Indonesian Folk Narratives: On the Interstices of National Identity, National Values, and Character Education
AbstractFolklore has been linked to national identity formation. In this article, informed by Johann Gottfried Herder’s romantic nationalism and following Alan Dundes’s (1965) method of folklore studies, it is argued that Indonesia has historically followed this trail, and its recent movement of collecting and disseminating Indonesian folk narratives from across the archipelago is a culminating point in this endeavour. Although the move was claimed to support the national literacy and character building movement, the rigorous endeavour of the government in garnering folktales from all 34 provinces can also be read as part of the national political agenda of strengthening the national integrity, promoting unity in diversity and disseminating so-called national values. Examining further the contexts and procedures of how the narratives were collected and selected for publication, the study reveals an effort to inculcate national values targeted at students in formal education, but more particularly young children as the future harbingers of national values.
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