Anomie and Violence

Anomie and Violence: Non-truth and Reconciliation in Indonesian Peacebuilding

John Braithwaite
Valerie Braithwaite
Michael Cookson
Leah Dunn
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Anomie and Violence
    Book Description:

    Indonesia suffered an explosion of religious violence, ethnic violence, separatist violence, terrorism, and violence by criminal gangs, the security forces and militias in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By 2002 Indonesia had the worst terrorism problem of any nation. All these forms of violence have now fallen dramatically. How was this accomplished? What drove the rise and the fall of violence? Anomie theory is deployed to explain these developments. Sudden institutional change at the time of the Asian financial crisis and the fall of President Suharto meant the rules of the game were up for grabs. Valerie Braithwaite's motivational postures theory is used to explain the gaming of the rules and the disengagement from authority that occurred in that era. Ultimately resistance to Suharto laid a foundation for commitment to a revised, more democratic, institutional order. The peacebuilding that occurred was not based on the high-integrity truth-seeking and reconciliation that was the normative preference of these authors. Rather it was based on non-truth, sometimes lies, and yet substantial reconciliation. This poses a challenge to restorative justice theories of peacebuilding.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-23-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John Braithwaite
  4. Advisory Panel for Indonesian cases of Peacebuilding Compared
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Glossary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Map of Indonesian conflict provinces
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. 1. Healing a fractured transition to democracy
    (pp. 1-48)

    This chapter first outlines the ambitions—methodological and substantive—of the Peacebuilding Compared project, of which this book is the first product. It then describes the history of the crash of the Indonesian economy in 1997, followed by the collapse of the political order in 1998, then progressive unravelling of the social order for regulating violence between 1998 and 2001. It is argued that Indonesia is a resilient democratising society that has managed to restabilise all these institutions to create peace (except in West Papua) and better long-term prospects for its people. Few of the structural injustices that contributed to...

  8. 2. Papua
    (pp. 49-146)

    Papua is interpreted here as a case with both high risks of escalation to more serious conflict and prospects for harnessing a ‘Papua Land of Peace’ campaign led by the churches. The interaction between the politics of the Freeport mine and the politics of military domination of Papua, and military enrichment through Papua, are crucial to understanding this conflict. Replacing the top-down dynamics of military-political domination with a genuine bottom-up dynamism of village leadership and development is seen as holding the key to realising a Papua that is a ‘land of peace’ (see Widjojo et al. 2008).

    Papuans have less...

  9. 3. Maluku and North Maluku
    (pp. 147-242)

    Anomie, in the sense of a breakdown of the settled rules of the political game, is evident in our two Malukan cases of civil conflict, especially as it affects the security sector. A security dilemma for Malukan villages became more acute with the arrival of thousands of Laskar Jihad and other jihadist fighters. Persuading these fighters to return home was a remarkable accomplishment. These cases describe a rich multidimensionality of reconciliation processes that we come to describe as an Indonesian pattern of non-truth and reconciliation and gotong royong.

    Maluku is the group of islands in eastern Indonesia that became known...

  10. 4. Central Sulawesi
    (pp. 243-290)

    The conflict in Central Sulawesi was complex, with different dynamics unfolding at different stages. First, there were escalating riots without guns, then villages were attacked by militias joined by large crowds with homemade guns, followed by a phase of bombings and targeted assassinations. Motivations shifted from local political ambitions to revenge being predominant. This meant that indigenous traditions of reconciliation (maroso)—like pela-gandong in Maluku and hibua lamo in Halmahera—had a role in healing and stopping the flow of blood. On the other hand, what was seen as unjust or unbalanced punishment for the violence by the criminal courts...

  11. 5. West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan
    (pp. 291-342)

    Crowds do make history, as the West Kalimantan case demonstrates. No-one was absolutely in control of the Kalimantan conflicts, as in the other ‘small town wars’ (van Klinken 2007) of Indonesia to varying degrees. Some of the West Kalimantan scripts and strategies for using violence to achieve objectives were emulated in Central Kalimantan and across Indonesia. While no-one quite planned the ethnic cleansing that occurred in Kalimantan, many harnessed it. Reintegration and reconciliation were thin with these conflicts. Perhaps this was because so many were content to harness the violence, including a wide base of the lower middle class who...

  12. 6. Aceh
    (pp. 343-428)

    Anomie is a context for various phases of Aceh’s long conflict. Acehnese never granted full legitimacy to the Dutch or Javanese who they saw as internal colonialists. Neither The Netherlands nor Indonesia ever established stable, legitimate rules of the game in Aceh—nor did the feudal Acehnese aristocracy and sultan or the ulamas who purged the aristocrats. The Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdekam, GAM) strode into this context of unsettled legitimacy in power relationships. Yet GAM overestimated how anomic the situation was; its leadership believed Indonesia would fragment totally. It did not. Some GAM leaders became perceptive enough to...

  13. 7. First steps towards a theory of peacebuilding
    (pp. 429-436)

    Emile Durkheim’s (1897) anomie was advanced as an explanation of patterns of suicide across space and time. Here we proffer anomie as normlessness for one lens in examining six cases of armed conflict. We will also find anomie relevant in the next four conflicts of Peacebuilding Compared, for which fieldwork is virtually complete. A story from Robert Lilly’s (2007:123) study of rape by American GIs in Europe during World War II suggests an evocative link between anomie in war and Durkheimian anomic suicide.¹ After entering the house of a seventeen-year-old German girl, Private William Blakely threatened to kill her father...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 437-480)
  15. Subject Index
    (pp. 481-490)
  16. Author index
    (pp. 491-502)