Title

DetEksi's newspaper polls : the representation and commodification of Indonesian teenagers' identities

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Communication

School

School of Communication and Contemporary Arts

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Panizza Allmark

Abstract

This thesis examines the way contemporary Indonesian teenagers are represented through polls in one of the Jawa Pos Group's publications, DetEksi. It also investigates the interests behind the production of these representations and who benefits.

The research contributes substantially to the discourse on contemporary Indonesian teenagers and the way their identities are commodified by the media. Furthermore, the study will enhance understanding of the political and economic aspects of media content, especially, in relation to media polls and identity.

The qualitative research employed uses multi-perspectives derived from combining elements of Cultural Studies and Political Economy in examining DetEksi's polls. Specifically, a narrative analysis methodology was implemented to examine the way DetEksi constructs narratives/stories based on its polls about contemporary Indonesian teenagers. Additionally, interviews were conducted with DetEksi's founder, editor and supervisor in order to understand the economic and political considerations related to the topics of DetEksi's polls.

During 2005 and 2007, DetEksi conducted an extensive number of polls about gender, sexuality and social c]ass. Other loci of identity, such as nationality, ethnicity and religiosity, were covered in very few publications only. Gender, sexuality and social class were found to be more about a person's self identity: being a male/or female, building a heterosexual romantic relationship, and symbolically signifying social class status. Nationality, ethnicity and religiosity were found to be more the concern of community groups, such as ethnic or religious groups which in total comprise the nation. Therefore, DetEksi was found to represent contemporary Indonesian teenager ethos as a generation concerned mostly with individual issues of style rather than substantive community matters.

DetEksi's polls have benefited contemporary Indonesian teenagers socially and culturally by providing social acknowledgement of their identities. To some extent, DetEksi has benefited the state and the patriarchal system in Indonesia ideologically. Additionally, this media has also benefited modern capitalism economically since many aspects of identity are commodified by modem capitalism -beauty, pornography and social class symbols being the key examples. In turn, DetEksi has gained significant economic benefit from its readers, the state and modern capitalism.

This research confirms the subtle presence of media content being a site for contention between various interests. The winners are those whose interests are in line with the media interest, especially its economic interest.

LCSH Subject Headings

Teenagers -- Indonesia -- Attitudes.

Youth in mass media -- Indonesia.

Mass media -- Social aspects -- Indonesia.

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