Electrifying Indonesia tells the story of the entanglement of politics and technology during Indonesia’s rapid post-World War II development. As a central part of its nation-building project, the Indonesian state sought to supply electricity to the entire country, bringing transformative socioeconomic benefits across its heterogeneous territories and populations.
While this project was driven by nationalistic impulses, it was also motivated by a genuine interest in social justice. The entanglement of these two ideologies—nation-building and equity—shaped how electrification was carried out, including how the state chose the technologies it did. Private companies and electric cooperatives vied with the hegemonic state power company to participate in a monumental undertaking that would transform daily life for all Indonesians, especially rural citizens.
In this innovative volume, Anto Mohsin brings Indonesian studies together with science and technology studies to understand a crucial period in modern Indonesian history. He shows that attempts to illuminate the country were inseparable from the effort to maintain the new nation-state, chart its path to independence, and legitimize ruling regimes. In exchange for an often dramatically improved standard of living, people gave their votes, and their acquiescence, to the ruling government.