The Cultural Political Economy of Knowledge in Neo-Liberal Indonesia

Inaya Rakhmani, Zulfa Sakhiyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses the policy agendas and bureaucratic apparatuses that have shaped the norms and values directing knowledge production in neo-liberal Indonesia. It uses a Gramscian approach to hegemony to understand how knowledge, as power, is organised and imposed on workers. It unpacks the norms and values shaped during processes of neo-liberal capitalist reform, which are identified as knowledge imaginaries; or shared social systems that organise a field of knowledge commodities. Their mobilisation during material and discursive moments are crucial in the juncture between predatory and market interests that fundamentally benefit capital accumulation. It is argued that funding and policies serve as key apparatuses for knowledge elites to normalise and enforce notions of self-reliance, competitiveness, and entrepreneurship as common sense for their managers, which are exploitative for workers. Within the hegemony of knowledge capitalism, there are antagonisms and attempts to form alternative spaces of knowledge by using digital media. While merely leaving a dent on the surface of broader capitalist structures, its promotion of subversive ways of knowing remains no less meaningful in understanding the social positions of academic workers in an increasingly networked but fragmented neo-liberal social world.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • digital media
  • Gramsci
  • imaginaries
  • Indonesia
  • knowledge capitalism
  • neo-liberalism


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