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Reading List

Most of the references here are related to journalism and media in Indonesia.

See also this post about the most helpful books in English about Indonesia.

A list at the bottom of this page includes general readings about Indonesian history and culture.

Journalism and Media in Indonesia

Barker, J. (2008). Playing with publics: Technology, talk and sociability in Indonesia. Language & Communication, 28(2), 127–142. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2008.01.002

Freedom House (2010). Map of Press Freedom: Indonesia.

Hanitzsch, T. (2005). Journalists in Indonesia: Educated but timid watchdogs. Journalism Studies, 6(4), 493–508. doi:10.1080/14616700500250396

Hanitzsch, T. (2006). Mapping journalism culture: A theoretical taxonomy and case studies from Indonesia. Asian Journal of Communication, 16(2), 169–186. doi:10.1080/01292980600638835

Heryanto, A., & Adi, S. Y. (2001). The industrialization of the media in democratizing Indonesia. Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International & Strategic Affairs, 23(2), 327–356. [access]

Hill, D. T., & Sen, K. (2005). The Internet in Indonesia’s New Democracy. New York: Routledge.

Hollander, E., d’Haenens, L., & Bardoel, J. (2009). Television performance in Indonesia: Steering between civil society, state and market. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(1), 39–58. doi:10.1080/01292980802618098

Hollander, E., Hidayat, D. N., & d’Haenens, L. (2008). Community radio in Indonesia: A re-invention of democratic communication. Javnost (The Public), 15(3), 59–74. Full text PDF (English).

Kakiailatu, T. (2007). Media in Indonesia: Forum for political change and critical assessment. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 48(1) 60–71. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8373.2007.00330.x

  • A compact history of censorship, regulation and repression of the press, from independence to 2006. Very readable and well sourced. Ends with suggestions for future improvements in how the press functions in Indonesia.

Keane, W. (2009). Freedom and blasphemy: On Indonesian press bans and Danish cartoons. Public Culture, 21(1), 47–76. doi:10.1215/08992363-2008-021

McLelland, M. (2007). Socio-cultural aspects of mobile communication technologies in Asia and the Pacific: A discussion of the recent literature. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 21(2), 267–277. doi:10.1080/10304310701269099

Pintak, L., & Setiyono, B. (2010). The mission of Indonesian journalism: Balancing democracy, development, and Islamic values. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 16(2), 185–209. doi:10.1177/1940161210391784

Romano, A. (2003). Politics and the Press in Indonesia: Understanding an Evolving Political Culture. New York: RoutledgeCurzon.

Romano, A. (1996). The open wound: Keterbukaan and press freedom in Indonesia. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 50(2), 157–169. doi:10.1080/10357719608445177

  • HTML version available through Academic Search Premier.

Romano, A., & Seinor, B. (2005). Between dictatorship and democracy: State-affiliated news media in Indonesia. In A. Romano & M. Bromley (Eds.), Journalism and Democracy in Asia (pp. 108–122). London: Routledge.

  • The title is a little misleading; the article covers only Antara and not state-affiliated TV or radio. However, it is a thorough case study about the structure and role of Antara from 1998 to 2004, under presidents Habibie and Wahid.

Sen, K., & Hill, D. T., Eds. (2011). Politics and the Media in 21st Century Indonesia: Decade of Democracy. New York: Routledge.

Sinaga, S. T., & Wu, H. D. (2007). Predicting Indonesian journalists’ use of public relations-generated news material. Journal of Public Relations Research, 19(1), 69–90. doi:10.1207/s1532754xjprr1901_4

Slama, M. (2010). The agency of the heart: Internet chatting as youth culture in Indonesia. Social Anthropology, 18(3), 316–330. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8676.2010.00110.x

Thompson, E. C. (2007). Internet-mediated experiences of underdevelopment: A four-country survey of academia. Asian Journal of Social Science, 35(4/5), 554–574. doi:10.1163/156853107X240341

Tomsa, D. (2007). Party politics and the media in Indonesia: Creating a new dual identity for Golkar. Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs, 29(1), 77–96. doi:10.1353/csa.2007.0024

Winters, J. A. (2002). The political impact of new information sources and technologies in Indonesia Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies 64(2): 109–119. doi:10.1177/17480485020640020201

General Information

Bowen, J. (2005). Normative pluralism in Indonesia: Regions, religions, and ethnicities. In W. Kymlicka & B. He (Eds.), Multiculturalism in Asia (pp. 152–169). Oxford University Press.

  • Not entirely successful in promoting a new way of defining cultural groups (e.g. based on region rather than language or ethnicity), but interesting nonetheless, especially for its discussions of Aceh and of adat. I also liked the concept that “minority” is an inadequate designation when we look at a state such as Kalimantan; Dayak may be a minority in Indonesia as a whole, but not in that state.
  • Discussion of the complicated legal questions that arise in cases of religious intermarriage.

Central Intelligence Agency (2010). The World Factbook: Indonesia.

Fealy, G. (2006). Islam in Southeast Asia. In D. R. SarDesai (Ed.), Southeast Asian History: Essential Readings (pp. 331–348). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Murphy, A. M. (2010). US rapprochement with Indonesia: From problem state to partner. Contemporary Southeast Asia 32(3), 362–387. [access]

  • An excellent summary of U.S.–Indonesia relations since the 1950s. Very well sourced. Gives a lot of attention to the Obama Administration’s policies regarding Indonesia and places these in the context of the two nations’ past history with each other, including sensitive issues such as terrorism and the independence movement in East Timor. The U.S. has clearly recognized that “Indonesia is an emerging power that will play an increasingly influential role in global governance” (p. 363).

Parry, R. L. (2005). In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos. New York: Grove Press.

  • A very well written book by a journalist who stayed in Indonesia many times between 1996 and 2000. His eyewitness accounts of violence and horrible bloodshed in Kalimantan (Borneo) and East Timor, as well as his detailed reports of what happened in Jakarta when Suharto fell from power after 30 years, make for riveting reading. It is by far the best account I have read of the events of 1998 (pp. 87-170), and the chapter about Suharto (“Strength Without Sorcery”) should be required reading.

Pringle, R. (2011). Indonesia’s moment. The Wilson Quarterly, 35(1), 26–33. [download]

Pringle, R. (2010). Understanding Islam in Indonesia: Politics and Diversity. University of Hawaii Press.

  • Absolutely excellent. In part because it is very well organized, in part because it is written in a straightforward and plain style, this book succeeded in holding my interest from start to finish. The author served in the U.S. foreign service in Indonesia in the 1970s, but this book is not a policy document. It is a highly readable account of the history of Islam in Indonesia and the present-day complex interactions among religion, politics, identity and folk custom — which naturally vary in all the different parts of the sprawling island nation. I feel that I now understand much about why Islam in Indonesia has a different flavor than that in Malaysia.
  • Wonderful resource lists at the back of the book: Further Reading, Glossary, and Indonesian Political Parties.

SarDesai, D. R. (1994). The nationalist movements: Indonesia. In D. R. SarDesai (Ed.), Southeast Asia: Past and Present, 3rd ed. (pp. 154–162). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • The newest edition of this textbook is the sixth (2009), but I would assume this chapter has not changed.

Vickers, A. (2005). A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge University Press.

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