Revolutionary State Formation and the Unitary Republic of Indonesia

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Recent trends in Europe whereby established states have surrendered some powers toward a supranational Europe, on the one hand, and sub-national regions on the other, make it possible to speak of a relaxation of the “sovereign equality” model that dominated the post-war world in which nation-states were presumed to be the sole and equal possessors of sovereignty. We should, however, be very careful about generalizing this globally. In particular, the new states of Asia have been in an intense period of nation-building since 1945. The type of nationalism which Tønnesson and Antlov (1996) label “official,” I prefer to call “state nationalism” to avoid Anderson's (1991) negative use of the term, since it is the universal currency of states in seeking to create loyalty and homogeneity (Reid 2009). This type is still extremely vigorous in Asia, where the task of turning “peasants into Chinese” (or Indians, Indonesians, etc.) is by no means complete. The acceptance by China in 1997 and Indonesia in 2005 of a certain degree of asymmetry in the position of Hong Kong and Aceh, respectively, may look like pragmatic retreats from the nationalist project, but there is still profound resistance in both these states toward recognizing the validity of self-governing “nations” within established states. It would be wrong to see this difference, however, as a consequence of either Asian cultural norms or long-term patterns of Asian statecraft.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMultination States in Asia: accommodation or resistance
    Editors Jacques Bertrand, André Laliberté
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780521194341
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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