Nation, City, Arena

Sports Events, Nation Building and City Politics in Indonesia

Friederike Trotier

  • Published: 2020
  • Pages: 336 pp.
  • 3 maps, 25 illustrations, some in color
  • Series: NIAS Monographs
  • Series number: 152
Available worldwide in fall 2020
ISBN Hardback: 978-87-7694-292-2, £70.00 (December 2020)
ISBN Paperback: 978-87-7694-293-9, £25 (March 2021)

About the book

  • First comprehensive study of international multi-sport events in Indonesia since 1962. 
  • Explores the role of sports events have in national and city politics and in the country’s transformation from a highly centralized to a decentralized one. 
  • Focuses on the nexus between sport, the nation, city politics and place marketing. 
In 1962, Indonesia celebrated its national rebirth, modernity and international arrival by hosting the 4th Asian Games in Jakarta. Since then, Indonesia has hosted several other major multi-sport events as well as numerous tournaments in a single sport. But the return to Jakarta in 2018 of the 18th Asian Games was significant: for the first time in the history of the Games, they were co-hosted: Palembang, capital of South Sumatra, staged the event together with Jakarta. These arrangements – and their success – reflected a new reality in Indonesia; the Jakarta-centric, one-nation autocracy of the New Order regime has been replaced by regional autonomy, local agency, and evolving center–periphery relationships. With heightened inter-city rivalry, greater attention is paid to marketing cities and regions than ever before. Palembang exemplifies this civic transformation. A once grimy industrial backwater has become an attractive regular fixture in the international sporting calendar. In part this has been achieved by urban renewal and targeted construction projects but equally important has been a coherent strategy adopted by local leaders and officials to promote Palembang as Indonesia’s sports city and make it not just a prime sporting venue but also a sports tourism destination. In her new study, Friederike Trotier draws on the examples of Palembang and Jakarta to map the evolution of Indonesia’s sporting history, then uses her analysis as a lens to reflect on the country’s transformation since 1998. Here, she considers political aspirations and changes, power structures and global influences in the host country and its cities. She also scrutinizes the role of sports events in relation to national and local politics and links them to the increase in city marketing, local agency and inter-city competition in post-Suharto Indonesia. A key argument is that sports events reflect the country’s development in the past two decades from being nation-centric – where Jakarta had a dominant place – to being far more decentralized; here, in the new structure of regional autonomy, cities have a heightened role as arenas of representation. The result is an impressive revisualization of Indonesia’s recent sociopolitical transformation.

About the author

author image not supplied

Friederike Trotier is Assistant Professor in Comparative Development and Cultural Studies (Southeast Asia) at the University of Passau. Her research interest concentrates on sports, urban geography and popular culture in Southeast Asia and especially in Indonesia. She is building a solid publication record in this area with articles in the International Journal of the History of Sport and Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science and a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Sport in Asia. Dr Trotier is an editorial board member of the Asian Journal of Sport History & Culture. 

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by Geoff Watson, Massey University
From journal: New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 2022, 24
“Trotier makes a convincing argument that hosting sports events has played an active role in generating a sense of national and regional pride in Indonesia. The author demonstrates an impressive command of a wide range of subject matter ranging from detailed analyses of sporting occasions to the wider complexities of Indonesian politics and the burgeoning field of sports studies.”
by Andy Fuller, Utrecht University
From journal: Asian Journal of Social Science 50 (2022)
“Nation, City, Arena is an important addition to the study of the intersection of sports, urban space, and politics. The book is thoroughly researched and complemented by the incorporation of various maps, tables, glossaries, and imagery.”
by Lou Antolihao
From journal: South East Asia Research
Using a ‘spatial-geographical’ approach, Trotier has drawn on archival and ethnographic sources to produce a sizeable, balanced and unique set of data that results in a well-substantiated and persuasive argument. … [Some conceptual] limitations should not diminish the larger significance of the book as a well-researched, comprehensive and pioneering work in Indonesian history, the politics of sports, and South East Asian studies. Overall, Nation, City, Arena offers an Asian Games-size account of the politicization of sports and the sportization of politics in our contemporary world.
by Jonathan Rigg, Chair in Human Geography, University of Bristol
From journal:
Through what lens do we come to understand a country, its people, cities and politics over time – and how does that country see itself? In this fascinating study, Friederike Trotier uses international multi-sports events from the 1962 Asian Games to the 2018 Asian Games to shine a light on Indonesia’s transformation and the multiple entanglements that has constituted that transformation.
by Henk Schulte Nordholt, Em Professor Indonesian History, Leiden University
From journal:
“For too long sport has largely been ignored by historians and social scientists working on Indonesia. Trotier’s book is a turning point. Her careful analysis places big sport events in the context of processes of nation building and city branding, and their political downside. A landmark publication.”
by Simon Creak, Nanyang Technological University and author of ‘Embodied Nation: Sport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos’
From journal:
This important book shows how the prestige and pitfalls of hosting major multi-sport events in Indonesia are no longer restricted to the nation’s capital, Jakarta, but since 1998 have extended to the unlikely “sports city” of Palembang, South Sumatra. Trotier unpacks how these sports events – notably the Southeast Asian and Asian Games – have both shaped and reflected national politics, decentralization, and the “turn to the civic” in post-Suharto Indonesia, offering a rich, original, and highly interdisciplinary contribution to Asian studies, sports studies, and urban geography.
by - Dr Jung Woo Lee, Programme Director of MSc Sport Policy, Management and International Development, University of Edinburgh, UK
From journal:
“Legacies of international sporting events taken place in the Global South are still the uncharted territory in the field of sport and area studies. Dr Friederike Trotier boldly took this pioneering role and thoroughly examined the political and developmental impact of a series of international sporting occasions held in Indonesia. This book is surely a distinctive academic achievement.”