Call for Paper. 2nd General Conference of CIPR Indonesia


2nd General Conference of Consortium for Indonesia’s Political Research (CIPR)


University of Brawijaya

Malang, 8 August 2017



Democratization in Indonesia after 15 years:

Consolidation, Embeddedness and Setbacks


The theme for this CIPR International Conference is Democratization in Indonesia after 15 years: Consolidation, Expansion and Drawback. After more than 15 years put into practice, this would be relatively a good time to provide a thoughtful and balanced assessment to achievements and drawbacks of democratic process in Indonesia. For sure democracy seems to be the only game in town at the moment. The country has been engaged in many elections at both national and local elections signifying relative important of procedural democratic processes. Various political players both in the region and the center are taking advantages out of these political transformations.

The consolidation of democracy, which for Indonesia, began with the presidency of BJ Habibie and Abdurrahman Wahid. President Habibie relaxed regulation for establishment of political parties which served as foundation for more democratic Indonesia. This step was ensued by decentralization and direct local elections started in 2005. The turbulent years after Wahid election in 1999 up to the election of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2004 illustrate both the challenges that democracy in Indonesia faced and the resilience that it showed during that period. The election of President Joko Widodo illustrates the continuing struggle for consolidation and expansion of democracy in Indonesia. Indeed, for scholars the development of democratization in Indonesia is somehow ambiguous (Bunte & Ufen 2008) from excitement of seeing it becoming a free country with regular elections and free press to despair due to corruption, elite domination, and ineffective bureaucracy. It is also quite strange that Indonesia’s effort and struggle to develop democracy have not secured ample attention from comparative theorists (Aspinall & Mietzner 2010) although it offers great example of consolidation within Muslim majority country.

Perhaps, the complexity of problems Indonesia is facing has hindered the effort to develop common analysis or even grand theory and incorporated it to the general theories of democratization. Decentralization may become a key to calm many critical regions by transferring the power to distribute money and decide key policies. However, the outcome is not always as expected as local leaders may become either reformers as well as convicts. In addition to that, majority of political parties are facing serious problem as they are unable, so far, to transform into a vehicle to aggregate public interests. Instead, they are controlled by political bosses who inherit important position within the parties due to their inheritance or capital. As a result, the country has not seen political parties created to channel voices of labour unions or poor people and grow civil society as the basis for democratic practices. It is indeed a challenge for scholars working on Indonesia to develop research and analysis to understand the trajectory of Indonesia’s democratization and uplift scholars’ attention as to Eastern Europe and Latin America.

On the other hand, the future of democracy in Indonesia is also depended on the performance of the government in difficult time during the period of consolidation. The government’s ability to deliver inclusive economic growth, provide leadership, maintain security, fight corruption, and protecting minorities rights’ will be critical to sustain the promises of democracy in the country like Indonesia. In a still consolidating democratic system, failure in any of these areas can create challenges for the continued legitimacy of not just the current government but the entire system.

The conference is held to present current research on the topics related to contemporary democratization in Indonesia. The analyses presented during the conference are keys to understand the problems, challenges as well as achievements that may lead to positive or negative inclination of democratic consolidation.



  1. Elections and Political Party The quality of election, impact on government stability and parliament. Institutional design, issue on vote method, party system effectiveness and the relationship to party dimension such as party institutionalization.
  2. Personality Politics. The political parties fail to prepare cadres who are able to be contested in competitive elections. It is true as political party leaders have been relying more on personal ‘image’ of the candidate which conveyed through the mass media. This phenomenon has been accompanied by the emerge of political operator or political consultants, who conduct the polls and focus groups on which parties and candidates increasingly rely in electoral campaigns.
  3. Political Culture. The Indonesian parliament’s specific institutional set-up and political culture seem to be helpful of control by several political bosses who are play behind the scene. It is necessary to have insights into how the parliament acts, particularly through its out-of-sight committees rather than in visible plenary sessions.
  4. Local Elections and Strongmen. The decentralization and democratization processes bring local election to the center of politics. In contrast to the New Order, there has been real electoral competition but candidates are generally limited to a small group of local elites, including local strongmen.
  5. Politics of Identity. After the decentralization policies politics of identity are on the rise. Manifestation of such political movement vary depending on the localities, but mainly advancing putra daerah (son of the land).
  6. Politics of Natural Resources Management.  There has been serious contestation between the central and local government over management natural resources. The local government have a tendency to manage resources in their locality, while the law mention these resources are under the central government domain. 
  7. Political Communication and Digital Politics. Democratic process offers access to various actors to emerge and voice their concern through many media and channels, including social media. Contestation to control social media and other channel could be avoided.
  8. Political Islam. Political Islam has long history in the country. However, recent elections have confirmed the insignificance of Indonesian Muslim aspiration and put Islamic parties in middle position rather than major. Why has a society that has overwhelming Muslim population failed to give more than 50% of their votes to “Islamic” political parties? Does political Islam exist decline or even exist in the current democratic Indonesia? Nevertheless, the emergence of mass Muslims expression on streets in the capital following the call for condemnation of blasphemy has underlined the probable capacity of Muslims to show their muscle and influence the national political dynamics.
  • Other topics can also be considered as long as they as long as they are relevant to the conference theme.



We do not receive paper abstract.  All potential authors  are invited to submit a full paper between 5000-6500 words for publication in the online conference proceedings. The committee will select six to seven paper for peer-reviewed publication journal indexed in Scopus. Full paper must be submitted in English and send directly to Convener email: no later than July, 20, 2017. Notification of acceptance will be given to author on July 25, 2017.



This conference will be held at Department of Political Science, University of Brawijaya Malang on August, 8-9, 2017. Free of charge. Details of the conference regarding schedule, guide for accommodation and transportation and other information on Malang city will inform personally to accepted authors.



Wahyu Prasetyawan, Ph.D (Convener, Jakarta State Islamic University/GRISP Tokyo)