Embedding The Value of Justice In The Meritocracy Regime Through Bureaucratic Representation: Efforts of Democracy-Bureaucracy Reconciliation within the Context of Plural Society

  • Laurensius Petrus Sayrani Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Nusa Cendana, Kupang
Keywords: Plural Society, Democracy, Representational Bureaucracy, Meritocracy, Justice


The main idea of this article is that (Indonesian) bureaucracy is an entity that cannot be separated from the context surrounding it. In a plural society, bureaucracy will display unique dynamics in managing pressure and the need to work plurality productively. In such a situation, the challenge is that the bureaucracy must simultaneously display the values of efficiency and justice. This article examines the bureaucratic model in a duality scheme, namely a bureaucracy with objective and subjective dimensions built into a democratic system. The representational bureaucracy model, as studied in East Nusa Tenggara Province as an empirical basis for making this model, is a conceptual model that offers a view of bureaucracy that can respond productively to the dynamics of a plural society in a democratic situation. However, the developing bureaucratic practice of representation requires a safety valve to ensure that the dynamics of representation are not trapped in pathological conditions that have the potential to occur, mainly stimulated by political dynamics at the local level, which are based on open and direct contestation in regional head elections (Pilkada). The tendency to capitalize bureaucracy and subjective representation into political capital can hijack the practice of representation to become unproductive. At the same time, the channelization of diverse public interests in representation schemes also has the potential to become stalled. These various things lead to the explanation that the existence and appearance of bureaucracy require a diverse analytical framework that does not only rely on a positivist approach. An interpretive and even critical approach is needed to understand bureaucratic dynamics in complex situations.