Contentious Belonging: The Place of Minorities in Indonesia

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Wildani Hefni, Asian Studies Review, April 2020.

"This rich and thorough study seeks to identify various segments of "divided" and "sub-divided" minorities in contemporary Indonesia. The editors of this volume, Greg Fealy and Roni Ricci, start by uncovering the darkness of the nationality problem for minorities, in which they may feel a sense of belonging, or not belonging, within Indonesian society. They argue that Indonesia in fact does not celebrate its diversity. They comprehensively address the realities of minorities in Indonesia: when Muslims are considered not to be Muslims, and when Indonesian communities are not considered Indonesian. By taking this point of departure, Fealy and Ricci reveal the rich political dissonance of minorities in Indonesia from the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities and of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, to prejudices against members of the Ahmadiyah and Shi'a communities.

Minorities grapple with the issue of identity as a result of disdainful attitudes of the majority towards them. This book offers a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by minority groups through rich case studies that provide multifaceted perspectives. This book is useful not only for those with an interest in Indonesian state and society but also for a broader public."

Wai Weng Hew, Southeast Asia Research, 2020.

"Greg Fealy and Ronit Ricci's edited volume, Contentious Belonging: The Place of Minorities in Indonesia, is a timely book, examining various aspects of minorities in contemporary Indonesia using different case studies and a variety of perspectives. This book will not only benefit researchers in Indonesian studies, but also those in topics such as minority studies, disability chapters. It begins by outlining historical contexts and legal aspects of minorities in Indonesia, followed by detailed examinations of different kinds of minority groups (namely: disability, sexual minorities, ethnic and religious minorities), and ends with a reflection piece on what constitute minorities and majorities in Indonesia. 

Overall, this book is an important and up-to-date contribution to our understanding not only of the status of minorities, but also their relations with majority populations in contemporary Indonesia. Comparatively speaking, it also contributes to our understanding of the recent global trend of various forms of populism and majoritarianism."

About the Publication

Contention has surrounded the status of minorities throughout Indonesian history. Two broad polarities are evident: one inclusive of minorities, regarding them as part of the nation’s rich complexity and a manifestation of its “Unity in Diversity” motto; the other exclusive, viewing with suspicion or disdain those communities or groups that differ from the perceived majority. State and community attitudes towards minorities have fluctuated over time. Some periods have been notable for the acceptance of minorities and protection of their rights, while others have been marked by anti-minority discrimination, marginalisation and sometimes violence. 

This book explores the complex historical and contemporary dimensions of Indonesia’s religious, ethnic, LGBT and disability minorities from a range of perspectives, including historical, legal, political, cultural, discursive and social. It addresses fundamental questions about Indonesia’s tolerance and acceptance of difference, and examines the extent to which diversity is embraced or suppressed.


PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

Contentious Belonging: The Place of Minorities in Indonesia [Whole Publication, ISBN: 978-981-4843-47-8], by Greg Fealy, Ronit Ricci, editors 24.00 USD
Preliminary pages Download
1. Diversity and Its Discontents: An Overview of Minority–Majority Relations in Indonesia, by Greg Fealy, Ronit Ricci, authors Download
2. Minorities in Indonesian History: From Ambiguous Advantage to Cantonisation , by Robert Cribb , author 5.00 USD
3. Minorities and Discrimination in Indonesia: The Legal Framework , by Tim Lindsey, author 5.00 USD
4. The Constitutional Court and Minority Rights: Analysing the Recent Homosexual Sex and Indigenous Belief Cases , by Simon Butt, author 5.00 USD
5. Changing Laws, Changing Attitudes: The Place of People with Disability in Indonesia , by Thushara Dibley, Antoni Tsaputra, authors 5.00 USD
6. Disability Inclusion in Indonesia: The Role of Islamic Schools and Universities in Inclusive Education Reform , by Dina Afrianty, author 5.00 USD
7. Is the Recent Wave of Homophobia in Indonesia Unexpected? , by Saskia E. Wieringa, author 5.00 USD
8. Localising Queer Identities: Queer Activisms and National Belonging in Indonesia , by Hendri Yulius Wijaya, author 5.00 USD
9. The Mobilisation of Intolerance and Its Trajectories: Indonesian Muslims’ Views of Religious Minorities and Ethnic Chinese, by Marcus Mietzner, Burhanuddin Muhtadi, authors 5.00 USD
10. Disputes over Places of Worship in Indonesia: Evaluating the Role of the Interreligious Harmony Forum , by Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, author 5.00 USD
11. Anti-Chinese Sentiment and the “Return” of the Pribumi Discourse , by Charlotte Setijadi, author 5.00 USD
12. Minority and Advantage: The Story of Sindhis in Indonesia , by Maria Myutel, author 5.00 USD
13. "Normalising" the Orang Rimba: Between Mainstreaming, Marginalising and Respecting Indigenous Culture, by Butet Manurung, author 5.00 USD
14. Manipulating Minorities and Majorities: Reflections on “Contentious Belonging” , by Sidney Jones, author 5.00 USD
Index Download
Indonesia Update Series Download

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