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The contested state and politics of elite continuity in North Maluku, Indonesia (1998-2008).

Smith, Claire Querida (2009) The contested state and politics of elite continuity in North Maluku, Indonesia (1998-2008). PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The thesis investigates the politics behind the survival of members of the local state-based elite from the New Order regime into the new 'democratic' era in North Maluku, Indonesia. The research investigates local politics and sub-national government in a new province on the geographic periphery of the Indonesian state, where mass violence followed the fall of Suharto. The core issue examined is how, through a year-long violent conflict, protracted socio-economic crisis, and significant government and electoral reforms, the local state-based political elite in North Maluku survived, even thrived, during this turbulent period. Most literature on the Indonesian democratic transition holds that widespread violence in regions like North Maluku was the result of a weak state and/or rising ethnic, religious and communal tensions. However, this case study reveals that elite factional politics played a central role in the conflict. It was far from a spontaneous communal affair and instead closely linked to rising competition between local elites over state positions and resources during the late New Order and the early democratic era. State officials were not weak in the face of a rising society, but rather played central roles in escalating conflict and 'communal' violence. Understanding these dynamics is essential to explaining, not only the violence, but also political dynamics before, during and following the conflict. The thesis considers the political and economic role of state-based elites over a ten-year period and analyses the North Maluku conflict as part of a prolonged political struggle between different factions within the state. The most successful state-based elites maintained their positions through controlling state resources, including 'post-conflict' aid funds, in a contracting regional economy. This control enabled them to distribute important resources to a fragile population - maintaining a popular support base - and to build large election campaign war-chests for ensuing democratic elections.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, South Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2369

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