Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Indonesia
Lee Wilson, University of Queensland
In Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Indonesia Lee Wilson offers an innovative study of nationalism and the Indonesian state through the ethnography of the martial art of Pencak Silat. Wilson shows how technologies of physical and spiritual warfare such as Pencak Silat have long played a prominent role in Indonesian political society. He demonstrates the importance of these technologies to the display and performance of power, and highlights the limitations of theories of secular modernity for understanding political forms in contemporary Indonesia. He offers a compelling argument for a revisionist account of models of power in Indonesia in which authority is understood as precarious and multiple, and the body is politically charged because of its potential for transformation.