Building state legitimacy through territorial reform: Pemekaran in Papua Indonesia

Ruhyanto, Arie ORCID: 0000-0001-5749-4521 (2021). Building state legitimacy through territorial reform: Pemekaran in Papua Indonesia. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Territorial reform by enlarging or reducing the size of local government territory has long been implemented in many countries to improve the performance of state institutions. Until recently, however, only a few studies linked territorial reform with state legitimacy. Employing a post-Weberian perspective that sees statebuilding as a process to improve the relationship between state and society, this thesis examines the impact on state legitimacy of statebuilding through territorial reform.

Drawing on the case of territorial reform through district formation, known as pemekaran, in the province of Papua, Indonesia, this thesis presents a qualitative account of how territorial reform facilitates the process of state legitimisation as well as de-legitimisation. In doing so, the research examines stakeholders’ subjective understandings of the intentions, mechanisms and outcomes of pemekaran in Papua. These understandings are captured and interpreted through an in-depth study employing an ethnographic data collection method conducted during five months of fieldwork in four different locations in Papua and the national capital, Jakarta.

This research finds that territorial reform through pemekaran has been a framework not only for an administrative process of public service improvement but more than that as a political process of state legitimisation. Through pemekaran, the state legitimisation process is aimed at achieving official and unofficial intentions. The official intentions focus on the improvement of state institutional capacity in service delivery and welfare distribution. The unofficial intentions centre on the mitigation of the region’s separatism campaign by accommodating local elite interests, containing the security campaign of the separatist group and fostering social integration by promoting migration from other areas of the country.
The findings show that, albeit in limited ways, the progress made in the official intentions of pemekaran through the improvement of service provisions and welfare distributions have contributed positively to public trust in the state. On the other hand, the outcomes of the unofficial intentions of pemekaran, particularly those related to the security and migration issues, have undermined public trust in the state.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of International Development
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government


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