Focusing on government-organized relocations of street vendors in Indonesia, Shadow Play carefully exposes the reasons why conflicts over urban planning are fought through information politics.
Anthropologist Sheri Lynn Gibbings shows that information politics are the principal avenues through which the municipal government of Yogyakarta city seeks to implement its urban projects. Information politics are also the primary means through which street vendors, activists, and NGOs can challenge these plans. Through extensive interviews and lengthy participant observation in Yogyakarta, Gibbings shows that both state and non-state actors engage in transparency, rumours, conspiracies, and surveillance practices.
Gibbings reveals that these entangled information practices create suspicion and fear, form new solidarities, and dissolve relationships. Shadow Play is a compelling study explaining how we cannot understand urban projects in post-Suharto Indonesia and the resistance to them without first understanding the complexities embedded in the information practices.
About the author
Sheri Lynn Gibbings is an adjunct professor in the Department of Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and a research affiliate at the University of Manitoba.