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In Search of Middle Indonesia

Middle Classes in Provincial Towns

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Edited by Gerry van Klinken and Ward Berenschot

The post-1998 surge in local politics has moved the provincial town back to centre stage. This book examines the Indonesian middle class (now 43%!) up close in the place where its members are most at home: the town. Middle Indonesia generates national political forces, yet it is neither particularly rich nor geographically central. This is an overwhelmingly lower middle class, a conservative petty bourgeoisie barely out of poverty and tied to the state. Middle Indonesia rather resists than welcomes globalized, open markets. Politically, it enjoys democracy but uses its political skills and clientelistic networks to make the system work to its advantage, which is not necessarily that of either the national elites or the poor.
Contributors include Ward Berenschot, Joseph Errington, Noorhaidi Hasan, Gerry van Klinken, Cornelis Lay, Wenty Marina Minza, Jan Newberry, Amalinda Savirani, Sylvia Tidey, Nicolaas Warouw, and Ben White. Photographs by S. Chris Brown.
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Ward Berenschot, Henk Schulte Nordholt and Laurens Bakker