Peacebuilding Conference

Comparative Peacebuilding in Asia:

National Transition from Ethnic Conflict and Authoritarianism

Unfolding the Possibilities through Collaborative Action

Strengthening Academic-Policy Bridging Network and Promoting Innovative Interdisciplinary Scholarship on Peacebuilding

About the Conference

Comparative Peacebuilding in Asia: National Transitions from Ethnic Conflict and Authoritarianism

The national transition from authoritarianism and ethnic conflict towards a peaceful society in various Southeast Asia countries have been characterized by a set of multiple trajectories and experiences which makes it difficult to pin down a singular pattern. In Indonesia, for instance, there has been a debate regarding the driven mode of peacebuilding taken by the nation state after the demise of the authoritarian regiome (Tornquist & Savirani, 2015; Aspinall, 2015; Meitzner, 2014). On one hand, there is the institusional paradigm that shares an optimistic view with the decentralization of power from the central government to local government. As the the gap between the state and the society is narrowing down, it is widely believed that the restoration of public trust toward the state will increase and social cohesion to be sustainable as people are able to exercise their claims and demands as citizens of the nation state. Furthermore, this condition has also allowed for the democratisation process to be reinstalled within the national political arena. Along with the withdrawal of military apparatus from the state beauracracy and political representation institutions, democracy, human rights, and civil society values flourishes under the pretext of Reformasi era. Recent trends such as the restructuring relationship between the state and civil society bind by the constitution 

and rule of laws, elections at the national and local levels that are relatively transparent and accountable, and freedom to express voices and opinions are signs that indiciate positive achievement of the democratization in Indonesia.On the other side, there has been critical view that argue the current process of decentralization and democratisation in Indonesia does not easily translate towards positive outcomes. Highlighting the limitation of substantive political representation and the entrenched influence of oligarchs within the state formation some scholars have argued that democracy has been captured by the old elites (Robison & Hadiz, 2004). This condition is worsened by the fact that democratic practice instead of reconfiguring unequal power relationship ends up accomodating the consolidation of patron-client relationships (Klinken & Nordholt, 2007). As a result, the potential of politics to become transformative and progressive slowly diminishes constituting instead anti-politics force within the public discourse. This phenomenon has led critical scholars to describe Indonesia as undergoing an illiberal peacebuilding process− A set of arrangements and mechanisms that appear to be very prone to conflict yet sometimes able to maintain political stability and security despite of its precariousness.

PSKP UGM has identified that when peacebuilding does not take account the power dynamics and the following various demands of different interests groups indeed the result may be well quite remote from a just and substantive peacebuilding (2004). The concept of peace through development has been one of PSKP’s initiatives together with the national development agency (BAPPENAS) and UNDP to promote peacebuilding through linking bottom up/grass root social practices with government policy making process. By drawing the relationship between development, democracy, and security, it targets the people to become active citizens within the state and public discourse. While the initative has now been adapted into the national program called Musrembang the impact and sustainability of this program nevertheless varied depending on the local and national attributive factors.

Pondering upon the contingency of peacebuilding process on multiple factors, PSKP UGM in collaboration with London School of Economics, University of York, dan Australia National University seeks to explore further the dynamics of national and domestic driven modes of peacebuilding in conflict and post conflict-affected areas in South and Southeast Asia.


Sri Lanka - 2016

Our series of three conferences seeks to promote research and facilitate interdisciplinary discussions on nationally driven peacebuilding processes in conflict-affected South and Southeast Asia.

London - 2018

This event is supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Our previous events have also benefited from grants and the generous support from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) and the Asia Foundation (TAF).

Comparative Peacebuilding in Asia: liberal and illiberal transitions from ethnic conflict and authoritarianism

Get In Touch

  • contact@peacebuildingasia.org

peacebuildingasia - 2018

Close Menu