ABSTRACT

The self-named New Order has quashed all opposition to its top-down implementation of policies which have as their goal, among others, the national integration of rural communities such as those in south-central Java. This chapter considers massive change here through two transient but concrete points of contact between state and villagers, bits of events in which state officials addressed peripheral, public audiences. Officials publicly mediate these relations through genres of public talk, Javanese and Indonesian with recourse to transcripts of tiny bits of two such events. To explore the ethnic and national inflections of this double-sided engagement, the chapter focuses on speakers' capacities as mediators between an audience and the authority which they assume and implement. Such institutional, generic, performative tensions appear as tiny, transient wrinkles in the social fabric of Indonesian Javanese public talk, but they bespeak a broader, underlying accommodation between the malleable political culture of prenational Central Java and the Indonesian state's ideology and interests.