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Year: 2011 Type: Article Language: English

The downfall of Suharto's regime in 1998 has been marked by the increasing visibility of Islamic piety in a form of popular culture. Tracing the emergent new genre of sinetron religi (religious TV series/serials), this paper analyses the discourses of Islamic piety in several different series/serials, the construction of the public and the wider implication of these discourses for the position of Islam culturally and politically in Indonesia. This article argues that religious melodrama series/serials are a site of contestation of incoherent concepts of piety. As cultural texts, they interpellate their public and allow us to see how the visibility of religious discourses in public becomes a subject of negotiations and confrontations, while at the same time they trigger the politicisation of piety as national identity.

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