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Producing the local: Javanese performance on Indonesian television

Els Bogaerts defended her theses on 20 December 2017.

Els Bogaerts
20 December 2017
Leiden Repository

Television is ‘both a witness to and an actor in economic structures, social change, political power and cultural meaning’. The study of television, omnipresent in Indonesia, gives a specific insight in Indonesian society. This dissertation offers a perspective on Indonesian television from the point of view of mediated Javanese performance. This dissertation is above all a plea for a more thorough study of the role of proximity in the production, dissemination and reception of local television programmes.

The main objective of this research is to explore how television represents Javaneseness, as a factor designed to catch and keep the attention of its putative audiences. The approach is both thematic and chronological, interdisciplinary and empirically based. The corpus incorporates a wide variety of television genres, including drama, talk shows and other entertainment, news bulletins, infotainment and commercials. I made extensive use of interviews, literature on Indonesian media, articles and essays published in Indonesian newspapers and magazines, letters from audiences, Indonesian legislative texts, scripts, programme descriptions and broadcast schedules, and television websites. Three main themes structure the study: representing tradition, localizing persuasion and mediating the local. My rationale for choosing this threefold approach is my own curiosity to discover how research into television from specific angles would generate specific outcomes. When made into a compilation, these outcomes would result in a mosaic that shows the multiple facets of the televisionscape, keeping the dynamics of the televisual processes. The focus on the production of the local is the leitmotiv; contrary to Appadurai’s view (1996:178), the local as a phenomenological quality is not just relational and contextual, but also closely linked to local scale and geographical space. The analysis is based on a number of case studies, displaying Javanese performance by and on television.


Prof. dr. B. Arps

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