Democracy and Political-Legal Secularism in Indonesia


What explains the attitude of a government toward enforcement of religious rules? This research looks at the cases of Indonesia during several distinct periods of its political history to identify the condition under which political-legal secularism emerge as a regime of state-religion relations. Specifically, it will look at the first period of the New Order in 1971-1984 as a period of containment of Islam as well as the period of 1985-1997 as a period of “rapprochement” between the New Order and Islam. A systematic comparison between the two periods suggests several factors that could illuminate the preconditions for political-legal secularism.


Gde Dwitya Arief Metera is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science Northwestern University. He studies the political economy of secularization in the postcolonial Muslim majority countries utilizing comparative-historical and ethnographic methods with a specific regional focus of Southeast Asia.

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