Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Editorial | Open Access

Indonesian Heroes and Villains: National Identity, Politics, Law, and Security

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Abstract:  This thematic issue of Politics and Governance offers a collection of unique articles that debate Indonesian “heroes” and “villains,” providing an understanding of the country’s past and present. The importance of Indonesia in the world is ever-increasing geopolitically and economically, offering rich material for academic studies. It is one of the few Muslim-majority democracies, with a long and complex history of people and institutions that have shaped its national identity, politics, government, law, and security, which we examine under the central theme of agents of change and integration. The articles cover local histories prior to independence in 1945 to the present day, the legacy of President Abdurrahman Wahid (1999–2001), biography of a prominent Muslim jihad (holy war) activist, women’s agency in terrorism, as well efforts to reform terrorists. Discussions on the problematic aspects of the Indonesian state ideology Pancasila and the downgrading of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission are also examined. Realpolitik is covered in the article concerning Indonesia’s maritime security and in the article discussing activists who died fighting for democratic freedoms, such as Indonesian poet-activist Wiji Thukul, who eventually saw the reform movement (reformasi) topple the Soeharto “New Order” regime (1966–1998), and usher in the democracy that Indonesia enjoys today.

Keywords:  agency; heroes; history; Indonesia; law; national identity; politics; security; villains



© Nathan Franklin, Hans Hägerdal. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.