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Adam, Ahmat B. (1984) The Vernacular Press and the Emergence of Modern Indonesian Consciousness (1855-1913). PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is based on three main assumptions: that the press in Indonesia was an agent for intellectual development; that the growth of the vernacular press was pioneered by Dutch scholars, Eurasian editors and peranakan Chinese and Indonesian journalists; and that the development of the vernacular press before 1914 ran parallel to the growth of social, economic and political consciousness of the colonial society in the Dutch East Indies. The first chapter of the thesis traces the origins of the newspaper enterprise in the Indies. It also discusses the significance of the Printing Press Regulation of 1856 and its stipulations concerning 'freedom of the press' in the Indies. The second chapter discusses the early stage of the development of the vernacular press. The third chapter examines the role of the Eurasians in the growth of the vernacular press and the problems encountered by publishers and editors of vernacular newspapers in the last quarter of the 19th century. The fourth chapter looks at the emergence of peranakan Chinese in the newspaper enterprise and the rise of Chinese socio-economic consciousness which led to the birth of a pan-Chinese movement. The fifth chapter examines the rise of a modern Indonesian consciousness marked by a desire to pursue kemajuan (progress) through Western-type education. The chapter also discusses the role of the Amsterdam-based Bintang Hindia in the propagation of modernist ideas among Indonesian intellectuals. The sixth chapter examines the development of indigeneous Indonesian journalism and early modern Indonesian consciousness in which the role of Raden Mas Tirto Adhi Soerjo features prominently. The seventh chapter surveys the development of the vernacular press in the Outer Islands and its impact on indigeneous intellectual development. The final chapter discusses the emergence of Indonesian political awareness and the rise of political organs published and edited by Indonesians. The conclusions drawn from this study are: that the Indonesian-language press has largely been an urban, cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic phenomenon; that the modernization of Indonesian thinking resulted from a process of emulating the Dutch, the Eurasians and the peranakan Chinese; and that the vernacular press and the Indonesian socio-economic and political awareness are both intertwined, each complimenting the growth of the other.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

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