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After the New Order

Space, Politics, and Jakarta

Abidin Kusno

Publication Year: 2013

After the New Order follows up Abidin Kusno’s well-received Behind the Postcolonial and The Appearances of Memory. This new work explores the formation of populist urban programs in post-Suharto Jakarta and the cultural and political contradictions that have arisen as a result of the continuing influence of the Suharto-era’s neoliberal ideology of development. Analyzing a spectrum of urban agendas from waterfront city to green environment and housing for the poor, Kusno deepens our understanding of the spatial mediation of power, the interaction between elite and populist urban imaginings, and how past ideologies are integral to the present even as they are newly reconfigured.

The book brings together eight chapters that examine the anxiety over the destiny of Jakarta in its efforts to resolve the crisis of the city. In the first group of chapters Kusno considers the fate and fortune of two building types, namely the city hall and the shop house, over a longue duree as a metonymy for the culture, politics, and society of the city and the nation. Other chapters focus on the intellectual legacies of the Sukarno and Suharto eras and the influence of their spatial paradigms. The final three chapters look at social and ecological consciousness in the post-Suharto era. One reflects on citizens’ responses to the waterfront city project, another on the efforts to “green” the city as it is overrun by capitalism and reaching its ecological limits. The third discusses a recent low-income housing program by exploring the two central issues of land and financing; it illuminates the interaction between the politics of urban space and that of global financial capitalism. The epilogue, consisting of an interview with the author, discusses Kusno’s writings on contemporary Jakarta, his approach to history, and how his work is shaped by concerns over the injustices, violence, and environmental degradation that continue to accompany the city’s democratic transition.

After the New Order will be essential reading for anyone—including Asianists, urban historians, social scientists, architects, and planners—concerned with the interplay of space, power, and identity.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

I had the privilege of living in the three largest cities in Indonesia during the fi rst twenty- fi ve years of my life. I was born in Medan the same year Suharto came to power. My family moved to Surabaya when I was sixteen and, after completing my architectural engineering degree, I moved to Jakarta and worked there. Out of these three cities, however, Jakarta was the one I...

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pp. xiii-xxxii

After the end of Suharto’s New Order regime, Jakarta was abuzz with stories about both the problems and the future of the city. Important stories include that of Rio Tambunan, who was head of the City Administration Offi ce (Dinas Tata Kota) from 1971 to 1975. In an interview in 2002 Tambunan revealed that since the beginning of the 1980s, the offi ce where he used to work ...

Longue Duree

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Chapter 1. The Nation-State and the City Hall

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pp. 3-27

The city hall is a crucial feature of the Europe an transformation of social space and of the emergence of urban modernity.1 However, it did not always represent civic identity, especially when situated in a colonial context. In a colony, the city hall often enacted practices that contradict its ideal form as an institution of civic pride. There was thus a discrepancy between the meaning of ...

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Chapter 2. The Shophouse and the Chinese

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pp. 28-48

Ethnic Chinese occupied a peculiar position in the history of Batavia/ Jakarta. Despite paying three times the amount paid by all other groups for the construction cost of Batavia's city hall, they were still considered foreigners or the others by both the colonial and postcolonial regimes. Little work has been done on ethnic Chinese in Jakarta and how their material cultures tell us about ...

Time Remembered/Time Forgotten

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Chapter 3. Researching Modernism

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pp. 51-73

On 14 April 1983, the first Pameran Karya Arsitektur Indonesia (Indonesian Architectural Exhibition) was held in Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Jakarta. It drew considerable interest. Art critic Jim Supangkat visited the exhibition.1 He had been a regular attendee at TIM, which had opened in 1968, and knew that it had often been a site of tension between artists and the state....

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Chapter 4. The Peasantry and the Periurban Fringe

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pp. 74-94

In 1962, as Sukarno and his architects designed modernist buildings and a boulevard for the central part of the capital city, Kenneth Watts, a town planning advisor with the United Nations Assistance Program, addressed his proposal for the greater Jakarta region to the Ministry of Public Works and Energy, which he worked for from 1956 to 1959. Watts began in the following way:...

Spatial Conjunctures

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Chapter 5. The Coast and the Last Frontier

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pp. 97-118

The theme of the previous chapter was Jakarta’s expansion into the periurban fringe, which served at least three functions: to attract industry and laborers, to control the population and provide security for the capital city, and to create a new citizenry. Through the Ministry of Internal Aff airs, the development zone was made available for private investors to invest and to develop into ...

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Chapter 6. Green Governmentality

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pp. 119-138

The waterfront debate discussed in the previous chapter took place at the end of Suharto’s rule (1966–1988). It sparked controversy and it could be seen as setting in motion a “green movement” for the reformasi of the post-Suharto era. The debate has broadened the public’s awareness of the importance of preserving the city’s green assets and gives direction for urban...

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Chapter 7. Housing the Margin

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pp. 139-171

In the previous chapter, I showed how Jakarta is embracing environmentalism as if to redeem the past decades of extensive destruction of the urban ecology. Yet, the call for the reclaiming of green spaces prompts the questions of whose green spaces are being reclaimed and what civic space means in Indonesia;s capital. As many Jakartans are hoping that the creation of open and green ...

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Epilogue: Turning Time: An Interview

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pp. 172-196

Etienne Turpin: Your work is based on a coordination of time and space that serves as a framework for your analysis of Jakarta. Could you tell us something about how you read this coordination?
Abidin Kusno: While every aspect of our activities is largely governed by time, we are in many ways constructing time as well, for time is a social ...


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pp. 197-238


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pp. 239-258


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pp. 259-268

Other Works in the Series, About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 269-273

E-ISBN-13: 9780824838669
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824837457

Publication Year: 2013