You are on page 1of 5

This article was downloaded by: [126.36.32.

107]
On: 14 November 2011, At: 03:02
Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,
37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Asian Studies Review


Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/casr20

State and society in Indonesia: integralism redux?


Donald K. Emmerson
a

University of WisconsinMadison

Available online: 27 Feb 2007

To cite this article: Donald K. Emmerson (1992): State and society in Indonesia: integralism redux?, Asian Studies Review,
16:2, 257-260
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03147539208712865

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE


Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic
reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to
anyone is expressly forbidden.
The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents
will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses should
be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims,
proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in
connection with or arising out of the use of this material.

November 1992

Review Articles

257

State and society in Indonesia: integralism redux?


Donald K. Emmerson
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Downloaded by [126.36.32.107] at 03:02 14 November 2011

ARIEF BUDIMAN, editor. State and Civil Society in Indonesia. Monash Papers
on Southeast Asia No. 22. Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian
Studies, Monash University, 1990. Pp. xiv, 538. Contents, dedication,
preface, acknowledgements, notes on contributors, introduction. A$17.00,
paper.
"Uneven", that cliche of reviewers of conference volumes, also fits this
gallimaufry of papers from a 1988 meeting at Monash. At the time they wrote,
its nineteen authors were based in Australia (12), Indonesia (4), Malaysia (1),
Japan (1) and Sweden (1). Its twenty-two texts vary in length from a four-page
speech by the late Yap Thiam Hien to a pair of chapters by Richard Tanter that
occupy more than a fifth of the book. Its scenes run a gamut from Javanese poet
Saraswati Sunindyo juxtaposing Nelson Mandela with a Surabaya pedicab driver
(Keith Foulcher) to US diplomat George Kennan consigning post-World War II
Southeast Asia to Japan (Tanter). Its sites range from sub-Javanese Jepara (Jim
Schiller) through Kerala and West Bengal (Olle Tbmquist) to South Korea
(Tanter).
But I could also argue that for all its breadth this book treats Indonesia too
narrowly. Apart from a paragraph on Minangakabau women (Maila Stivens),
outer-island peoples and sites are eclipsed by Central Javanese theatre and ritual
(Barbara Hatley, Ignas Kleden), not to mention global capitalism, Antonio
Gramsci and theories variously -ist: structuralist, feminist, neo-Marxist. The
editor himself (Arief Budiman) regrets there is but one chapter on gender
(Stivens).
Rijsttafel or cassava, no matterthis collection is a feast. I found food for
thought even in its least digestible parts. Perusing it reminded me how much
more dynamic, diverse and broad-based are Indonesian studies in Australia
compared with the United States, Japan or any European country including
Holland.
As matters for academic discussion, "the state" and "civil society" are as
vague as they are fashionable. In his introduction, optimistically entitled "From
a conference to a book", Budiman glosses Hobbes and Locke to distinguish
"natural" and "political" societyjungle and dictatorshipfrom a "civil" society
where citizens enjoying basic rights without detriment to order can live in an
optimum between anarchy and autocracy.

258

Asian Studies Review

Vol. 16, No. 2

Downloaded by [126.36.32.107] at 03:02 14 November 2011

This way of seeing state and society assumes a crucial tension between them.
Abjuring the depradations of Leviathan, the state by keeping its hands off society
allows it to become civil, that is, to be autonomous from the state. But at the
same time, to prevent such a society from lapsing back into the natural war of all
against all, the state intervenes to protect the public from its most unruly
members. State and society are thus not wholly autonomous from each other,
but rather, in democratic theory, engaged in a mutually accountable and enabling
relationship. These notions may be naive but they are at least clear points of
departure toward something more realistic and less Anglo-Saxon.
Cast in these terms, the authoritarian New Order established by General
Soeharto back in the 1960s has tried to legitimise its ability to constrain the lives
of Indonesian citizens by warning of disorderthe risk that society will revert to
"natural" anarchy. Conversely, some Western or Westernised critics of the New
Order have sought to unmask this strategy by arguing that in the name of
deterring natural society regime leaders have gone too far in the opposite
direction: repressing citizens and keeping them bound closely to the state under a
Pancasila-styled pseudo-democracy that inhibits the evolution of society from an
authoritarian "political" condition toward a more "civil"autonomous and
rights-exercisingstatus in a real, that is, a liberal democracy. These
distinctions give rise to the proposition that one way of helping to democratise
Indonesia would be to strengthen the autonomy of society against the state.
Budiman rejects this logic. He invokes Hegel, Marx and especially Gramsci
to argue that "democratization is not to be achieved through strengthening civil
society, because civil society is not in contradiction with the state" (p. 5, also
pp. 8-9). On the contrary, for Budiman, civil society and the state, as
accomplices in maintaining domination by the capitalist class, may jointly use
democratisation to entrench and legitimise exploitation. Far from being defined
as autonomous from the state, civil society and the state are treated as aspects of
the same superstructural hegemony of the ruling class (p. 4). And yet, writes
Budiman, who chose it as the subject of the conference, democracy is also the
topic of this book (pp. 367, 2, 12). It is an odd way to begin: relegating the
actual subject of ensuing pages (political democratisation) to the periphery of
something central (class exploitation) that they are not about.
In any event, Budiman turns out more Gramscian than most of his authors.
In th ir chapters, for example, Andrew Maclntyre on business, Schiller on
Jepara and Philip Eldridge on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) share
evidence that civil society is being strengthened, that it is growing more
autonomous from the state, and that this process cannot be understood as the
mere conniving of self-serving political and economic elites for class hegemony
and exploitation. Rather than deal with the unsettling implications of such
evidence for his paradigm, Budiman engages in damage control. Maclntyre and
Schiller, he writes, "show that only the people of the middle and upper strata are
able to increase their bargaining position against the state", and not by their own

November 1992

Review Articles

259

Downloaded by [126.36.32.107] at 03:02 14 November 2011

autonomous efforts but because the state has been fortuitously weakened by
falling oil prices (p. 366). I have italicised the key word hereonlybecause
Maclntyre and Schiller say no such thing. The middle-to-upper-class purview of
their evidence does not allow them to, and even if it did, to assert that all but the
lowest strata can stand up to the state is to cast radical doubt on its authoritarian
character. That implication, ignored by Budiman, is even more damaging to his
position.
Indirectly Eldridge does deal with the poorest and weakest Indonesians.
While acknowledging the weight of the state and its ability to repress and coopt
opponents, he identifies three kinds of NGOs. But all three "serve to strengthen
civil society" (p. 529) and this process is neither obviously nor necessarily just a
sham in the service of state rapacity. It also falls to Eldridge to observe, in what
I take to be a wry tone in a book entitled State and Civil Society in Indonesia
(p.504): "To the extent that our recent conference grappled at all with the
relationship between the state and civil society, there appeared to be a broad
consensus that no firm or even meaningful boundaries can be drawn between
them". Yet inflating each of these phenomena to encompass "the totality of
social and political life" must render "tautological" any and all propositions about
the state in relation to civil society.
An unintended lesson of all this is to remind us just how precarious in
Indonesian political thought are the categories of disaggregation necessary for
liberal democracy as institutionally enacted and protected procedures to become
thinkable: the idea that society and state are not the same thing and that members
of society have original and inalienable rights, including the right to call the state
to account for its performance in protecting the exercise of those rights while
maintaining public safety. It is not a very long step from the Javanist, familist,
boundary-blurring integralism of Professor Soepomo and his intellectual legatees
in the Indonesian military, whose ideas point toward "the deification of the state
because society is considered to be dissolved into and represented by the state"
(Rahman Tolleng as cited by David Reeve, pp. 162-63), to the Gramscian fusing
of state and society in one harmonically functioning system of capitalist class
hegemony and oppression. While normatively at odds about whether the
interpenetration of state and society is good (Soepomo) or bad (Budiman), these
two understandings are cognitively similar. In this context one regrets all the
more the paucity of attention to outer-island voices, including the intellectual
heirs of Sutan Sjahrir and Mohammad Hatta.
Other things could be said about this stimulating book. Tanter performs a real
service to the field by writing about New Order intelligence agencies not just to
denounce them, which is easy, but also to describe them, which is hard. The
chapters by Bourchier, Eldridge, Hatley, Maclntyre, Reeve and Schiller are
cogently argued and refreshingly empirical. I also enjoyed Kleden's essay on
the late Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, its hagiographic tenor notwithstanding.

260

Asian Studies Review

Vol. 16, No. 2

Downloaded by [126.36.32.107] at 03:02 14 November 2011

I found the debate between Zifirdaus Adnan and Bambang Pranowo


fascinating. Adnan argues that the subject of Islam and the state in Indonesia
cannot be understood through the santri-abangan dichotomy, which he ably
disaggregates and replaces with an expressly political contrast between those
who propose and those who oppose a formal link between Islamic ideology and
the state. Pranowo replies by exposing flaws in Adnan's own dichotomy. Both
chapters are full of information and ideas, and neither has theoretical
pretensions, Hegelian or otherwise. Read in sequence they would make a fine
assignment in a course on Islam and politics in Indonesia.
Coherence in conference volumes is rare enough to make unfair, or at any rate
banal, a lament for its absence here, especially since most of these essays are
individually stimulating and instructive. No such circumstance excuses the lack
of proofreading and editing. A naive reader of Reeve's chapter will wonder if
Golkar is an emergency medical care unit, so often does the word "cauterisation"
appear when "cadre-isation" is meant. It is one thing to turn Joseph Tamney into
Yoseph Tumney, since he was not at the conference to protest, but Andrew
Maclntyre was and still could not stop his name from being misspelled not only
in Budiman's commentary but also on the back cover and the list of contributors.
Errors of typography or grammar locate whole sentences on a spectrum from
embarrassing to opaque. No one bothered to alphabetise three of the chapter
bibliographies. Monash can do better than this.
The bottom line? Three cheers for content, two for scope, and none for
presentation.