Justice in Indonesia: the Social Life of a Momentous Concept

Laurens Bakker*, Jaap Timmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we argue that efforts in Indonesia to improve access to justice for the disadvantaged would greatly benefit from a pragmatic approach that takes local circumstances of custom, values and social relations into account at least as much as legal reform and bureaucratic transparency. We maintain that in post-Suharto Indonesia 'justice' can be conceptualised as the inverse of injustice and is manifested in terms of sovereign interests. Ideal justice, such as associated with rule of law implementing programs, assumes a functioning of government and judiciary that might bring about such results. Building on our own research as well as on the articles in this special issue we argue that engaging with the role and meaning of justice should involve solid ethnography of justice-seekers' life-worlds, understanding of the strategies and institutions that provide justice, and paying attention to the networks and interactions that connect actors in an ever moving field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Access to Justice
  • Indonesia
  • Justice
  • Law
  • Reform


Dive into the research topics of 'Justice in Indonesia: the Social Life of a Momentous Concept'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this