Roots of violence in Indonesia: Contemporary violence in historical perspective

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Jakarta, Sambas, Poso, the Moluccas, West Papua. These simple, geographical names have recently obtained strong associations with mass killing, just as Aceh and East Timor, where large-scale violence has flared up again. Lethal incidents between adjacent villages, or between a petty criminal and the crowd, take place throughout Indonesia. Indonesia is a violent country. Many Indonesia-watchers, both scholars and journalists, explain the violence in terms of the loss of the monopoly on the means of violence by the state since the beginning of the Reformasi in 1998. Others point at the omnipresent remnants of the New Order state (1966-1998), former President Suharto’s clan or the army in particular, as the evil genius behind the present bloodshed. The authors in this volume try to explain violence in Indonesia by looking at it in historical perspective. Contents: Preface Freek Colombijn and J. Thomas Lindblad, Introduction Historical continuity Henk Schulte Nordholt, A genealogy of violence Henk M.J. Maier, Telling tales, cutting throats – the guts of Putu Wijaya Elsbeth Locher-Scholten, State violence and the police in colonial Indonesia around 1920; Exploration of a theme Erwiza Erman, Generalized violence: A case study of the Ombilin coal mines, 1892-1996 Budi Agustono, Violence in North Sumatra’s plantations Army violence William H. Frederick, Shadows of an unseen hand: Some patterns of violence in the Indonesian revolution, 1945-1949 R.E. Elson, In fear of the people: Suharto and the justification of state-sponsored violence under the New Order Liem Soei Liong, It’s the military, stupid! Robert Cribb, From total people’s defence to massacre: Explaining Indonesian military violence in East Timor Geoffrey Robinson, The fruitless search for a smoking gun: Tracing the origins of violence in East Timor Communal violence Kees van Dijk, The good, the bad and the ugly: explaining the unexplainable; amuk massa in Indonesia Freek Colombijn, Maling, maling! Lynching in Indonesia.

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