Resistance against religious intolerance in Indonesia contemporary indie songs

  • Angga Prawadika Aji Airlangga University
  • Adinda Mauradiva Universitas Airlangga
  • Ferhandito Kurniawan Universitas Airlangga
Abstract views: 180 , PDF downloads: 176
Keywords: indie music, discourse analysis, religious intolerance, resistance, alternative music


This study sought to examine any form of criticism and resistance against the growing religious intolerance in Indonesian contemporary indie songs. The study of indie music is often marginalised in media and communication studies, even though the music itself is an effective form of media to convey socio-political messages. Indie music shows an increasingly crucial role within the map of cultural products in Indonesia mainly because it is considered an important means of conveying messages and alternative media for new Indonesian youth. Indie musicians cover sensitive issues within their lyric, including religious intolerance perpetrated by conservative Muslim groups in Indonesia. Through the discourse analysis method by Teun Van Dijk, this study found three forms of resistance discourse found in Indonesian indie music: a critique towards middle-class Muslims hypocrisy, rejection against the imposition of the sharia law, and the lament over the loss of humanity in religious practice. The research findings show that indie songs serve as a medium of resistance to a more secular, youthful audience against many issues seldom covered in mainstream media.

Author Biography

Angga Prawadika Aji, Airlangga University
Lecturer at Communication Department


Ario, D. (2019) Genre Spotifycore Makin Populer, Begini Dampaknya Buat Musik Indonesia, Vice Indonesia. Available at:

Aritonang, J. S. (2018) ‘Christians in Indonesia’, in Hefner, R. W. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. New York: Routledge, pp. 257–266.

Bannister, M. (2006) ‘“Loaded”: Indie Guitar Rock, Canonism, White Masculinities’, Popular Music, 25(1), pp. 77–95. DOI: 10.1017/S026114300500070X.

Barendregt, B. and Zanten, W. Van (2015) ‘Popular music in indonesia since 1998, in particular fusion, indie and islamic music on video compact discs and the internet’, International Council for Traditional Music, 34, pp. 67–113.

Baulch, E. (2002) ‘Alternative music and mediation in late New Order Indonesia’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 3(2), pp. 37–41. DOI: 10.1080/1464937022000000138.

Bruinessen, M. Van (2013) Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam : Explaining the ‘Conservative Turn’. Edited by M. Van Bruinessen. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.

Buehler, M. (2010) ‘Decentralisation and Local Democracy in Indonesia: The Marginalisation of Public Sphere’, Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia, (January 2010), pp. 268–285. DOI: 10.3109/1354750X.2012.664168.

Buehler, M. and Muhtada, D. (2016) ‘Democratisation and the diffusion of Shari ’ a law : Comparative insights from Indonesia’, South East Asia Research, 24(2), pp. 261–282. DOI: 10.1177/0967828X16649311.

Caramanica, J. (2018) How a New Kind of Pop Star Stormed 2018, The New York Times. Available at:

Van Dijk, T. A. (2008) Discourse and Context : A Sociocognitive Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fonarow, W. (2006) Empire of Dirt : The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Geertz, C. (1968) Islam Observed: Religious Development in Marocco and Indonesia. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Hadiz, V. R. (2016) Islamic Populism in Indonesia and the Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hartono, H. S. (2018) ‘Virtually (I'm)moral: PiousIndonesian Muslim Women’s Use of Facebook’, Asian Studies Review. Routledge, pp. 1–14. DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2017.1407290.

Hefner, R. W. (2018a) ‘Indonesia at the crossroads: imbroglios of religion, state, and society in an Asian Muslim nation’, in Hefner, R. W. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. 1st eds. London, pp. 3–30.

Hefner, R. W. (2018b) ‘The religious field: plural legacies and contemporary contestations’, in Hefner, R. W. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. New York: Routledge, pp. 211–225.

Heryanto, A. (2014) Identity and Pleasure : The Politics of Indonesian Screen Culture. Kyoto: Kyoto University Press.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (1999) ‘Indie : The Institutional Politics and Aesthetics of a Popular Genre’, Cultural Studies, 13(1), pp. 34–61. DOI: 10.1080/095023899335365.

Laan, N. (2021) ‘Musical negotiations of a “ moderate ” versus a “ radical ” Islam in Morocco : dissonance and the sonic among vocal performers of Islam-inspired music’, religion. Taylor & Francis, pp. 1–23. DOI: 10.1080/0048721X.2021.1865602.

Lee, D. (2011) ‘Images of Youth : on the Iconography of History and Protest in Indonesia’, History and Anthropology, 22(3), pp. 307–336. DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2011.595003.

Luvaas, B. (2020) ‘Exemplary Centers and Musical Elsewheres : On Authenticity and Autonomy in Indonesian Indie Music’, Asian music, 44(2), pp. 95–114.

Martin-iverson, S. (2012) ‘Autonomous Youth? Independence and Precariousness in the Indonesian Underground Music Scene’, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13(4), pp. 382–397. DOI:

Menchik, J. and Trost, K. (2018) ‘A “tolerant” Indonesia? Indonesian Muslims in Comparative Perspective’, in Hefner, R. W. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. New York: Routledge, pp. 390–405.

Moore, R. E. (2013) ‘“My music, my freedom(?): the troubled pursuit of musical and intellectual independence on the internet in Indonesia”’, Asian Journal of Communication, 23(4), pp. 368–385. DOI: 10.1080/01292986.2013.804105.

Otterbeck, J. and Skjelbo, J. F. (2020) ‘“ Music Version ” versus “ Vocals-Only ”: Islamic Pop Music, Aesthetics, and Ethics’, Popular Music and Society. Routledge, 43(1), pp. 1–19. DOI: 10.1080/03007766.2019.1581335.

Peterson, D. (2020) Islam, Blasphemy, and Human Rights in Indonesia : the Trial of Ahok. New York: Routledge.

Sabrina, G. (2018) Merunut Kelahiran Musik Indie Indonesia, Whiteboard Journal. Available at: (Accessed: 29 July 2020).

Said, E. (1978) Orientalism. New York City: Pantheon Books.

Sen, K. and Hill, D. T. (2006) Media, Culture, and Politics in Indonesia. Jakarta: Equinox Publishing.

Temby, Q. et al. (2019) ‘Indonesia ’ s 2019 Elections : The Key Issues’, Yusof Ishak Institute, (30), pp. 1–8.

Weintraub, A. N. (2008) ‘“Dance drills, faith spills”: Islam, body politics, and popular music in post-Suharto Indonesia’, Popular Music, 27(3), pp. 367–392. DOI: 10.1017/S0261143008102185.

Weng, H. W. (2020) ‘THE ART OF DAKWAH : social media, visual persuasion and the Islamist propagation of Felix Siauw’, Indonesia and the Malay World, 46(134), pp. 61–79. DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2018.1416757.

How to Cite
Aji, A. P., Mauradiva, A., & Kurniawan, F. (2021). Resistance against religious intolerance in Indonesia contemporary indie songs. Jurnal Studi Komunikasi, 5(2), 421-438.