Contestations of gender, sexuality and morality in contemporary Indonesia

Maria Platt, Sharyn Graham Davies, Linda Rae Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This special issue explores morality agendas in the recent Indonesian context and in doing so, reveals the dynamism of morality debates as they occur in Indonesia and in broader Southeast Asian perspectives. In this Introduction we illustrate how morality (or the perceived lack of morality) acted in part as the impetus for reformasi (reformation), which forced an end in 1998 to the authoritarian New Order era. Subsequently, we discuss how reformasi influenced morality debates in Indonesia by both opening and foreclosing opportunities for tolerance around gender and sexuality. Specifically, we consider the impact of increasing democratisation and how various moral panics have been articulated in the widening space for social and moral critique. The articles in this special issue make a significant contribution to expanding three key themes–morality and boundaries, moral threats, and morality and subjectivity–and shows how these themes intersect with the conceptualisation and functioning of morality in contemporary Indonesia. We then tease out how the five articles in this special issue engage with these themes. Finally, we comment on our observations regarding the increasing visibility of morality debates in Indonesia in the past two decades, and the increasing social currency attributed to morality issues and debates in the public sphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • citizenship
  • democracy
  • family
  • gender
  • Indonesia
  • morality
  • sexuality

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