Confronting Consumerism as a New Imperialism: Students’ Narratives in the Indonesian History Learning

Nana Supriatna


This paper presents the result of a study focused on students’ narratives and
historical awareness on imperialism in Indonesian history learning. Historical
awareness significantly needs to be developed in history learning considering
economic and political changes in Indonesia since the last four decades.
Due to Indonesia’s policy on market economic system in the New Order and
Reformation eras, the economy of Indonesia has increased dramatically. With
the contribution of Indonesia in international trading organizations, it becomes
a part of modern world system affected by neoliberalism. Consumerism among
Indonesian society indicates economic growth on one side, and exploitation on
the other. By referring to postcolonial theory, consumerism is considered as
a new form of imperialism indicating power relation between capitalists and
consumers. This research was focused on analyzing complex relation between
consumerism as either economic exploitation or cultural hegemony. In this
research, Indonesian history learning generated students’ ability to narrate
historical awareness on the significance of `research addressed a number of
critical questions, including: 1) how far does consumerism influence historical
awareness of individuals, group members, and members of a nation state? 2)
how do students narrate their historical experience as critical, autonomous,
and powerful consumers in dealing with the hegemony of new imperialism?

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