Reclaiming the state: Overcoming problems of democracy in Post-Soeharto Indonesia

Indonesia Forum Public Seminar Series

“Reclaiming the state: Overcoming problems of democracy in

Post-Soeharto Indonesia”
Amalinda Savirani and Olle Törnquist (Eds)

PolGov 2016

Dr. Amalinda Savirani

University of Gadjah Mada

Friday, 2 June 2017

04.00 – 05.30 p.m

Venue: Asia Institute Meeting Room, R. 321

Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville


The three national expert assessments (2003-2004, 2006-2007 and 2013-2014) conducted in Indonesia, the largest of the new democracies, surveyed between 600 and 900 total informants in 30 district/cities from across the country. Grounded experts, selected in cooperation with leading representatives of the democracy movement, answered an average of 60 main questions (and several sub-questions) regarding, publics issues that activists use in their movements, democratic institutions, dominant and alternatives democratic actors dealing with their agenda,  their capacity, and their ways to maintains democratic rules and regulation.

There are at least four main survey results: a) formal democratic institutions are relatively stable in post Soeharto Indonesia, b) increased understanding among citizens on their welfare rights; c) the rise of “post clientelism”; and d) the rise of populist or figure-based politicians detached from party or social movement.

Dr Amalinda Savirani is a political scientist and a lecturer at Department of Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. She obtained her PhD at Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AiSSR), Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her dissertation is on the effect of decentralization among small-scale entrepreneurs in a provincial town of Pekalongan, Central Java. Currently, she is a research fellow at Department of Politics and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific, Australian National University. Her recent publication are as followed  “Reclaiming the State: Overcoming problems of democracy in Post Soeharto Indonesia” (2016), with Olle Törnquist; “Survival against the odds: Djunaid Family of Pekalongan, Central Java (South East Asia Research, Vol 24 (3) pp 407-419, 2016);  “Juggling while claiming rights: Urban poor community claiming rights in North Jakarta”, in Stokke, K, and Hiariej, E (eds) Popular Citizenship in Indonesia (2017 on press); “Bekasi, West Java: From Patronage to Interest Group politics? in Aspinall, E and Sukmajati, M (2016), Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia: Money Politics, Patronage and Clientelism at the Grassroots (NUS Press).  She also writes popular articles for the Jakarta Post, The Conversation, Rappler, and Indoprogress.  She can be contacted at and

Enquiries and RSVP to

Admission is free, RSVP is essential, Light refreshments provided