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Open Access Some Hidden Strength

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Some Hidden Strength

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces one particular town, which is located in a region of Indonesia that had so little contact with the Republic's formative experiences as to make the question 'what holds Indonesia together?' look very real. The common shorthand for regional differences within Indonesia contrast Java with the Outer Islands. The central premise is that the terms on which Indonesia has survived from 1945 until the present day are co-determined in the regions, particularly in the provincial towns. Middle classes in provincial towns are involved in some of the nation's most interesting 'action at a distance' processes. It is in this dynamic sense that Middle Indonesia is somehow constitutive of the country as a whole. That Indonesia did not fall apart after 1998 had as much to do with some hidden strength within Middle Indonesia as with leadership in Jakarta.

Keywords: Indonesia; Jakarta; Java; middle classes



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