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The politics of Shari'a Law: Islamist activists and the state of democratizing Indonesia

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The Islamization of politics in Indonesia after 1998 presents an underexplored puzzle: why has there been a rise in the number of shari’a laws despite the electoral decline of Islamist parties? In his talk, Michael Buehler presents an analysis of the conditions under which Islamist activists situated outside formal party politics may capture and exert influence in Muslim-majority countries facing democratization. His analysis shows that introducing competitive elections creates new pressures for entrenched elites to mobilize and structure the electorate, thereby opening up new opportunities for Islamist activists to influence politics. Michael Buehler is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS , University of London. Specializing in Southeast Asian politics, his teaching and research interests evolve around state-society relations under conditions of democratization and decentralization.Previously he taught at Columbia University and Northern Illinois University. He has also held research fellowships at the Center for Equality Development and Globalization Studies at Northwestern University in Chicago, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute in New York City, and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden. Michael Buehler has been an Associate Research Fellow at the Asia Society in New York City since 2011.

This talk is part of the Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars series.

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