generalizations about the character of their people. The difference lies in the motives. Contending factions of elites are interested in stable control and smooth domination, and they work hard to manufacture political-cultural interpretations that advance these goals. Indonesia’s leaders aggressively promote the view that from the basic family unit, up through villages and neighborhoods, and on to

Journal

IndonesiaSoutheast Asia Program [Cornell University]

Published: May 15, 2020

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