“A fine-grained analysis of the prominent role of Indonesian Rock and Pop in the social and political transformations that have defined the nation’s post-authoritarian trajectory. Baulch’s wonderful book has much to teach us about the political life of popular music in the age of the consumer citizen.” —Charles Hirschkind, associate professor of anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
In the late 1990s sales of Indonesian pop artists’ recordings overtook sales of those issuing from the US and Europe. Media scholar Emma Baulch traces the institutional and technological conditions that enabled this local music boom, providing an historical account of media changes from 1965 to the present and arguing for its formative role in social and political change. Drawing on industry data and interviews, Genre Publics: Popular Music, Technologies, and Class in Indonesia delineates a cultural history showing how new notions of ‘the local’ were produced in context of the boom and enquires into their links with the expansion of consumerism in Asia, as well as with a more specific context of Indonesian democratization. Baulch focuses on the evolution of popular music genres in the boom to explore how this music helped reshape distinct Indonesian senses of the modern, especially as ‘Asia’ plays an ever more influential role in defining what it means to be modern.
The book also explores the unfolding of consumer capitalism in Indonesia, and of the particular kinds of class politics it engenders. It chronicles the important role popular music genres play in contests along class lines over preferred meanings of ‘the local’ at moments of political transition and rapid social change. The genre publics theory links class formation to popular music in a way that provides a fresh perspective on the role popular music plays in social and political change. It is the only book to consider the role consumerist ideologies are playing in the formation of political subjectivity in Indonesia.
EMMA BAULCH is associate professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Monash University in Malaysia. She is the author of Making Scenes: Reggae, Death Metal and Punk in 1990s’ and co-author of Poverty and Digital Inclusion.