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APSSI International Conference on Democracy Transformation

The wave of democracy has changed the most basic narrative of the concept of the nation state. The control of the centralized authority has collapsed after surviving in a long period of time. Authoritarian power has immediately been replaced by an idea in which it significantly improved the pattern of power relations that swings into a more democratic ways. The narrative of power is no longer present as a single form but it is present in plural form of controls. In the context of Indonesia, the wave of change that hit the entire archipelago within last two decades became a battlefield for the relationship between institutions, actors, and interests in a new democratic landscape. A transformation at the level of social structure reflects dramatic change of variety of instruments for understanding the new democratic practices that stimulated a new power flow from the center to the local regions. This new power relation may be seen as new culture of democracy in Indonesia.
A long record of monopolistic control of power, has given rise a concern of many parties, in which we inherited until recently. The transition of power that is not entirely ideal has formed a dark room for consolidation and reorganization of the old hegemonic political forces or the oligarchy to return to power. The challenges to achieving a new democracy continues to occur and required to realize a democracy that is more deliberative. Deliberative democracy occurs in the sense that it is expected to continue to support the spirit of greater people participation in politics, strengthening the forum that enables local aspirations to be more accommodated, confirming local politics that is no longer oriented toward central of power, guaranteeing the processes of regeneration of political actors in the local region. The affirmation stance for new democracy is a reflection on a deep concern on democratic practices of old democracy that is more controlled by an authoritarian agency. New democracy is a necessary condition for encouraging the emergence of new ideas from the people of achieving a more substantive democratic practice, both at national and local levels.
In the new era of democracy, the wave of transformation towards freedom of expression is inevitable to occur. It applies to anyone regardless of the origin of one’s socio-cultural and identity. The diversity of the culture and ethnicity background as formerly repressed by the old political regime, suddenly appeared as an important issue of local politics. New democracy is then subject to various challenges. The most important challenges is in particular the unfamiliarity of the people in understanding the practices of tolerance. The cultural diversity completely coincides with the transition of dynamics of political change, causing typical social and political dynamics in several local regions.
Complexity of social relations between people of different ethnic and religious groups significantly affects the dynamics of local politics. This especially happens since the issue of ethnic and religious differences has been buried as if there is no problem in it for decades. Another aspect of politics that thrives along with local politics is the issue of power relations between people of different identity (such as people of different religions and different of local of origin). Power relation between race, ethnic groups and different identities becomes major problematic issues in local politics because it is often associated with the contestation over local political leadership. The politic of ethnicity and identity that may lead to social-political tensions and political capitalization could seriously damage democratic principles. A very sharp political contestation that blended with violent campaign often occurs in the locality.
All of these processes provide dynamics in narratives, contestation, relationships and socio-political conflict in different scale. Reorganization of political agenda that happened after the authoritarian practices, created a new arena of contestation for individuals, groups and organizations with a variety of interests. Democratic transition that is transforming from centralization to decentralization still leaves a lot of paradoxes. Political structure that has been constructed by new wave of political reforms not necessarily run toward more inclusive and democratic political process. There are still many challenges that come along with the transition of governance of power from the center to the local regions. Local democratic political contestation in many realms has brought about a series of tension and fragmentation in our cultural diversity. The paradox of democracy that occurs when global democratic values collide against local traditional values is not just happening at the local level but also occurs in many other parts of the world.
Under that background this conference invite both young and established scholars to take part in the discussion on the nexus and linkage between global and local forces and discourses in the context of democracy and social transformation. The theme will be discussed more profoundly in the six panels during the conference as the follows.

Theme 1: Space, Class and Social Transformation
The economic-spatial connectivity among the cities and districts regions with global economy is taking place and is integrated through a variety of policies formation in the regions. Local democracy significantly contributes to the development of interconnectivity between local and global economy. From economic point of view, the integration of local and global space is built through investment, infrastructure, tourism. The vision of development of the city and districts government is increasingly opened up and it becomes inevitable wave along with the practice of decentralization where local democratization is practiced. The local political and economic development in the city and districts level are particularly supported as well as strengthened by middle class. The development of cities and districts has produced a massive growth of the new middle class in the regions. In turn it became one of the driving forces for economic growth of the economy at local level.
The emergence of middle class in the transformation of democracy at the local level should be discussed seriously since it becomes a paradox associated with the process of local democracy formation. In some cases, the pattern of involvement of middle class having different forms. They could be influential not only due to their capacity of controlling the means of production but also in developing network and affect the processes related to regional development agenda. They take benefit from both their economic and political position. They also gained benefit from market mechanism that institutionalized by local democratic politics. Thus they could accelerate simultaneously economic liberalization and democracy. Thus the questions could be as follows: where is actually the orientation of development of the city and districts will be happening? Is regional development and local economic development directed by the middle class and for the development of middle class only? Or the regional development will be driven by ordinary people and for the benefit of ordinary people?

Theme 2: State, Market and Socio-Enterpreneurship
The last decade, when discussing the relationship market, state and society, as appears market has more and more dominated which facilitated by various policies as an umbrella at global/regional (WTO, MEA, etc) and even at national as well as local level. State accused as a party to legalize various market interests, and tend to ignore the interests of public or society. Moreover, society as a party have often been ignored and even marginalized. In a situation that market and state has a strong relationship, it can affect the weakening of generalized trust of society to the state institutions, then will be impacting both economically and politically. Interestingly, within these challenges, there are a number of “social entrepreneurs” who are able to build social businesses. Meaning, a business which does not focus on making profits, but more oriented to fulfill or protecti of public interests, particularly concerning the basic needs for community groups and marginalized. The role which should be the responsibility of the state in realizing the “social well being”.
Triangulation relationships among state, markets, and society (particularly the role of social entrepreneurs) is interesting and challenging to be studied sociologically, especially in the global vs local context. The development of the digital society that will build a kind of transboundary society, of course, will challenge the existence of state, market, as well as society. This is because all of the parties are different entities with their own interests. State as a political entity that should be put forward and protect the public interest. While the market is an economic entity which is oriented to the interests of private (business) based competition. Lastly, society as a social entity that insists on the fulfillment of common interest, including the roles of social entrepreneurs for making a better life. So, the panel “state, market, and society” to give the widest space for various sociological studies to be disscussed either put these relations as “tools of analysis” or a “subject matter”.

Theme 3: Democracy, State, and Local Diversity
After the fall Soeharto in 1998, Indonesia has been undergoing a process decentralization, as part of its transition to democracy. The Indonesian government has implemented the Law 22/1999 on Local Government and Decentralization, which was then revised to be Law 32/2004. These Laws were assumed to give great power and autonomy to the local government in developing their regions. But, many scholars were explained the process also gave negative impacts. Henley and Davison (2008) noted the main outcome of Reformasi has been the rediscovery or reinvention of local Adat, those it used as justification for exclusion, reinforces social hierarchies, gender inequality and so on. But, on the other hand, the liberal democracy that introduced to the local and village governance has marginalized the local elites and the local and traditional mechanism to regulate their community. This panel concern about the practice of democracy when dealing with local values in the Province, regency and village level. It is important to understand how the local elites perceived and using the moment for their interests? How does impact of penetration liberal democracy (voting mechanism, local direct election) vis a vis to the local values and mechanisms (musyawarah mufakat, rembug desa, etc)? How does consequence the process to practices democracy in the local level? It was created the real democracy or just result “pseudo-democracy”?

Theme 4: Identity Politics, Local Conflict and Social Movements
The diversity of Indonesia has two sides of the coin: both as advantage and disadvantage for the nation. It could be an advantage if Indonesian people realized and manage that diversity to strengthen its nationality, as a unity. It could be a disadvantage if diversity understood as the sources of collective problems that eventually failed to be managed peacefully. This condition involves an individual who bases his identity on social categories and divisions, which may be called as Identity politics. The issue of identity politics that interplayed with economic and political problems could lead to the rise of local conflicts such as the Sunni vs Syiah conflict in Sampang Madura, ethnic violence in West and Central Kalimantan, religious communal conflict in Poso Central Sulawesi and Maluku.
Local conflict and collective violence can be seen through the lens of social movement theory and perceived as the vehicles of social transformation (van Klinken 2007). Following the revolution of information technology, social transformation has been growing much faster. It has changed many aspects in human life; include the way we communicate with each other especially through the use of social media. Thus the new kind of conflict has been emerging: the ‘social media’ war. It could be transforming into real conflict in our daily life. We have been witnessing how local conflicts in a neighborhood has been transforming quickly into a national escalation even a global issue when someone posting it in social media. That has been our new challenges on how to deal with new kinds of conflict in the digital era.

Theme 5: Development and Local Preservation
The success of Western countries in achieving a high national income, economic growth, and rapid industrialization is considered as the tangible fact of development’s achievement. It has been constructed, both politically and scholarly, by Western academia as the only way for helping societies step out from the problem of poverty and underdevelopment. New countries after the colonialism phase in Latin America, Africa and most of Asia had to deal with the complicated problems of poverty. Those countries are categorized by Western politics as the Third World countries or developing countries. However, the Third World term has been rejected and changed as Global South countries or South-South Cooperation.
Development has its theoretical root from modernism that creates a ‘grand narrative’, term by Jeans-Francois Lyotard (1974), on social change. Immanuel Wallerstein (2004) uses the term developmentalism to refer modernism of development. Some of Latin American, Asian and African countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa under the supervision of Western countries have undertaken developmentalism since 1960s. In Indonesian case, developmentalism project had started since the regime of New Order (1969-1998). Modernism theories in development require fundamental changes in the local context to ensure the success of developmentalism projects. When local system considered as an obstacle of modernism then it must be replaced by a modern system.
Strong critics on developmentalism come from scholars including critical studies and postmodernism. Instead of eradicating poverty, development creates ‘unintended consequences’ such as environmental destruction, social gap, cultural commodification, corruption and intrastate conflict. The implementation of democracy, either in Indonesia or in most of The Global South countries, provides more spaces for local dynamics. However, development with its grand narrative remains in the domain of state policy. Thus many questions emerge concerning the link between development and local preservation needed to be answered both through theoretical engagement and field research.

Theme 6: Religion, Globalization, and Pluralism
The intrastate and interstate tension or cohesion is the interplay between religion and globalization. Religion is a system of social and political economy belief which inevitably actors bring to the stage of contestation and cooperation. Whilst globalization put all actors to an interconnection that creates a solidarity network of religious actors, and a deep hatred to the others at the same time. An example of the territorial conflict between Palestine and Israel has been interpreted by some certain actors as a religious conflict. The socialization of the interpretation happens in a very complex interplay between the political economy interest of elites, social-mass media game, and context of society. Furthermore, the form of interplay can be seen through some phenomenon such as religious law formalization, religious violent conflict in grass root level, discrimination based on religion which hampers different religions to participate in political structure, and so on.
The notion of pluralism is to answer the problem of religious conflict and tension. The main goal of pluralism is to create an open society which a policy of state and social relation is based on humanity, equality, diversity, peace and justice. Is the idea, movement, of pluralism acknowledged and accepted? Different groups respond it differently. Our world society recently need to deal with the issue of religion, globalization and pluralism.

Theme 7: Media, Technology, and Social Change
Social change has become one of the main issues in sociology since the very beginning of its birth. Recently, the pace of social changes has become very fast all over the world. The direction of the social changes is also uncertain. Whereas many factors contribute to these changes it is less doubt that media and technology play critical role in bringing about social changes in our contemporary society. Presently most people have access to mass media such as newspaper, radio, and television relatively easily. It brings information and messages in many forms not only from Indonesia but also from other countries in the world. In short, referring to Marshal MacLuhan, it has become the so-called the “global village”. Furthermore, we have been witnessing the fast growth of social media based on IT such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It seems that these social media have “revolutionized” pattern of interaction and communication among people in the world.
Of course, social changes are not only driven by media and communication technologies. Transportation technology, for example, is another important factor that promotes social change. The development of transportation technologies has facilitated people to travel and interact with more and more people of different places and socioeconomic backgrounds. The development of agricultural technologies has also brought about significant social changes in the life of farmers and rural community in general. The introduction of the capitalistic mode of production in agriculture tends to transform agrarian and rural communities. Of course, there are many other factors that may bring about social changes include migration, tourism, market, policy, conflict. Based on the description above, this panel is intended to facilitate a discussion on the role of media and technology in evoking social changes.


Venue
Swiss Belinn Hotel Manyar
September 11-13, 2017
Hosted by: Sociology Department Airlangga University

http://kns6.apssi-sosiologi.org/2017/05/02/apssi-international-conference-on-democracy-transformation/