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This chapter elaborates on the theoretical framework that serves as a guide for the analysis and briefly discusses the trajectory of Indonesia’s democracy over the last twenty years. It starts by presenting Indonesia as a “hard place” for democracy and by noting that substantive representation is an issue that is largely overlooked in research on democracy in this country, as existing studies have focused on describing the pathologies of citizen-politician linkages. It then develops the argument, first by reviewing research on the role of ordinary people and public opinion in democracy, then by discussing the relationship between representation and satisfaction with democracy, and finally by exploring the role of polarization and populism in evaluations of democratic performance. The chapter then returns to the Indonesian case to engage more closely with the literature on political Islam, participation and democratic erosion to discuss in greater detail the contributions of this analysis.
This chapter introduces the Indonesian case and the empirical puzzle, outlines the argument, discusses the book’s contributions to the study of Indonesian politics and representation in young democracies, presents data sources and methods, and introduces the structure of the book.
This chapter analyzes the relationship between political Islam and democratic attitudes, especially the link between ideology, public understandings of democracy and evaluations of democratic performance. It shows that the structure of conceptions of democracy in Indonesia is more complex than assumed. While most Indonesians think of democracy in liberal-egalitarian terms, others appear to subscribe to a participatory view of democracy. It further demonstrates that such conceptions of democracy are related both with political Islam and with evaluations of democratic performance. First, Islamists are systematically less likely to endorse a liberal understanding of democracy, and those who hold a liberal-egalitarian view of democracy are more likely to be dissatisfied with democracy. Second, respondents who understand participation as being an essential aspect of democracy are more, not less, satisfied with democracy in Indonesia. This chapter therefore shows that political Islam informs how ordinary people understand democracy and evaluate its performance in Indonesia.
This chapter concludes the book. It summarizes the findings and discusses their implications for democracy in Indonesia and elsewhere. In addition, it addresses some open questions that intersect with the argument, most importantly with regard to democratic representation, participation and accountability.
This chapter jointly studies elite and mass survey data to probe whether political Islam functions as the main avenue for representation in Indonesia. It analyzes patterns of substantive representation both on economic and social-religious issues, first by looking at how the distribution of preferences among the political elite corresponds with the mass public, and then more specifically at the role played by political parties as avenues of democratic representation. The findings show that, while a substantial degree of ideological congruence between politicians and voters can be observed on political Islam, the opposite is true for economic policy. By leveraging a survey experiment, I further probe the extent to which public preferences about political Islam are pliable to partisan considerations, as I find that partisan individuals may change their position on political-religious issues in response to elite cues. This chapter thus documents that democracy in Indonesia has provided a substantial degree of ideological representation, and that political parties, while deficient in other respects, have performed an essential (if imperfect) democratic function in this domain.
This chapter examines aggregate electoral returns to measure the influence of the political Islam cleavage on voting behavior in contemporary Indonesia. Existing research suggests that electoral behavior is driven primarily by patronage, candidate traits and evaluations of government performance rather than ideological and partisan considerations. Yet existing studies do not analyze the full spectrum of available electoral returns (both over time and across district) to reach such conclusions. As a result, our understanding of how deep-seated partisan affiliations rooted in political Islam have shaped voting behavior since democratization is incomplete. A quantitative analysis of district-level electoral returns from five legislative elections indicates that electoral geography today presents important continuities with the first democratic election of 1955, when politics was highly ideological and polarized. Furthermore, a longitudinal analysis indicates that the importance of historical partisan affiliations as a driver of voting behavior, after plummeting in the 2009 elections, has increased significantly in recent years.
This chapter moves to public opinion with an analysis of various surveys specifically designed to investigate perceptions of political Islam among ordinary citizens. First, it leverages the Indonesia National Survey Program dataset to show that ordinary people, like politicians, are divided in their views of political Islam, and it investigates various sociodemographic factors that are associated with this cleavage. Drawing from the same data, it further shows that political Islam is associated with participation and partisanship. It then analyzes a more focused survey conducted with an online sample to first explore the relationship between political Islam and national identity and, second, between Islam and populism, a key feature of contemporary Indonesian politics. The data analyzed in this chapter portrays a comprehensive figure of political Islam as perceived by the mass public, and to show that this cleavage is associated with a specific conception of national identity. To a certain extent, political Islam is also associated with policy preferences in important policy domains such as fiscal policy and decentralization, and with populist understandings of politics.
This chapter leverages micro-level data to ascertain if, and to what extent, political Islam indeed functions as an ideological cleavage that structures political competition in Indonesia. More specifically, it analyzes a survey of about 500 Indonesian legislators. While scholars of Indonesian politics acknowledge that ideological competition in this country is grounded in the political Islam cleavage, the degree to which politicians and political parties are differentiated on the issue of state-Islam relations is an open question. This study is the first attempt to systematically measure party positions on political Islam with a survey of political elites, and it shows that, while party positions are barely distinguishable on fiscal and economic policy, Indonesian parties are indeed clearly differentiated in their views of the role of Islam in public affairs. This evidence corroborates the foundations of the book’s argument, as it shows that party ideological differentiation on political Islam is sufficient to allow for meaningful representation.
The word “dignity” is mentioned three times in the Indonesian Constitution, in Article 28 G(1), Article 28 H(3), and Article 34(2). While “dignity” in Article 28 G(1) is mentioned in the context of civil and political rights, both Article 28 H(3) and Article 34(2) mention “dignity” in the context of the rights of social security. In this chapter, the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s decisions on human dignity will be critically analyzed to illustrate how the Court interprets the concept of “dignity” differently in those articles. Arguably, the Indonesian Court takes the position that human dignity under individual rights should be limited but that human dignity under socioeconomic and cultural rights should be promoted.
Indonesia, like many other countries around the world, is currently experiencing the process of democratic backsliding, marked by a toxic mix of religious sectarianism, polarization, and executive overreach. Despite this trend, Indonesians have become more, rather than less, satisfied with their country's democratic practice. What accounts for this puzzle? Unity Through Division examines an overlooked aspect of democracy in Indonesia: political representation. In this country, an ideological cleavage between pluralism and Islamism has long characterized political competition. This cleavage, while divisive, has been a strength of Indonesia's democracy, giving meaning to political participation and allowing a degree of representation not often observed in young democracies. While the recent resurgence of radical Islam and political polarization in Indonesian politics may have contributed to democratic erosion, these factors have simultaneously clarified political alternatives and improved perceptions of representation, in turn bolstering democratic participation and satisfaction. This compelling book effectively challenges the wisdom of the role of Islam in Indonesian political life and provides a fresh analysis for debates on democratic backsliding in Indonesia and beyond.
This article analyses trends in the development of the stock exchange in Jakarta between its stepwise institutionalisation since 1898 and its closure in 1942. The article contributes to literature on the significance of stock markets in the process of mobilising external capital for investment by private enterprise in emerging economies. It finds that the brokers participating in the stock exchange traded shares and bonds of companies operating in Indonesia and registered in Indonesia or in the Netherlands. Many of these securities were also traded on the much larger stock exchange in Amsterdam. Although formally independent, both securities markets were integrated. Based on estimates of relatively high market capitalisation during 1901–40, the article concludes that the Jakarta and Amsterdam stock exchanges together contributed significantly to the mobilisation of private investment and the development of private enterprise in Indonesia.
Chapter 9 concludes Mobilizing for Elections by reiterating the volume’s core arguments and contributions, then by exploring the potential extension of its framework to other cases, including the possibility of expanding the typology of electoral mobilization regimes. Next, it reviews the implications of the book’s findings for democratic governance and discusses the opportunities for and limits of reform measures with potential to curtail patronage politics and improve the quality of democracy, including electoral-system reform to help shift polities from a candidate-centric to a party-centric focus. Additional reforms are also important, whether promoting bureaucratic capacity and autonomy or creating a more level electoral playing field.
Chapter 6 focuses on macro-particularism – the hijacking of programmatic policies. It highlights the difficulty of drawing a clear line between programmatic and patronage politics. It explains three forms of macro-particularism: credit-claiming (when a politician claims their individual intervention was critical to delivering a benefit to an individual or group); facilitation (when the politician actually does intervene to ensure delivery); and morselization (when the politicians breaks a program into bite-sized chunks and allocates them according to political criteria). The chapter explains that the three case-study countries present different mixes of these forms. Hijacking under Malaysia’s party-dominated system lacks incentives to allow morselization and so hijacking mostly involves credit-claiming and facilitation of benefits provided by the dominant party. The deeply entrenched local machines of the Philippines represent a system founded on discretion, hence, more morselization. Indonesia is mixed: some politicians, notably regional executives, enjoy discretion in allocating resources; legislators are still trying to expand access to state resources for hijacking.
Chapter 4 focuses on micro-particularism: distribution of money, goods, or services to individual voters and households in hopes of obtaining their electoral support. The chapter finds this practice is extremely common in Indonesia and the Philippines but is not entirely absent in Malaysia (especially East Malaysia). The micro-particularistic practice given the greatest attention in the literature is cash handouts; the chapter confirms that candidates in the Philippines and Indonesia devote much attention to how to distribute cash effectively. Despite the ubiquity of the term “vote buying,” the chapter finds that micro-particularism rarely involves straightforward market transactions, either in how disbursement is expressed culturally or in anticipated outcomes: these payments are generally not contingent patronage. The chapter reveals that candidates find cash handouts most valuable as a means of signaling that they are serious contenders (a process the chapter calls credibility buying) and protecting their presumed turf; most voters being targeted have, at best, tenuous loyalties to the candidates targeting them.
This chapter provides a historical-institutional account of the emergence of distinct electoral mobilization regimes in Southeast Asia. It does so by surveying the sequencing and development of the bureaucracy, parties, and electoral systems across Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In the Philippines, the focus is the early twentieth century, when US colonial authorities introduced elections before establishing a strong bureaucracy, enabling elite families to capture power and build local machines. Malaysia's regime is traced to its transition to independence and rise of an ethnically defined party that subordinated the bureaucracy to its patronage purposes. And in Indonesia, the key era is authoritarian rule in 1966–98, when patronage was centralized in the bureaucracy and parties marginalized. Over time, electoral and bureaucratic reform have tempered, but not displaced, those legacies. Only through comparative analysis of historical patterns of state–society relations, the chapter shows, can we understand cross-national differences in patronage and the networks through which it flows. The chapter also provides key context for readers unfamiliar with Southeast Asia.
This chapter focuses on how patronage politics interacts with the politics of identity, notably ethnicity, religion, gender, and class, across Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The chapter highlights rich variety of forms of patronage politics across these categories, co-existing with underlying similarity in function. Politicians cater to a wide range of social identities and target varied identity groups with patronage, showing immense creativity when doing so. But the underlying goal of such politicians across our highly diverse, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious contexts is fundamentally the same: to capture more votes using offers or promises of patronage. This instrumental process generally reinforces rather than erodes existing social identities (except, the chapter points out, those based on class, which clientelist politics tends to undermine by connecting lower-class recipients of patronage to higher-status dispensers of it). Even so, particularly where electoral systems encourage broadly inclusive strategies, patronage distribution regularly crosses identity-group boundaries and thus tends to bridge divides rather than promoting deeper within-group bonding.
This chapter examines the three distinct types of networks used for patronage distribution and election campaigning in the primary Southeast Asian countries studied in the volume: a party-based national patronage machine in Malaysia, local machines in the Philippines, and ad hoc patronage networks in Indonesia. In each case—albeit in different ways and with varying degrees of effectiveness—these networks play critical roles in helping politicians to recruit, organize, and reward their brokers; coordinate access to patronage; and manage campaign activities. A further common feature of these networks is their resemblance to the classic brokerage pyramid associated with clientelistic politics. On closer examination, however, the chapter finds they differ significantly in terms of their geographic scope and degree of institutionalization or permanence. The chapter considers how these distinct network types map onto the three major types of patronage to produce distinct electoral mobilization regimes and demonstrates how differences across these regimes stem from historical antecedents and institutional environments.
This chapter analyses variation in patronage politics at the subnational level in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Variation is apparent at two extremes: locales where politicians rely more intensely on patronage, often combining it with coercion; and “islands of exception,” generally urban areas, where programmatic appeals supplement or begin to supplant patronage. Explaining this variation, the chapter focuses on three variables: concentration of control over economic resources, levels of capacity of local state institutions, and relative autonomy and egalitarianism of local social networks. The mix of these three factors can provide politicians and citizens with options to escape the cycle of patronage politics, or may deepen citizens’ dependence on patronage and vulnerability to predatory politicians. These variables help explain subnational variation, including intense patronage relative to the rest of the country (e.g., in East Malaysia and Indonesian Papua), high coercion (e.g., in the Philippines’ Mindanao), and urban reform movements that push toward programmatic politics (e.g., in Penang in Malaysia, Surabaya in Indonesia, and Naga City in the Philippines).
Chapter 5 examines the patronage type found most consistently across Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines: meso-particularism (commonly called pork, club goods, or local public goods). This involves distribution of patronage to groups. The chapter distinguishes groups targeted with such patronage: networks of affect orient around religious, cultural, or other social purposes; networks of benefit are tied to income-generating, employment, or other material needs. The chapter explains when and how community-level elected officials act as key brokers in these exchanges. It identifies four reasons why candidates adopt meso-particularism: (1) it is less costly than dispensing cash or other individual patronage to voters; (2) it carries less social and legal stigma; (3) it allows politicians to provide benefits throughout the electoral cycle; (4) it promotes monitoring by focusing on groups rather than individuals. The chapter shows that meso-particularism rarely involves a clear quid pro quo; its value is in building a brand, buying credibility, and protecting turf. It involves contingent patronage only when candidates deal with group leaders able reliably to deliver followers’ votes.
This chapter introduces the research questions and framework that guide the volume. Explaining that the volume aims to understand variation in patterns of patronage politics across Southeast Asia, what causes that variation, and how patronage politics works on the ground, it begins by conceptually untangling patronage and clientelism. The chapter defines patronage as a material resource disbursed for particularistic benefit and political purposes, and clientelism as a personalistic relationship of power. It distinguishes among three types of patronage (micro, meso, and macro), the first involving disbursement of benefits to individuals, the second to groups, and the third referring to large-scale programs that are “hijacked” for particularistic purposes. The chapter also stresses that politicians draw on different types of political networks when distributing patronage, producing a logic whereby different mixes of patronage and networks cohere as distinct “electoral mobilization regimes.” The chapter introduces three such regimes found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and highlights the volume's theoretical contributions and scope and methods.