Call for Papers for Conference on “Millennial Disruptions”

Globally, the so-called millennial generation refers to those who were born between 1981 and 1996, known as Generation Y. This generation, currently in their mid-20s to early-40s, represents the population cohort that is moving into the prime of their careers and lives. In Indonesia, this generation is slated to take their positions as leaders in various important spheres of society – from political, economic and business spheres to education, arts, culture and family.

This millennial generation is also living in an era of unprecedented technological change and disruptions to cultural and societal norms, thanks to the advent of the digital age and the impact of globalization. This generation arguably faces different and unique challenges than their previous generations, Gen X and baby boomers. For instance, living in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution and experiencing the acceleration of digitization amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the millennial generation has acutely experienced disruptions to their family and working lives and ways of doing business. Politically, growing up in the Reformasi era, some would argue that this generation has taken democracy for granted and contributed to its political regression in one way or another. How they think about politics and governance will have a pivotal impact on Indonesia’s political development. In the economics and business sectors, the millennial generation has been forging alternative paths and innovations in the digital economy and has catalysed the start-up business scene. How they develop and grow these areas will determine the outlook for Indonesia’s economic dynamism. Moreover, the impact of globalization and increasingly cosmopolitan lifestyles have also shaped the worldviews and sense of identity among millennials, affecting their interpretation of religion, art and heritage and their engagement with global issues and challenges, such as climate change and gender equality.

This conference aims to provide a platform for intellectual dialogue and debate on the multi-faceted issues impacting the millennial generation, as well as their potential to powerfully influence the future trajectory for Indonesia’s overall development. This event is co-organized by the Indonesia Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, and the Research Center for Society and Culture, Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Jakarta, Indonesia.

We welcome papers based on the following themes and scope:

Theme 1: Defining and Debating Millennials: Demography, Worldview, and Consciousness

This panel seeks to understand better the demographics of Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z, their worldview and consciousness. It elaborates on how they mature and develop, the values they hold and the capabilities they acquire will be crucial determinants of the outlook for the nation going forward. Some guiding questions:

  • Who comprises the millennial generation/post-Reformasi generation? What does their demographic profile look like? How large is this population? What are their educational backgrounds/socio-economic levels, and are their demographic characteristics very different from the previous generation?
  • What are some of the structural problems the millennial generation faces concerning education, employment, etc.? From a socio-economic perspective, are their prospects better or worse than the generation before?
  • Do the millennials face structural or systemic challenges unique to their generation? Have the changes in Indonesia’s socio-economic trends and realities in the country become more challenging for this generation?
  • What are the implications of these demographic trends for Indonesia’s education and employment policies? How do differences in rural-urban dynamics affect the prospects for youths in these areas?
  • On family values, how much have the values and culture of the millennial generation changed? What has been the impact on the family structure, values and dynamics?


Theme 2: How Indonesia’s Millennials are Changing Politics in Indonesia

The millennials have generally grown up in the post-Soeharto Reformasi era and have been at the forefront of Indonesia’s democratic transition. This generation in the mid-20s to early 40s is also now in a position to contend for the country’s political leadership. This panel seeks to explore how Indonesia’s millennials are impacting the political landscape in Indonesia. Some issues to explore include:

  • Who are the post-Reformasi/millennial leaders of Indonesia? What are their educational profiles and socio-economic backgrounds like? It would be useful to study the current leaders of youth movements and other politically influential youth groups.
  • What sorts of political aspirations/ambitions do the post-Reformasi generation of leaders have for Indonesia? Who or what shapes their political thinking? Do they still subscribe to the principles and ideals of Pancasila? What is their political worldview?
  • How do leaders in the millennial generation identify themselves with Indonesia’s democratization and Reformasiprocess post-1998? How have the political culture and ecosystems supported political parties, social movements, preman/local mafia evolved with the times?
  • How have millennials changed the trends in political communication and political mobilization/activism? How have digital technologies and social media impacted how millennials participate in politics?
  • What are some of the longer-term implications of such disruptive changes to Indonesia’s political development? For instance, will the increasing use of social media platforms and cyber troopers – bots and buzzers – as a means to shape political perceptions and public opinion result in a digital divide and the exclusion of segments of society that are not digitally connected or digitally literate?


Theme 3: How Indonesia’s Millennials are Changing Economics and Business in Indonesia

Millennial business leaders are commonly associated with Indonesia’s buzzing start-up scene. In the last few years, before Covid-19 struck, we saw the rapid development of online businesses such as Gojek, Bukalapak, Tokopedia, eFishery, etc. This panel seeks to explore the following questions:

  • Who are the prominent millennial leaders in business and economics in Indonesia, and what industries are they in? How differently are they running their businesses? What are their education profiles and socio-economic backgrounds? Some case studies of prominent young business leaders in Indonesia would be useful.
  • How have millennials impacted their professions in various sectors and reforming ways of doing business? What kinds of new products and services are they selling? How have they innovated product development? What innovations and technologies have they been developing and championing?
  • Have they been able to challenge or disrupt the dominance of the older, more established (New Order-era) business conglomerates? If so, in what way? Have they demonstrated alternative paths for success for business conglomerates?
  • In reference to the demographic trends affecting millennials, what sorts of jobs are millennials likely to be engaged in? Would they prefer freelancing, digital businesses, gig economy, or are some potentially still very much involved in traditional sectors and industries?
  • Do millennials seek advice or study financial risk and literacy? Are these changing the way they handle financial decision-making, such as investments and property buying? Has access to different financing options altered the way millennials think about business?
  • Has the rise of the millennial generation seen changes in gender and economic participation levels?


Theme 4: Millennials’ Religious Engagement

The rise of online religious communities and globalization has influenced traditional religious values and society. While religious rituals have been practised differently with the growing virtual space, millennials’ religious perception and engagement might also change with the rise of different trends of religious ideologies, such as conservatism, progressivism, and moderation. This panel seeks to explore some of, but is not limited to, the following questions:

  • How does the millennial generation define the meaning and the function of religion in their life?
  • How do they think about religious authority? How do they relate to religious leaders?
  • What is the nature of the youth religious movement, and how do they approach the problems differently? What are their religious perspectives on global issues?


Theme 5: How are Indonesia’s Millennials involved in Art, Culture and Heritage

Elements in traditional and contemporary art, including objects, creators, and audiences, can develop in new forms. External factors, such as new technologies, digitalization, and changes in a social lifestyle, may have caused disruptions in art activities, such as the art market, the art production process, and how to enjoy art itself. Dialogues and cultural processes across eras have also influenced one generation’s adaptation of art and heritage. This panel seeks to explore how millennials are involved in Indonesia’s arts as well as the culture and heritage sector. It aims to address the following issues:

  • Taking into account different art elements, what does it mean to be a millennial artist? How do they produce, market, and sell their creative products in the post-reformasiera and how it is different from the previous generations? What kind of arts they are making, distributing, and appreciating, i.e. are they interested in street arts? How do they deal with issues on arts in the Metaverse era, crypto art as a new movement, and decolonization of arts?
  • In culture and heritage, how do millennials reinvent Indonesian culture in heritage? Would a hybrid mode be the future form of culture? Do millennials have a strong sense of what heritage means, or have they been influenced by factors such as localization, decentralization or globalization?


Theme 6: Millennials’ Global Concerns and Transnational Community: Case studies

Indonesia’s millennials have been raised in a hyper-globalized environment, which has led to a greater propensity to identify with transnational communities and global concerns. This panel explores the involvement of Indonesia’s youth on such issues. Key questions include:

  • How do global concerns influence Indonesian youth movements? To what extent are they actively involved in climate change, the #MeToo movement, and other kinds of global activism? Would millennials be more global in their outlook?
  • What are some examples and case studies of Indonesian millennials involved in global causes? To what extent are they plugged into a transnational community? Do they identify with a sense of loyalty and identity beyond Indonesian borders?


Conference Date and Venue

Date: Monday–Tuesday, 15–16 August 2022
Venue: Virtual (Zoom Webinar Format)

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 April 2022
Notification of accepted abstracts: 28 April 2022
Full paper Submission: 15 July 2022

Abstract Submissions

We invite contributors to submit an abstract of 300 words. Abstracts should include proposed research questions, main argument, and methodology. Submissions should also include a title, name of the author(s), institutional affiliation(s), e-mail address(es), and personal biography of 150 words. They should be submitted to

Those whose abstracts are accepted will be expected to submit a full paper of between 5000-7000 words. Selected papers will later be included in an edited volume.


Ms Lee Sue-Ann (Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Thung Ju Lan (Researcher, Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency, BRIN)


Apr 15 2022