This is an intensive study of Indonesian politics from the attainment of full independence in December 1949 to the proclamation of martial law in March 1957, and President Soekarno's subsequent establishment of "guided democracy". It is intended as a contribution to the ongoing discussion of democracy in the new states of Asia and Africa, of the ways in which Western political institutions are transformed when employed in non-Western social settings, and of the obstacles to be overcome if such institutions are to operate in consonance with the authority systems of new nations and with their solution of economic and administrative problems.
Now brought back into print as a member of Equinox Publishing's Classic Indonesia series, The Decline of Constitutional Democracy is considered to be the definitive study of Indonesia in the 1950s and will be of great interest to the growing number of social scientists concerned with the pre-industrial nations and in particular with their efforts to use and adapt Western political institutions. This is a solid and scholarly account, but, writing on the basis of much personal observation, Dr. Feith manages to present his material in such a way that readers with no previous background in the subject will be able to follow the book almost as easily as will specialists.
HERBERT FEITH (1930-2001) became familiar with Indonesia during 1951-53 and 1954-56 when he was an English Language Assistant with the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Indonesia. A citizen of Australia, he received an M.A. degree from the University of Melbourne in 1955 and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1961. He was a Research Fellow in the Department of Pacific History, Australian National University, from 1960 to 1962 and was Chair of Politics at Monash University from 1968 until 1974.
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