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Capturing and Filtering the Nation: Examining Indonesian National Identity through Instagram

Fathiyyah Maryufani, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The discursive construction of national identity in Indonesia in this current digital communication era is no longer dominated by the elite’s discourse. Social media allows the common people to also express their conception of Indonesia national identity. This dissertation aims to explain how Indonesia is being portrayed as a unified nation that consists of various cultural and social groups. Additionally, the purpose of this dissertation is to provide insights whether social media, particularly Instagram, have a meaningful role in maintaining, countering, or even altering the elite’s conception of Indonesia national identity. The data for this dissertation consists of the visual and textual data collected from Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi), the current Indonesian president, Instagram. By implementing Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA), this study investigates the visual and textual narration of Indonesian national identity. Utilizing MCDA in this study became crucial because through investigating the rich multimodal data, this dissertation is not only able to identify what aspect of national identity is being presented and promoted, but also able to identify the subtle hint of which identity is not being represented and communicated to the public by the political elite. Referring to Social Identity Theory, the study found that Indonesian national identity is built upon the construction of positive self-representation of the in-group members which revolved around the Islamic values. The discourse is dominated by the majority religious and social groups and tend to leave out the minority groups on the public discourse. However, one significant pattern can be identified in this data is that the populist discourse in Indonesia, was initiated by the people that able to change the political leader’s discourse to adjust with the people’s expectation. These findings indicate the importance of utilizing MCDA to analyze the holistic and nuance conception of identity representation. In addition, this study also highlights the important role of social media as the people’s communication platform to counter balance the elite’s political discourse.

Subject Area

Political science|Communication

Recommended Citation

Maryufani, Fathiyyah, "Capturing and Filtering the Nation: Examining Indonesian National Identity through Instagram" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29068900.