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Popular Agency and Interests in Indonesia’s Democratic Transition and Consolidation

From: Indonesia
Number 96, October 2013
pp. 101-121 | 10.1353/ind.2013.0021



This article reviews the part played by lower class groups in Indonesia’s democratic transition and consolidation. While mainstream analyses emphasize dominance of Indonesian politics by oligarchs and other elites, this article also finds many new avenues for lower class political agency. It focuses on two: fragmented activism, through which lower class groups organize and mobilize to advance their own interests, and electoral populism, by which candidates for elective office respond to the preferences of poor voters by offering them policy concessions. The article illustrates these propositions by focusing on the labor movement and healthcare programs.