Over the past two decades there has been a continuing debate among Western scholars concerning the nature of Indonesian politics and the best approaches for understanding them. Several of the most important contributions to this debate were never published and others have gone out of print. Thus, it has been difficult for a new generation of students of Indonesia to be aware of the range of opinions and discussion in Western academic circles concerning the character of post-revolutionary Indonesian politics. For this reason, it appeared to us useful to bring together a series of articles that can provide a framework for understanding the evolution of these perspectives. Clearly, we could not include all the important contributions to the debate, and this selection has been made on the basis of the best representation of differing views over time.
In general the pieces appear in chronological sequence in order to delineate more clearly the evolution of the debate. To maintain this chronological development we have also made no changes in the arguments as originally presented, nor, with one exception, permitted the authors to do so, even when they have altered their opinions since originally writing the essays. Passages, however, have occasionally been cut from published articles where they are too repetitive, or where they are not relevant to the major themes being presented here. All such omissions are indicated by a series of dots (…). Because of the continuing nature of the debate, the collection is being published as an Interim Report which we hope will stimulate further reactions and analyses.