About Us

Erna Anjarwati

Erna Anjarwati is a peace researcher with a master’s degree in international peace studies and conflict transformation from the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Politics at the Institute of Social Science (ICS), University of Lisbon, Portugal. Her dissertation investigates religious fundamentalism, focusing on the emergence of Islamist and Buddhist nationalism in the early phase of democratic transition and consolidation in the divided nations of newly democratizing states, with a comparative case study of Indonesia and Myanmar.


Images of fundamentalism in newly democratizing state: The emergence of religious nationalism in Indonesia

The resurgence of religion is used as a source of political resistance and mobilization against the state by Islamist fundamentalist groups in the twenty first century reflects a new threat to the existence of constitutionally democratic regimes and pluralism in many divided nations of newly democratizing states including in Indonesia. Adopting the cosmic war theory of Juergensmeyer (2000) and the critical theory of Derrida’s post-modernism, emphasizing his idea of ‘deconstruction’ (Derrida, 1998), this interdisciplinary study examines the ways in which Islam has been exploited as a political vehicle to awaken a sense of religious fundamentalism in the early phase of democratic transition and consolidation in the divided nation of the newly democratizing state of Indonesia. By looking at the religious-political ideologies and strategies of political movements, applied by the Jemaah Islamiyah armed group and the Islamic Defenders Front, the study seeks to demonstrate how the emergence of Islamist nationalism through fundamentalist movements is perceived as a new political religion that combines revolutionary political concepts and fundamentalist doctrines that directly mark the competition between secular democracy and political Islam. The purpose of the study is also geared to contribute to a comprehensive theoretical and empirical understanding of politicized Islam and its implications to the outbreak of civil wars, while formulating policies on the prospects for peace and conflict resolution. A comparative case study approach will be employed alongside political discourse and content-based analyses for analyzing the data.