Indonesian Pluralities

Islam, Citizenship, and Democracy

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Robert W. Hefner, Zainal Abidin Bagir
  • Notre Dame, IN: 
    University of Notre Dame Press
    , January
     276 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Siti Sarah Muwahidah forthcoming.


The crisis of multiculturalism in the West and the failure of the Arab uprisings in the Middle East have pushed the question of how to live peacefully within a diverse society to the forefront of global discussion. Against this backdrop, Indonesia has taken on a particular importance: with a population of 265 million people (87.7 percent of whom are Muslim), Indonesia is both the largest Muslim-majority country in the world and the third-largest democracy. In light of its return to electoral democracy from the authoritarianism of the former New Order regime, some analysts have argued that Indonesia offers clear proof of the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Skeptics argue, however, that the growing religious intolerance that has marred the country’s political transition discredits any claim of the country to democratic exemplarity. Based on a twenty-month project carried out in several regions of Indonesia, Indonesian Pluralities: Islam, Citizenship, and Democracy shows that, in assessing the quality and dynamics of democracy and citizenship in Indonesia today, we must examine not only elections and official politics, but also the less formal, yet more pervasive, processes of social recognition at work in this deeply plural society. The contributors demonstrate that, in fact, citizen ethics are not static discourses but living traditions that co-evolve in relation to broader patterns of politics, gender, religious resurgence, and ethnicity in society.

Indonesian Pluralities offers important insights on the state of Indonesian politics and society more than twenty years after its return to democracy. It will appeal to political scholars, public analysts, and those interested in Islam, Southeast Asia, citizenship, and peace and conflict studies around the world.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Zainal Abidin Bagir is director of the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies and teaches at the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies, Graduate School, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta. He is the author and editor of a number of books on interreligious relations and freedom of religion or belief, especially in Indonesia.

Robert W. Hefner is professor of anthropology and world affairs at the Pardee School of Global Affairs at Boston University. He has authored or edited more than twenty books on Islam, Muslim politics, and modernity.


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