Localising Power in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: A Southeast Asia Perspective


Vedi R. Hadiz

Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Available From: Stanford University Press
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-8047-6853-5
Binding: paper
Pages: 264


Localising Power in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: A Southeast Asia Perspective is the sixteenth title in the East-West Center book series, Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific, published by Stanford University Press.

This book is about how the design of institutional change results in unintended consequences. Many post-authoritarian societies have adopted decentralization--effectively localizing power--as part and parcel of democratization, but also in their efforts to entrench "good governance." Vedi Hadiz shifts the attention to the accompanying tensions and contradictions that define the terms under which the localization of power actually takes place. In the process, he develops a compelling analysis that ties social and institutional change to the outcomes of social conflict in local arenas of power.

Using the case of Indonesia, and comparing it with Thailand and the Philippines, Hadiz seeks to understand the seeming puzzle of how local predatory systems of power remain resilient in the face of international and domestic pressures. Forcefully persuasive and characteristically passionate, Hadiz challenges readers while arguing convincingly that local power and politics still matter greatly in our globalized world.


Details and ordering information at
Stanford University Press

Introduction: Localisation and Globalisation
  1. Decentralisation, Development and Democracy: Theoretical Issues and Debates
  2. The Post-Authoritarian Context: Technocratic Ambitions and the Challenge of Predatory Power
  3. The Localisation of Power and Institutional Change
  4. A Political Sociology of Local Elites
  5. Money Politics and Thuggery in New Local Democracies
  6. The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion

Conclusion: Decentralisation, Recentralisation and Globalisation


"Critical scholarship at its best, this book is a powerful corrective to those who see decentralization as a one-size-fits-all solution to bad governance. Hadiz convincingly argues that Indonesia's decentralization prompted not the positive outcomes its advocates predicted, but a scramble for local power by corrupt politicians, gangsters and other predators."

Edward Aspinall, Australian National University


"This is an important synthetic statement on the underlying dynamics of local politics following the end of the New Order in 1998. Arguing against managerialists who expected decentralization and democratization to lead to greater market openness, Hadiz portrays a messy contestation among social forces at different levels of the polity."

Gerry van Klinken, Research Fellow, Royal Netherlands Institute
of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies


"This is a path-breaking book--theoretically--informed, carefully researched, and strongly comparative. It shows Hadiz's remarkable efforts to draw on literatures that span Southeast Asia and beyond. Sure to be widely read, it will stimulate debate and become a standard source for years to come."

Kevin Hewison, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill