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Creole Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia

Creole Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia

Jacqueline Knörr
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Creole Identity in Postcolonial Indonesia
    Book Description:

    Contributing to identity formation in ethnically and religiously diverse postcolonial societies, this book examines the role played by creole identity in Indonesia, and in particular its capital, Jakarta. While, on the one hand, it facilitates transethnic integration and promotes a specifically postcolonial sense of common nationhood due to its heterogeneous origins, creole groups of people are often perceived ambivalently in the wake of colonialism and its demise, on the other. In this book, Jacqueline Knorr analyzes the social, historical, and political contexts of creoleness both at the grassroots and the State level, showing how different sections of society engage with creole identity in order to promote collective identification transcending ethnic and religious boundaries, as well as for reasons of self-interest and ideological projects.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-269-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-ix)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    This book is a contribution to the study of the social construction of collective identities in postcolonial societies.¹ More generally, this study focuses on the interaction of ethnic, local and national identifications in Jakarta and on the role that creole identity plays in this regard. While examining contemporary such processes, focussing on the years following Suharto’s fall, this study also contextualizes the phenomena under study historically, tracing their origins and development in light of the social conditions prevailing in a given historical period of time.

    With an extremely heterogeneous population of around twelve million people, Jakarta is one of the...

  6. Chapter 1 Creole Identity in Postcolonial Context
    (pp. 19-40)

    The central role that creole identity plays in the processes of identification under study here requires a critical examination of the creole terminology. This is all the more so because the discourses revolving around the etymology and meaning of the termcreole(in its different variants –créole, crioullo, Kreo,etc.) and of the concepts of creoleness and creolization are in many ways influenced by ideological orientations on the part of those conceptualizing.¹ This also applies to discourses relating to the criteria upon which particular creole identities are based. These discourses make use of origin-related, phenotypical (racial) and/or cultural rationales, and...

  7. Chapter 2 Jakarta, Batavia, Betawi
    (pp. 41-73)

    Jakarta lies on the northwest coast of Java. It is the capital city of Indonesia, the seat of the national and regional government, the country’s most important commercial, financial and education centre and an industrial city. Jakarta is an extremely heterogeneous city in ethnic, cultural and social terms, Indonesia’s largest city and one of the world’s so-called mega-cities.

    According to a census conducted by theBadan Pusat Statistik(BPS) – the Central Statistics Office – Jakarta had 9.6 million inhabitants in 2010.¹ It can be assumed from this figure that actually some 12 million people live in Jakarta. This difference is due...

  8. Chapter 3 Orang Betawi versus Orang Jakarta
    (pp. 74-97)

    The Betawi are classified as an indigenous and ethnic group (suku bangsa, kelompok etnik) and as such are ascribed certain features as so-called typical Betawi. At the same time Betawi-(ness) has transethnic dimensions that (also) non-Betawi can relate to and identify with in manifold ways.

    As categories of people, both Orang Betawi and Orang Jakarta convey ambivalent and contested meanings. These make way for a complex of possible ascriptions that people select from according to situation and context that are also informed by specific power relations and ideological constructs. This polyvalency of ascriptions is reflected in a discourse on the...

  9. Chapter 4 Suku bangsa Betawi: Integration and Differentiation of Ethnic Identity
    (pp. 98-134)

    The social and cultural reevaluation of the Betawi due to their promotion by the state and the increased public attention they attract go along with specific strategies of intra-ethnic integration and differentiation among the Betawi.

    Pauline Milone (1966) distinguished between three groups of Betawi, namely the Betawi Kota (also called Betawi Tengah), Betawi Pinggir and Betawi Udik, without, however, revealing the criteria she draws her differentiation on.¹ The Betawi Kota, Pinggir and Udik can be classified as the inner circle of the Betawi – within which the different groups are in turn categorized in terms of their proximity to the inner...

  10. Chapter 5 Betawi versus Peranakan
    (pp. 135-157)

    Indonesian citizens of Chinese origin are officially referred to as Warga Negara Indonesia Keturunan Tionghoa (WNI), or as (Orang) Tionghoa.¹ Colloquially – and to some extent derogatively – they are sometimes referred to as Orang Cina or non-Pribumi.² Although there are other so-called non-Pribumi in Indonesia, the term is above all used to refer to the Chinese (Dhofier 1976: 10), and there Chinese who have internalized this designation and use it to refer to themselves (Heryanto 2001: 100). However, since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 the careless and depreciative labelling of Indonesians of Chinese origins has become more objectionable....

  11. Chapter 6 Orang Betawi versus Orang Indonesia: The Connection between Ethnic Diversity and National Unity
    (pp. 158-182)

    When Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 it had been under colonial rule for 350 years. Java had been the centre of Dutch colonial power and retained its central role after independence. Because there had been no Indonesian state prior to the colonial period, a common Indonesian identity had yet to be created: ‘In conclusion it can be said that thesystematicproduction of Indonesian tradition only began 30 years after Indonesian independence when thePancasilawere declared by decree to be the binding doctrine of state’ (Moosmüller 1999: 40). Moosmüller’s conclusion is based on his study of the construction of...

  12. Chapter 7 Betawi Politics of Identity and Difference
    (pp. 183-197)

    The increased level of social recognition nowadays enjoyed by the Betawi owes much to their promotion by the state. This has also led particularly the more urban Betawi becoming less alienated from the state and its institutions. At the same time the Betawi have increasingly realized the political potential inherent in their creole background and perceived indigeneity within the Jakartan context. In recent years the growing self-confidence and increased public recognition of the Betawi have also been accompanied by demands for greater Betawi participation in politics, particularly at the level of the DKI Jakarta. Such demands have come not only...

  13. Conclusion. Towards an Open End
    (pp. 198-200)

    The analysis of ethnic, local and national identifications in Jakarta has shown that the latter are constructed, transformed and socially enacted in close interaction with one another and according to situational and contextual demands. Identifications acquire social meanings and social relevance beyond the individual level in the context of ascriptions and demarcations that are shaped by specific belief systems, historical experiences and political exigencies. Social meanings of identity-related processes and social discourses reflecting them impact each other.

    In Jakarta a specific creole culture and identity – namely Betawi culture and identity – plays a specific role for the interaction of ethnic, local...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-217)
  15. Index
    (pp. 218-225)