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Post-colonial citizenship education: a critical study of the Production and reproduction of the Indonesian civic ideal


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Kalidjernih, FK (2005) Post-colonial citizenship education: a critical study of the Production and reproduction of the Indonesian civic ideal. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study explores the inculcation of the civic ideal through the education system in
Indonesia since its inception, and particularly during the New Order period. It seeks to
show which factors, apart from the interests of successive regimes, have made the
construction of the civic ideal possible.
Based on a critical approach to the analysis of texts, it argues that the role of Indonesian
citizenship education, exemplified by the student textbooks produced in the last decade of
New Order Indonesia, has been to regulate the moral reasoning and behaviour of
Indonesian citizens on two dimensions: the relations between the state and Indonesian
citizens, and the relations between citizens. Indonesia’s state ideology, National
Constitution and the notion of ‘integral state’, coupled with the sociological approach of
structural-functionalism, were employed as the guiding principles in narrating the nation.
These instruments were used to legitimate the authoritarian rule of the former New Order
regime. The strategy of overemphasing the importance of macro-social ideology
neglected micro-social interactions. In an attempt to forge national integration and
identity, a conformist perspective was imposed to legitimate the suppression of cultural
differences and individual rights.
This study argues that the structure and culture of post-colonial Indonesia made it
possible for the regime to establish its ideological hegemony, and to reproduce the
people’s culture through the textbooks. The regime was able to treat these post-colonial
conditions as ‘resource’ that enabled it to legitimate its hegemony, and at the same time,
reproduce ‘norms’ which the people were required to practice. Instead of empowering the people, these norms constrained them to act as ‘good democratic citizens’ in their mutual
interaction in the context of ‘modern society’. The situation was exacerbated by the
incompatibility of many cultural values (particularly the Javanese world-view and ethics,
and aspects of Islamic morality), and both the physical and economic structural
conditions of post-colonial Indonesia. Moreover, contrary to the textbook writers’
assumptions that Indonesia’s national identity is fixed and stable, it is still undergoing a
process of ‘becoming’. As a site of writing the nation, Indonesian citizenship education
attempted to fix Indonesian students’ identity by enforcing obligations for collective
welfare, and imposing a set of local (particularly Javanese) values, traditions and myths
of historical continuity. This conceptual framework is now being fundamentally
challenged by globalisation and democratic localism.
The demise of the authoritarian regime in mid-1998 stimulated the introduction of a new
national curriculum for citizenship education, intended to encourage active and
participatory learning and promote democratic values. The adoption of elements of
democracy means that individuals should enjoy greater ‘freedom’. In the process of
promoting democracy and human rights within the liberal tradition, the biggest question
is the extent to which independent individuals are justified in choosing their own values.
In this context, the imposition of republicanism with an emphasis on duties in the name
of social cohesion or national interests - something which Indonesian citizenship still
needs to do - will be greatly challenged by the demand for greater individual rights and
democratic localism. This constitutes the greatest dilemma in the reinvention of
Indonesian citizenship. This study suggests that in the implementation of the new citizenship education, post-colonial conditions should be taken into account, and
citizenship should be viewed from the perspective of social exchange networks rather
than a dyadic relation between state and citizen. If national and social identity based on
the cultural and structural conditions of post-colonial Indonesia is not properly
interpreted and discussed, and students are not encouraged to analyse the relationship
between the ‘text’ and relevant social, political and economic contexts, it is likely that the
mistakes of the past will be repeated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Information:

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Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2012 07:51
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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