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WHEN LARGE CONFLICTS SUBSIDE: THE EBBS AND FLOWS OF VIOLENCE IN POST-SUHARTO INDONESIA

  • Patrick Barron, Sana Jaffrey and Ashutosh Varshney

Abstract

The last decade has witnessed an extraordinary spate of scholarship on the ethno-communal violence that swept through Indonesia following the collapse of the Suharto regime. Yet we know very little about how these large-scale violent conflicts subsided and the patterns of post-conflict violence that have emerged since. We introduce evidence from an original dataset to show that the high violence period lasted till 2003, after which violence declined in intensity and scale. Despite this aggregate decline, we find that old conflict sites still exhibit relatively high levels of small-scale violence. We conclude that Indonesia has moved to a new, post-conflict phase where large-scale violence is infrequent, yet small-scale violence remains unabated, often taking on new forms. Finally, we propose that effective internal security interventions by the state are a key reason, although not the only reason, why large-scale violence has not emerged again despite the continued prevalence of low-level violence.

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References

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