The New Order Play: Wayang as a medium for development messages, 1969–84

Kurnia Aditama Nugroho, Linda Sunarti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article discusses the relationship between the state and the performing arts in the transmission of political messages. During the New Order period in Indonesia, the traditional shadow puppet theater genre known as wayang played a significant role as a medium of communication between the government and society. We specifically claim that wayang, especially wayang kulit, were used by the government to carry messages of social and economic development during this period. These messages were incorporated into plays or scenes when it was possible without diminishing the standard of wayang performance. In contrast to previous studies that have discussed the role of wayang from a philosophical and semiotic perspective, this study will focus on the history of wayang kulit as a means of spreading messages of development in Java during the New Order era. This study finds that the relations between the society, the dalang, and the government generate the wayang art as a medium of propaganda, especially the economic development agenda in the New Order period. The data in this article were obtained through literature studies and from several documents of the period between 1969 and 1984.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2017-2032
Number of pages16
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Art during the New Order era
  • Cultural history
  • Javanese
  • Wayang art


Dive into the research topics of 'The New Order Play: Wayang as a medium for development messages, 1969–84'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this