Shadow Play: Information Politics in Urban Indonesia

By Sheri Lynn Gibbings

© 2021

Focusing on a government-organized street vendor relocations in Indonesia, Shadow Play carefully exposes why conflicts over urban planning are fought through information politics.

Anthropologist Sheri Lynn Gibbings shows that information politics are the principal avenues through which the municipal government seeks to implement its urban projects. Information politics are also the primary means through which street vendors, activists, and NGOs can challenge these plans. Through extensive interviews and lengthy participant observation in Yogyakarta city, Gibbings shows that both state and non-state actors engage in transparency, rumours, conspiracies, and surveillance practices.

Gibbings reveals that these entangled information practices create suspicion and fear, form new solidarities, and dissolve relationships. Shadow Play is a compelling study that shows that we cannot understand urban projects in post-Suharto Indonesia and the resistance to them without first understanding the complexities embedded in the information practices.

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Product Details

  • Series: Anthropological Horizons
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 312 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • AVAILABLE AUG 2021

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    ISBN 9781487525729
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    ISBN 9781487508197
  • AVAILABLE AUG 2021

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Quick Overview

Shadow Play examines how members of the urban underclass in Indonesia seek to negotiate their rights to urban space in a country undergoing significant social, political, and economic change.

Shadow Play: Information Politics in Urban Indonesia

By Sheri Lynn Gibbings

© 2021

Focusing on a government-organized street vendor relocations in Indonesia, Shadow Play carefully exposes why conflicts over urban planning are fought through information politics.

Anthropologist Sheri Lynn Gibbings shows that information politics are the principal avenues through which the municipal government seeks to implement its urban projects. Information politics are also the primary means through which street vendors, activists, and NGOs can challenge these plans. Through extensive interviews and lengthy participant observation in Yogyakarta city, Gibbings shows that both state and non-state actors engage in transparency, rumours, conspiracies, and surveillance practices.

Gibbings reveals that these entangled information practices create suspicion and fear, form new solidarities, and dissolve relationships. Shadow Play is a compelling study that shows that we cannot understand urban projects in post-Suharto Indonesia and the resistance to them without first understanding the complexities embedded in the information practices.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Anthropological Horizons
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 312 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Shadow Play is a rich guide to comprehend the multiple and layered meanings of street politics in the city of Yogyakarta. Sheri Gibbings captures the complexities of what used to be a relatively simple task: relocating street vendors to a market place. She shows with critical verve how and why such a task has become so much more difficult today, so much more invested with political and cultural meaning. Underlying her intriguing analysis is a theoretically consequential reflection on the cultural politics of information in Indonesia.”
    Abidin Kusno, Professor of Environmental and Urban Change and Director of York Centre for Asian Research, York University

    “Gibbings account of secrecy in state-society relations reveals how the long history of secrecy in Indonesian politics is still playing out in the post-authoritarian era. More importantly perhaps, her account of secrecy provides a rich account of how the state is the most secretive institution of all. There is a powerful anthropological literature on this increasingly relevant topic, but none are as well-grounded as Shadow Politics. If anyone wants to read a real example of how secrecy frames contemporary politics, read Shadow Politics. There’s no other book like it.”
    Robbie Peters, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Sydney
  • Author Information

    Sheri Lynn Gibbings is an adjunct professor in the Department of Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and a research affiliate at the University of Manitoba.
  • Table of contents

    Figures
    Acknowledgments
    1. Introduction 
    2. The Politics of Containment
    3. Dialogue, Documents, and Distrust
    4. Democratizing Surveillance
    5. Press Releases and Silent Critiques
    6. The Talk of Violence
    7. Coinspiratorial Knowledge, Allah, and State Power
    8. Agents and Brothers
    9. Marketplace Relations
    10. Conclusion 
    List of Protagonists
    Glossary of Indonesian Terms and Abbreviations
    Notes

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