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Political Intrusion in Social Science: The Elimination of Leftist Critical Thinking in Indonesia

  • Bob Sugeng Hadiwinata
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the critical juncture of social science in Indonesia which denotes the linkage of power and discourses of social sciences in that country. It argues that the political upheaval in 1965–1966, which led to the subsequent elimination of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the nationwide ban on Marxism-Leninism, tended to push Leftist critical social thinking in Indonesia onto the margins of social discourse. The marginalization of critical discourse by the New Order government (The New Order government was a military-supported regime led by General Suharto, an army general, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades (1966–1998). This anti-communist government took power after the political turmoil which killed hundreds of thousands of the Indonesian Communist Party’s followers throughout the country. The tragedy was a culmination of the rivalry between the Army and the Communist Party during the presidency of Sukarno (1945–1966), Indonesia’s first president.), from 1966 to 1998, was so extreme that Vedi Hadiz dubbed it as ‘the politics of forgetting the Indonesian Left’. Although the annihilation of Leftist critical thinking was done extensively during President Suharto’s government (1966–1998), the massive elimination of Marxist thinking and the regime’s portrayal of Communism as evil has continued the rejection of Marxist thinking until now. In social sciences, which encompass a variety of disciplines such as history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, literatures, linguistics, economics, political science, and so forth, it was not permitted to openly discuss Leftist critical thinking. Any attempt to bring forward Marxist thinking resulted in denial of promotion, bans, or even jail. This chapter demonstrates that in Indonesia the fate of these branches of social science is much influenced by the dynamics of power struggles within the elite circle.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Sugeng Hadiwinata
    • 1
  1. 1.International Relations at the Parahyangan Catholic UniversityBandungIndonesia

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