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Watching Si Doel

Television, Language and Identity in Contemporary Indonesia

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While television in today’s world increasingly displays a global character, national television systems are still firmly rooted in a specific locality. But in what ways does this locality actually shape the content and performance of national television? What is the significance of local cultures and local languages in these processes of mediation? And how do the local, the national, and the global intersect in discourses of and discourse on television? Taking a critical discourse analysis perspective, <i>Watching Si Doel</i> investigates these and related questions in the context of contemporary Indonesia. Starting from the nationwide popularity of the local television serial <i>Si Doel Anak Sekolahan</i> ("Educated Doel"), it examines the various ways in which the national government, Indonesian television producers, and local audiences shape, interpret, and struggle over the meaning of the phrase ‘national television’. In doing so, the book explores what Indonesian television at the turn of the century sounds and looks like—and, significantly, ought to sound and look like—according to those who create and control television and those who watch and interpret it. While providing insight into the production, nature, and reception of television discourse in general, this book particularly seeks to clarify the relationship between television, language, and power in late New Order and post-Soeharto Indonesia.

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