Authors: Yuki Fukuoka
With reference to Indonesia, this paper critically reviews the liberal interpretation of democratisation which focuses on the presumed significance of “civil society” as a driver of political change. Despite its popularity, this interpretation fits poorly in the context of Indonesia’s democratisation which has been characterised by the absence of a significant role for civil society organisations. Breaking free of the liberal mindset, this paper proposes a new perspective which locates the cause of political transition in conflict within the state, namely the struggle for power among the elite. Seen in this light, political transition in Indonesia has entailed not the empowerment of civil society but the redistribution of power within the state.
Keywords: Indonesia, Democratic Transition, Patrimonialism