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Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia

Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia Paperback - 2000

by Robert W. Hefner

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From the publisher

Civil Islam tells the story of Islam and democratization in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation. Challenging stereotypes of Islam as antagonistic to democracy, this study of courage and reformation in the face of state terror suggests possibilities for democracy in the Muslim world and beyond.

Democratic in the early 1950s and with rich precedents for tolerance and civility, Indonesia succumbed to violence. In 1965, Muslim parties were drawn into the slaughter of half a million communists. In the aftermath of this bloodshed, a "New Order" regime came to power, suppressing democratic forces and instituting dictatorial controls that held for decades. Yet from this maelstrom of violence, repressed by the state and denounced by conservative Muslims, an Islamic democracy movement emerged, strengthened, and played a central role in the 1998 overthrow of the Soeharto regime. In 1999, Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid was elected President of a reformist, civilian government.

In explaining how this achievement was possible, Robert Hefner emphasizes the importance of civil institutions and public civility, but argues that neither democracy nor civil society is possible without a civilized state. Against portrayals of Islam as inherently antipluralist and undemocratic, he shows that Indonesia's Islamic reform movement repudiated the goal of an Islamic state, mobilized religiously ecumenical support, promoted women's rights, and championed democratic ideals. This broadly interdisciplinary and timely work heightens our awareness of democracy's necessary pluralism, and places Indonesia at the center of our efforts to understand what makes democracy work.

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From the rear cover

"A powerful and rich study of the micro-foundations of political democracy in Indonesian Islam; its institutions, its practices, its varied beliefs and tumultuous history. Hefner supplies the indispensable sub-structure for a real understanding of 'social capital' and 'civil society."--James C. Scott, Yale University

"This timely book boldly and rigorously tackles one of the most important problems of the post-Cold War world--can the ideal of a democratic, open society be generalized across cultures. To Samuel Huntington's negative, Hefner offers the most convincing response. Civil Islam documents the development of a robust civic tradition where Huntington least expected to find it, in the grossly understudied world of Indonesian Islam. Despite enormous provocation from its enemies, this civil Islam, he shows, has made possible Indonesia's still-fragile democratic transition. His superb book should transform our understanding of Indonesia, of Islam, and of the nature of democratization in a plural world."--Anthony Reid, University of California, Los Angeles

"There is no better voice or book. Robert Hefner's Civil Society is a masterful and compelling account of Muslim politics in contemporary Indonesia."--John L. Esposito, Director, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

"This is a magnificent piece of scholarship that succeeds on a number of levels. Hefner is to be congratulated on his tremendous contributions to the literature on Indonesia and Southeast Asia generally, as well as his deep insights on-and furthering of-myriad debates on politics, religion, civil society, and modernity."--Michael G. Peletz, Colgate University

Details

  • Title Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia
  • Author Robert W. Hefner
  • Binding Paperback
  • Edition First Paperback
  • Pages 312
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Princeton University Press, Princeton
  • Date 2000-08-27
  • ISBN 9780691050478 / 0691050473
  • Weight 0.9 lbs (0.41 kg)
  • Dimensions 9.21 x 6.12 x 0.78 in (23.39 x 15.54 x 1.98 cm)
  • Reading level 1470
  • Themes
    • Religious Orientation: Islamic
  • Library of Congress subjects Indonesia - Politics and government -, Democracy - Religious aspects - Islam
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 00020486
  • Dewey Decimal Code 322.109

Media reviews

Citations

  • Choice, 09/01/2001, Page 200

About the author

Robert W. Hefner is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, where he directs the Program in Civic Culture at the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture. The author of The Political Economy of Mountain Java and Hindu Javanese: Tengger Tradition and Islam (Princeton), he is also editor of Democratic Civility: The Cross-Cultural Possibility of a Modern Political Ideal and Market Cultures: Society and Morality in the New Asian Capitalisms.
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