Boundary Crossers: The Transformation of Civil Society Elites in Indonesia’s Post-Authoritarian Era

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

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Boundary Crossers: The Transformation of Civil Society Elites in Indonesia’s Post-Authoritarian Era


  • Haryanto Department of Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia


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Abstract:  This article discusses the strategies used by the leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) to cross the boundary between the field of civil society and the field of the state. Moreover, it examines the implications of this boundary crossing for post-authoritarian politics in Indonesia. In doing so, it tries to answer two questions: First, what are the strategies used by CSO leaders in boundary crossing? Second, what are the political implications of this boundary crossing for Indonesia’s post-authoritarian politics? Using Bourdieu’s field theory as its conceptual framework and drawing on qualitative interviews with CSO leaders, this article scrutinises the mobility of CSO leaders in different sectors: agrarian, anti-corruption, law, and human rights. It identifies two main strategies used in boundary crossing: direct and indirect strategies. Such strategies tend to be individual rather than organisational. Neither strategy is exclusive; CSO leaders do not limit themselves to particular strategies but may combine them and use them simultaneously. Another finding is that, when crossing to the state field, CSO leaders may increase or reduce their capital, or even lose it. Furthermore, boundary crossing has several significant implications for post-authoritarian politics in Indonesia: it generates sectoral policies; it creates political linkages; and finally, it leads CSO leaders to exert political control within the state field.

Keywords:  boundary crosser; boundary strategies; Bourdieu; civil society elites; civil society organisations; Indonesia; political implications

Published:   4 September 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i3.3011


© Haryanto. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.