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Utrecht Centre for Television in Transition


20 November 2015
Senaatzaal, Academiegebouw, Domplein 29, Utrecht

PhD defence: Bram Hendrawan

Promotors: Prof. dr. William Uricchio (Universiteit Utrecht), Prof. dr. Ben Arps (Universiteit Leiden)& Prof. dr. Eggo Müller (Universiteit Utrecht)


Since the turn of the millennium the Indonesian television landscape has transformed rapidly from a centralised system, consisting of predominately national broadcasters into a more decentralised television structure with hundreds of new stations operating at a local level, broadcasting for a limited service area. The study set out to explore the rise of local television by investigating its first decade of development (2002-2012). It aims to identify local television’s specific role in the construction of locality in post-New Order Indonesia. The study shows that after more than three decades of functioning mainly as a medium of the state’s top down nation building project, in post-authoritarian Indonesia, television has become an integral part of the socio-political and cultural dynamics at the local level. Local television appears as a site where locality is imagined. Importantly, more than merely serving as a symbol and a circulator of symbols of locality, local television literally connects, amplifies and binds elements of local communities. The analysis of local television practices reveals the reconfiguration process of social powers in the production of locality in post-authoritarian Indonesia. It is a process in which local actors are taking the lead in defining and maintaining localities, instead of the central state apparatus, as it was the case under the New Order regime. The production of locality is no longer a grand-national design of cultural formation but a fragmented and localised project motivated by myriad aims of different social actors.