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Open Access Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the role of regional bureaucratic elites in the huge increase in the number of administrative districts, from 300 in 1999 to 440 in 2004. This process is aptly called pemekaran, or 'blossoming'. As it demonstrates, this 'administrative involution' was driven by the interests of particular bureaucratic and political elites who often mobilized ethnic sentiments to achieve their goals. The chapter concentrates on the economic policies of certain bureaucratic and political interest groups. It introduces the concept of the 'shadow state', which is used in Indian and African settings in order to indicate the vital connections between formal and informal arrangements that characterize the regional economy. Relatedto these themes are questions regarding an economy of violence and the relative weakness of civil society. Finally, the chapter focuses on aspects of regional identity politics as they are manifested in terms of ethnicity, religion, and/or region.

Keywords: civil society; ethnicity; pemekaran; regional bureaucratic elites; regional identity politics



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