SPECIAL ISSUE
CONTENTS
  • Section A) The theory and practise of the federal states and multi-level systems of government
  • Section B) Global governance and international organizations
  • Section C) Regional integration processes
  • Section D) Federalism as a political idea
  • Diprose Rachael
    Decentralization, Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict Management in Indonesia
    in Ethnopolitics , Volume 8, Issue 1 - Special Issue: Federalism, Regional Autonomy and Conflict, March ,  2009 ,  107-134
    The impact of decentralization on conflict dynamics is as important as its impact on service delivery and growth, as violent conflict can undo development gains. This paper argues that the impact of decentralization has been twofold. It has relieved centre-periphery tensions around long-standing grievances towards nationalist agendas in Indonesia. The evidence suggests, through examining the case of conflict-affected Central Sulawesi, that decentralization has also to some extent addressed long-standing inter-group tensions and horizontal inequalities at the local level, particularly where geographically concentrated ethnoreligious groups have previously been marginalized from government. It has also reduced grievances by increasing local autonomy and participation in decision-making through direct elections of district heads, now a hotly contested arena of local politics. However, significant structural and institutional change can result in new tensions, particularly when poorly planned for or monitored. Decentralization has stimulated changes in population demographics in some areas in Indonesia, resulting in ethnoreligious segregation through splitting of subnational administrative units into increasing numbers of regions. Groups with previous minority status have found a safe-haven as majorities, setting the scene for how future rights of access and representation play out. Tensions run high when high-stakes local elections are contested along sensitive identity lines, or when district governments are not inclusive of minorities in their regions. This is not to say that the demographic, structural and institutional changes with decentralization will necessarily lead to violent conflict, but rather due attention should be given to ensuring appropriate conflict management mechanisms are in place.
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