Pancasila: Its Emptiness, and What That Means for Social Change in Indonesia

Kim, Min Seong (2022) Pancasila: Its Emptiness, and What That Means for Social Change in Indonesia. In: ICON-DEMOST 2021, 15 September 2021, Semarang, Indonesia.

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Owing to the considerable symbolic power it wields as the supposed locus of Indonesian national identity, Pancasila has often been the basis on which particular policies and ideas have been embraced or rejected, and this is a trend that is unlikely to be reversed in the near future. Thus, in considering the viability and efficacy of particular ideas, movements toward social change, and policies that ought to be pursued and implemented in Indonesia in the years to come, it seems imperative to consider how they could be articulated such that they appear as congruent with the values and meaning Pancasila is said to embody. To begin to grasp the values and meaning of Pancasila as they have been understood within post-Reformation Indonesia, this paper proposes to analyze several articles on Pancasila that have appeared on Indonesian academic journals over the past several years. The analysis—which draws from the method of discourse analysis pioneered by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe—suggests that Pancasila is an empty signifier, a signifier that has no particular meaning of its own, but precisely for that reason, can be full of meaning. This paper reflects on the political possibilities opened up by Pancasila’s emptiness, but also how Pancasila’s intertwinement with culture and values perceived to be traditionally Indonesian may imply an irreconcilability with a certain ethos of democratic agonism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: pancasila; national identity; democratic agonism; empty signifier
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: EAI Editor IV
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 15:00

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