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Nahdlatul Ulama and the Struggle for Power within Islam and Politics in Indonesia

Robin Bush

Publication Year: 2009

This is the most comprehensive account of the internal dynamics of the young intellectual generation of NU advocating for pluralism and democracy within Islam in Indonesia, during Gus Dur's leadership of PBNU. Because of the author's unique vantage point, her sometimes sharp criticism of this movement and its internal dynamics is extremely useful to those who continue to advocate for reform, within NU and in Indonesia generally. - Ahman Suaedy, Executive Director, Wahid Institute, Jakarta "Robin Bush provides an authoritative, insightful and engaging account of the political and intellectual world of Nahdlatul Ulama. She carefully analyses the tumultuous and often tangled dynamics within NU from the 1980s to the post-Soeharto period and unearths deeper historical and cultural resonances in explaining the organisation's outlook and actions. This is a valuable work for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Islamic politics in Indonesia." - Greg Fealy, Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Indonesian Politics, Australian National University, Canberra

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

My first word of thanks goes to the many NU leaders, ulama, activists and intellectuals who welcomed me into their world, shared their insights and struggles with me, and helped me obtain the information, documents and interviews I needed. There are too many to name here, so...


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pp. xi-xx

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-23

In the post-9/11 world, scholars and policy makers alike have grappled with the interplay between religion and politics. Islam has garnered a disproportionate amount of attention relative to other world religions. It has been turned upside down in search of insights into its potential...

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2. The Origins of NU and the Conflict with Masyumi

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pp. 24-64

The establishment of NU came about as a direct result of the local and international struggles between modernist and traditionalist Islam. The narratives of NU’s birth written by post-Khittah ’26 scholars sought to cast the organization’s origins in a ‘pure’ religious...

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3. Kembali ke Khittah 1926 and the Discourse on Civil Society

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pp. 65-110

The concept of a ‘return’ to NU’s original socio-religious rather than political orientation was expressed long before ‘Kembali ke Khittah 1926’ (Return to the Guidelines of 1926) became a rallying cry in the early 1980s. Most scholars cite Marijan’s (1992: 132) assertion that...

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4. NU and Reformasi: Political Developments from 1998 to 2001

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pp. 111-151

As the economic crisis hit Indonesia in 1997–98 and the New Order faltered, NU’s stance towards the regime was characteristically divided between accommodation by the leadership and vocal criticism by younger members, with a range of opinions and attitudes...

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5. Reformasi and Khittah '26

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pp. 152-186

This chapter takes a closer look at the response to NU’s return to politics and Abdurrahman Wahid’s rise to the presidency on the part of (1) NU’s 30th National Congress (Muktamar); (2) the PBNU and other official NU bodies; (3) Wahid himself; and (4) NU’s civil...

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6. Conclusion

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pp. 187-199

The fact that Nahdlatul Ulama is the largest mass-based Muslim organization in the world’s largest Muslim nation is reason enough to study it. Add to that the fact that NU gave Indonesia its fourth president, that it has a strong and vibrant civil society movement and that...


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pp. 201-210


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pp. 211-221


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pp. 223-234

About the Author

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p. 235

E-ISBN-13: 9789812308795
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812308764

Page Count: 235
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 608174874
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Nahdlatul Ulama and the Struggle for Power within Islam and Politics in Indonesia

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • N.U. (Organization).
  • Islam and politics -- Indonesia.
  • Indonesia -- Politics and government -- 1998-.
  • Islam -- Indonesia -- Societies, etc.
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