Dangdut Nation: “We Bring the Happiness of Dangdut”

Andrew N. Weintraub

in Dangdut Stories

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395662
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863549 | DOI:
Dangdut Nation: “We Bring the Happiness of Dangdut”

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Chapter 6 describes the factors that led to a shift in the discourse about dangdut, as its mass-mediated image changed from music marketed for the urban underclass to music marketed for a national audience. Commercial television played a crucial role as a medium for nationalizing dangdut in the 1990s. High-ranking officials strategically placed dangdut within the discourse of national cultural politics by appearing with dangdut stars on television, singing and dancing to dangdut in public, and promoting the music in popular print media. Cultural organizations helped to create the links between musicians, composers, and the state. In contrast to an aesthetic of camp and excess described in Chapter 5, nationalized dangdut was glamorous and subdued. Although it was intended to be more inclusive, as dangdut became more national, its established audience receded from the sphere of media representation. The chapter argues that the discourse about dangdut as a symbolic representation of the nation, was actually very selective and exclusive in terms of its form, representation, and meaning. Women as symbolic representations of the nation were crucial in this narrative project.

Keywords: discourses of nation; television; women and symbolic representation; cultural organizations

Chapter.  9393 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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