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Back Door Java

Back Door Java: State Formation and the Domestic in Working Class Java

Jan Newberry
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 200
  • Book Info
    Back Door Java
    Book Description:

    "An important contribution to studies of gender and the state in Southeast Asia, this eminently readable book is at once engaging and profound." - Mary Steedly, Harvard University

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0314-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-10)
  5. Chapter One Through the Missing Back Door, an Entrance
    (pp. 11-24)

    Returning to central Java three years after my initial fieldwork, I found the house that I had lived in with my husband and fellow fieldworker, Steve Ferzacca, empty. This was surprising because the house was a beautiful one. Small but tiled in white with modern cement walls and pane glass windows, it was something of a standout in the part of the working-class neighbourhood where we had lived. Our nearest neighbours had houses that incorporated some cement but still made heavy use of bamboo. Few had an indoor well and pump, and none the bright, shiny newness of our house....

  6. Chapter Two Kampung
    (pp. 25-52)

    The people I worked and lived with were ordinary. They were not dancers, musicians, mystics, or court people. They were not the movers and shakers of the modern Indonesian nation-state. Neither were they the desperately poor. They were not the quintessential Javanese peasant toiling in a rice field. They could not have been less noteworthy, in terms of the usual Javanese ethnographic subject. They were the every man and every woman of modern Indonesia. They were neither spatially nor economically marginal. They were and are the innards of Java and of Indonesia. People such as these working class citizens of...

  7. Chapter Three The House
    (pp. 53-92)

    Steve and I had joined a local Catholic prayer group early in our time inKampung Rumah Putri. This group was predominantly made up of our older neighbours. We had found out early on that despite the Muslim majority in thekampung, a significant number of Catholics lived there as well, and indeed in our immediate neighbourhood, the Catholics were in the majority. The local prayer group met once a month at a member’s house, the location rotating from month to month. In an effort to ingratiate ourselves as well as to bring our house into the exchange system, we...

  8. Chapter Four The Household: Making Do
    (pp. 93-122)

    The Cipto house and extended family compound formed the stage upon which many community dramas were performed. One particular incident, late in my fieldwork experience, had a powerful impact on how I viewed these shared houses. As Steve and I were getting ready to leave the field, we struggled with how to split our household goods. Although we did not have much, we had acquired enough in the way of household goods to be of interest to the neighbours. Long before our scheduled departure, various neighbours had expressed interest in specific items. We planned to give to those most in...

  9. Chapter Five The Home
    (pp. 123-150)

    Perhaps foolishly, I had offered my house as the meeting place for the local PKK (Pembinaan Kesejahateraan Keluarga) meeting. Little did I know that this seemingly ordinary meeting of housewives, just one of countless neighbourhood meetings I had attended, would figure so prominently in my understanding of the shifting political alliances in the neighbourhood. Because while I was attending to my guests, fractures in the fragile bedrock of community were being attended to as well.

    The PKK meeting held at my house illustrates the multi-vocality of “community” in one urban, working class neighbourhood and how it is experienced by one...

  10. Chapter Six Through the Back Door of Domesticity: An Exit
    (pp. 151-158)

    I was on another interminable trip with the women ofKampung Rumah Putri. After months of working with and alongside women, this was another one of countless excursions to hospitals, shops, markets, neighbours’ houses and other trips inside and outside thekampung. Like most Westerners, I struggled early on with the intensity of bodily contact involved in public transportation but then grew to count on the support of all that warm flesh as vans, cars, and buses bounced and lurched down the road. On this day, I was wedged between Mbak Yeni, Bu Sae’s oldest daughter, and her aunt. Her...

  11. Epilogue: Housewife Ethnographer
    (pp. 159-174)

    I went to the field confused. There was, of course, the much discussed and overly romanticized confusion of cultural disorientation and student self-consciousness. But there was also the bewilderment, the stupefaction, of having come to the field at the time in anthropology when I did. I had been “posted” to the field—postmodern, post-structural, post-textual, post-narrative, post-science, and on and on, at a difficult time. The worm had turned and few of my friends felt confident about how to “do” fieldwork. There were those who militantly insisted on a traditionalist framework of measurement and structured interview with a formally designed...

  12. References
    (pp. 175-194)
  13. Index
    (pp. 195-200)