Performing the Nation

Cultural Politics in New Order Indonesia

by Jorgen Hellman

210 pp., illustrations & maps
NIAS Monographs # 89
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2003, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 09 0, £40.00

• In-depth study demonstrating that Suharto’s regime created order throughout Indonesia not only by coercive means but also by its cultural policies.

• Gets into the nitty-gritty of cultural politics in Indonesia and the nexus between tradition and cultural revivalism.
• Offers valuable insights into the underlying dynamics of the country’s current condition.
• Will be of interest especially to researchers and students of Indonesian nation-building and cultural politics but also to historians of recent events in Indonesia.

In sharp contrast to today’s disorder was the apparent cohesion and stability of Indonesia during much of the New Order period (1965–98). While Suharto’s authoritarian rule was significant, the regime’s cultural policies also played their part. Ethnic, religious and regional sentiments were to be channelled into the field of art rather than being expressed in terms of class, religion or separatism. At the same time, culture was used to help develop a national Indonesian identity.

This theme is explored by this study, which focuses on the efforts of a group of young art students based at the Bandung Academy of Performing Arts to revitalize traditional Longser theatre. The interaction between the artists and regime and their often-differing ideas about identity, the role of art and cultural traditions in Indonesia offers valuable insights into the underlying dynamics of the country’s current condition.

Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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