Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationChicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9757
Approve DateOctober 24, 2018
Project TitleHakim, Rafadi, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Enregistering Democracy: Gender and Political Discourse in Eastern Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
Preliminary abstract: This project theorizes how the enregisterment of democratic political discourse contributes to a shift in the gendered nature of speech. With the end of Indonesia’s authoritarian military regime in 1998 and the rise of democratic rule, an unprecedented number of women entered the public sphere as politicians, activists, and development experts. Such advances seemed to promise better access to state resources for Indonesian women, especially after the U.U. Desa, a 2014 law, instated an annual allocation of approximately US$80,000 to every rural administrative unit across the nation. In fact, the 2014 law explicitly stated gender equity in rural development as one its aims. Nevertheless, rural women who want to access these funds need to participate in town-hall meetings that a bureaucracy governed by the Indonesian state’s standardist language regime. Furthermore, the forms of ritual speech deployed by eastern Indonesian public figures are normatively recognized as masculine and as an embodiment of male speakerhood. The hierarchical and gendered nature of political speech, therefore, contributes to how the deliberative public sphere of Indonesian democracy reproduces gendered forms of inequality. To accomplish this project, I will conduct twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork across two sites: (1) an NGO based in Jakarta, the capital, that strategizes for women’s participation in political forums across the nation; and (2) an NGO based in the district of Kupang that works with rural women leaders and mobilizes their participation in local town-hall meetings. By paying attention to the enregisterment of political discourse across these two sites, my research will shed light on gendered inclusions and exclusions in the world’s third largest democracy.