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Realizing Nonviolent Resilience

Neoliberalism, Societal Trauma, and Marginalized Voice


Edited By Jeremy A. Rinker and Jerry T. Lawler

Current neoliberal social and economic realities have had enormous impacts on the abilities of oppressed groups and marginalized communities to realize resistance and innate resiliencies. How does the ubiquity of neoliberal economic forces exacerbate traumatized populations’ helplessness, and, thereby, influence their inability to grapple with their oppressors and engage in fruitful change solutions? This edited volume asks how nonviolent conflict practitioners might intervene to ‘treat’ traumatized, and often marginalized, populations suspended in the predicament of ‘acting in’ and ‘acting out’ their collective traumas. Treating trauma is an integral aspect of successful peacebuilding work. This work aims to explore the role of trauma in peacebuilding and illuminate the ways that neoliberal marginalization impacts trauma-informed peace work.

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Chapter Five: The Arts Are Not for Sale: Addressing Cultural Trauma and Prioritizing People over Profit in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Shelly Clay-Robison)


The Arts Are Not for Sale:Addressing CulturalTrauma and PrioritizingPeople over Profit inYogyakarta, Indonesia


Yogyakarta, the “arts-capital of Indonesia,” is a vibrant Javanese city that celebrates the arts, education, and culture. Traditional art forms like batik and puppetry thrive alongside contemporary rock concerts, street and mural arts, social and political artist collectives, and public performance art. Just outside the city, the magnificent and centuries-old Buddhist temple Borobudur and the Hindu temple Prambanan contrast with Yogyakarta’s contemporary, bustling urban core.

In addition to Yogyakarta’s proud cultural and historical celebrations, the city is also home to victims and survivors of the 1965–1966 mass killings. After a failed coup in 1965, the Indonesian military, aided by death squads, imprisoned, tortured, and slaughtered thousands of civilians who were suspected of being communist or communist sympathizers (Cribb, 1991; Farid, 2005). The killings left hundreds of thousands of Indonesians dead, imprisoned, and labeled with political and social stigma in its aftermath.

Decades later, individual survivors and their families continue to pick up the pieces of their lives. In a country where the official message silences, marginalizes, and stigmatizes survivors’ voices and stories, the experience of trauma goes beyond the biological and psychological to affect political and cultural discourses as well. For decades, national and local governments have warned of the “latent threat of communism” (Farid, 2005), which inspired many of the killings’ perpetrators. Not surprisingly, Yogyakarta is also a city where far leftist and communist...

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