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Extra resources for Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia
3 The national model and its institutional history Indonesia’s national model has been based on the concept of a single, Indonesian nation. Constructed out of diverse peoples spread across a vast archipelago, at its origins it was only a vision for establishing a new polity that would unify groups of different ethnicity, size, contact with the modern world, and experience with colonial rule. After independence, struggles within the political elite showed profound disagreements over its character and the best way to ensure its unity.
24 In these states, the nation is deﬁned purely on the basis of rational principles of individual rights and democratic representation. Yet, while membership may be inclusive, there are conditions of adherence to the nation. Some degree of assimilation is expected to occur in order to conform to certain cultural norms. 25 While cultural diversity may be respected, civic nations must still choose ofﬁcial languages among many more spoken in a given territory of the state, impose limits on religious or cultural customs that transgress accepted norms of civic behavior, and make choices in a common educational curriculum that place emphasis on the history and cultural customs of certain groups over others.
Regime change, therefore, can be an important exogenous factor that is accompanied by volatile relations between ethnic groups. While not necessarily conducive to violence, it is a period of important institutional change that opens up discussions and negotiations about resource allocations, representation, and status of ethnic groups. 44 By analyzing critical junctures in the historical evolution of national models and related ethnic relations, one can better understand the institutions that deﬁne and shape ethnic identities, tensions, and grievances.