Lipset and Huntington in Indonesia (Literally)

In the course of doing some background research on the history of the Fulbright Program in Indonesia, I have come across an interesting fact. Both Seymour Martin Lipset and Samuel P. Huntington were in Indonesia in 1972 as part of the U.S. Senior Scholar Program. Indonesianists may not know these two, but any political scientist or sociologist will instantly recognize them as two landmark figures in post-war American social science. Each was eventually president of the American Political Science Association. Lipset was also president of the American Sociological Association. Huntington also served on the National Security Council. Lipset gave us Political Man and Party Systems and Voter Alignments. Huntington gave us Political Order in Changing Societies and The Clash of Civilizations. These are just career highlights, there are many others.

The question that immediately comes to mind (and which distracts me from thinking more about the Fulbright Program for a moment) is, what were they doing? Neither was an Indonesianist. Both were fresh off of having published some of their landmark publications. This was the context of the late Vietnam War and heavy U.S. interest in “holding the line” against communism in Asia, and in the Indonesian case this had meant the annihilation of the Communist Party of Indonesia. This was also the context of the consolidation of Indonesia’s brutal authoritarian New Order regime. Topics of “political order” and “cleavage structures” would have quite obviously been relevant to the study of Indonesian politics. It strikes me as unlikely that two influential political scientists would have found themselves in Indonesia in 1972 by chance.

The only other piece of information that I have is the list of other Fulbright Senior Scholars to Indonesia from 1972, which appears below. None of the other names jumps out at me.

Charles S. Haynes
Samuel P. Huntington
Seymour M. Lipset
Richard M. McGinn
Sarah K. Vann
Wayne A. Bogas
Curtis M. Hagen
Robert S. Weissberg
Daniel H. Wright

I would love to know if there is any material out there that can shed light on what they were doing. To be clear, I can think of all sorts of interesting theories involving social science and American power during the Cold War myself, what I’d find more useful are some details.

Comments 3

  1. adam3smith August 28, 2017

    This may be blatantly obvious to you, but you’re aware of Huntington’s consulting with the Brazilian dictatorship at about the same time? (Wikipedia has a little bit on this. Anthony W. Pereira appears to have done some recent work on it, but can’t find anything published). And the New Yorker has this:
    “One of his [Suharto’s] advisers was a close reader of Samuel Huntington’s “Political Order in Changing Societies” (1968). The book’s thesis—that simultaneous political and economic modernization could lead to chaos—was often interpreted in developing countries as a warning against unguided democracy. Suharto, accordingly, combined hard-nosed political domination with an expanding network of economic patronage.”

  2. Benjamin Smith August 28, 2017

    I was thinking along the same lines. At this same time one of the Shah’s closest advisors–Mohammed Baheri–was advising him to create a single-party system a la Huntington (which he did in 1975). And this was the genesis period of GOLKAR too so it would not surprise me if there were one or more people in the regime who had recently come out of grad school in the US–much like the Berkeley Mafia crew in economics.

Comments are closed.