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Individual and Society in Contemporary Thailand and Java: An Anthropologist's Comparison of Modern Serious Fiction

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to gain insights into the relationship between individual and society in contemporary Thailand and Java by investigating how this relationship is seen by the most creative Thai and Javanese authors of modern Thai and Indonesian serious fiction. These authors have been selected because competent local informants thought them to be the best writers of socially relevant novels and short stories. It is expected that the comparative dimension of this article may be conducive to gain a finer understanding of the relationship between individual and society in two culturally related societies than would be possible to achieve by the study of each of them in isolation. Moreover, such comparison may help to control the observer's bias by raising questions that are not necessarily related to the latter's cultural or academic background.

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A. Teeuw , Modern Indonesian Literature, 2 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1967, 1979). With its narrow focus on the relationship between individual and society this article will neither try to give a general picture of contemporary social life and thought, such as offered in the selective compilations of

Keith Foulcher , “Buma Manusia and Anak semua Bangsa: Pramoedya Ananta Toer Enters the 1980's”, Indonesia 32 (1981): 115.

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Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-4634
  • EISSN: 1474-0680
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-southeast-asian-studies
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