Money politics: a report from the Indonesian elections

Event details

PSC Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 29 April 2014


Lecture Theatre 3, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Professor Edward Aspinall


Kerrie Hogan
+61 2 6125 2167

In this presentation, Professor Edward Aspinall illustrates the variety of €˜money politics' found in Indonesia today, as well as the challenges such strategies pose for political candidates and voters alike.


Edward Aspinall has just returned to Australia from an intensive period of field research focused on the Indonesian elections. In a research project that was run in collaboration with the University of Gadjah Mada, and funded by CDI, he helped to coordinate a team of 50 researchers distributed across the archipelago, and himself visited 18 provinces, interviewing scores of candidates and campaign workers. The focus of the research project was on candidate strategies and organisational structures, with a special emphasis on the distribution of goods, money and services as a means of mobilising voters. Usually known in Indonesia by the term €˜money politics', the provision of such gifts and services was an all-but ubiquitous feature of the 2014 legislative elections, ranging from gifting of facilities providing collective benefits to communities through to individualised vote-buying, and with a hugely creative variety in between. In this presentation, Professor Aspinall will provide a preliminary sketch of the major findings, provide background on the research project, its aims and methods, and illustrate the variety of €˜money politics' found in Indonesia today, as well as the challenges and dilemmas such strategies pose for candidates and voters alike.

About the Speaker

Edward Aspinall is a professor of politics specialising in Indonesia.  He is based at the Department of Political and Social Change, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies. His interest in the study of politics, especially Southeast Asian politics, began when he lived in Malang, East Java, as a teenager. After studying Indonesian language and politics at high school and university, he completed his PhD at the ANU in 2000 on the topic of opposition movements and democratisation in Indonesia.  After that, he researched a range of topics related to Indonesian democratisation and civil society, especially the separatist conflict in Aceh. His current research interests include ongoing research on Indonesian national politics and democratisation. He is also starting systematic research on the role of ethnicity in everyday politics in Indonesia and is part of a multi-country study on €˜money politics' in Southeast Asia. 

This seminar is jointly presented by The Department of Political and Social Change and Centre for Democratic Institutions/ School of International, Political & Strategic Studies.       

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