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Labor and Politics in Indonesia
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Book description

Two decades after Indonesia's transition to democracy, its labor movement has emerged as a vibrant and influential political actor. Labor and Politics in Indonesia provides the first in-depth analysis of this development, investigating how a structurally weak labor movement carved out a strategic foothold in a country with no recent history of union engagement in politics. Caraway and Ford show how Indonesia's labor movement achieved many of its goals first through the disruptive power of contentious politics and later by combining street and electoral politics. Labor and Politics in Indonesia challenges the dominant theoretical approaches in the study of Indonesian politics, demonstrating how this movement became an active, and surprisingly effective, participant in Indonesia's democracy. Caraway and Ford break new theoretical ground in their analysis of how legacies of authoritarianism, the post-transition political opportunity structure, and the tactical creativity of Indonesia's unions combined to propel Indonesia's labor movement to success.

Reviews

'This book is not only the single best study of labor politics anywhere in Southeast Asia, but also the most empirically rich and analytically rigorous account of political mobilization and contestation over economic growth in Indonesia. Caraway and Ford challenge other scholars of Southeast Asian politics to look beyond competition among personalities and parties to the broader social forces and societal dynamics structuring politics in the region. Hats off to them for this important contribution to the literature. May the rest of us rise to the challenge!'

John Sidel - London School of Economics

'At a time when accounts of organized labor gains are few and far between, Labor and Politics in Indonesia is a refreshing read. The book will be a major contribution to the field of comparative labor politics.'

Maria Lorena Cook - Cornell University

'At a time when many see labor as getting weaker across much of the world, Caraway and Ford offer a well-researched account of how Indonesia’s unions managed to expand their influence in national and local politics, forging their own networks and taking advantage of shifting political opportunities. Labor and Politics in Indonesia contains important, and often surprising, insights into the conditions that enable a labor movement to punch above its weight in new democracies.'

Rudra Sil - University of Pennsylvania

'… Labor and Politics in Indonesia deserves a wide readership among anyone interested in Southeast Asian politics, labor movements, and democratization.'

Edward Aspinall - Australian National University

'Labor and Politics in Indonesia offers a sustained and incisive analysis of labour politics in Indonesia since reformasi, demonstrating how sections of the Indonesian labour movement have adapted to the changing broader socio-political environment of the last two decades. It follows, in scrupulous detail, the wins and losses registered by that movement as it seeks to influence the contours of democratisation. The book will likely be considered the definitive work on post-New Order Indonesian labour politics.'

Vedi Hadiz - University of Melbourne

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