Chineseness Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: The Transformation Of Chinese Indonesian After Reformasi
My dissertation is an ethnographic project documenting the transformation of Chinese Indonesians post-Suharto Indonesia. When Suharto was in power (1966-1998), the Chinese in his country were not considered an ethnicity with the freedom to maintain their ethnic and cultural heritage. They were marked as "the Other" by various policies and measures that suppressed their cultural markers of ethnicity. The regime banned Chinese language education, prohibited Chinese media, and dissolved Chinese organizations, an effort that many Chinese thought of as destroying the Chinese community in Indonesia as they were seen as the three pillars that sustained the Chinese community. Those efforts were intended to make the Chinese more Indonesian; ironically, they highlighted the otherness of Chinese Indonesians and made them perpetual foreigners who remained the object of discrimination despite their total assimilation into Indonesian society. However, the May 1998 anti-Chinese riot that led to the fall of the New Order regime brought about political and social reform. The three pillars of the Chinese community were restored. This restoration produces new possibilities for Chinese cultural expression. Situated in this area of anthropological inquiry, my dissertation examines how the Chinese negotiate and formulate these identities, and how they ascribe meaning to Chinese identities. I argue that Chinese cultural expression facilitates the re-emergence of multiple Chinese identities. The multiplicity of Chinese identities is reflected in the way they view Chinese culture, the creation of exclusionary and inclusionary boundaries, and the idea of Chinese political engagement. All these occur as a result of different backgrounds and experiences of individual Chinese.
Chineseness; Identity; Chinese Indonesians; Post-Suharto Era
Welker, Marina Andrea
Willford, Andrew C.; Santiago-Irizarry, Vilma; Tagliacozzo, Eric
Ph. D., Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis