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Musical Worlds of Yogyakarta

by Max M Richter

Publication Year: 2012

Musical Worlds in Yogyakarta is an ethnographic account of a vibrant Indonesian city during the turbulent early post-Soeharto years. The book examines musical performance in public contexts ranging from the street and neighbourhood through to commercial venues and state environments such as Yogyakarta's regional parliament, its military institutions, universities and the Sultan's palace. It focuses on the musical tastes and practices of street workers, artists, students and others. From street-corner jam sessions to large-scale concerts, a range of genres emerge that cohere around notions of campursari (mixed essences) and jalanan (of the street). Musical worlds addresses themes of social identity and power, counterpoising Pierre Bourdieu's theories on class, gender and nation with the author's alternative perspectives of inter-group social capital, physicality and grounded cosmopolitanism. The author argues that Yogyakarta is exemplary of how everyday people make use of music to negotiate issues of power and at the same time promote peace and intergroup appreciation in culturally diverse inner-city settings.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

First and foremost I wish to thank my wife and partner, Dr. Tina Kalivas, for her love and support through the long process from planning my doctoral fieldwork to completing this monograph. Secondly I would like to thank my PhD supervisor, Professor Joel S. Kahn, for his invaluable advice and guidance, ...

Glossary of special terms

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: Approaching musical life in early post-Soeharto Yogyakarta

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pp. 1-28

By four o’clock the midday heat has begun to mellow. Along kampung alleyways the raucous commotion of city life gives way to the occasional sounds of playing children, splashing water, cooing pigeons. Domestic life emanates crisply out of thin walls and open windows. ...

Part 1: Music and the Street

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pp. 31-38

On Saturday night in Yogyakarta, the fourth of August 2001, the full moon cast iridescence through the city lights. Thousands of Indonesians, cashed up after their monthly payday, were further cramming the bustling city centre. Preparations for Independence Day added to the fanfare. ...

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1. Sosrowijayan and its Street Workers

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pp. 39-52

In Yogyakarta’s Sosrowijayan neighbourhood, ‘village-like’ kampung conventions intermingle with urban dynamism. Sosrowijayan is bordered by Marlioboro Street to the east and the city’s central railway station to the north (see Map to Part One). It accommodates the majority of Yogyakarta’s ‘sloppily dressed western tourists’ (Mulder 1996:180) ...

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2. Musical Forms and Spaces

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pp. 53-68

The ‘acoustic panorama of the Indonesian city’ (Colombijn 2007:269) is both distinctive and under-theorized. In Yogyakarta’s Sosrowijayan, music and the broader ‘soundscape’ (Shafer 1977) were integral to the roadside/alleyway division outlined in the previous chapter. ...

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3. Music Groups

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pp. 69-76

Many musical performances that project across public space are socially inclusive. But as Martin Stokes (1994:9) reminds us, so too can the crashing sound of one group be a deliberate ploy to enforce the boundaries between groups. Such inclusive and exclusive ploys and their effects also featured ...

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pp. 77-80

I began Part One with a description of street guides making themselves at home in a becak drivers’ roadside hangout. I then proposed that identifying capital in its various guises helps to gain an understanding of the roles of music making in the maintenance of peaceful inter-group relations social relations in Yogyakarta, ...

Part 2: Habitus and Physicality

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pp. 83-88

For some years now I have often heard Yogyakarta’s Sosrowijayan neighbourhood described as either a ‘typically conservative kampung’ or a ‘tourist ruined commercial zone’. In Part One I sought to problematise this division by examining music making and capital conversions among becak drivers and street guides. ...

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4. Detachment Engagement

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pp. 89-102

The kampung and commercial-venue sections of this chapter both begin with events featuring extremely immobile participants. This, I will argue, was primarily a result of levels of formality and economic disparity respectively. Other events in these settings involved transitions into greater inter-gender engagement, ...

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5. Other Worlds and Sexualisation

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pp. 103-116

In contrast to detachment engagement transitions, the musical events in this chapter reveal ways in which gender and other social boundaries were negotiated in situations of intensified musical physicality (Cowan 1990; McIntosh 2010). More specifically, the other worlds and sexualisation forms of musical physicalisation ...

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pp. 117-120

In Part Two, I have classified music performances that took place in Yogyakarta’s kampung and commercial entertainment venues according to detachment engagement, other worlds and sexualisation forms of musical physicalisation. Musical performance created arenas in which gender and other aspects of identity were negotiated, ...

Part 3: State Power and Musical Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 123-130

It is for good reason that many academic studies of Indonesia centre on the nation-state. Historically, as Benedict Anderson (1990:41-5) explains, in the Indonesia/Malay world the term negari designates both a capital city and a kingdom, reflecting centuries of empires and statehood in the region. ..

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6. Regional Parliament

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pp. 131-142

During the New Order period, Indonesia’s political structure extended from central government to province, regency/municipality, sub-district, and finally the kampung levels of sub-ward and neighbourhood association. Changes following Soeharto’s fall in 1998 had profound consequences for this complex structure. ...

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7. Armed Forces

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pp. 143-154

A key feature of the modern state is its monopoly of the legitimate use of violence, with its military and police forces the main instruments (Pierson 1996; Cohen and Service 1978). Military institutions are therefore central to the constitution of the bureaucratic field. ...

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8. Universities

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pp. 155-170

Universities and education systems more broadly are key sites for the struggles to control and reproduce statist capital (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:114-5). Entrance to the game of cultural capital accumulation is determined in the first instance through competitive recruitment examinations. ...

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pp. 171-174

Public events involving musical performance at Yogyakarta’s state institutions in 2001 tended to produce discernible combinations of struggles for statist capital with practices I have described as grounded and cosmopolitan. At the Regional Parliament on Malioboro Street, cosmopolitanism and political practice were manifest ...

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Conclusion: Campursari and Jalanan at the Sultan’s Palace

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pp. 175-186

In this monograph I have sought to construct a framework through which to analyse musical performance and social relations as I observed them in early post-Soeharto Yogyakarta. To achieve this, I drew on Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, habitus and field, and counterpoised these with the alternative perspectives of inter-group social capital, ...


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pp. 187-204


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pp. 205-210

E-ISBN-13: 9789814414463
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814414456

Page Count: 210
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1