Reimagining Indonesia : territorial concepts of law and sovereignty
Wong, Cynthia Xin Kai
Date of Issue2016
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Indonesia has a unique territorial geography of a combination of seas and islands, earning it the title of an “archipelagic state”. This concept, encapsulated in the principles of wawasan nusantara, meaning ‘archipelagic outlook’, was formally recognized in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. With the inclusion of the maritime territory, the ‘geobody’ of Indonesia challenges concepts of nation and state and the conventional definition of territorial sovereignty and identity of the many scattered islands and connecting seas that make up Indonesia. In the period after Indonesian independence, there was an urgency to assert state sovereignty over territories and the need for the elucidation of national identity and unity became pre-eminent. The maritime dimension, inextricably linked to the formation of the idea of the archipelagic state, will be of central focus here. Essentially, this thesis examines how the political imaginings of wawasan nusantara were fashioned into reality in the creation of the Indonesian nation-state. This will be done through the framing of modern Indonesia’s state and sovereignty through the lens of the maritime and archipelagic sea scapes that unify and divide more than 70,000 Indonesian islands, and establishing points of conflicts that sharpen the idea of Indonesian maritime hegemony through contestations in resource management, maritime security and international relations.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University