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Anomie and violence:Non-truth and reconciliation in Indonesian peacebuilding.

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Canberra: ANU E Press.

This book argues that between 1997 and 2004, theoretically, Indonesia experienced a period of anomie (Durkheim 1897): a breakdown of the regulatory order that secured the institutional order (the rules of the game). A security sector that pursued its own interests by taking sides instead of preventing violence from all sides was one important part of that wider problem of anomie. This will recur as a problem in the next three volumes of Peacebuilding Compared—on Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Abuses by the security forces escalated communal defiance before finally helping to bring violence under control. A Mertonian reading of anomie theory that dissects legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures in a micro–macro way is found to be fertile for understanding the onset of these conflicts. Emulation (modelling) of strategies for seizing illegitimate opportunities contributed to the diffusion of violence. Remarkable accomplishments of the reintegration of combatants from organisations such as Laskar Jihad, in which religious leaders showed great leadership for peace, was a feature of Indonesian peacebuilding. So was reconciliation through sharing power combined with the sharing of work (gotong royong) for reconstruction. The chapter then moves on to consider the complex multidimensionality of the factors that make for both war and peace. This evidence is used to argue for locally attuned multidimensionality and redundancy in peacebuilding strategy. This is the key to managing the inherent risks of violence in the gaming of transitions to democracy. (excerpt)


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