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Power from Below: Deconstructing the Dominant Paradigm of Power

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In 1998, Indonesia was shaken to the bone by a political, economic, social and cultural crisis that has lasted at least six years. As the 32-year-old regime of President Soeharto collapsed under massive protests, the country began a process of democratization that unleashed conflicts and power struggles all over the country. The ending of an authoritarian regime, the de-legitimization of the military and the euphoria of Reformasi (Reformation) did not usher in a golden age of freedom and prosperity but rather, a period of serious conflicts between races, tribes, religions, political groups, regions and naked economic interests that seem impossible to quench. The long drawn-out crisis in Indonesia may be viewed as a period of power struggles that are an inevitable result of the power vacuum that followed the fall of Soeharto. Conflicts that had been repressed for decades under a militaristic regime roared into life under the banner of "democracy".


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