Decentralisation and Inequality

  • Riwanto Tirtosudarmo


In the aftermath of Suharto’s step down from power in 1998, a new political regime claimed to be acting on behalf of the people seems on the horizon. The post-Suharto era is dubbed as a period of reform (periode reformasi) understandably full of hopes for political change and better life in the future. The new government and the elites began to reform political structure and format by amending constitution and designing democratic election for the president and member of parliaments. Among the new political reform is the changing format of central and regional government relationships. The newly created decentralisation policy that is granted autonomy to the district government, instead of provincial government, is aimed to reverse the New Order centralistic government. Yet, the granted autonomy to the district government suddenly created euphoria among the local elites to create new district governments. Cultural identities, such as ethnicity, religion and localities, were mobilised by ethnic entrepreneurs, to support the splitting of a region based on differences in cultural identities of the people. Horizontal inequalities between cultural identity groups are strongly manipulated in the euphoria to create the new districts.


Political reform Decentralisation Inequality Regional autonomy Cultural identities 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riwanto Tirtosudarmo
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Society and CultureIndonesian Institute of SciencesJakartaIndonesia

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