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Acehnese or Indonesian?: Post-conflict representation of identity in a local newspaper

Volume 24, Issue 2

November, 2018

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Bahfen, N., & Nurrahmi, F. (2018). Acehnese or Indonesian?: Post-conflict representation of identity in a local newspaper. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(2), 95-109.
Author(s): Nasya Bahfen
Publication date: 
November, 2018

To what extent does a local newspaper in the Indonesian province of Aceh construct Acehnese identity as distinct from Indonesian national identity? In this article, the authors examine the representation of Acehnese identity post-civil conflict and in relation to Indonesian national identity by drawing on a content analysis of Aceh’s local newspaper, Serambi Indonesia. There are few studies of representations of local ethnic groups in their local newspapers, let alone the representations of ethnic groups with a history of separatist movements. Therefore, this study sets out to bridge the gap in the literature on how a formerly separatist ethnic group is positioned vis-à-vis its nation-state in its local media. This study examines the representation of Acehnese in the local newspaper in terms of Anderson’s (1983) ‘imagined community’, Billig’s (1995) ‘banal nationalism’, as well as ‘media representation and identity’. In doing so, this study attempts to give a more comprehensive approach to show that the local newspaper continues to be a means for the reproduction of ‘imagined communities’ and the delivery of the narrative of collective identity through the everyday representations of the nation.