Friday, February 5, 2010

Civil Society in Indonesia: The Potential and Limits of Muhammadiyah

By: Fuad, Muhammad.
Teaches in the English Department, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universityof Indonesia, Jakarta,

SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
Oct 2002, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p133-163, 31p


With the help of two case studies, a hospital and a school, this article looks at how grassroots initiatives can be a key impetus for the growth in health and education services provided by the Muhammadiyah movement. Such local initiatives are partly driven by a sense of competition with the Christians as well as other Islamic movements. They also come with their own internal politics that are free of external interference. In that sense, the growth of Muhammadiyah activities constitutes a civil society space independent of the state. Independence does not mean that such activities need to be in conflict with the state. In effect, there is a mutually reliant and complementary relationship between Muhammadiyah social services and the state that subsidizes them to varying degrees. These factors describe Muhammadiyah's potential for growth as a civil society actor. However, the movement also faces limitations such as the paucity of economic resources. Ultimately, there also remain major dilemmas such as the contending claims of religious tenets and modernity or to uphold Islam through power politics or cultural politics.

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