On 17th August 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, Indonesia celebratedn the 75th anniversary of its independence. The fourth most populated country in the world, it is also at the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific region where it occupies a unique strategic position. On the political front, it is the third largest democracy on earth and one of the few in the Muslim world, of which it is also the most populated country.
On 14 April, an online event celebrated the book launch of Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy Faculty Associate Jean-Luc Maurer’s latest book. Entitled Indonésie: l’envol mouvementé du Garuda (Indonesia: Garuda’s turbulent takeoff), the book aims at filling part of a knowledge gap about Indonesia, particularly marked in the French literature, and builds on Professor Maurer’s 50 years of research in the country. The relationship between what Professor Maurer calls the “3Ds”—Development, Dictatorship and Democracy—provides the connecting thread of the book.
In an introductory presentation, Professor Maurer explained that the book, through the emblematic case study of Indonesia, seeks to allow the reader to better understand the dynamics of development, which he described as a “global process which results in a nation’s political, social, economic and cultural transformation”. In Indonesia, he highlighted, development is intimately linked dictatorship and democracy, the two political systems the country has wavered between since its independence.
Two respondents, Gerry Rodgers, Visiting Professor, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi and Wening Udasmoro, Professor of Gender and Literature and Dean of the Fakultas Ilmu Budaya, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, then offered some reflections on the book. Professor Rodgers said the book brings answers to three questions: the relationship between democracy and inequality; the role of economic and social institutions; and the role of democracy itself in Indonesia. In turn, Professor Udasmoro spoke of issues of remembrance and memory in Indonesia, noting the important work the book does in covering over 14 centuries of Indonesian history. The panelists then took questions from the audience, leading to an interactive debate.
The meeting was moderated by AHCD Director Shalini Randeria.
READ an interview with Jean-Luc Maurer on his book.