Words in Motion: Language and Discourse in Post-New Order Indonesia

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Edited by Keith Foulcher, Mikihiro Moriyama and Manneke Budiman, Introduction by Keith Foulcher, Contributions by Untung Yuwono, Manneke Budiman, George Quinn, Mikihiro Moriyama, Asako Shiohara, Atsuko Utsumi, Mayuko Hara, Haruya Kagami, Koji Tsuda, Yumi Kitamura, Dwi Noverini Djenar and Jan van der Putten

Political changes since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 have had a significant impact on linguistic and discursive practices in Indonesia. The language policy of the state has become less restrictive than in the past, when Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) was vigorously promoted as one of the symbols of the unity of the country's diverse ethnic groups. Monolingualism in public space has given way to more fluid and pluralistic language use, and regional autonomy legislation enacted in 1999 has encouraged expressions of regional identities and aspirations, opening up a space for the promotion and use of regional languages in the media, education and the bureaucracy.

Concurrently, technological development, in particular widespread access to the internet, has exposed Indonesian society much more directly than before to global flows of information, giving rise to changes stemming in part from sources outside Indonesia, but interpreted and shaped according to local conditions and socio-cultural practices. The meeting of these two vectors, one generated internally and the other coming from exposure to global trends, is producing a situation of diversity, fluidity and change in language use and discursive practice in contemporary Indonesian society.

While contributors to this volume discuss Indonesian-language expression at the national level, a particular focus of the collection is on regional, local and minority languages, where problems associated with decentralization find their counterpart in the role that language plays in the workings of regional and national identity politics.


"[This] volume offers a range of very interesting contributions to the field of Indonesian linguistics, literature, and media studies. At the same time, it demonstrates to international readers the very high quality and broad range of the Japanese expertise in Indonesian studies, and it also showcases a very useful outcome of international cooperation in this field, in this case between Japanese, Indonesian, and Australian colleagues." - Arndt Graf


Keith Foulcher is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney.

Mikihiro Moriyama is a Professor of Indonesian Studies in the Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Foreign Studies, Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan.

Manneke Budiman is a Lecturer in the Department of Literature at the University of Indonesia.


Publication Year: 2012
320 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-633-7, Paperback

NUS Press