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When the Supporters Do Not Support: Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election



In the study of local politics in Indonesia, researchers have begun to turn their attention to the role of sporting organizations such as football clubs and their fans. It is widely believed in local communities that football is closely linked to politics, given that it has been observed that almost any form of social network can be used for electoral purposes in Indonesia. Supporters’ clubs are a site where masses of ordinary people congregate, with a fanaticism which could offer lucrative political returns for politicians able to translate that passion into votes. However, thus far, the literature on Indonesian local politics provides little information on how football supporters are mobilized politically at the grassroots. This study therefore tests the proposition that football fan clubs can be used for electoral mobilization by way of a close study of one such club, Aremania, in the 2017 local election in the city of Batu, East Java. The analysis confounds expectations, showing that this fan club was not readily converted into a vote bank, largely as a consequence of its egalitarian organizational pattern and culture. At least in some cases, therefore, it seems that football clubs are one rare category of social group in Indonesia that is resistant to political mobilization. The argument is sharpened by way of a comparison with Argentina, where football supporters’ clubs are more hierarchically organized and more closely linked to politics.
Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 39, No. 3 (2017), pp. 552–73 DOI: 10.1355/cs39-3h
© 2017 ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic
Yogi SetYa Permana
is a Researcher in the Centre for Political Studies,
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia,
LIPI). Postal Address: Widya Graha 11th floor, Jln. Jend. Gatot Subroto
10, Jakarta, Indonesia 12710; email:
When the Supporters Do Not
Support: Politicizing a Soccer
Fan Club in an Indonesian
In the study of local politics in Indonesia, researchers have begun
to turn their attention to the role of sporting organizations such as
football clubs and their fans. It is widely believed in local communities
that football is closely linked to politics, given that it has been observed
that almost any form of social network can be used for electoral
purposes in Indonesia. Supporters’ clubs are a site where masses
of ordinary people congregate, with a fanaticism which could offer
lucrative political returns for politicians able to translate that passion
into votes. However, thus far, the literature on Indonesian local politics
provides little information on how football supporters are mobilized
politically at the grassroots. This study therefore tests the proposition
that football fan clubs can be used for electoral mobilization by way
of a close study of one such club, Aremania, in the 2017 local election
in the city of Batu, East Java. The analysis confounds expectations,
showing that this fan club was not readily converted into a vote bank,
largely as a consequence of its egalitarian organizational pattern and
culture. At least in some cases, therefore, it seems that football clubs
are one rare category of social group in Indonesia that is resistant
to political mobilization. The argument is sharpened by way of a
comparison with Argentina, where football supporters’ clubs are more
hierarchically organized and more closely linked to politics.
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 553
Keywords: local elections, football, supporters’ clubs, identity, electoral
Direct elections of local government heads (pemilihan kepala daerah
or pilkada) have drawn the attention of many scholars since they
were introduced in Indonesia in 2005.1 A wide-ranging literature
on the topic now covers areas as diverse as the structures of local
politics and their relations with capital,2 the local politics of shariah
regulation,3 the relations between local elites and patronage politics,4
the politicization of identity, including ethnicity, tradition and
religion,5 electoral financing,6 and electoral dynamics in post-conflict
or divided societies.7 One persistent theme in the study of local
electoral politics is the tendency of political candidates to co-opt
a wide range of social networks into their electoral campaigns. In
their attempts to mobilize voters at the grassroots of society, and in
a context of personalized campaigning and party weakness, political
candidates exploit their personal connections and provide patronage
in order to make electoral use of social groups that were set up for
other purposes. Accordingly, scholars have shown how candidates
have mobilized groups from kinship networks,8 religious institutions
such as traditional Islamic boarding schools or pesantren,9 customary
institutions,10 and women’s organizations,11 through to violent vigilante
groups.12 Indeed, it has been remarked that, in Indonesia, “almost
any social network can be exploited for electoral purposes”.13
In this context, one topic that has yet to receive serious attention
is the role that sporting bodies, such as the fan clubs of major
football teams, may play in electoral politics. On the face of it, these
groups should be a target of electoral mobilization efforts. Fan clubs
often have thousands of fanatical members, the loyalty of whom, if
properly harnessed, could represent a powerful electoral force. At
the same time, in recent years there has been growing awareness
at the global level of the need to connect studies of football with
analysis of the wider social and political context. This awareness
has emerged in a context in which football has cemented itself as
the world’s most popular sport.14 The last decade has accordingly
seen the emergence of such journals as Sport in Society and Soccer
& Society, which provide a forum for academic discussion of the
intersection of football and socio-political life in Europe, Asia,
Africa, Latin America and beyond. After all, more than 250 million
people around the world play football, and some 1.4 billion have
connections to it of various sorts.15
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554 Yogi Setya Permana
A large number of such people are found in Indonesia, where
football is the most popular sport. The Indonesian football league
attracts the largest audience in all of Southeast Asia, with on
average 11,000 supporters coming to stadiums for matches and more
than 20,000 routinely turning up to matches involving the major
clubs such as Arema Malang, Persib Bandung, Persipura Jayapura
and Persija Jakarta.16 Stadiums are routinely filled with passionate
supporters who follow their clubs enthusiastically, despite the fact
that Indonesia has never managed to lift itself out of the lowest
level in international competition, having consistently failed to make
it through the World Cup Asian qualifiers.17
Moreover, several scholars have pointed out that soccer in
Indonesia is deeply politicized, plays a vital role in domestic
politics and is embedded in everyday life.18 Scholars have pointed
to a connection between football and nation-state building in the
post-colonial context,19 noting that “it can be a channel for mass
mobilization and a source of support”,20 and explained that football
also helps to shape local cultures and political identities in the
context of the decentralized Indonesia of the post-Soeharto era. 21
This context gives us good reason to expect that football clubs,
with all their thousands of supporters, will be a honeypot for
politicians seeking popular support. Indeed, it has been pointed
out that politicians routinely become administrators and patrons of
clubs throughout Indonesia.22 This trend has progressed to a point
whereby in 2017 most clubs in the Indonesian premier league have
as their chairpersons, or at least as a member of management, a
leading political figure or a person closely associated with a political
party. This close connection between football and politics occurs
both because politicians seek to generate a positive image for
themselves, and because they are seeking access to “lucrative
football-related funding sources”.23 It is also readily observable that
at least in some locations politicians use their influence within
football clubs at election time to generate sympathy among
supporters and mobilize them via their own networks. It has been
observed, for example, how Dada Rosada used the “Viking” club of
supporters of Persib Bandung to help generate votes in the mayoral
election in the city of Bandung in 2008.24 In East Java, it has been
studied how “La Mania” supporters of Persela Lamongan were used
by elites in a 2010 local election.25 Brajamusti, the supporter group
of PSIM (Persatuan Sepak Bola Indonesia Mataram, Mataram
Indonesian Football Club) Yogyakarta, split as a consequence of
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 555
conflicts of political interest among elites.26 Both popular and
academic literature have frequently mentioned the role of football
fans in electoral politics.
However, the literature on football and politics in Indonesia still
lacks studies that analyse in detail how supporters are mobilized
at the grassroots during election campaigns. We do not yet have a
clear picture of factors that facilitate or impede mobilization. This
article aims to provide such an analysis, and starts by interrogating
the very assumption that football fans are easily mobilized for
electoral purposes. It does so by providing empirical evidence
from the grassroots. I find that we cannot assume that mobilizing
football supporters behind a candidate will automatically be an
easy or simple affair. On the contrary, local context, notably the
organizational form and group culture of the fans involved, will
have a great influence. We cannot assume that electoral mobilization
of football fans will occur everywhere in Indonesia.
I base this finding on a study located in the city (kota) of Batu.
The city of Batu is a relatively new administrative area that was
split off from the city of Malang in 2001. Though its official status
is a city, Batu is in fact a hilly region some distance from the city
of Malang, mostly consisting of rural villages. Batu, along with the
city of Malang and the kabupaten (rural district) of Malang, form
part of what is known as Malang Raya or Greater Malang. This
part of the country is famous for its strong football tradition and
for its fanatical supporters. As a former ESPN journalist, Anthony
Sutton, put it, Arema, the local Malang football club, is the
St. Pauli of Indonesia — referring to the St. Pauli club from the
German league, which is known for having loyal, radical and
left-wing fans.27 Sutton meant that, for its diehard fans, Arema is
more than just a club but is also a way of life. Its fans, organized in
a group called Aremania, form a distinctive subculture with its own
symbols, flag, anthem and organizational mechanisms. When Arema
plays, the whole atmosphere in Malang changes, as though the city
is experiencing a popular festival. On match day, the region seems
to turn blue, with residents wearing the uniforms and attributes of
their favourite club.28
Batu city held a mayoral election in February 2017 and, given
the history of fanatical football fandom in Greater Malang, seemed
an obvious place to test the conventional wisdom that football
supporters are a potent source of electoral support in Indonesia. One
of the candidates, Dewanti Rumpoko, was the wife of the incumbent
and it was widely expected she would be able to use the Aremania
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network to support her campaign. After all, the Rumpoko family
had a host of historical, policy and symbolic connections with the
Arema club. However, I found that this strong connection did not
automatically transform Aremania into a vote bank because of the
egalitarian culture and non-hierarchical organizational pattern that
existed within the group.
I advance my argument through several sections. In the first,
I elaborate theoretically on the connection between football and
politics, drawing especially on the case of Argentina as a point of
reference. Many scholars have pointed out that Argentina presents
an example par excellence of the integration of football and
politics,29 although it provides an extreme point of comparison
with Indonesia. In the second section, I briefly review the story
of the Arema club, Aremania, and the context of Greater Malang,
explaining not only the history but also how the club has become
an important symbol of Malang regional identity. The third section
explores the extent of electoral mobilization through Aremania
during the 2017 election. The fourth includes analysis of my
fieldwork findings as well as comparative insights derived from
Argentina, highlighting my key arguments and pointing to crucial
factors that both influence and constrain the inter-relationship
between football and electoral politics.
Theorizing Football and Politics
In the rapidly growing literature on football and politics, most studies
focus on the relationship between football clubs and identity. A
particular focus is on how clubs help construct national or local/
regional identity. Adriano Gómez-Bantel, for example, explains that
in contemporary society football clubs can be seen as symbolizing
not only a particular geographic territory but also a philosophy.30
The identity that develops around a club can make such a club a
crucial part of a community’s very existence. A football club can
play a key role in defining a community’s identity in its own terms
and in relation to others, helping to explain the intense rivalry that
can arise between clubs.31
Accordingly, scholars typically use football as a lens through
which to observe the construction of local and national identities.
In Asia, football has been understood as one tool used by
nationalists to promote anti-colonial messages and pursue the
struggle for independence.32 During the colonial period itself, football
has been a site where nationalists challenged colonial ideologies of
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 557
superiority and exclusion — this occurred in India, for example,
where nationalists used football to confront British imperialism,
viewing victories over British teams as a signal that Indians could
defeat colonialism.33 Football was also used by nationalists for the
purposes of nation building after India became independent, as
was attempted by Sukarno in Indonesia.34 In other contexts, football
can be a means of transcending segregation based on narrowly defined
ethnic, religious or political identities, as exemplified by Adrien
Battini’s study of the “UltrAslan” fans of the Galatasaray club in
Turkey.35 Yet it can also embody fragmentation of national identity,
as reflected by the proliferation of local clubs in India,36 or the
ethnic segregation of clubs bequeathed to Kenya by colonialism.37
Football can also reflect centre–periphery tensions, as with the
rivalry between Futbol Club Barcelona, which has become a
powerful symbol of Catalan nationalism, and Real Madrid, which
is seen as embodying Spanish nationalism.38
In many countries, meanwhile, the state is tempted to intervene
in football because it can be used as a means of political control.
For example, politicians can use football to promote a favoured
view of social or national identity that supports their own political
goals and authority.39 This phenomenon has been investigated, for
example, by Christos Kassimeris who has explored how the Italian
dictator Benito Mussolini used Italian football to undergird his
fascist political project, and analysed how more contemporary right-
wing politicians have done the same in the service of their own
xenophobic views via the Ultras — extreme right-wing fan groups.40
In Argentina in the 1950s, President Juan Peron used soccer to
promote his programme of national integration and target youths
with his populist political propaganda.41
Despite this wide-ranging literature, relatively few studies have
seriously examined how football and football supporters are used for
electoral mobilization. The main exceptions are studies about football
and electoral clientelism in Argentina, such as those produced by
Eugenio Paradiso, Joel Horowitz, and Vic Duke and Liz Crolley.42
In Indonesia too, football and politics cannot readily be separated,
not least being interconnected through long-standing relationships
of clientelism. Accordingly, Argentina provides a useful comparative
starting point for a study of electoral clientelism and the politics
of football in Indonesia.
In Argentina, it is no exaggeration to say that football is an
extension of politics, and that anything related to football can
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558 Yogi Setya Permana
be politicized. Duke and Crolley, for example, depict Argentinian
football as generating its own social communities which are
intertwined with the country’s political structures.43 In their view,
this enmeshment has its origins in the early twentieth century
when the organizational weaknesses of the newly formed political
parties made them piggyback on the pre-existing and already
strongly established barrio or neighbourhood-based clubs. Club
managers, from presidents to ordinary officials were frequently
directly elected by all community members. The political parties
came to play a dominant role in these elections because they
saw them as a means to reach out to constituents, build
clientelistic networks and generate loyalty.44 As a result almost all
elected presidentes (presidents) and dirigentes (directors) of clubs
came to be politicians. These politicians were often called padrino
(patrons) because they had access to resources and could distribute
them to the poorer barrio residents. As a result, in these locally
based football clubs, supporters came to play an important role,
not only for the survival of the clubs themselves but also for the
political careers of their managers. Politicians who wanted to
succeed politically at either the local or national level typically
needed a solid base among club supporters. The more militant
and loyal the supporters were towards their club, the more likely
they were to back its officials or presidents during electoral
This dynamic ultimately gave rise to the prominence of the
barra bravas, or “fierce gangs”, in contemporary Argentinian
electoral politics.45 The barra bravas are formal organizations
of supporters of every club in Argentina, still typically based
around their respective barrios, which came to be famous for their
violent acts, militancy and loyalty. But these barra bravas have
also come to play a crucial role in the clientelist and populist
politics that have characterized Argentinian politics since the
return to civilian rule in the 1980s.46 Soccer clubs at the community
level are far more than just sporting organizations; they are also
channels for distribution of basic needs for community members,
as part of the broader web of clientelism.47 The clubs provide
goods and services for people, such as by organizing soup kitchens
for the poor. All of this occurs in a context where clientelism
involves far more than mere economic transactions but where
low-level patrons and brokers often act as problem solvers for
the poor.48
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 559
Aremania: From Territorially Based Gangsters to a
Shared Identity
A critical part of the context for the emergence of the Arema
Football Club was a tradition of mass brawls involving groups
of youth gangsters in the greater Malang region in the 1980s. At
that time, youths in Malang were forming gangs based around
the territories where they lived. Such territories could be just
a few alleyways or much broader neighbourhoods.49 Inter-group
rivalries and micro-territorial loyalties led to conflict. One famous
leading gangster (preman) of that period, H.M. Mochtar, has
described the emergence of such groups as a natural response to
the poverty that affected many town dwellers at the time:
In the 1970s and 1980s, kids in Malang were crazy about forming
gangs. They joined gangs to gain an identity. The gangs of that
time didn’t aim to commit crime, but to forge unity to help people
survive, to help them eat. That’s all!50
Even so, some of these groups were undoubtedly involved in
petty crime and protection rackets, while competition between
them for control of territory led to frequent clashes.51 For a time
in the mid-1980s, the security forces responded by trying to
eradicate the gangs, with Malang becoming one area where the
so-called petrus (penembakan misterius) or “mysterious killings”
were rife.52
In this fraught context, A. Acub Zaenal, an army general who
had previously served in Papua in the 1970s, along with his son,
Lucky Acub Zaenal, and Ovan Tobing, formed the Arema Football
Club on 11 August 1987. The name “Arema” was a shortening of
Arek Malang” (Malang Youths). They hoped that the club would
help Malang youths to build a city-wide common identity as
Arek Malang and as such, help them overcome the divisions and
rivalries that had led to such frequent violent clashes.53 However,
despite the formation of the club, brawls between youth gangs
continued, including around the Gajayana stadium during matches.
Going one step further, the club’s managers formed a club for
supporters which they hoped would draw together all the youths
in the city behind the team. Thus was born, in 1988, Arema Fans
Club (AFC). The group was managed directly by the football club,
and chaired by Lucky Acub Zaenal. However, AFC at first elicited
little enthusiasm among the youth gangs who were at this time
already the main supporters of Arema. Many of them viewed AFC
as too exclusive and middle class in its orientation. Moreover, the
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security forces — both police and military — played a leading role
in it, generating further antipathy.
In the early 1990s, some youth gangs which had frequently
been in conflict came together to discuss their shared rejection of
the Arema Fans Club. According to Ovan Tobing, one of the founders
of the Arema football club, and subsequently a leading figure in
Aremania, many youths were becoming increasingly hostile to the
obvious control exercised by soldiers and Golkar (Golongan Karya, the
government’s electoral vehicle) in Arema, and wanted to establish a
new group that would not be so readily co-opted by the government.54
A new spirit of independence was gradually emerging in broader
politics including among young football fans. Accordingly, in 1994
AFC was dissolved.55 From this time, the term “Aremania” came into
increasing use among the club’s supporters. People began to wear
items of clothing with the catchy word printed on it. Gradually,
the name caught on, along with the associated slogan, “Salam Satu
Jiwa”, loosely translated as “One Soul Salute”.
A defining feature of the principle of independence that came
to characterize the Aremania subculture was rejection of formal
organizational structures and formal chairpersons. Aremania has
adopted only a system of informal local groups, each known
as a koordinator wilayah (regional coordinator), or korwil. The
highest-level leadership body is an informal consultative meeting
of the korwil from around Greater Malang. This absence of formal
organizational structures reflected a deeper egalitarian, non-
hierarchical and anti-institutional ethos in Aremania, celebrated in
the group’s basic principle, borrowed from English: “No Leader, Just
Together”. Over time, supporters have formed as many as 330 such
korwil in various neighbourhoods throughout Greater Malang, with
about 70 per cent of them still active.56 Accordingly, it is possible
now to visit almost any part of the region and see signs bearing
images of Arema’s lion symbol — an indication that a local Aremania
group is active in the neighbourhood.
Despite the egalitarian ethos, the formation of the korwil was
also in part driven by a desire for greater order and security on the
part of members. Leading figures in Aremania say that gaining the
affiliation of local youth groups allows Aremania itself to become a
vehicle for mediating disputes among rival groups or individuals at
the grassroots, and for promoting accountability should supporters
engage in mass violence or other undesirable behaviour.57 Though the
korwil do not have formal leaders, in most there will be informal
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 561
leaders, or tokoh. Such informal leaders usually have connections
with the local Rukun Tetangga, or RT — the lowest-level, neighbour-
hood government unit — as well as with the local police station, and
with the Arema Football Club (FC) itself. In the past, Aremania members
could get tickets to Arema matches through these informal leaders,
paying only the standard door price, but over the past five years the
Club has centralized sales through its office and the stadium.58 Overall,
the korwil system has tended to generate a greater level of discipline
among supporters, reducing hooliganism at both home and away
matches. It has also helped coordinate the regular travel of thousands
of fans to matches in cities throughout Indonesia, generally without
serious problems.
Aremania has not just been a medium for football fandom,
but it has also facilitated the formation of a regional identity. For
example, migrants from the Malang region now often proudly label
themselves Arema or Arek Malang. This goes not only for football
fans, but also for people who have no interest in the game.
Interestingly, many Malang natives, in their home region and
elsewhere, have begun to use the Arema identity in their business
activities, with numerous “Warung Makan Arema” (Arema Food
Stalls), “Bakso Arema” (Arema Meat Balls), “Toko Arema” (Arema
Shops), and so on.59 At the same time, and to a significant
extent, Arema and Aremania have succeeded in uniting the city’s
previously warring local youth gangs under the banner of a shared
identity. Inter-gang violence and brawling has declined as a result,
to the considerable relief of many Malang residents. Security forces
now face few problems dealing with the city’s youths, and rioting
at matches is rare.60
Aremania in the 2017 Batu Election
Four pairs of mayoral and deputy mayoral candidates competed
in the 2017 Batu election. For our purposes, the most important
pair of candidates was Dewanti Rumpoko and Punjul Santoso, who
were supported by PDI-P (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan,
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle). Dewanti Rumpoko was
the wife of Eddy Rumpoko the incumbent mayor who, first elected
in 2007, was ending his second and final allowed term in office.
Punjul Santoso, running as Dewanti’s deputy mayor, was already
serving in the same position under Dewanti’s husband. Not
surprisingly, it was all but universally acknowledged that Dewanti’s
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562 Yogi Setya Permana
candidacy represented an attempt to continue the regime established
by her husband.
Eddy Rumpoko is a figure whose career and public image
cannot be separated from Arema and Aremania. Eddy is the son
of General Sugiono, widely known as Ebes Sugiono, who served
as the mayor of Malang and the head of the Arema Foundation
in the early 1990s. Leading figures in Aremania still remember the
late Ebes Sugiono with fondness and respect for his dedication and
commitment to Arema FC. Indeed, at one point he was the Arema
coach.61 And the influence of the father was passed down to his
son, Eddy Rumpoko who has served as chairperson and advisor of
the Arema Football Foundation, which runs the club.
Eddy Rumpoko’s involvement in Arema and Aremania has been
longstanding, both before he became mayor of Batu and during his
tenure. As mayor, Eddy issued many policies to support Arema
both materially and symbolically. For example, he stubbornly
insisted, over the objections of some of his political foes, that it was
permissible for him to allocate part of the city budget to financially
support Arema. He also had a reputation for generously providing
funds to support Aremania members travelling to other cities to
support their club. The Batu city government routinely provided
dozens of buses to take thousands of Aremania supporters to watch
matches elsewhere.62 Indeed, it was not unusual for such fans to
get some pocket money to sustain them during their time away.
Eddy had also pursued various symbolic steps, for example
ordering an “Aremanization” (Aremanisasi) of the Mayor’s Office,
festooning the city government complex with various Arema
attributes and ordering city bureaucrats to wear Arema shirts on
certain days. He frequently invited Arema players to his office
complex to take part in various popular entertainments. His daughter
also became well-known for her efforts in initiating the formation
of Aremanita (Aremania Wanita, i.e. the Aremania women’s wing).
Not surprisingly given this record, Eddy Rumpoko succeeded
in building a popular image as one of Arema’s main supporters.
Though his efforts were perhaps on the extreme side, they were also
in line with the much broader picture of close connections between
football and politics which, as noted above, has emerged in post-
reformasi Indonesia as in many other countries such as Argentina.
In this context, going into the 2017 election, it was widely
assumed that Dewanti Rumpoko would have a strong advantage
in her ability to use the Aremania network as a tool for voter
mobilization. Aremania, with its masses of fanatical Arema fans,
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Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 563
could be assumed to be readily used as part of her political
machinery. After all, her husband was closely identified with the
Arema and Aremania image, and he had a history of helping members
of the network. Moreover, as noted above, it is very common
for politicians to make use of all manner of social networks and
organizations for the purposes of electoral mobilization in regional
Dewanti Rumpoko did win the election, with a first-round
victory of 41 per cent of the vote. Strikingly, however, my fieldwork
findings suggest that this victory was won without reliance on the
Aremania network. Instead, her victory can be attributed mainly to
her position as wife of the incumbent, which brought an ability to
mobilize significant resources and to make use of the bureaucracy
as a powerful political machine reaching down to the villages.
Dewanti did not use Aremania as channel for mobilizing votes,
even among youths.
Before attempting to explain this surprising finding, let us first
provide a picture of the electoral tools that Dewanti had at her
disposal. One place to begin is with a programme of village visits,
called “Sambang Desa” (Village Visit), that Mayor Eddy Rumpoko
held during the weeks leading up to voting day. During this period,
Eddy visited every village in the city limits to “take his leave”.
At one such event in the village of Gunung Sari, a vehicle parked
near the stage was packed full with sacks containing sarung and
mukena (women’s devotional robes). Staff members carried these
items to the stage, where they were mobbed by residents wanting
their share. The master of ceremonies (MC) on the stage used the
loudspeaker to remind those present to be orderly and not to worry
because all would get their share, because the plan was that the
village security guards and neighbourhood heads would later be
handing them out. As well as these items of clothing, residents
also received envelopes, each containing 50,000 rupiah (US$3.70).
From the stage, while all this was going on, the MC repeatedly
reminded those present not to forget to vote for Dewanti Rumpoko.
Seated next to the MC, Mayor Eddy could be seen smiling and
occasionally nodding. I heard numerous stories of similar scenes
in neighbouring villages where “Sambang Desa” visits took place.
Informants also explained how village heads had been instructed
by the mayor to take responsibility for organizing and “securing”
these events.
There was much anecdotal evidence of vote buying, too, in
the lead-up to the election. For example, close to voting day, the
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564 Yogi Setya Permana
owner of the house where I was staying explained how he had been
asked by a member of Dewanti Rumpoko’s “success team” to gather
together the youths of the village. It turned out they were being
visited by a PDI-P member of the East Java provincial legislature
who, during the meeting, handed over a gift of 2.5 million rupiah
(US$190) to his host while expressing his hope that the youths
would give their support to Dewanti. Our informant explained
that those present were happy to receive their share of the cash,
though he himself took no responsibility for their voting choices.
Another example came at 6 a.m. on voting day, when a neighbour
knocked on our door. He had with him envelopes containing
cash that he was handing out to residents on behalf of Dewanti’s
success team. He explained that the money had arrived only at
3 a.m., and he was concerned that residents he had previously
visited and whose support he had secured in exchange for a
promise of money would later be angry with him. He explained
that the money had come from the village head, who had collected
it the previous day and, it was said, had a total of 200 million
rupiah (US$15,000) to distribute to residents of this village alone.
In short, even without providing a more systematic account, it
is obvious that this campaign was one that relied heavily on the
methods of bureaucratic mobilization, patronage distribution and
vote buying that have been widely observed as occurring in local
elections in other parts of Indonesia.63
In contrast, it was obvious from my observations in the weeks
leading to the election that Aremania was not being used as a tool
of electoral mobilization. The various Aremania korwil in Batu
were not involved in any campaign activities whatsoever. The
candidates and the parties that backed them did not use Arema
or Aremania symbols in their campaigns. None of the campaign
posters, billboards or flags that decorated the city contained such
symbols. This situation was different to that in other regions where
politicians frequently try to make use of football club imagery and
symbols when campaigning.64
What explains this seemingly anomalous outcome, given the
general context in which electoral utilization of informal social
networks is normalized and the specific context in which Dewanti
was seemingly in such a strong position to use Aremania? A starting
point is that in interviews informants from Aremania consistently
explained that there is a sort of unwritten law within Aremania that
the group should not involve itself in “practical politics”. This was
a founding principle of the group, when it was established in the
08 Yogi-4P.indd 564 22/11/17 4:51 pm
Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 565
1990s as part of an attempt to distance fans from official politics,
and it continues to this day. Founding leaders of the group, such as
Yuli Sumpil and Ovan Tobing, frequently remind members of this
rule. Indeed, some informants suggested that if Dewanti had tried
to overtly use Aremania this would likely have backfired, because
she would be depicted as someone who was damaging the group.
This had happened previously: in the Malang city mayoral election
and in legislative elections some candidates had tried to use Arema
symbols and had relied on friends from within Aremania to recruit
supporters, only to be reprimanded by both senior figures and
ordinary members of the group.65
Informants from Aremania insisted that by keeping a distance
from formal politics Aremania would also be able to maintain its
hard-won role of providing a unifying and over-arching identity
for supporters, and avoiding division between them. Divisions in
the local political elite, in this view, should not be allowed to
produce conflict among Aremania supporters. This included the
2017 election in Batu: although Eddy Rumpoko had positioned
himself as a strong supporter of Arema, there was no obligation
for Aremania members to support him politically. Indeed, some
suggested that if any Aremania supporter used the organization’s
symbols in an election campaign, other members might respond
with violence. The principle “No Leader Just Together” is a basic
guideline for the group and mandates that the organization should
not be used to promote the interests of any single individual.
I heard this principle referred to during dozens of interviews and
informal conversations with Aremania supporters. They believed
that Aremania served a higher purpose than that of merely
temporary political expedience. They insisted Arema was an “icon”
of their region, and the core of the identity of Arek Malang, and
they were unwilling to see it damaged for political purposes.
Moreover, there was a structural reason too that made Aremania
ill-suited to political campaigning. The absence of any strictly
hierarchical structure in the organization connecting an apex
leadership to the grassroots, and the absence of formal leaders,
makes it hard for politicians to believe they will be able to control
the organization.66 Aremania’s fluidity, borrowing a term from one
informant, makes it like a fata morgana (a kind of mirage): Aremania
looks big, but it will disappear once you try to approach or hold
it.67 According to local legislator Sugeng Hariono, Aremania is
indeed a major vote bank, but it is one that resists political
coordination. In his view, it cannot be harnessed using an “instant
08 Yogi-4P.indd 565 22/11/17 4:51 pm
566 Yogi Setya Permana
approach”, but only on the basis of long-term cooperation and with
sincerity. Such an approach can involve, for example, a politician
providing vehicles whenever Arema has a match elsewhere, and
travelling alongside fans to watch such matches. Acting in such
a way would automatically generate sympathy on the part of
Aremania members, and might ultimately be repaid with votes.
But such votes would be personal, and could not be coordinated
through the group. He agreed that Aremania’s organizational
looseness in fact makes it rather unattractive as a vehicle for
electoral mobilization.68
Finally, it seems that recent developments within Aremania
may have also had an impact. In particular, the role of the korwil
has begun to decline, and it is only really these units which
would be capable of coordinating electoral campaigning should
Aremania be turned to that purpose. It will be recalled that the
korwil were forged at a time when they played an important role
in mediating disputes between neighbourhood-level youth gangs
so as to try and prevent eruptions of mass violence. The korwil
structure evolved, in other words, as a continuation of an earlier
pattern of territorially based gangsterism. As the Arek Malang
identity has taken hold, and as violence has declined, the role
of the korwil has dropped away as well.69 Moreover, changes in
the ticketing system used by Arema have also undermined the
korwil. In the past, informal leaders of korwil distributed
tickets, and they could earn a fee from this task. As noted
above, in recent years ticketing has been centralized, undercutting
the korwil and their informal leaders. In short, recent evolutions
have also helped to weaken internal structure and leadership
within Aremania, further reducing the organization’s potential
political utility.
Aremania and the Barra Bravas: Learning from Argentina
My field research has shown that elements of local context placed
limits on the extent to which Aremania could be used as a tool
of political mobilization. The key elements were the group’s
organizational structure (or, rather, its lack of structure) and
its group culture. Though we need further research to fully explore
this topic, these two factors may explain why football supporters’
groups in other parts of Indonesia are more readily galvanized for
electoral purposes. A comparison with Argentina also helps. The
electoral mobilization of the barra bravas are an extreme contrast
08 Yogi-4P.indd 566 22/11/17 4:51 pm
Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 567
with the situation of Batu discussed in this article, but their
experience also points us towards the importance of organizational
and cultural factors.
The barra bravas are strongly institutionalized groups, with
often quite rigid hierarchical structures and internal command and
control mechanisms that adopt a quasi-militaristic style. The leader
is called El Jefe. Members are recruited by way of a series of tests
that check their commitment and willingness to achieve the status
of “fulltime professional millitants”. At the entry level, for example,
recruits are tested with such minor tasks as committing vandalism in
trains. Later, they are given more demanding tasks, such as planning
attacks on rival clubs, or organizing routine weekly activities.70
They believe that only members who have gone through such
tests can confidently possess the requisite level of loyalty to the
organization and its leaders.
Such an organizational and command structure allows these
groups to be used for political purposes and as part of wider
clientelistic structures. Even if they have numerous members, such
groups can be controlled from above and thus mobilized more
effectively. They can also be readily used to scare off political
opponents, who may be fearful of their potential for violence.
The barra bravas moreover have political motivations because
of their ties with club owners who need their support to mobilize
votes in electoral competition and to organize demonstrations
as a show of strength. In return, the barra bravas receive
payment in the form of economic assistance or other facilities.71
The existing literature tends to depict the barra bravas as
opportunistic, even mercenary in their orientation. They serve
whichever patrons can distribute the most resources, and
they help them in passing those resources down into the
barrios they dominate. And they can play a critical electoral role:
for example, the supporters of Boca Juniors played an important
role in the election of Mauricio Macri as mayor of Buenos Aires
in 2007.72
All of this is very different to what we have observed in
Aremania. This group lacks both an organizational structure and
an internal culture conducive to intensive politicization. It is
fundamentally egalitarian, non-hierarchical and decentralized. It
has an internal culture that is hostile to engagement in practical
politics. Little wonder its political role was so limited in Batu
in 2017.
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568 Yogi Setya Permana
It is hoped that this study of the role played by football in one
election will help enrich the rapidly evolving literature on the
role of social networks and organizations in the local politics of
contemporary Indonesia. Social organizations have the potential
to play a critical role in the deepening of local democracy, but
they can also be used as vehicles of clientelistic distribution.
Accordingly, it is important to comprehend their complex forms
and variations, their intersections with local politics, and their
features which might either facilitate or impede their playing a
political role. The case of the Batu election of 2017 shows that
not all social organizations, and not all football supporters, can be
readily mobilized for electoral purposes. Aremania was a cultural
entity that resisted transformation into a political entity. It therefore
represents an exception to what appears to be a general pattern
throughout Indonesia of politicization of social networks of all
kinds, and football clubs and supporters’ groups in particular.
Through a close study of Aremania itself, and through comparison
with the Argentinian experience, I have also highlighted that the
organizational structure of a football club, and its culture, can be
critical factors determining whether it can be used for electoral
purposes. Such a finding may well apply to other types of social
organizations and networks, not just football or other sporting
One thing, however, is certain: there is still space for much
more research on this topic. Apart from the Malang region, there are
many parts of Indonesia which have strong football cultures but
have not yet been subject to scholarly attention. We need many
more studies of the intersection of football and politics in Indonesia.
As noted at the beginning of this article, there is growing interest
internationally in the connections between football and socio-
political phenomena; Indonesia has much to contribute to this field
of scholarly inquiry.
Acknowledgements: The author would like to express his gratitude to his research
assistant, Luqman Faizin, who showed great dedication and commitment during the
1 Maribeth Erb and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto, eds., Deepening Democracy in
Indonesia?: Direct Elections for Local Leaders (Pilkada) (Singapore: Institute of
Southeast Asian Studies, 2009).
08 Yogi-4P.indd 568 22/11/17 4:51 pm
Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 569
2 Vedi R. Hadiz, Localising Power in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: A Southeast
Asia Perspective (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2010).
3 Michael Buehler, “Elite Competition and Changing State-Society Relations:
Shari’a Policymaking in Indonesia”, in Beyond Oligarchy: Wealth, Power, and
Contemporary Indonesian Politics, edited by Michele Ford and Thomas B.
Pepinsky (New York: Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University,
2014), pp. 157–75; Michael Buehler, The Politics of Shari’a Law: Islamist Activists
and the State in Democratizing Indonesia (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 2016).
4 Nankyung Choi, Local Politics in Indonesia: Pathways to Power (New York:
Routledge, 2011).
5 Gerry van Klinken, “Return of the Sultans: The Communitarian Turn in Local
Politics”, in The Revival of Tradition in Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of
Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism, edited by Jamie S. Davidson and David
Henley (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 149–69; Edward Aspinall, Sebastian
Dettman and Eve Warburton, “When Religion Trumps Ethnicity: A Regional
Election Case Study from Indonesia”, South East Asia Research 19, no. 1 (March
2011): 27–58.
6 Marcus Mietzner, “Funding Pilkada: Illegal Campaign Financing in Indonesia’s
Local Elections”, in The State and Illegality in Indonesia, edited by Edward
Aspinall and Gerry van Klinken (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2011),
pp. 123–38.
7 Dirk Tomsa, “Electoral Democracy in a Divided Society: The 2008 Gubernatorial
Election in Maluku, Indonesia”, South East Asia Research 17, no. 2 (July 2009):
229–59; Graham Brown and Rachel Diprose, “Bare-Chested Politics in Central
Sulawesi: Local Election in a Post-Conflict Region”, in Deepening Democracy in
Indonesia?: Direct Elections for Local Leaders (Pilkada), edited by Maribeth Erb
and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,
2009), pp. 352–73.
8 Amalinda Savirani, “Survival Against the Odds: The Djunaid Family of Pekalongan,
Central Java”, South East Asia Research 24, no. 3 (September 2016): 407–19;
Michael Buehler, “Married with Children”, Inside Indonesia 20 July 2013,
available at <>.
9 Abdul Gaffar Karim, “Pesantren in Power: Religious Institutions and Political
Recruitment in Sumenep, Madura”, RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian
Affairs 42, no. 1 (2008): 157–84.
10 Jacqueline Vel, “Pilkada in East Sumba: An Old Rivalry in a New Democratic
Setting”, Indonesia 80 (October 2005): 81–107.
11 Kurniawati Hastuti Dewi, Indonesian Women and Local Politics: Islam, Gender
and Networks in Post-Suharto Indonesia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2015).
12 Ian D. Wilson, The Politics of Protection Rackets in Post-New Order Indonesia:
Coercive Capital, Authority and Street Politics (New York: Routledge, 2015);
Laurens Bakker, “Organized Violence and the State”, Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-
en volkenkunde [Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast
Asia] 172, nos. 2–3 (2016): 249–77.
13 Edward Aspinall, “Indonesia’s 2014 Elections: Parliament and Patronage”, Journal
of Democracy 25, no. 4 (October 2014): 103.
08 Yogi-4P.indd 569 22/11/17 4:51 pm
570 Yogi Setya Permana
14 Richard Giulianotti and Roland Robertson, “The Globalization of Football: A Study
in the Glocalization of the ‘Serious Life’”, The British Journal of Sociology 55,
no. 4 (December 2004): 545–68.
15 Ibid., p. 545.
16 Antony Sutton, Sepakbola: The Indonesian Way of Life, translated by Andibachtiar
Yusuf (Jakarta: Kawos Publishing, 2017), p. 25.
17 Ibid.
18 James M. Dorsey and Leonard C. Sebastian, “The Politics of Indonesian and
Turkish Soccer: A Comparative Analysis”, Soccer & Society 14, no. 5 (September
2013): 615–34; Andy Fuller, “Approaching Football in Indonesia”, Soccer &
Society 16, no. 1 (January 2014): 140–48.
19 Freek Colombijn, “The Politics of Indonesian Football”, Archipel 59, no. 1
(2000): 171–200.
20 Dorsey and Sebastian, “The Politics of Indonesian and Turkish Soccer”, op.
cit., p. 620.
21 Andy Fuller, “Soccer and the City: The Game and its Fans in Solo and
Yogyakarta”, Sport in Society 20, nos. 5–6 (2017): 675–88; Andy Fuller, “Football,
Violence and Politics”, Inside Indonesia, 7 March 2016, available at <http://>.
22 Dorsey and Sebastian, “The Politics of Indonesian and Turkish Soccer”, op. cit.
23 Ibid., p. 620.
24 Irham Pradipta Fadli, “Sepakbola dan Politik: Politisasi Persatuan Sepakbola
Indonesia Bandung (Persib) oleh Dada Rosada pada Pemilukada Kota Bandung
2008” [Football and Politics: The Politicization of the Bandung Indonesia Soccer
Club (Persib) by Dada Rosada during the Bandung City Direct Election of 2008],
unpublished undergraduate thesis, Universitas Indonesia, 2012.
25 Nihayatus Saadah, “Sepakbola dan Politik: Keterlibatan La Mania Dalam
Pemenangan Kandidat Pemilukada Lamongan 2010” [Football and Politics:
Involvement of La Mania in Campaigning for Candidates in the Lamongan
Election of 2010], Paradigma 1, no. 1 (2013), available at <http://jurnalmahasiswa.>.
26 Vita Fradiantika, “Perilaku Supporter Sepakbola PSIM Yogyakarta” [The Behaviour
of Supporters of the PSIM Football Club in Yogyakarta], Jurnal Keolahragaan
1, no. 2 (2013): 176–85.
27 Anthony Sutton’s May 2010 statement is available at <http://jakartacasual.blogspot.>. On St. Pauli and
its traditions, see Mick Totten, “Sport Activism and Political Praxis within the
FC Sankt Pauli Fan Subculture”, Soccer & Society 16, no. 4 (July 2015): 453–68;
Mick Totten, “Football and Community Empowerment: How FC Sankt Pauli Fans
Organize to Influence”, Soccer & Society 17, no. 5 (September 2016): 703–20;
Petra Daniel and Christos Kassimeris, “The Politics and Culture of FC St. Pauli:
From Leftism, Through Anti-establishment, to Commercialization”, Soccer &
Society 14, no. 2 (March 2013): 167–82.
28 Faris Rusydi Aliyverdana, “Arema: Sebuah Identitas” [Arema: An Identity],
Etnohistori, 28 January 2012, available at <
08 Yogi-4P.indd 570 22/11/17 4:51 pm
Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 571
29 Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti, “Football in the Making”, in Football
Cultures and Identities, edited by Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti
(London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 1999), pp. 3–11.
30 Adriano Gómez-Bantel, “Football Clubs as Symbols of Regional Identities”, Soccer
& Society 17, no. 5 (September 2016): 692–702.
31 Seweryn Dmowski, “Geographical Typology of European Football Rivalries”, Soccer
& Society 14, no. 3 (May 2013): 331–43.
32 Younghan Cho, “Introduction: Football in Asia”, Soccer & Society 14, no. 5
(September 2013): 579–87.
33 See Paul Dimeo, “Football and Politics in Bengal: Colonialism, Nationalism,
Communalism”, Soccer & Society 2, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 57–74; Kausik
Bandyopadhyay, “‘The Nation and its Fragments’: Football and Community in
India 1”, Soccer & Society 9, no. 3 (July 2008): 377–93.
34 Colombijn, “The Politics of Indonesian Football”, op. cit.
35 Adrien Battini, “Reshaping the National Bounds through Fandom: The UltrAslan
of Galatasaray”, Soccer & Society 13, nos. 5–6 (November 2012): 701–19.
36 Bandyopadhyay, “‘The Nation and its Fragments’”, op. cit.
37 Wycliffe W. Simiyu Njororai, “Colonial Legacy, Minorities and Association
Football in Kenya”, Soccer & Society 10, no. 6 (November 2009): 866–82.
38 Gómez-Bantel, “Football Clubs as Symbols”, op. cit.; Andrew McFarland,
“Founders, Foundations and Early Identities: Football’s Early Growth in
Barcelona”, Soccer & Society 14, no. 1 (January 2013): 93–107. For the Basque
case, see Ekain Rojo-Labaien, “Football and the Representation of Basque Identity
in the Contemporary Age”, Soccer & Society 18, no. 1 (January 2017): 63–80;
Robert Győri Szabó, “Basque Identity and Soccer”, Soccer & Society 14, no. 4
(July 2013): 525–47.
39 Vic Duke and Liz Crolley, “Fútbol, Politicians and the People: Populism and
Politics in Argentina”, The International Journal of the History of Sport 18, no.
3 (September 2001): 93–116.
40 Christos Kassimeris, “Fascism, Separatism and the Ultràs: Discrimination in
Italian Football”, Soccer & Society 12, no. 5 (September 2011): 677–88.
41 Duke and Crolley, “Fútbol, Politicians and the People”, op. cit., p. 103.
42 Eugenio Paradiso, “The Social, Political, and Economic Causes of Violence in
Argentine Soccer”, Nexus: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology 21, no.
1 (July 2009): 65–79; Eugenio Paradiso, “Football, Clientelism and Corruption in
Argentina: An Anthropological Inquiry”, Soccer & Society 17, no. 4 (July 2016):
480–95; Joel Horowitz, “Football Clubs and Neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires
Before 1943: The Role of Political Linkages and Personal Influence”, Journal
of Latin American Studies 46, no. 3 (August 2014): 557–85; Duke and Crolley,
“Fútbol, Politicians and the People”, op. cit.
43 Duke and Crolley, “Fútbol, Politicians and the People”, op. cit., p. 93.
44 Ibid., p. 99; Horowitz, “Football Clubs and Neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires”,
op. cit.
45 Duke and Crolley, “Fútbol, Politicians and the People”, op. cit., p. 112.
46 Ibid., p. 112.
08 Yogi-4P.indd 571 22/11/17 4:51 pm
572 Yogi Setya Permana
47 S.J. Rodrigo Zarazaga, “Brokers Beyond Clientelism: A New Perspective through
the Argentine Case”, Latin American Politics and Society 56, no. 3 (Fall 2014):
48 Javier Auyero, “Poor People’s Lives and Politics: The Things a Political
Ethnographer Knows (and Doesn’t Know) After 15 Years of Fieldwork”, New
Perspectives on Turkey 46 (Spring 2012): 99.
49 John Psilopatis, “‘Aremania’: Dari Latar Belakang Hooliganisme Ke Para Suporter
Sepakbola Teladan” [Aremania: From a Background of Hooliganism to Model
Football Supporters] (Malang: Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang – ACICIS),
unpublished field study, 2002, p. 18; Faishal Hilmy Maulida, Aremania Sebagai
Wadah Perubahan Primordialisme Kelompok Menuju Persatuan Pemuda Malang
Raya 1994–2012 [Aremania as a Vehicle for Change from Group Primordialism
to Unity of the Youth of Greater Malang 1994–2012] (Malang: Universitas
Negeri Malang, 2015), p. 48. Most of these groups used names beginning
with “arek” (youths) followed by a place name or some amusing term, such
as Arek Lowokwaru, Arek Dinoyo, Arek Jodipan, Arek Mergan, Arek Sukun,
Arek Bareng, Arpanja (Arek Panjaitan), Aregrek (Arek Gang Gereja Kayutangan),
Arnak (Armada Nakal, or Naughty Armada), SAS (Sarang Anak Setan, Nest of
the Children of Satan), and so on.
50 Adinda Noer Zaeni, “Operasi Preman di Mata Mantan Anggota Geng” [Gangster
Operations in the Eyes of Former Gang Members], Malangpost, 19 November
51 Abdul Munthalib, Arema Never Die (Malang: Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang
Press, 2009), p. 15.
52 On petrus, see James T. Siegel, A New Criminal Type in Jakarta: Counter-
Revolution Today (Durham, North Carolina; London: Duke University Press,
1998); Joshua Barker, “State of Fear: Controlling the Criminal Contagion in
Suharto’s New Order”, Indonesia 66 (October 1998): 7–43; Justus M. Van der
Kroef, “‘Petrus’: Patterns of Prophylactic Murder in Indonesia”, Asian Survey
25, no. 7 (July 1985): 745–59.
53 Munthalib, Arema Never Die, op. cit., p. 15.
54 Author interview with Ovan Tobing, 9 January 2017.
55 Psilopatis, “‘Aremania’: Dari Latar Belakang Hooliganisme” [Aremania: From
Background of Hooliganism], op. cit.; Maulida, Aremania Sebagai Wadah
Perubahan [Aremania as a Vehicle of Change], op. cit.
56 Author interview with Sudarmaji, head of community relations for Arema FC,
13 February 2017.
57 Author interview with Wawan, leading figure in Korwil Utas, 5 January 2017.
58 Author interview with Sudarmaji, 13 February 2017.
59 Aliyverdana, “Arema: Sebuah Identitas” [Arema: An Identity], op. cit.
60 Author interviews with Abdul Mutholib, author of the book, Arema Never Die
and chief editor of Radar Malang Jawa Pos, 11 January 2017; Ovan Tobing,
9 January 2017; and Yuli Sumpil, the dirigen — the person who leads the
supporters to sing in the stadium during a match, much like the conductor of
an orchestra — of Aremania, 7 January 2017.
61 Munthalib, Arema Never Die, op. cit.
08 Yogi-4P.indd 572 22/11/17 4:51 pm
Politicizing a Soccer Fan Club in an Indonesian Election 573
62 Author interview with Erik, Kedhung Kandang korwil of Aremania, 13 January
63 Edward Aspinall and Mada Sukamjati, eds., Electoral Dynamic in Indonesia:
Money Politics, Patronage and Clientelism at the Grassroots (Singapore: NUS
Press, 2016).
64 For example, in Sleman, Yogyakarta. Author interview with Triyono, leader of
Slemania yang supporters club, Yogyakarta, 22 March 2017.
65 Author interviews with Abdul Mutholib, 11 January 2017; and Yuli Sumpil, 7
January 2017.
66 Author interview with Sugeng Hariono, Deputy Speaker of the Batu City
parliament, 15 February 2017.
67 Author interview with Abdul Mutholib, 11 January 2017.
68 Author interview with Sugeng Hariono, 15 February 2017.
69 Author interview with Bongkrek, member of Batu korwil Batu, 5 January 2017.
70 Duke and Crolley, “Fútbol, Politicians and the People”, op. cit., p. 108.
71 Paradiso, “The Social, Political, and Economic Causes of Violence in Argentine
Soccer”, op. cit., p. 77.
72 Ibid.
08 Yogi-4P.indd 573 22/11/17 4:51 pm
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Football fandom and sports culture are largely neglected in studies of Indonesia. This is despite the highly complex nature of football fandom in Indonesian cities. This essay draws on experiences in two cities in central Java: Yogyakarta and Solo. Contemporary football culture in Solo and Yogyakarta is linked to the policies of decentralization that have emerged in the post-New Order (1998 onwards) and to the deeply contested identity politics. The essay privileges the perspective of a capo (dirigen, conductor) from Solo in articulating the experience of identifying with a particular football club (Persis Solo) and that of an ex-player of PSS Sleman from the province of Yogyakarta. It explores how football culture plays a vital role in the establishment and maintenance of, and contestation over city and urban identity.
Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui perilaku supporter sepakbola PSIM Yogyakarta. Penelitian ini menggunakan metode kualitatif dengan pendekatan studi kasus. Informan dalam penelitian ini menggunakan tiga orang pengurus Brajamusti, tiga orang pengurus The Maident, dan untuk tria-ngulasi menggunakan subjek Presiden Brajamusti, Ketua Umum The Maident, dan dua anggota kepo-lisian. Teknik pengumpulan data dalam penelitian ini menggunakan wawancara mendalam dengan pedoman wawancara dan dokumentasi. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa kedua kelompok supporter Brajamusti dan The Maident berperilaku fanatik dalam memberikan dukungan terhadap PSIM, sehingga sering menimbulkan perkelahian antarsupporter. Faktor yang menjadi penyebab pecahnya Brajamusti adalah faktor politik yang dilakukan oleh pihak tertentu untuk kepentingan politiknya. Dampak positif yang dihasilkan oleh kedua kelompok supporter berupa dukungan finansial hasil pembelian tiket setiap menonton pertandingan PSIM. Sedangkan dampak negatifnya adalah adanya persaingan yang tidak sehat antara Brajamusti dan The Maident sehingga dukungan kepada PSIM menjadi tersamarkan. PSIM’s SUPPORTER BEHAVIOURAbstract This study aims to investigate the behavior of PSIM’s (Perserikatan Sepakbola Indonesia Mataram) supporters. This study used qualitative methods with case study approach. Informants used in this study consist of three members of Brajamusti board and three members of the Maident board. For the triangulation, in this study the Brajamusti President, Chairman of The Maident, and two police officers were interviewed. The results showed that Brajamusti and The Maident are behave fanatic in providing support to PSIM, so that often cause fights between supporters. Factor that cause the broken of Brajamusti is political that made by certain parties for political interests. The positive impact of these two groups of supporters are their contribution for buying tickets in every time they watch PSIM, so it can be a financial support. While the negative impact of the two groups of supporters are the unfair competition between them that makes support for PSIM become obscured. Keywords: behavior, football, supporters
Scholars suggest that Indonesian decentralization and electoral democracy has facilitated the emergence of new elites and their families at both the national and local levels (Agustinus, 2010; Eriyanto, 2012; Hadiz, 2004). These familes are loosely labeled political dynasties. There are indeed many cases of political dynasties emerging in democratic Indonesia or of older dynastic families strengthening their powers, however these stories of success are not always straightforward. This article explores the case of a political family in Pekalongan, Central Java. It argues that local political dynasties are highly adaptable, shown by their shifting and changing strategies. This adaptability is a response to opportunities and threats created by other external factors within the political system (i.e. decentralization policies, and popular opinion), political competitors, as well as internal factors (family).
The game of football has a rich global history. Most cultures and civilisations seem to have played some kind of proto-football, involving the kicking of a ball between various groups of players. The Chinese game of CuJu was played during neolithic times. The indigenous peoples of North and Central America played ball games as part of their fertility rites. In medieval Europe, French peasants practised the violent ball game of soule; the Florentine Renaissance men performed calcio; the Scots and English played various ‘folk football’ games in towns and villages.
Analysing the 9 April 2014 legislative elections in Indonesia, this article presents a case study of patronage politics in an open-list proportional-representation electoral system. Under this system, candidates focus on increasing their personal vote rather than votes for their party. Most candidates did so in the 2014 elections by relying on personal brokerage networks rather than party machines. They also distributed material rewards—including individual gifts, club goods, and pork barrel projects—to voters, and engaged in straightforward vote buying. The paper concludes by suggesting that, in order to move beyond clientelism, Indonesia needs to explore options for electoral reform.