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Socio-political issues in women's fiction of the Reformasi


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Eagling, CM 2011 , 'Socio-political issues in women's fiction of the Reformasi ', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Long struggling for a platform for woman's voice, Indonesian women authors have been publishing novels and anthologies of stories, poetry and articles in unprecedented numbers since the beginning of Reformasi. Not unnoticed has been their common use of sex and sexuality as a prominent component of their writings. Many of the authors have been labelled with the term sastrawangi; a friendly but patronizing and slightly derogatory label. The following critique illuminates the more important but previously un-investigated facets of literature from this generation of authors and brings to light the works of some authors that, due to the authors avoidance of sex and sexuality, have been overlooked as subjects of criticism. Through close readings of writers including Ayu Utami, Helvy Tiana Rosa, Linda Christanty and Laksmi Pamuntjak, this critique exposes socio-political aspects and motivations in modern Indonesian literature written by women authors. The readings were undertaken using a cultural materialist framework, drawing out the socio-political issues identified within the stories. The stories of chapter two contain clear references to actual events in recent Indonesian history. They reveal authorial commitment to the exposition of social and political issues such as war, conflict and religious or ethnic tension. Chapter three analyses the socio-political effects of globalisation, westernisation and the inherent difficulties of early democracy in the anthology of short stories by Laksmi Pamuntjak The Diary of R.S.: Musings on Art. The analysis indicates that women writers of the Reformasi era are showing a commitment to articulating the socio-political tensions of their era and exhibiting a certain social struggle with the newfound „freedoms‟ of post-Suharto Indonesia.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Eagling, CM
Keywords: Indonesia, literature, women, Reformasi
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2011 the author

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