Network Dynamics in the Transition to Democracy: Mapping Global Networks of Contemporary Indonesian Civil Society
This paper seeks to make transparent the mutually reinforcing relationships between global civil society, democracy and network society, which are often implicit in extant theories. The concept of a ‘global civil society’ cannot be separated from the promotion of democracy. Global civil society itself is one of the most explicit instances of the emergence of network society in the modern age and democracy lies at the very heart of what constitutes a network society. However, very little has been said about how these apparent mutually reinforcing relationships arise. Focusing on the case of Indonesia during the fraught regime change from authoritarianism to democracy, we investigate the role of transnational and national civil society organisation during the periods of pre-reform, reform and post-reform. Using multi-methods, including social network analysis and interviews with civil society activists and networkers, we discover a less encouraging picture of these relationships and conclude that the forging of this virtuous circle has some obvious gaps. We attempt to account for these apparent gaps in this mutually reinforcing relationship in terms of different modes of political participation. We suggest that some forms of ‘chequebook activism’ characterised the global civil society role during an abrupt and bloody regime change.
Read the full paper in the Sociological Research Online (Vol 13 Issue 5) here.