PANEL 4 – New research on social movements


Chairpersons: Herlambang Wiratraman, University of Gadjah Mada and Bencharat Sae Chua, Mahidol University

This panel takes a step away from the theme of cross-sectoral dialogue, in order to give voice to researchers, both early career and established, working on contemporary social movements. Current themes, such as the rise of youth movements, the use of digital media, or the impact of the pandemic on social movements will be discussed through a multidisciplinary and transregional approach.

  • Iannone, Aniello (UNDIP, Departement of Politics and Governance) – Protests in Southeast Asia: political instability in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines

Southeast Asia has seen a growing unliberal wave in the past years, especially in human rights violations, freedom of speech, and reforms of laws and constitutions that limit people’s freedom of expression and civil rights. In particular, in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the massive demonstrations and protests against the government have demonstrated an unclear political situation, especially in enacting laws that limit people’s freedom and fundamental rights. The protests in these countries result from illiberal policies, controversial political proposals, and violations of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. In Indonesia, protests were seen between 2019 and 2022, including student movements against the government’s proposal to revise the penal code and the government’s more recent approval of the Omnibus Law. In the same period in Thailand, there were strong protests against the military junta for reforming the constitution. Moreover, in the Philippines, the victory of Marcos Jr. in the presidency with Sara Duterte in the vice presidency has sparked protests, especially among civil rights movements. Protests have started in the Philippines, in particular from 2017 onwards, following various amendments and laws approved in the country, but also after the repression and persecution of journalists undermining fundamental freedoms such as that of expression. This work aims to answer the following questions: are these countries suffering from a democratic deficit pushing them toward a more authoritarian regime? What role have these protests in defending democracy? This paper is based on desk-based research, secondary sources, and data collection through a literature review. Moreover, comparative analysis and historical analysis of the process which led to the protests in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, are adopted for analyzing the complexity and the political instability in those countries. Borrowing from the Neo-Marxist theories, the presentation argues that the protests are the consequence of reforms and enactments of laws made by the governments.

Keywords: Southeast Asian; Thailand Politics; Indonesia Politics; Philippines Politics

Biography: Aniello Iannone is an aspiring young researcher on Southeast Asian politics and international relations, in particular in Indonesia. He collaborates with think tanks and research institutes in Indonesia, Thailand and Italy. He holds a Political Science and International Relations degree, majoring in Southeast Asia from the Univerity of Napoli L’Orientale. He also has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the Department of Politics and Governance at the University of Diponegoro (UNDIP) in Semarang city, Central Jawa, Indonesia. His study and research interests include analysis of democracy, economy, Islamic policy and international relations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

  • Alfaro, Ma. Rita Lourdes A. (Ateneo de Manila University, Department of History, School of Social Sciences) – Prisoner rights and the Pandemic in the Philippines

What are the entitlements of an incarcerated person? The view that prisoners have human rights is a thought that escapes many. Although part of the state and legal punishment for the incarcerated person is the deprivation of his or her civil rights, every prisoner, or every person for that matter, retains his or her human rights. Every person’s rights, specifically human rights, must be protected by local and international laws. However, despite local and international instruments, Philippine society continues to violate the human rights of prisoners, showing a lack of interest, open or implicit neglect, and disregard for these rights. Is it easy to say that the violation of their human rights is due to hardship, poverty, or lack of legal or state protection? This research will examine the dynamics of the current prison system and prisoner rights as the Philippines face problems compounded by the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic further looking at access to food and basic commodities, access to government social services, specifically vaccination and medical services, access to space in crumbling jail structures. These are just a few of the issues that will be explored in this research, which seeks to underline that human rights are for everyone and for all times.

Keywords: Philippine prisons; Prisoners’ rights; Philippine penology

Biography: Ma. Rita Lourdes A. Alfaro is a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in History conferred by the University of the Philippines Diliman and a Bachelor of Laws from Far Eastern University Manila. Her research interests focus on history, women’s history, criminality, human rights, penology and the justice system. She was an Intern at the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center in Japan in 2005 and in 2006 she was a Legal Researcher for the Regional Trial Court of Manila. She currently teaches History at the Ateneo de Manila University and presently pursues a Master’s degree in History at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

  • Wiryawan, Bangkit A.; Wijayanto; Budiati, Aisyah Putri (Bangkit A. Wiryawan & Wijayanto: Department of Politics and Governement (LP3ES); Aisyah Putri Budiati: National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia and Kyoto University) – Dinasti politik and welfare depreciation in Indonesia: Evidence from natural experiment following the third round of district election 2015-2017

Following the third round of Indonesia’s district election between 2015 and 2017, a substantial number of elected local leaders with family ties to the previous governing elites started to emerge. The popular Indonesian term for this, dinasti politik, is defined as a narrow circulation of the governing elite centered around the same ruling family. This study aims to investigate the welfare impact of district political dynasties covering 17 out of 26 identified cases. We use each district’s closest neighbors, which do not exhibit the phenomenon, as the control group. We find that most of the districts experience lower income growth, ranging from a mild 0.23 percent drop in Batu City to a severe 2.29 percent drop in Landak District, with Central Maluku District as a main exception. We also observe that in general, the growth depreciation continues longer under the political dynasties. Our finding substantiates the current debate on democratic stagnation in Indonesia and calls for an alternative approach ahead of the country’s upcoming wave of local elections in 2024. To gain wider attention we propose three sequential steps to be done within one year: (1) forge stronger collaboration between key stakeholders, (2) mass civic education through mainstream as well as alternative channels, and (3) organize class action to demand regulatory change.

Keywords: political dynasty, elite capture, local election, decentralization, democracy, welfare

  • Laoera, Bruce Dame (Doctoral School of Humanities, Jagiellonian University, Poland) – The Engagement of Indonesian Student Movements on Instagram: Mapping the Rhizome in Media Ecology

Numerous social movements led by youth have affected societal transformation in the modern era. As a matter of fact, the youth movement has been one of the focal elements in achieving democracy in a number of nations. Since the emergence of the Internet, activism and movements have expanded to the digital sphere through social media platforms. Students can easily access information regarding social activism and participate the rallies or movements. Moreover, the advanced technology of new media has already changed the nature of mass communications from the passive transmission of information to something interactive that enables people to exercise their right of expression (Ganjanakhundee, 2020). Youth and students may use social media to not only discuss their ideas and thoughts on social issues but also to organize movements. My research questions are: 1. What are the characteristics of the political narratives of Student Executive Boards (BEM) on social media (Instagram)? 2. How can rhizomatic strategies (Sastramidajaja, 2016) provide students to navigate movements on a combination of individual and collective levels in the digital sphere? To answer these questions, I will observe the Instagram posts shared by the Indonesian Student Executive Boards’ account entitled @bem_si. Bemsi is the abbreviation of Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa Seluruh Indonesia (Alliance of all Indonesian Students Executive Boards). From the posts that they have shared on Instagram, I will focus on the political narrative, actors, and movement practices within the Instagram platform. By using qualitative analysis, I will also investigate the rhizomatic strategies which navigate the students’ movements based on a combination of their collective actions. As a matter of fact, collective actions and youth movements can be a process of finding cultural and historical answers to political questions (Ruiz, 2015). For the scope of limitations, this presentation will only analyze the content of the posts on Instagram between January 2020-April 2022 during Jokowi’s second presidential term. In order to acknowledge the mapping of the student movement’s participation, engagement, motives, and agenda, I will only focus on the movements that happened within that period.

Keywords: Engagement, Instagram, Media ecology, Rhizome, Student movement, Youth.

Biography: Bruce Dame Laoera is a firstyear PhD Student in the Doctoral School of Humanities at Jagiellonian University, Poland. Currently, her PhD research focuses on Digital Activism and Social Movements in Indonesia. Moreover, she has conducted, published, and presented several pieces of research involving Media, Culture, Film, and Gender studies. For two and half years, she lived in Chiang Rai to teach English Communication at Mae Fah Luang University. Highly inspired by French philosophers, she enjoys reading books about them.