Mainstreaming Modernisation Risk Politics in Indonesia’s Democratisation: Towards Public Control of Welfare and Risk in Expanding Water Access

Tadzkia Nurshafira(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper explores how modernisation risk politics are understood and situated in Indonesia’s democratisation, specifically in the issue of clean water provision. Taking water procurement and the expansion of palm oil industries in Pandeglang District as its case study, this paper endeavours to identify the politics of knowledge between local communities and the government in defining and minimising modernisation risks under the democratic regime. Informed by the notions of risk society introduced by Ulrich Beck (1992), dispositif by Michel Foucault (Foucault & Gordon, 1977), and transformative democracy by Harris, Stokke, & Törnquist (2004) and Törnquist & Warouw (2009), this article argues that certain knowledge of risk shapes and conditions existing democratic institutions and actors’ will-capacity in expanding water access. That means that the calculation of risk is strongly influenced by the politics of knowledge, including in identifying what is considered ‘risk’, as well as what is considered ‘agent’ and ‘institution’ relevant to minimising the impact of risk. The politics of knowledge represents the contestation between certain risk dispositif and its alternative, which embodies the exercise of power and is followed by certain technologies of government as material embodiments of such rationality.


modernisation risks; welfare distribution; transformative democratic politics; politics of knowledge

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