Family Drama in Three Acts
In Search of Ideal Family in Postcolonial Indonesia, 1950-1965
Keywords:women history, gender history, writing method, speculation, feminist practice
This article intends to map problems and debates on the conception of an ideal family in postcolonial Indonesia as a part of the national decolonization project. The nature of democracy in the newly independent country had allowed diverse opinions to participate in defining national identity in every aspect, including in the most private area, family. These perspectives were expressed by different groups, not only political leaders but also the common people. Based on the assumption that a strong family would support national development, postcolonial Indonesia witnessed divergent methods of discussing family issues. Reading through speeches and writings of statespeople reports from congress, and popular media and literature from 1950 to 1965, I argue that it was important to ensure family resilience in order to facilitate the bigger national projects that family issues were central during that time. I will look into how family issues were discussed in various realms in their own respective manner, considering the difficult situation post-Revolutionary war where families were torn apart. By plotting the problems, I will investigate how the government and other organizations and groups of people took the initiatives in solving them and how far their involvement in this intimate space gave an overview of the relation between the state and the people. Finally, I will analyse how the debates on imagining an ideal family across different political views contribute in shaping the knowledge and ideology about family throughout the era.