Surabaya, 1945–2010

Neighbourhood, State and Economy in Indonesia’s City of Struggle

Robbie Peters

272 pp., illus,
For sale in Europe only




Paperback - 2013, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 121 5, £18.99


  • Not just an urban study but views Indonesian history from below. 
  • A rich ethnographic description of how kampung residents struggle for survival in the shadow of Indonesia’s tumultuous economic growth and political reform.

This is a remarkable study of urban society in one of Indonesia’s main port cities. It views the city from below based on the experiences of the people who occupy its alleyways, riverbanks and muddy roadsides, a group that has had little say in the making of policy or the writing of Indonesia’s history. The setting is a crowded low-income neighbourhood (kampung) that lies between the Surabaya River and the city’s main southern boulevard. 

Using rich ethnographic description, Robbie Peters describes kampung residents struggle for survival in the shadow of Indonesia’s tumultuous economic growth and political reform, and how they have subtly contested the efforts by the state to control the movement and settlement of people, limiting its ability to construct an urban citizenry that excludes newcomers.

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