Surabaya, 1945–2010

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

Robbie Peters

  • Published: 2013
  • Pages: 272 pp., illus
For sale in Europe only
ISBN Paperback: 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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 Robbie Peters lectures in anthropology of development at the University of Sydney.  His primary research at present concerns the interaction of globalization and violence in processes of u

 Robbie Peters lectures in anthropology of development at the University of Sydney.  His primary research at present concerns the interaction of globalization and violence in processes of uneven economic development in urban Southeast Asia.  This interest is reflected in “Surabaya” where he has conducted many years of fieldwork in a poor inner urban neighbourhood.

He has also authored works about the emerging hypermodern retails economy in Indonesia and the related burning down of traditional markets, clearance of street vendors and city beautification campaigns.  Some of Peters’ new research centres on work in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

Robbie Peters is director of the Master of Development Studies Program and runs courses in development studies, the anthropology of development, the anthropology of Southeast Asia and ethnographic research and writing.

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