Secularity, Islam, and Democracy in Indonesia and Turkey


Indonesia and Turkey together make up almost one fifth of the world's Muslim population. Both countries were hailed as models for democratization until recent developments called that process into question. In Turkey, the Islamist-conservative President Erdoğan has ignited the country’s authoritarian transformation. In Indonesia, oligarchic networks and growing religious intolerance have hollowed out democracy. This research project seeks to explain the authoritarian turn in both countries from a comparative and transnational perspective. Blending the methods and findings of area studies, political science, anthropology, sociology, and political economy, the research group will analyse how the cooperation and competition among religious, economic, and political elites resulted in the regress of democracy. The analysis focuses on three sectors: urban development, health care, and education. Using interviews, ethnography, and media analysis, the project will make sense of the simultaneous trends of privatization and increased public spending and show how they factor in the democratic decline. The project bridges the gap between area studies and political science, and brings new perspectives to the still Western-centric literature on the much-discussed “crisis” of liberal democracy.


Principal Investigators
Schäfer, Saskia Louise Dr. (Details) (Transformation Societies in Asia/Africa)

Duration of Project
Start date: 10/2018
End date: 09/2023

Last updated on 2022-03-01 at 14:59