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Sexuality, morality and the female role: observations on recent indonesian women’s literature


Arnez, M; Dewojati, C (2010). Sexuality, morality and the female role: observations on recent indonesian women’s literature. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 64(1):7-38.

Abstract

In public debates on pornography, polygamy, veiling and reproductive health, women’s position in Indonesia has become subject to re-definition. These new discourses give evidence of the fact that the traditional role ascribed to women during the New Order is being challenged. In this article we inquire into the question to what extent this development manifests itself in two recent literary movements that emerged when female authors increasingly began to influence public discussions in the climate of liberalization after the fall of Suharto. These two movements, termed as sastrawangi (fragrant / perfumed literature) and sastra / fiksi Islam (Islamic literature / fiction) or novel Islami (Islamic novel), make the female role a subject of discussion, framing it in the contexts of female sexuality and emancipation, on the one hand, and Islamic values and morality, on the other. These two bodies of literary works represent contrasting socio-cultural streams in contemporary Indonesian society: a Western-influenced liberal pluralist one, and a devoutly Islamic one. The aim of this paper is to discuss the qualities and concerns of each of these two bodies of literature, to compare them and to articulate both their shared mission and their differences of approach. Topics of analysis include the background of these literary movements, the socio-cultural factors accounting for their emergence, its representatives, as well as public response to them.

In public debates on pornography, polygamy, veiling and reproductive health, women’s position in Indonesia has become subject to re-definition. These new discourses give evidence of the fact that the traditional role ascribed to women during the New Order is being challenged. In this article we inquire into the question to what extent this development manifests itself in two recent literary movements that emerged when female authors increasingly began to influence public discussions in the climate of liberalization after the fall of Suharto. These two movements, termed as sastrawangi (fragrant / perfumed literature) and sastra / fiksi Islam (Islamic literature / fiction) or novel Islami (Islamic novel), make the female role a subject of discussion, framing it in the contexts of female sexuality and emancipation, on the one hand, and Islamic values and morality, on the other. These two bodies of literary works represent contrasting socio-cultural streams in contemporary Indonesian society: a Western-influenced liberal pluralist one, and a devoutly Islamic one. The aim of this paper is to discuss the qualities and concerns of each of these two bodies of literature, to compare them and to articulate both their shared mission and their differences of approach. Topics of analysis include the background of these literary movements, the socio-cultural factors accounting for their emergence, its representatives, as well as public response to them.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 64 (2010) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:26 Jul 2010 06:36
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:12
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Related URLs:http://www.sagw.ch/de/asiengesellschaft/publikationen/Asiatische-Studien.html (Publisher)
http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?vID=86850&vLang=D&vHR=1&vUR=4&vUUR=11 (Publisher)
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-35186

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