Identity and Pleasure: The Politics of Indonesian Screen Culture

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By Ariel Heryanto

Identity and Pleasure: The Politics of Indonesian Screen Culture critically examines what media and screen culture reveal about the ways urban-based Indonesians attempted to redefine their identity in the first decade of this century. Through a richly nuanced analysis of expressions and representations found in screen culture (cinema, television and social media), it analyses the waves of energy and optimism, and the disillusionment, disorientation and despair, that arose in the power vacuum that followed the dramatic collapse of the militaristic New Order government.

While in-depth analyses of identity and political contestation within the nation are the focus of the book, trans-national engagements and global dimensions are a significant part of the story in each chapter. The author focuses on contemporary cultural politics in Indonesia, but each chapter contextualizes current circumstances by setting them within a broader historical perspective.


"Identity and Pleasure: The Politics of Indonesian Screen Culture is a brilliant study of the diverse and seemingly contradictory forces at play in the world’s fourth largest nation state. . . . Perhaps the most striking feature of Identity and Pleasure is Heryanto’s ability to find meaning in seemingly trivial and mundane aspects of popular culture."
Michael G. Vann, Sacramento State University

"This is undoubtedly an important and timely book."
James B. Hoesterey, Emory University

"Identity and Pleasure deserves serious attention from both those interested in contemporary Indonesian culture and politics, and those engaging with theoretical issues of identity production."
Michael Bodden, University of Victoria

"This new study adds significantly to an important topic which has not received much scholarly attention. In addition, Heryanto's book will serve as a broad introduction to Indonesian popular culture and politics which would make it suitable for undergraduate courses."
Kania A. Sukotjo, National University of Singapore

"...fills in a gap in the study of popular culture, which is too often forgotten in academic examinations of contemporary media usage and consumption, particularly in regards to how it relates to cultural politics and identity formation."
Dani Madrid-Morales, City University of Hong Kong

"...a much-needed and welcome addition to the small but growing historiography on the subject."
Johannes Nugroho

"Heryanto has a rare ability to connect sharp analysis of Indonesia’s media landscape with wider theoretical questions in cultural studies."
Krishna Sen

"...Heryanto’s work is an important contribution to the study of media, politics, and culture in Indonesia. The book offers a very comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography of works in Indonesian studies, and it highlights the importance of popular culture as an area often overlooked by those who study Indonesian politics mainly through top-level political elites and government policies."
Intan Paramaditha

Ariel Heryanto is Professor and Deputy Director (Education), at The School of Culture, History and Language of The Australian National University's College of Asia and The Pacific.

Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies 13
Publication Year: 2014
268 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-821-8, Paperback

NUS Press and Kyoto University Press