Asian Review

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This paper discusses the overlooked dimension of the aboriginal discourse that serves as the genesis of Indonesia as a postcolonial state. More pointedly, it argues that the nationalist's appropriation of European romanticism should be seen as the last attempt of the local aristocracy to preserve their hegemony in the postcolonial order; post-coloniality does not necessarily mean positivity. In fact, in Indonesia's case, the repeated failure to embed liberal values is arguably a result of the half-hearted commitment to enlightenment values of the early nationalist intellectuals. Some of the early nationalist fi gures blatantly imbued the 1945 Constitution with pre-colonial feudalism. More recently, the illiberalism of the 1945 Constitution and its communalism has been joined by the rise of nativist discourses. This piece critiques these developments as fundamentally problematic for the democratization of Indonesia's public life.



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