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Open Access Seductive Pleasures, Eluding Subjectivities: Some Thoughts on Dangdut’s Ambiguous Identity

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Seductive Pleasures, Eluding Subjectivities: Some Thoughts on Dangdut’s Ambiguous Identity

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Chapter Summary

The Indonesian popular music genre called dangdut, is a unique hybrid mixture of Western, Indian and Malay musical elements. This chapter offers some general thoughts about the socially mediated cultural aesthetics that may be at work in making dangdut such a pleasure to its fans, and at the same time such a contested subject in the official public sphere of both late New Order Indonesia and the first decade after its demise in 1998. The main focus is on the song lyrics and their relationship to common consumption practices. The emphasis in the chapter is especially on the sad lyrics. The chapter proposes that dangdut's dangerously seductive powers vis-á-vis both New Order developmental discourses as well as current Islamic discourses might be related to highly ambiguous feelings about a surrender to the power of an inclusive femininity. It compares dangdut with two similar musical genres, Turkish arabesk and Algeria's raï.

Keywords: Algeria's raï; dangdut; Indonesia; Islamic discourses; seductive pleasures; song lyrics; Turkish arabesk



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