Identity and Programmatic Politics in a Javanese Village Head Election: The Case of Temon Kulon, Yogyakarta

Irwan Harjanto(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This article explores the programmatic policies used by the incumbent in Temon Kulon Village, Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta, during the village chief election. It finds that, even as identity politics (particularly religion) have become an increasingly important part of Indonesian politics, some village chiefs attempted to apply programmatic politics. Although most commonly associated with higher levels of government (including municipal elections) and political parties, in this case programmatic politics was applied within a village where local traditions and culture remained strong. This article also shows that identity politics is used not only to mobilise support against non-Muslim incumbents; it is also used to contest elections through a cultural primordialism. Through analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, as well as a series of interviews and observations, this article shows that religious fundamentalism can be moderated through a combination of programmatic politics and local political identities.


programmatic politics, identity politics, religious primordialism, village chief elections, transformative leadership

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