Economic nationalism for political legitimacy in Indonesia

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Global surveys indicate that massive disillusionment with economic globalisation, upheld by the liberal order, which is ignored by governments in European, Asian and Latin American countries, has paved the way for the ascent of nationalist forces. This trend is also visible in Indonesia. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has consolidated power against opponents who exploit nationalist, populist and religious causes. On the international front, Jakarta has been actively engaged within a variety of multilateral organisations where liberal institutionalist agendas are enforced. Therefore, it is worthwhile considering the influence of internal and external environments on Jokowi’s economic policy which is getting increasingly nationalistic. This article argues that nationalist economic practices have emerged as the Jokowi government’s response to domestic and international challenges which can have an impact on its perceived legitimacy. The discussion proceeds in five steps. To begin, this article presents a comparative perspective to understand the position of Indonesia in the developing international political economic context. This is followed by an overview of the definition of economic nationalism and its connections to domestic politics and foreign relations. The third section is about the Indonesian government’s efforts to put economic nationalism into effect. The next two parts investigate how the inside and outside dynamics generate Jokowi’s inward-looking policies. The conclusion emphasises what can be learnt from the Indonesian case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-50
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Constructivism
  • Economic nationalism
  • Indonesia
  • Political legitimacy


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