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Lost in Mall

An Ethnography of Middle-Class Jakarta in the 1990s

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In this study, based on extensive anthropological fieldwork throughout the 1990s, an "emerging new middle class" is examined as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Despite a global orientation and a taste for democracy, its members seemed to have internalized the New Order along with some lingering late-colonial notions as their guidelines for life. How "new" was this new middle class anyway? Lifestyle and material culture practices in the suburb of Bintaro Raya—in public space as well as in the intimacy of living rooms—illustrate the everyday ambiguity of people who appear to be trapped in their imagined middle-classness: they were "lost in mall".

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