Surabaya, 1945 – 2010: Neighbourhood, State And Economy In Indonesia’s City Of Struggle

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This is is a remarkable study of urban society in one of Indonesia’s main port cities. It views Surabaya from the experiences of the people who occupy its alleyways, riverbanks and muddy roadsides, a group that has had little say in the making of policy or the writing of Indonesia’s history. The setting is a crowded low-income neighbourhood (kampung) that lies between the Surabaya River and the city’s main southern boulevard. For those who live along this kampung’s narrow alleyways, the city can be a violent landscape of exclusion and social asymmetry.

From this perspective, Indonesia’s landmark events, from the revolution of 1945 and the destruction of the Communist Party in 1965 to contemporary urban renewal and anti-terrorism campaigns, take on a new complexion. Using rich ethnographic details, Robbie Peters describes how kampung residents have survived in the shadow of Indonesia’s tumultuous economic growth and political reform and how they have contested government controls over the movement and settlement of people, limiting the state’s ability to construct an urban citizenry that excludes newcomers.

The kampung alternative is a ‘participative’ citizenship that embraces new arrivals and draws them into the everyday life of the alleyways, using simple rituals such as death commemorations to ‘counter-map’ static official representations of neighbourhood and community. Such local practices underpin kampung residents’ claim to the alleyways and surrounding streets, where they struggle to maintain the informal economy that helps sustain their lives.

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This is is a remarkable study of urban society in one of Indonesia’s main port cities. It views Surabaya from the experiences of the people who occupy its alleyways, riverbanks and muddy roadsides, a group that has had little say in the making of policy or the writing of Indonesia’s history. The setting is a crowded low-income neighbourhood (kampung) that lies between the Surabaya River and the city’s main southern boulevard. For those who live along this kampung’s narrow alleyways, the city can be a violent landscape of exclusion and social asymmetry.

From this perspective, Indonesia’s landmark events, from the revolution of 1945 and the destruction of the Communist Party in 1965 to contemporary urban renewal and anti-terrorism campaigns, take on a new complexion. Using rich ethnographic details, Robbie Peters describes how kampung residents have survived in the shadow of Indonesia’s tumultuous economic growth and political reform and how they have contested government controls over the movement and settlement of people, limiting the state’s ability to construct an urban citizenry that excludes newcomers.

The kampung alternative is a ‘participative’ citizenship that embraces new arrivals and draws them into the everyday life of the alleyways, using simple rituals such as death commemorations to ‘counter-map’ static official representations of neighbourhood and community. Such local practices underpin kampung residents’ claim to the alleyways and surrounding streets, where they struggle to maintain the informal economy that helps sustain their lives.

 

Publisher: University Of Hawaii Press

Paperback

2013

ISBN: 9780824838645