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Television, nation and culture in Indonesia

Kitley, Philip Thomas (1998) Television, nation and culture in Indonesia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This account of relations between television, nation and culture presents the first detailed study of television in Indonesia. The thesis traces developments in the use and reception of television in Indonesia from its beginnings in 1962 to a time when it is poised on the edge of a global revolution in electronic communications. This has implications for the regulation of television, its use as a normative influence in the fashioning of national culture, and the continued relevance of the idea of the nation as a territorially limited, sovereign, imagined community. Accordingly the thesis has been divided into two parts which correspond to the period when television was a state monopoly, and the period of deregulation when five national commercial channels were added to the two government channels.

Part I examines historical processes of using television to shape national culture in line with official national development and the cultural objectives of Indonesia’s New Order. These processes are examined in five chapters which analyse the history of state involvement in television, changing conceptions of the audience, and three generic case studies: a popular children's program, a soap opera, and the national news. Each of these chapters examines the inscribed construct of the idealised Indonesian subject. Part II of the thesis discusses the global dispersal of new television technologies and their impact on the mediation of the national culture project. It is argued that the incursion of foreign cultural products led to the introduction of commercial television as a way of domesticating the global. Deregulation of the television sector has opened up increased opportunities for citizens to contribute to media policy and regulation and has fragmented representations of Indonesian subjectivity. The thesis concludes that the scope and content of domestic programming is likely to become an important site of cultural and political struggle in the years ahead.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Sen, Krishna, Ang, Ien and O'Regan, Tom
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