The Historical Construction of Bali’s Security Groups
The security groups operating in Bali today are but the latest version of various groups of young men engaged in many forms of collective violence. The chapter argues that various cultural developments converged with political developments at a critical juncture during the Second World War, when the Japanese urged young men to form local security groups in every village. This critical juncture initiated an iterative dance between formal institutions of the state and informal institutions of youth culture. These iterations have included: guerrilla fighters (1945–1949), civil militia (1950–1965), party youth wings (1950–1965), death squads (1965–1966), pro-regime militia (1970–1997), and local security organisations (1998–to the present). Today’s security groups promote development and community integration but at the same time, they retain a potential to support populist leaders who might degrade liberal rights within a more authoritarian form of democracy.
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