Performing the Nation: Cultural Politics in New Order Indonesia

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by Jörgen Hellman

In sharp contrast to today’s disorder was the apparent cohesion and stability of Indonesia during much of the New Order period (1965–1998). 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 art, and 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 offers valuable insights into the underlying dynamics of the country’s current condition.

"There is much in Hellman’s book to recommend it to readers interested in Southeast Asian performance, education and cultural policy." - Matthew Isaac Cohen, University of Glasgow, Aseasuk News no.35

Jörgen Hellman is a professor at the School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg. Over the years, his research has shifted in focus from the study of cultural heritage and ritual symbolism in West Java to broader issues of climate change, flooding, religion and politics.

Publication year: 2003
210 pp / 221mm x 142mm
13 illustrations
ISBN: 978-87-91114-09-0, Hardback

NIAS Press