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ARI Webinar: In the Name of Pluralism: Identity Conflict and State Repression in Indonesia
December 3, 2020 - 10:00-11:00
Pluralism is usually considered a pillar of liberal democracy. States that embrace and protect religious and ethnic diversity are in general more likely to uphold freedoms of expression, belief and organisation. In Indonesia, the state’s pluralist foundations, enshrined in the constitution, have long been viewed as an important bulwark against Muslim majoritarianism and extremist Islamist movements. In the eyes of many observers, therefore, the defence of pluralism is critical to Indonesia’s democratic survival. Professor Dan Slater, for example, argues that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his pluralist coalition won the 2019 elections by promoting an egalitarian and inclusive nationalism, which has deep roots in Indonesian history. Slater has contrasted the Indonesian experience with that of India, where Prime Minister Modi has instead mobilised a majoritarian Hindu nationalism in order to strengthen electoral support. But analysts also increasingly characterise pluralism as a threat to Indonesia’s democracy. In a recent piece, Nava Nuraniyah warned of the undemocratic potential of a “militant” brand of pluralism promoted by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation and important ally of the incumbent government. Associate Professor Greg Fealy, meanwhile, recently wrote that the Jokowi government’s “repressive” defence of pluralism is eroding Southeast Asia’s largest democracy. And, despite framing itself as the guardian of pluralism, evidence also suggest the Jokowi administration has not improved protections for Indonesia’s minorities.
Drawing on their recent research and on comparative studies too, in this webinar three experts—Dan Slater, Nava Nuraniyah and Greg Fealy—will examine and debate the state of pluralist politics in contemporary Indonesia, and the dilemmas that democracies face when managing diverse, conflicting, and sometimes illiberal, religious constituencies.
Read more and register here.
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