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Arryman attend MCAA & SWCAS joint conference

Rahardhika Utama, Muhammad Fajar, and Gde Metera presented their working papers at the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs and the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (SWCAS) joint conference this October 3-5 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. The event was the first experience for the three Arryman Scholars to present their papers in an academic conference in the US. They are grateful to receive constructive feedback on their papers and are thrilled for the suggestion to publish in various suitable scholarly journals.

Rahardhika presented on Saturday, October 4 in a panel titled “Labor, Inequality and Power in Indonesia and the Philippines” with two other researchers working on the Philippines. His paper, “How Bureaucracy Affects Inequality: The Case of Post-Authoritarian Indonesia,” is a follow up draft after he conducted summer fieldwork in Indonesia during July-August this year. Dhika’s paper was welcomed with considerable enthusiasm from the audience. A History professor in the audience asked for a copy of his paper and suggested submission to future publication outlets.

Muhammad Fajar and Gde Metera both presented on Sunday, October 5 in a panel titled “Political Fissures in Southeast Asia.” with another researcher from the University of Kansas. Fajar presented his paper “The Trajectories of the Left in Southeast Asia: The Case of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam” and Gde presented his paper “Subnational Islamization Meets Weak Government Capacity: The Case of South Kalimantan, Indonesia.” Both papers are subsequent developments of Fajar and Gde’s initial projects. Fajar revisited his initial research interest in social movement while Gde presented his initial findings during his summer field work in 2013. They both received generous constructive feedback from two professors at the University of Kansas who are working on China and Vietnam respectively. They encouraged the two Arryman Scholars to pursue the projects in their papers and eventually publish them in suitable journals for graduate students.

Muhammad Fajar’s abstract

Political repression on the left occurred across Southeast Asia during the Cold War. The repression has produced various political outcomes, particularly affecting the strength of Southeast Asian leftist movements in their domestic politics. Three political outcomes are notable: strong leftist group, weak leftist group and contending leftist group. This paper argues that these outcomes emanate from the combination of two factors: different degree of repression toward the left and different degree of group unity within the left. This paper presents Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia as the countries in which the leftist groups have taken different trajectories due to the two factors. In Vietnam and Indonesia, the groups exemplify two opposite poles: a strong leftist group in Vietnam and weak leftist groups in Indonesia. The leftist groups in the Philippines occupy the middle ground, signaling a myriad of leftist groups but without strong capacity to exert change.

Gde Metera’s abstract

Democratization in Indonesia since 1999 entails several directions of institutional changes. Among others is the issuance of religious bylaws at the subnational level that affects Indonesia’s religiously neutral institution of state-religion relations. This paper presents findings from a fieldwork observing the enforcement of religious bylaws using Perda Ramadhan as a case study in South Kalimantan province in Indonesia. The findings show that the enforcement of the Perda Ramadhan is actually cursory and ineffective. However, instead of caused by reluctance to enforce the law, observation from the fieldwork suggests that it is actually caused by the weak organizational capacity of the subnational policing organization (Satpol PP) to which the task of enforcing the religious bylaws is delegated as part of decentralization process. The findings further suggest that even though the issuance of religious bylaws seems to suggest subnational Islamization, the poor capacity of subnational government to enforce its bylaws renders the Islamization less of an actual thorough institutional change of Indonesia’s state-religion relations.

Keywords: Democratization, Subnational Islamization, State-Religion Relations, Institutional Change

Rahardhika Utama’s abstract

The linkage between bureaucracy and inequality has infrequently been explored by social scientists. The aim of this paper is to build an analytical framework to examine the relationship between bureaucracy and inequality in democratic settings. The framework engageswith previous studies on the relationship between democracy and inequality, state capacity and developmental outcome, and on the discussion about clientelism in democracies. This paper demonstrates that the transition to democracy does not necessarily transform detrimental institutions nor replace the existing official position of the previous bureaucracy. Focusing on the output side of the political system in which public officials exercise political authority, this research provides an empirical account of the causal effects of bureaucracy on inequality in the case of post-authoritarian Indonesia. Results of the study suggest that it is important to consider the persistence of bureaucratic clientelism as a form of informal institution in understanding how bureaucracy affects inequality in democracies.

Keywords: bureaucracy, clientelism, democracy, inequalit