The recent Jakarta gubernatorial election saw the mobilisation of religious sentiment on a massive scale. Postgraduate students Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir, Lukman-nul Hakim and Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih look at the growing use of identity politics in Indonesian electoral democracy.

Following Kartini Day, on 21 April, Talking Indonesia looks at the state of the women’s movement in Indonesia. Dr Jemma Purdey speaks to Dr Intan Paramaditha about why sexuality and the female body continue to be sites for contestation and national anxiety, and how the movement is responding to the “conservative turn” in mainstream Islam.

Many observers have suggested that the win of Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election last week has set the stage for the ongoing exploitation of religious and ethnic sentiment in Indonesian politics. According to Dr Dina Afrianty, however, most post-election analyses have failed to consider what the election result means for Indonesian women.

The expansion of the middle class in Indonesia has been accompanied by a rise in Islamic consumerism. Dr Inaya Rakhmani examines dominant narratives in Islamic-themed television programs, writing that the commercialisation of Islam has encouraged ideas and beliefs that aggravate rather than moderate social divisions.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.

Since the advent of democracy, Islam has become increasingly visible in Indonesian society and politics. But the electoral success of Islamic parties remains limited. How does this compare with the experiences of other Muslim-majority countries? Will Islamic parties ever be able to dominate Indonesian politics? Dr Ken Setiawan chats to Professor Vedi Hadiz about these issues and more in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) has made headlines recently over its controversial fatwa against the Gafatar movement and the LGBT community. Tim Mann takes a look at the council, and the extent to which its fatwa are able to influence policy and legal decisions in Indonesia.

How do Indonesian Muslims’ beliefs about Islam affect their political and economic behaviour? Dr Dave McRae explores this issue with Associate Professor Tom Pepinsky in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia. Photo by Dave McRae.