Proliferating Provinces: The Vertical Politics of Territorial Fission in Indonesia


At the end of the 1990s, Indonesia seemed on the brink of state collapse and fragmentation. The specter of collapse has subsided. But the country has undergone fragmentation of a less obvious and more incremental sort: a proliferation of sub-national jurisdictions. Since 1999 the number of provinces in Indonesia has increased from 26 to 33 and the number of districts has risen from 290 to nearly 450. In light of the previous and long-standing relative stability in the numbers of provinces and districts, this trend is quite puzzling. What is the source of this newfound territorial reorganization? What are its implications? Ehito Kimura will argue that the fracturing cannot be explained in exclusively national or local terms. He will focus instead on what he calls "vertical coalitions" tied together by political actors moving up and down across national, regional, and local levels.

Ehito Kimura is working on a manuscript based on his doctoral dissertation on the changing political geography of Indonesia. He lived in Indonesia from 2004 to 2005 and in Thailand from 1997 to 1999. His Ph.D is from the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has degrees from Georgetown University (BSFS) and Yale University (MA).

This is the Southeast Asia Forum's sixth seminar of the 2006-2007 academic year.