The middle class and morality politics in the envisioning of the nation in post-Suharto Indonesia

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The essay examines the growth of politics of morality in post-Suharto Indonesia by linking it to the genealogy and characteristics of the Indonesian middle class, especially during the New Order period, without reducing the issue to primordialism or Islamic revivalism. Instead, it tries to address the issue by looking into the internal contradiction of the Indonesian middle class, whose identity and definition remain murky and muddled. A survey of some key thoughts proposed by several leading scholars regarding Indonesian national culture, nationalism, and middle class is offered in order to better understand the link between the middle class and its vision of national culture, and how morality politics emerges as a new, dominant factor in the formation of such a vision. This essay focuses on the development that has taken place during the post-Suharto era, which began with the Reformasi in 1998 that witnessed the demise of the New Order's domination, and how various elements of the middle class reacted in different ways to social and cultural issues emerging in post-Suharto Indonesia, revealing the complexity and heterogeneity in the moral and political views of the group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-499
Number of pages18
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • middle class
  • morality politics
  • national culture
  • post-Suharto Indonesia


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