Imagining ‘Orang Kreatif’: Creative Subjectivity in Contemporary Indonesia

Dr Annisa R. Beta1

1University Of Melbourne, Australia

This paper examines the trajectory of creative industry and economy in Indonesia and the emergence of the figure of ‘orang kreatif’ or the creative subject. Using discourse tracing (LeGreco & Tracy, 2009), it studies how laws, government reports, policy papers and news coverage produce this new figure. I argue that this emergent creative subject represents the conjuncture of the rise of neoliberal governmentality in Indonesia, the increasing role of corporate figures as state authorities, the imaginary of ‘creative nationalism’ (Yue, 2013), and the atomization of its youth creative labour force, encouraging market oriented self-cultivation among Indonesian citizens. This paper initiates a larger project on creative subjectivity in Asia Pacific, which aims to offer a framework for evaluating the roles of the creative subjects within and beyond creative economies and industries and address the entanglement of creativity and political participation.


Annisa R. Beta is Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Culture and Communication in the University of Melbourne, Australia. Before joining Melbourne, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. Her work is broadly concerned about youth, new media, and political subjectivity in Southeast Asia.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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