Just down the street from the gates of the historic and prestigious
Gajah Mada University
in theCentral Javanese Kingdom of Yogyakarta is a 1970s rock cafe called
, a name whichtranslates from Dutch to “
”. Inconsistencies abound on the streets of Yogyakarta andalthough
Dutch and colonial origin reminds the visitor of Indonesia’s uneasy past, the cafe isironically suitable for the city
The university was the country’s first, founded the same year as thecountry’s independence from the Dutch and remains a symbol of Indonesian sovereignty.
doesn’t compare in prominence, but its sarcastic name and Western rock–and-rebel-culture decor presentsanother, more local side of Javanese identity and confirms agentive cultural appropriation in a country withso many ghosts of colonialism.
For the last three decades, alarms have sounded against globalization and the neoliberal dominanceof Western culture on seemingly powerless developing nations. However, domestic and neighborhood lifecannot exhaustively be defined by outside powers and globalization may not be the old enemy of colonialhegemony in a new disguise (Hall 1997; Hannerz 1996). International practices can be localized and thisphenomenon has been explained through terms like “
(Manderson and Jolly 1997)
These theories discuss how “the global” is oriented within localspaces, but consistently place non-Western cultures as
of globalization. The process may be muchmore complex and than these ideas simply. It may simply be that cultural trends which have non-localorigins find new usefulness in local terms. It may not be fully resonant with local perspectives to attempt toexplain globalism by discussing “the local” as part of “the global”, but to learn to see the global from theperspective of the local, and rather than study
ideas originate, consider
they have arrived.
This essay explores the complex problem of globalization; how ideas move and how they areinterpreted. My research site is the Central Javanese city and Kingdom of Yogyakarta and the medium Iwill be using as an index of globalization is digital photography. I have chosen photography for its abilityto move across cultural boundaries with ease and have selected this field site for my long standingfascination with the country and also for Yogyakarta’s internationally famous Sultanate led community
Re-imagining Indonesia: New Diversity in Javanese Photographies through Traditional Communities