In any theoretical discussion of contemporary Indonesian democracy, the term “oligarchy” occupies a central role. It has been the subject of at least two very fine and influential books, Oligarchy and Reorganising Power. In a new paper (PDF), I contrast pluralism and oligarchy as frameworks for understanding Indonesian politics. My argument is pretty mainstream: “the critical pluralism I have described in this essay contains a prescriptive statement about what the scientific analysis of power, conflict, and material inequality in Indonesia ought to become,” and current analyses of oligarchy in contemporary Indonesia are not compatible with such a research program.
This paper is part of an exciting joint research project with scholars of Indonesian politics from around the world. Watch this space for more info in the coming months.