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Asian Migrant Workers in the Arab Gulf States

The Growing Foreign Population and Their Lives

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Edited by Masako Ishii, Naomi Hosoda, Masaki Matsuo and Koji Horinuki

Asian Migrant Workers in the Arab Gulf States (edited by Masako Ishii, Naomi Hosoda, Masaki Matsuo and Koji Horinuki) examines how nationals and migrants construct new relationships in the segregated socioeconomic spaces of the region (namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates).

Instead of assuming that segregation is disadvantageous for migrant workers, it emphasizes multiple aspects and presents various voices. In this way, the book tries to unfold the region’s segregated socioeconomic space, as well as its new forms of networking and connectedness, in order to understand how the various peoples coexist: a situation that often entails conflict and discrepancies between expectations and reality.

Chinese Research Perspectives on Society, Volume 5

Analysis and Forecast of China's Social Conditions (2016)

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Edited by Peilin LI, Guangjin Chen and Yi ZHANG

Denver’s Chinatown 1875-1900

Gone But Not Forgotten

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Jingyi Song

Denver’s Chinatown 1875-1900: Gone But Not Forgotten explores the coming of the Chinese to the Western frontier and their experiences in Denver during its early development from a supply station for the mining camps to a flourishing urban center. The complexity of race, class, immigration, politics, and economic policies interacted dynamically and influenced the life of early Chinese settlers in Denver. The Denver Riot, as a consequence of political hostility and racial antagonism against the Chinese, transformed the life of Denver’s Chinese, eventually leading to the disappearance of Denver's Chinatown. But the memory of a neighbored that was part of the colorful and booming urban center remains.

Chinese Research Perspectives on Society, Volume 6

Analysis and Forecast of China's Social Conditions (2017)

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Edited by Peilin LI, Guangjin CHEN and Yi ZHANG

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Nanny Kim

The commercialized economy of late imperial China depended on efficient transport, yet transport technologies, transport economics as well as its role in local societies and in interdependencies of environments and human activities are acutely under-researched. Nanny Kim analyses two transports systems into the Southwest of Qing China through the long eighteenth century and up to the mid-nineteenth century civil wars. The case studies explore shipping on the Upper Changjiang in Sichuan and through the Three Gorges into Hubei, and road transport out of the Sichuan Basin across northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou into central Yunnan. Specific and concrete investigations of a river that presented extreme dangers to navigation and carriage across the crunch zone of the Himalayan Plateau provides a basis for a systematic reconstruction of transport outside the lowland centres and their convenient networks of water transport.

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Shūhei Hosokawa

Sentiments, Language, and the Arts: The Japanese-Brazilian Heritage explores the complex feelings of Japanese immigrants in Brazil, focusing on their yearning for “home” as a way of interpreting the shifting nature of their identity. To understand the immigrants’ lives and feelings from their own perspective, Hosokawa looks closely at their poetry, linguistic activities such as the borrowing of Portuguese words, amateur speech contests, and a fantasy about the shared origins of Japanese and the Brazilian indigenous language Tupi. He also examines the issue of group identity through the performing arts, analyzing the reception of Japanese sopranos who sang the title role in Madam Butterfly, participation in Carnival parades, and the oral storytelling of their history in popular narratives called rôkyoku. Translated from Japanese by Paul Warham.

Kao Gong Ji

The World’s Oldest Encyclopaedia of Technologies

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Edited by Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

In Kao Gong Ji: The World’s Oldest Encyclopaedia of Technologies, Guan Zengjian and Konrad Herrmann offer an English translation and commentary of the first technological encyclopaedia in China. This work came into being around the 5th century C.E. and contains descriptions of thirty technologies used at the time. Most prominent are bronze casting, the manufacture of carriages and weapons, a metrological standard, the making of musical instruments, and the planning of cities. The technologies, including the manufacturing process and quality assurance, are based on standardization and modularization. In several commentaries, the editors show to which degree the descriptions of Kao Gong Ji correspond to archaeological findings.

Capitalising on Silver Tongues

A Case Study of Self-Advancement and Parenting Practice in North-East China

Xuan Dong and Xianyu Zhang

Abstract

This article explores why Chinese parents are keen to urge their children to advance themselves by actively participating in elocution training, a popular form of shadow education. Drawing on 14 in-depth interviews with parents in north-east China, this study highlights that these parents hope that their children will accumulate cultural capital by exercising their oratorical skills. Many parents expect their children to articulate cultural capital in the present on the performance stage and transform it into life-long symbolic currency on the metaphorical stage of their future lives. Thus, this article argues that the purssuit of “silver tongues” is not only the articulation of parents’ expectations regarding their children’s personal growth, but also a critical method of constructing a utopic accessible, successful, and meaningful life for these parents, rather than their children.

Dealing with Hate Speech

Voices from Young Koreans Living in Japan

Ji-Hyun Ahn and Hyewon Park

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Anti-Korean hate speech has become a serious social problem in recent years in Japan. In order to address the growing concern about the issue, Japan’s National Diet passed an anti-hate speech law in 2016. While some legal actions have been taken as a result and there has been some recent academic research into the social production of hate speech, relatively little effort has been made to investigate how the targeted group understands and deals with this form of hostility. Our aim here is to document the ways in which young Koreans who have been living in Japan for greater or lesser lengths of time perceive the rise in hate speech directed against them there and their strategies for coping with it. We explore these issues through an analysis of in-depth interviews with 14 young Koreans, for we seek to shift the focus of hate speech away from the “act” and toward its “targets.”

How Culture Matters in Internet Usage

The U.S.A. and South Korea

Sangmoon Kim and Chang Bum Ju

Abstract

This study investigates cultural influences on the way that the Internet is utilised. We specifically examine how online time is allocated between information searching and communication in two culturally distinct societies: South Korea and the United States. Based on the argument that personal communication in South Korea shows a higher level of contexting, which is not easily transmitted over the Internet, we hypothesise that Koreans spend relatively less time on online communication than Americans do. Our analyses of time-use data support this hypothesis. We find that the difference between the societies is not in the length of time spent on online communication, but the choice of the Internet as a communication medium. Koreans are less likely to view the Internet as a communication medium than Americans, although they are equally active once involved in this activity.

Theorising in Philippine Sociology, 1955–2017

Inclinations, Possibilities, Trajectories

Dennis S. Erasga, Yellowbelle D.M. Duaqui and Mark Oliver Llangco

Abstract

The article’s principal objective is to assess the state of theorising in Philippine sociology via the pages the Philippine Sociological Review (PSR). It reviews a portfolio of theoretical articles published by PSR over the span of seven decades (1955–2017). With PSR as the “interpretive canon,” the review uncovers suggestive actualities regarding the nature and extent of sociological theorising in the country. The theorising praxis of Filipino sociologists is characterised by a duality of “undercurrents” indicative of actual and potential actions that are habitual in nature (inclinations) yet porous enough to accommodate adjustments (possibilities) epitomised by episodic calls to theorise. Their nexus, albeit imbued with tension and ambivalence, is construed as predictive of promising futures (trajectories) for the discipline in the country. The article concludes that the climate of sociological theorising in the Philippines is essentially synchronous in the global trend along such area of concern.

Manfred Elfstrom and Yao Li

Abstract

China has become a land of social protests. Yet the Chinese state possesses considerable capacity and is rising on the world stage day by day. Why and how do Chinese people take to the streets? Where does their activism lead? This paper draws on a rich body of existing literature to provide an overview of the broad landscape of Chinese contentious politics and to dig deeper into a few common or emerging forms of social conflict. It then explores the various structural and political opportunity-based explanations for why protest occurs in China, before describing the ways in which different organizations and different framings of issues by citizens affect how protests play out. Shifting to where protests lead, the paper briefly surveys a variety of coercive and conciliatory institutions China possesses for social control and then documents distinct patterns in the state’s handling of different types of resistance—repressive, tolerant, concessionary, and mixed approaches—followed by an examination of the multifaceted impact of unrest. The conclusion offers suggestions for future researchers. Reviewing major concepts, debates, perspectives, and emerging research directions in studies of contentious politics in the world’s most populous country, this paper contributes to a more nuanced understanding of authoritarian politics and authoritarian resilience more generally.

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Translator Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

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Translator Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

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Translator Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

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Translator Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

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Translator Zengjian Guan and Konrad Herrmann

Asylum Seekers’ and Refugees’ Decision-Making in Transit in Indonesia

The Need for In-depth and Longitudinal Research

Antje Missbach

Abstract

Asylum seekers and refugees currently living in Indonesia tend to see Indonesia as a transit rather than a destination country, despite the fact that their stays are increasing in length. Based on contact with Muhamad (not his real name), a young refugee from Iran currently residing in Indonesia whose adjustment and development I observed over four years, I illustrate the changing priorities in his decision-making, the constant flux of circumstances and context, and the extreme complexity of primary and secondary factors that come into play in planning for the future. Combining a macro perspective with a case study, in which I present excerpts from several life-story interviews, helps to exemplify these generic migratory challenges and distil a range of relevant parameters that influence the decision-making of asylum seekers and refugees in transit. A (self-)critical reflection on ethical and methodological challenges underpins my analysis and argument, not least because politicians and policymakers are increasingly interested in influencing migratory decision-making processes to gain political advantage. Of particular interest in my analysis is the role of Australia’s deterrence policies in asylum seekers’ decision-making. Despite the ethical challenges associated with studying migratory decision-making—as public knowledge of migration strategies can also suppress aspirations of mobility—I argue for more in-depth and longitudinal research. At the very least, this is because more intensive, yet considerate studies of decision-making will help us to take seriously the migratory aspirations of people with limited choices.

The Countryside in Indonesian Contemporary Art and Media

From Distant Horizons to Traversing Drones

Edwin Jurriëns

Abstract

This article analyses explorations of social and environmental problems and solutions in artistic representations of the Indonesian countryside and rural society, culture, and wisdom. It focuses on urban–rural creative collaborations that combine traditional culture and knowledge with modern technology and media, such as drones and the Internet, to empower local communities, promote artistic innovation, and enhance environmental sustainability. It seeks to demonstrate that contemporary art and media strengthen the urban–rural network and the accessibility and exchange of creative ideas and information. At the same time, the author argues that some of the causes of cultural conflict and anthropogenic disaster are embedded in forms of audio-visual representation itself. The display of urban–rural encounters in art festivals and social media can even instigate new forms of surveillance, and power and knowledge hierarchies, or reinforce regimes of consumer culture, partially responsible for the very problems the audio-visual representations and collaborations seek to address.

Hans Hägerdal

How Does Faith Feel?

The Language and Affect of Belief

Callan Schultz

Abstract

Research on emotion in anthropology has been supplanted by an ethnographic turn toward ‘subjectivity’, ‘embodiment’, ‘personhood’, and ‘experience’. In this article, I explore how these interrelated modes of analysis can help ethnographers to better understand the cultural processes that constitute how people feel. I show that among my Christian Dusun interlocutors in Ranau, Malaysian Borneo, the interactive engagement between subjects and their environment determined the vectors of emotional possibility in terms of belief. The intersection of religious objects (God, the Holy Spirit, Satan) and mutual obligations in the community produce what I refer to as the ‘faith network’. I trace these collective attachments to consider how ‘believing in’ regulates feeling in relation to situations of crisis, impasse, and tragedy. The combined efforts of my interlocutors, I suggest, created an active commitment that pulsated through the faith network, which sustained an intensive and defining mode of their relational experience.

Andrea Acri

Abstract

This article adds to the discussion on the figure of the taṇḍa in Old Javanese literature, recently revived by Jiří Jákl in ‘The figure of the taṇḍa in Old Javanese literary and epigraphical records’, published in Bijdragen 175 (2019). In this contribution, the author clarifies his position on some points criticized by Jákl, and adds a few more thoughts on the elusive taṇḍa.

Ira Safitri Darwin, Haryo Winarso and Denny Zulkaidi

Abstract

Taluak is located in the peri-urban area of the city of Bukittinggi, in Agam Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Bukittinggi is rapidly expanding into this peri-urban area. Due to a lack of sound land-use regulations, the growing population and increasing development are encroaching into the peri-urban area. In 1999, the administrative area of Bukittinggi was formally expanded to include some of the surrounding land that had previously been part of Agam Regency. However, although the physical development of the city has encroached into parts of Agam Regency, including Taluak, the communities of the village refused to be administratively included in Bukittinggi. One of their reasons for this refusal is a belief that such urbanization will harm the culture and traditions of the village. This article aims to explain how the communities of Taluak have resisted the formal expansion of Bukittinggi to include them in order to maintain their culture and traditions of land management and to estimate how long such resistance can survive. The article also explains how the process of land conversion in Taluak is carried out, particularly the conversion from rural use into urban use, which creates rurban (rural-urban) areas.

Lisa Palmer and Andrew McWilliam

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In post-conflict Timor-Leste, the concepts of spirit ecologies and intergenerational wellbeing direct our attention to the ways in which Timorese people derive strength from house-based family networks as well as protective and productive spiritual relations with living nature. These practices of exchange resonate with a comparative body of research that has described similar ‘spiritscapes’ elsewhere in Southeast Asia and their relevance for social and environmental governance. Exploring the diverse ontologies of particular Timorese ‘spirit ecologies’ and their embedding in a concept of more-than-human ‘intergenerational wellbeing’, in this article we investigate the renewed significance of these ‘house-based’ practices for social and environmental governance in Timor-Leste. We argue that despite the challenges, multiple engagements of mutually appropriated, transgenerational debt obligations and ritually regulated forms of resource governance are emerging as cultural, and increasingly state-sanctioned, strategies aimed at rebuilding the social and environmental commons.

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Sandrine Ruhlmann

For Mongols, sharing food is more than just eating meals. Through a process of “opening” and “closing”, on a daily basis or at events, in the family circle or with visitors, sharing food guarantees the proper order of social relations. It also ensures the course of the seasons and the cycle of human life. Through food sharing, humans thus invite happiness to their families and herds. Sandrine Ruhlmann has lived long months, since 2000, in the Mongolian steppe and in the city. She describes and analyzes in detail the contemporary food system and recognizes intertwined ideas and values inherited from shamanism, Buddhism and communist ideology. Through meat-on-the-bone, creamy milk skin, dumplings or sole-shaped cakes, she highlights a whole way of thinking and living.

Conservative Inclusivity and Hierarchical Diversity

Chinese dakwah and the Paradoxes of Indonesian Religious Pluralism

Wai Weng Hew

Abstract

By discussing Chinese Muslim dakwah (proselytisation) activities, as well as examining how Chinese Muslims engage with broader Islamic practices, gain support from various Muslim organisations and interact with various Muslim individuals, this paper examines the possibilities, limitations, and challenges of religious pluralism in Indonesia today. Generally speaking, Chinese Muslims’ dakwah activities reflect the broader trend of religious discourses among Indonesian Muslims—a support for inclusivity and diversity, yet at the same time, an increasing “conservative turn;” and the notion of diversity has been redefined according to a rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings. I propose to understand such dynamics as forms of conservative inclusivity and hierarchical diversity. The challenge of religious pluralism in Indonesia today is less about the rejection of diversity among conservative Muslims, but more about the appropriation of the meaning of diversity and the scale of inclusivity.

Judith Schlehe

Abstract

At present, a great deal of the scholarly research on Indonesia focuses on the processes of Islamisation. This paper will discuss a phenomenon that seems to point in a different direction, namely the contemporary reconfiguration of dukun/spiritual experts called paranormal. These mystics indicate a peculiar form of pluralism. They are an assemblage of tradition and modernity, locality and translocality, religion and mysticism, spirituality and business, and global esotericism and popular psychology. Most of them belong to the urban middle class, are highly professional, and make extensive use of modern mass media to advertise their supernatural skills. Yet, how do they position themselves in Indonesian and global cultural contexts? This paper identifies the ongoing ambivalence between cosmopolitan ideas and their rupture in polarising, orientalist, and occidentalist imaginaries. Finally, a new understanding of cosmopolitanism is suggested that expands the reference beyond the world of humans by also including a plurality of supernatural powers.

Martin Ramstedt

Martin Ramstedt

Abstract

The essentialist critique of liberal multiculturalism highlights the fact that the latter is inadvertently wedded to a collective cultural identity politics, which has encouraged the reification and rigidification of group identities. Foregrounding difference and preservationist attitudes, such identity politics tend to neglect the development of bridging social capital, and to undermine the emancipatory potential of liberal multicultural societies. In this article, I first seek to substantiate how pluralism in post-Suharto Indonesia has been articulated as liberal multiculturalism through increasing legal accommodation of certain ethnic, as well as conservative Muslim norms and institutions. Analysing how ethnic and religious identities have become more and more rigidly defined in the process, I then gauge the prospects of pluralism in the light of Rainer Forst’s four conceptions of tolerance.

Towards a Cosmopolitan Indonesia

Makassar as a Paradigm for Organising Cultural Diversity?

Christoph Antweiler

Abstract

Historically, Indonesia had a colonial experience of pluralist polities where cultures were divided but met in the marketplace. What we find less often in Indonesian history are truly pluralistic polities, that is polities either explicitly valuing diversity or emphasising trans-ethnic commonalities. In current Indonesia, behind cultural diversity issues as such, the more fundamental political issue looms large of how to organise multifaceted cultural diversity socially. I will argue that the answer lies not in playing diversity against unity, nor in emphasising secularism. Rather, my argument is based on cosmopolitan theories and the transdifference approach to cultural plurality and, thus, takes a stand against a mere focus on national and ethnic issues. In order to contribute to discussions about an explicitly diversity-honouring version of Indonesianess in everyday interactions, we can learn from revisiting historical experiences. Indonesia has a deep tradition of fruitful cultural exchanges and un-dogmatic religious syncretism. This is especially developed in Indonesia’s multicultural harbour cities. Based on my experience in Makassar (South Sulawesi) over a period of 30 years, this article provides a glance on a politically marginal but culturally cosmopolitan city, which has also been a centre of Islam since the 17th Century. Its specific form of localised cosmopolitanism might open some avenues for conceiving a pluralistic unity in Indonesia.

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Edited by William Hurst

This collection includes seven essays translated from the leading Chinese-language journal Open Times. Bringing together a wide range of leading experts across several disciplines, this book offers critical insights on some of the most important questions of contemporary urban Chinese politics and society. Drawing on extensive research across different localities and issues in China, the chapters offer rich data and fresh analyses of the shifting contours of urban governance, social mobilization and contention, and mechanisms of social control in the new Millennium. Taken together, this collection represents the most comprehensive look in some years at how urban Chinese political institutions have adapted and responded to challenges and how social actors and groups have mobilized to press for redress of substantial new grievances.

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Edited by Masamichi Sasaki

Trust in Contemporary Society, by well-known trust researchers, deals with conceptual, theoretical and social interaction analyses, historical data on societies, national surveys or cross-national comparative studies, and methodological issues related to trust. The authors are from a variety of disciplines: psychology, sociology, political science, organizational studies, history, and philosophy, and from Britain, the United States, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and Japan. They bring their vast knowledge from different historical and cultural backgrounds to illuminate contemporary issues of trust and distrust. The socio-cultural perspective of trust is important and increasingly acknowledged as central to trust research. Accordingly, future directions for comparative trust research are also discussed.

Contributors include: Jack Barbalet, John Brehm, Geoffrey Hosking, Robert Marsh, Barbara A. Misztal, Guido Möllering, Bart Nooteboom, Ken J. Rotenberg, Jiří Šafr, Masamichi Sasaki, Meg Savel, Markéta Sedláčková, Jörg Sydow, Piotr Sztompka.

Maria Myutel

Abstract

This article sheds light on previously unknown aspects of Indonesian private television by focusing on the role of the ethno-religious minority of Indonesian Sindhi in the establishment and development of commercial soap opera production. Part of the global trading community of Sindhayat, the local Sindhis have mobilized their translocal and transnational networks to take a dominant position in the emerging sector of national media. Grounded in long-term ethnographic fieldwork among media practitioners and Indonesian Sindhi community members, the article examines how Sindhis’ sense of community and shared desires and sentiments have resulted in a lack of variety of television formats and the introduction of Islam-themed soap operas to prime-time television.

Dutch Sinologists, Chinese Annals, and Other Stories

Two Ground-Breaking Contributions to Chinese-Indonesian Historiography

Tom Hoogervorst

Enduring Connections?

Soft Power and Pedagogy in Short-Term Study Tours to Indonesia

Agnieszka Sobocinska and Jemma Purdey

Abstract

Since 2013, the Australian government has funded Australian students to undertake short periods of study abroad with an emphasis on Asia, including Indonesia. Universities, too, have been enhancing their study-abroad options as part of broader internationalization campaigns. In a short time, the number of Australian higher-education students undertaking study abroad as part of their undergraduate degrees has doubled, to one in five students. This significant investment follows from two beliefs: that Australia’s relations with Asia are significantly impacted by people-to people relations; and that formal, experiential learning is a particularly effective pedagogical method. But is this investment warranted? Do periods of short-term study in Indonesia enrich students’ understanding of the region, and of Australia’s relations with Asia? And do current undergraduates, who have unprecedented access to mobility through travel and tourism, gain anything from a formal and guided people-to-people experience? This article explores these questions through an in-depth investigation of the intensive-mode undergraduate unit ‘Australia and Asia’ run by the Faculty of Arts at Monash University from 2014 to 2017. It suggests that, for many students, study tours facilitate a short-term period of emotional involvement and self-reflection, rather than forging enduring connections.

Jiří Jákl

Abstract

This article offers a detailed analysis of the category of men known as taṇḍa. Widely attested in literary records and known from Old Javanese inscriptions, the function and social status of taṇḍa has been a controversial issue. Two views pertaining to the identity of these men have been advanced so far. According to most scholars, taṇḍa were high-status officials, often interpreted as military ‘officers’. According to an alternative view, they were low-status military figures and their function was to oversee markets, or they were low-status figures associated with music and performances. This article argues that until at least 1200 CE taṇḍa were court-based, active combatants, who had troops of their own followers at their disposal and were responsible for the military expansion of Javanese states. By the Majapahit period they were integrated as regular troops into the progressively more hierarchical system of the professional standing army, which resulted in their reduced social status.

Found in Translation

Eka Kurniawan and the Politics of Genre

Meghan Downes

Abstract

Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan achieved huge critical success globally during 2015–2016 with his translated novels Beauty is a wound and Man tiger, which have been praised for their sweeping historical scope, ‘magical realist’ elements, and experimentation with voice and genre. First published in the Indonesian language more than a decade earlier as Cantik itu luka and Lelaki harimau, these novels initially faced a relatively lukewarm reception locally. Only once Eka Kurniawan’s work had been ‘found in translation’ was he taken more seriously in Indonesian media coverage. This article charts Eka Kurniawan’s rise to literary fame, paying particular attention to the shifting tone and content of reviews, marketing, cover art, and media representations, as the translated novels circulated globally. I use this case to examine two key issues: firstly, the ways in which certain genres such as horror and crime are ‘othered’ in the Indonesian literary landscape; and secondly, how processes of translation, distribution, and reception outside Indonesia can significantly impact local interpretations of an author and their work. In doing so, this article demonstrates that the politics of genre and the power relations of international publishing both contribute to complex patterns of inclusion and exclusion from ‘local’ and ‘global’ literary canons.

Indonesia and its Others

Inclusion, Exclusion and Inter-cultural Engagements

Meghan Downes

Neneng Yanti Khozanatu Lahpan

Abstract

Through an analysis of local Sundanese music in distinct settings in village and urban contexts, this article observes and analyses different constructions of meaning around Sundanese Islamic music, as well as the role played by cultural activists and village audiences in those constructions. Based on fieldwork in Tasikmalaya, West Java, I explore the novel meanings given to village genres in urban contexts, and contrast that with the affective responses of village audiences. I find that musical meanings offer different processes of identity formation within particular social boundaries. Emergent Indonesian political developments shape these processes.