Intra-Asia cultural traffic : transnational flow of East Asian television dramas in Indonesia

  • Shuri Mariasih Gietty TAMBUNAN

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)


East Asian television dramas have crossed the threshold of Indonesian mediascapes since the 1990s. This transnational product offers new resources for the ""work of imagination"" within the rapid flow of cultural products in Asia. By focusing on the Network Flows and Reception Theory models in the approaches to cultural globalization, the project asks how the process of intra-Asia cultural traffic mediates and is mediated by gatekeepers/intermediaries and by the ordinary experience of the contemporary Indonesian audience. East Asian television dramas have nurtured a process of transnational imagination and self-reflexivity in the Indonesian audience's everyday life. Furthermore, the Indonesian cultural, political and social specificities have created significant distinctions on how these television dramas reconstruct the shared imagination of(East) Asia in Indonesia compared to how it is in other locales.

The main question of the research would be on the circulation network and the reception context of the East Asian television dramas in Indonesia with an aim to understand the complexity of the cultural globalization process in Asia. The research concerns a multi-layered analysis that draws on the methodological resources of textual analysis, institutional research and audience study. The multiple methods have contextualized the objects of study culturally, historically and geographically. For the audience study, throughout the research, the methods have been chosen reflexively and recursively resulting in a triangulation of data from the Focus Group Discussions, Interviews and Diary Study.

In conclusion, the research findings have extended the discussion of geocultural/linguistic regions and also the cultural proximity thesis. It echoes that the Asian case should be analyzed in a distinctive framework compared to other regional case studies. Furthermore, I argue that the circulation and reception of East Asian television dramas in Indonesia has constructed an imagined unitary Asia while at the same time orientalise the notion of Asia. As a result, the intra-Asia cultural traffic, which has intensified the process of cultural globalization in Asia in the last decade, does not indicate a geocultural approximation between the Asian countries. The regional dynamics occur because 'Asia' has been appropriated as a depository of in-betweenness.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Cultural Studies
SupervisorChing Kiu Stephen CHAN (Supervisor) & Yuk Ming Lisa LEUNG (Supervisor)

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