WP175 Infrastructures for ethnicity

Collection: Key word


Social categories need to be continually replicated to endure. What drives replication are commentaries about others? social practices. In contemporary nation-states mass education, bureaucratic processes, and mass media create large participation frameworks that facilitate replication. I term these participation frameworks ?infrastructures for ethnicity?. Replication produces imperfect copies that contain some of the old features of a category, thus rendering it recognizable, and something new which attracts attention and commentaries. This paper examines two types of infrastructure, television and the internet, that have helped facilitate replication of emblems of ethnicity in Indonesia. My data is drawn from a soap opera, internet commentaries about this soap, and news stories about clothing and culture. In looking at this data, I will be especially concerned with how old elements that point to ?ethnicity? are combined with new elements and how this new combination invites commentaries.