State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia : Fatally Belonging book cover
1st Edition

State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia
Fatally Belonging

ISBN 9780203099827
Published April 7, 2006 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Approximately one million innocent Indonesians were killed by their fellow nationals, neighbours and kin at the height of an anti-communist campaign in the mid-1960s. This book investigates the profound political consequences of these mass killings in Indonesia upon public life, highlighting the historical specificities of the violence and comparable incidents of identity politics in more recent times.

Mixing theory with empirically based analysis, the book examines how the spectre of communism and the trauma experienced in the latter half of the 1960s remain critical in understanding the dynamics of terror, coercion and consent today. Heryanto challenges the general belief that the periodic anti-communist witch-hunts of recent Indonesian history are largely a political tool used by a powerful military elite and authoritarian government.

Despite the profound importance of the 1965-6 events it remains one of most difficult and sensitive topics for public discussion in Indonesia today. State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia is one of the first books to fully discuss the mass killings, shedding new light on a largely unspoken and unknown part of Indonesia’s history.

Table of Contents

1. Remembered Signs, Dismembered Bodies  2. The Implosion of Stigmas  3. The Yogyakarta Case  4. Law and State-Terrorism  5. Hyper-Obedience as Subversion  6. Identity, Power, and History

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Ariel Heryanto is a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Institute of Asian Languages and Societies, The University of Melbourne. His research interests include cultural studies, media and identity politics. He co-edited Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003).


"Heryanto's analysis of power is subtle and original, informed by both a deep knowledge of recent events in Indonesia and an admirable familiarity with social theory...this book succeeds in transcending customary analytical frameworks.  It is a valuable book that should be a central reference point for any debate about Indonesia's post-1965 politics."--Pacific Affairs, Vol 79 No 1, Spring 2006

"Combining sophisticated use of social theory with the extended analysis of a case study and a variety of materials from popular culture, Ariel presents a thesis that should be of great interest to anyone who seeks to understand contemporary Indonesian political culture."--Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Vol 42 Issue 3, December 2006

"This book shows the author's mastery of modern theories and profound analytical ability"--Dr Asvi Warman Adam, Tempo, Volume 1 No 31, April 2006

"State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia provides an insightful look at one of the crucial memories of Indonesia as a nation-state, and Heryanto is very comprehensive in exploring both empirical and theoretical angles"--The Jakarta Post, November 12, 2006

"A profoundly important book for anyone wanting to understand Indonesia today"--Tapol, Vol 184, October 2006