The Politics of Aristocracy in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

Event details

PSC Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 22 October 2013


PSC Reading Room, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Bayu Dardias Kurniadi


Allison Ley
+61 2 612 53097

The seminar focuses on the question why some aristocrats have staged successful political comebacks in post-Suharto politics, while others have failed to do so. Since Indonesia's democratization process began in 1998, some areas have witnessed the revival of traditional aristocratic institutions that existed before 1945. In those areas, it has become common for aristocrats to compete for positions in the executive and legislative branches of government, build successful business networks, and fulfill important cultural and religious functions. In South Sulawesi province for instance, nine out of twenty-four district heads have aristocratic backgrounds. Similarly, the position of Yogyakarta's local aristocracy has been guaranteed by national law since 2012. However, aristocrats have not been successful everywhere. In North Maluku, for instance, the wife of the Sultan of Ternate failed in her bid to become mayor of Ternate. Which factors explain the success or failure of aristocrats in Indonesian regions? Is it the role of a particular aristocratic family under Dutch colonial rule that predetermined its fate in the current polity? Is it the particular stance of aristocratic leaders' vis-à-vis the 1945 revolution that is decisive? What was the role of the New Order? Or are historical factors completely irrelevant and the outcome of aristocratic bids for power today is determined solely by institutional and structural factors, such electoral reforms and forms of capital accumulation? The seminar tries to offer preliminary insights into these questions and lay out the blueprint for the planned PhD field research on this subject.

About the Speaker  - Bayu Dardias Kurniadi began his PhD studies at the Department of Political and Social Change, at The Australian National University (ANU) in December 2012. He received his BA from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta (2002) and completed his Master of Public Policy at ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy in 2009. In 2010, Bayu became a lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government, UGM. Bayu has been involved in numerous research projects with local and national governments, along with international institutions.

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