From Subjects to Citizens

Balinese Villagers in the Indonesian Nation-State

by Lyn Parker

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319 pp., illustrated
Democracy in Asia # 9
Available from NIAS Press worldwide




Hardback - 2003, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 04 5, £40.00


Broadens the discussion on the expansion of the Indonesian state into the local community. Significant because it shows how we can understand Indonesia in its efforts to become a nation-state. Unusual in showing that the experience of many Indonesian citizens was not of a menacing and coercive state but of a modernizing and developmentalist nation-state.


This book analyses the processes by which conservative and introverted Balinese villagers have been incorporated into the Indonesian nation-state. It explores the changing social relations of villagers in their transformation from being subjects of their local "king" to anonymous citizens of the Republic of Indonesia.

Although the national unity of Indonesia is now hotly contested, the Suharto regime was long-lived and a development success-story. This book is significant because it shows how we can understand Indonesia in its efforts to become a nation-state. While not in any way attempting to apologize for or glorify the Suharto regime, this study is unusual in showing that the experience of many Indonesian citizens was not of a menacing and coercive state but of a modernizing and developmentalist nation-state.

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