State and Civil Society Relationships in Indonesia: A society-oriented Reading in Search for Democratic Space

Aris Arif Mundayat(1*), Pitra Narendra(2), Budi Irawanto(3)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(2) Universitas Gadjah mada
(3) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper has shown how the relationship between state and civil society in Indonesia is part of the problem of building democratic government. The problems in Indonesian society is the polycentric nature, by which civil society organisations or popular organisations are being fragmanted and often unorganised. This has made it increasingly difficult to transform various conflicts into more political through democratic institution. At least there are four major problems:

The first problem is when a strong civil society faces an ineffective state tactic of governmentality. This tends to stimulate civil society resistance and conflict; or it fosters coexistence through alternative governmentality techniques where the relationship between the state and society is in conflict. The second problem is when a weak civil society faces and effective state. This tends to trigger practices of money politics which are embedded in patronage and clientelism. The third problem can be found in the situation where weak civil society faces an ineffective state which tends to stimulate the emergence of extralegal governmentality practiced by thugs, militia, vigilantes, and paramilitaries. The fourth problem is reflected in the situation where a strong civil society faces an effective state.

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