Melani BUDIANTA, Hilmar FARID and Abidin KUSNO
The essays in this collection not only describe the story of Jakarta, but seek to engage in a critical dialogue with the city. A critical dialogue means a conversation with the aim of understanding, problematizing, and provoking certain assumptions and practices currently operated in the city. We argue that the collapse of the authoritarian regime of Suharto (1996-1998) has made the city (rather than the nation) the site for the construction of social identity. This disjuncture between the city and the nation (no means specific to Jakarta) produces both progressive and reactionary discourses from the government and members of civil society to establish norms and forms of public life in the city. These urban discourses take various forms of subjection, from legal mechanism to violence on the street, but the essays in this collection seek to engage with urban discourse by examining subtle forms of representation such as those of film, literature, and the built environment. A central concern in this volume is the (historical) production of space in Jakarta and the ways in which it gives shape to socio-political identities.
Melani Budianta is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia.
Hilmar Farid is a writer-activist, living in Jakarta. He is a founding member of Jaringan Kerja Budaya, a collective of artists, researchers and cultural workers, and a researcher at the Indonesian Institute for Social History in Jakarta.
Abidin Kusno is Associate Professor at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia where he holds Canada Research Chair in Asian Urbanism and Culture.