Javanese power : silent ideology and built environment of Yogyakarta and Surakarta
Yogyakarta and Surakarta are two cities on the island of Java, Indonesia, which are considered as the centres of Javanese culture. That identity has resulted from the existence of the royal court or kraton in each of them. Both cities have shared a similar history as descendants of the Mataram kingdom, the greatest kingdom in Java, which was divided into two in 1755. Both also share a similar physical layout of the palace, shown not only in the layout of the kraton compounds, which consist of seven hierarchical courtyards, but also in the names and the functions of the courtyards and buildings. They also share similar city layouts in which the palace located at the centre, two squares each at the northern and southern end of the kraton compounds, and a royal road, create a north-south axis which is claimed to be cosmological. However, the kratons have suffered different fates in the modern era. Since Indonesian Independence in 1945, Yogyakarta has been considered to be a ‘special region’, with its territory awarded a status equivalent to a province. Also the king is automatically appointed governor, while Surakarta is only recognised as a city, which is a part of the province of Central Java. While the kraton of Yogyakarta holds importance in Yogyakarta, with the acknowledgement of territory and the king’s political role as governor, the kraton of Surakarta has no influence in the city of Surakarta. The mayor of Surakarta city is elected by the people, and even in the 2010 election a candidate from the royal family of the kraton of Surakarta lost 10:90 to a non-kraton-related candidate. The kraton of Yogyakarta has its land and property acknowledged by the state, while the kraton of Surakarta has its land and properties appropriated by the state, except the palace and some of its noble houses. The description above shows that there is a difference in power levels between both kratons. This thesis examines the background process of power, particularly those related to architecture and the built environment including arts, rituals, and culture integrated with them. Based on Bourdieu’s theory of structure/agency, I focused myself on the silent ideology of the built environment, which embodies a power structure in people’s unconsciousness through experience, in order to find out why differences in power levels occurred in two places that share a similar history and physical layouts. Using a comparative analysis, I examine in detail the silent ideology in terms of landscape, in both urban and architectural context. This silent ideology, with the support of cosmological narratives and colonial discourses, together with the accumulation of history in each of them, has a determining role in reproducing the existing power structure and continuous effort as this silent ideology helps to make sure that the existing power structures last.