A Studium Generale by Department of Politics and Governance Studies, Informal Traps in Indonesian Democracy

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August 3, 2023

Semarang (03/08) – The Department of Politics and Governance Studies, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) Universitas Diponegoro (Undip) held a Studium Generale with the theme “Informal Traps in Indonesian Democracy” on Monday, July 31, 2023. This activity was held hybrid at FISIP UNDIP. The event was also attended by Prof. Ward Berenshcot, Professor of political anthropology, the University of Amsterdam who is also a senior researcher of KITLV Leiden, Dr. Nur Hidayat Sardini, M.Si, the Chair of the Department of Politics and Governance Studies of FISIP Undip, and Dr. Sos. Dra. Fitriyah, M.S who is the speaker and a Lecturer at the Department of Politics and Governance Studies of FISIP Undip. This Studium Generale was moderated by Bangkit A. Wiryawan S, Ph.D.

This DPIP Studium Generale discussed a new approach to understand the challenges that the Indonesian government and democracy were experiencing as a collective action problem. A situation where every political actor seemed to be ” trapped” by something that is beyond their control. In the thorny issue of money politics, politicians felt that they had to do vote-buying because the voters demanded it. Politicians were concerned that they would lose the election. This was considering that their competitors were also doing it. Voters felt they had to “ask” politicians for money in the run-up to the election because it was the only chance to be incentivized in a democratic party. Businessmen felt the need to capitalize on politicians because they were worried that the elected politician’s policies would harm them.and this was where the informal trap occurred.

“Maybe personally everyone wishes for change but they all have incentives to settle on the current system and that is the informal trap which is difficult to be removed from the cycle. Informal institutions were strong because they really helped improve the welfare of citizens and were also one of the insurance or social security because if there were difficulties, they could go through informal institutions and there was a system that was difficult to break out of the circle.” Said Prof. Ward.

Dr. Fitria as the second speaker at this Studium Generale provided material related to the informality of local leader elections which focused on Botoh or the financier of money politics.

“Botoh is better known in the gambling game during village head elections. Botoh is believed to be able to manage the winning and losing of the candidate who is the object of the bet. Botoh is needed because of the need for large amounts of funds for money politics along with the certainty of its electoral influence that is considered by candidates,” said Fitria.

Furthermore, in this studium generale, participants are expected to learn various insights from Prof. Ward or other speakers, and get an overview of informal traps.

“I am very enthusiastic about this discussion, educating voters is important, and I think the State must allocate a sufficient budget, if our voters act rationally everything will change and parties will change,” said Fitria.