Interiority and government of the child

Transparency, risk, and good governance in Indonesia

in Focaal
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  • 1 University of Lethbridge jan.newberry@uleth.ca

Abstract

Early childhood education and care programs in Indonesia developed rapidly in the aftermath of the 2006 earthquake centered south of Yogyakarta. The newly empowered self-directed learner at the center of these programs seemed to follow from the emergence of another child in this devastated landscape: the traumatized child in need of healing. The appearance of these images of childhood along with Indonesia’s neoliberal democratization reiterates the long-standing relationship between childhood and rule. Grounded in long-term ethnographic work in the Yogyakarta area, this article traces a conceptual link between the shift to transparent and accountable good governance in post-Suharto Indonesia and the desire to produce a newly transparent childhood ready for intervention. The generative power of history, trauma, and the interior self is contrasted with risk management, nongovernmental governance, and the exteriorization of self and state to challenge the unquestioned good of empowerment and transparency.

In the rocky hills near the southern coast of central Java, the settlements are small and poor. In one such settlement, in a small crowded room, women moved among circles of children using star fruit to apply paint to paper or leaves from nearby trees to glue on drawings. The room was loud with the voices of these young three- and four-year-old children, sitting in the circles dictated by government mandates promoted through booklets such as “Beyond Centre and Circle Time” (Department of National Education 2006). Signs encouraged religious tolerance. There were a few brightly painted chairs and some of the wooden toys produced to help achieve developmentally appropriate milestones. This small PAUD program (pendidikan anak usia dini, or early childhood education) was one of many aimed at children in the zaman emas, or golden age of zero to eight years of age. Since 2001, there has been a dramatic increase in the programming for early childhood care and education (ECEC) in Indonesia, and elsewhere, as the product of World Bank initiatives, among others. In this case, the children were the young preschool sons and daughters of local farmers, gathered a few times a month for programs aimed at stimulating development. These programs were being offered to lower-class children in urban areas, too, as community-based early childhood programs emerged at the same time as middle-class for-profit preschools and day cares. Although kindergarten has long been available in Indonesia (Dewantara 2004), these play-based programs were being offered to younger children.

I visited this small settlement south of the court city of Yogyakarta in November 2007.1 This area is known for its entrenched poverty, its lack of water, and, more recently, for the damage done by the 2006 earthquake whose epicenter was between Yogyakarta and the southern coast. The earthquake followed on the heels of the 2004 tsunami that had done such damage to Sumatra and Aceh. In 2006, local Yogya residents were torn between their fears of the restive volcano, Merapi, due north of the city, and their terror of the possibility of a tsunami. These disasters were reshaping a landscape that had already been reformed by the massive political change marked by the end of Suharto’s New Order authoritarian regime in 1998, with its roots in the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and the beginning of the era of reform, or Reformasi, and democratization.

The earthquake seemed to manifest the significant political and economic changes in Indonesia, and indeed to pave the way for these early childhood programs aimed at producing not only healthier babies, but also the empowered, self-directed learner familiar in preschools in the developed North Atlantic. The empowered young child represented the introduction of a new idea of childhood in Indonesia, one whose emergence corresponds with that of the middle class. Yet, the image of the empowered child owed much to the image of another child that had appeared after the earthquake: the child in need of “trauma healing.”

In this postdisaster landscape, the traumatized child served, as such figures often do, to condense and organize significant changes in governance. The renaissance in theorizing the child and childhood at the end of the twentieth century (Scheper-Hughes and Sargent 1998; Stephens 1995) coincided with a reversal in longstanding ideas about the constitution of rule through the creation of spaces interior to the state, to the nation, and to the person, and the use of the child to figure such interiority. Now, calls for child-centered research and ethnography mirror global mandates for transparency and good governance.

The continuities between trauma healing and early childhood programming in early twenty-first-century Indonesia demonstrate the connection between the reorganization of governance and the reorganization of self and childhood. Trauma healing programs in Indonesia aimed at rendering the interior self as transparent for intervention were appearing just as shifts in governance emphasized transparency and accountability in governance beyond the state. Ethnographic data on trauma healing and early childhood in Yogyakarta are extended here through a speculative reading of how shifts from trauma to risk in theory and global governance exemplify a shift from interiority to exteriority in both conceptions of the self and the state that arose in the developed North Atlantic but have now traveled to Indonesia and other parts of the global South.

There is nothing novel in using the child as a proxy for rule (Burman 2008; Cannella 1997; Nandy 1993; Stoler 2002). What this article adds is a consideration of how shifts in the approach to early childhood in Indonesia also illustrate a shift in forms of government from authoritarian modernization to neoliberal democratization through a deepening process of “inside -outing” of the state. By juxtaposing the generative effects of interior trauma in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as against exteriorized, future-oriented risk management in the twenty-first century, and in the context of the reconfiguration of global governance and the mobility of this assemblage of ideas and practices, this article argues against the unquestioned good of transparency and empowerment in current globalization.

Trauma healing and the nongovernmental state

Two concerns converged in the postdisaster landscape around Yogya: the need to identify and treat traumatized children and the need to deliver services quickly and efficiently to devastated areas. In 2006 interviews, staff with local, national, and international agencies described various approaches to assessment, monitoring, and sustainability. Programs had been devised to provide arts and crafts, drama, music, and organized play as a means to identify and deal with trauma. If play is the pedagogy of early childhood (Ailwood 2008: 547), it has also become a central technology in the delivery of therapy to children in situations of trauma (Nahm 2013). In Yogya, child-centered approaches to trauma intervention revealed close links between play, therapy, and a newly empowered child subject. Empowerment here references the idea of a self-directed child learner who transparently pursues their own education under the watchful eyes of experts. These new programs have produced a newly surveilled childhood and a potent shaping of the self that is revealed as available for intervention.

Yoon-Kyung Kim and Sheena Nahm (2008) consider a similar mobility in the shaping of self and play through the adaptation in contemporary Korea of theraplay, a play-based psychotherapy derived from Bowlby’s 1960s attachment theory (Bretherton 1992). Anthropologists have considered play in cross-cultural settings since Margaret Mead (see LeVine 2007). Nahm (2009) identifies clearly the tension produced through the global mobility in conceptions of the self. She follows Nikolas Rose in critiquing the discipline of psychology as “a complex of apparatuses, practices, machinations, and assemblages within which the human being has been fabricated, and which presuppose and enjoin particular relations with ourselves” (Rose 1998: 10). Rosen, Baustad, and Edwards (forthcoming) take this critique of play farther by noting how play and play-based education are important precursors to commodity consumption (Katz 2004) that may be fostered in neoliberal preschools (Kjørholt and Seland 2012).

Trauma-based programs in Indonesia were deeply tied up with the development of early childhood programs to be delivered through community-based programs organized around play. Government publications describe these programs as berpusat anak or child-centered and aimed at stimulating development of the young child. The 2006 Manual for the Application of the Beyond Centers and Circle Time Approach directs that the child should be “stimulated in an active way using play activities while learning in learning centers. All of these learning activities focus on the child as a learning subject” (National Education Department 2006: i; author’s translation). This approach to the learning subject also was used in trauma healing. A local representative of PLAN Yogyakarta described their work in the aftermath of the earthquake in this way: “We teach a method with play, what’s important is that they enjoy it, you know”; or as she later described it, “playing while learning, right.”

As workers in the fields of psychology, social welfare, and community organizing descended on the Bantul area south of Yogyakarta, they centered play and creative expression as the key to encouraging children to express their trauma to achieve “trauma healing.” Children living in the most devastated areas south of the city were gathered in central places, amid the rubble, and asked to draw pictures to expose their feelings about the earthquake. Drama and music were used to allow expression of the hidden harm done by the earthquake. These programs shared one aim: to identify and make transparent the effects of trauma so that it could be healed. That is, there was a risk that children were traumatized and would suffer as a result. In effect, just as workers sought to bring out children from the wreckage of their homes, they also sought to bring out their trauma to be identified, managed, and treated.

Interviews with workers from four different nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in the area were conducted by my colleague, Nita Kariani Purwanti. As one worker described it, “Because [our organization] is focused on children, then the program for handling disaster also is focused on handling children.” All of these organizations reported adopting hybrid approaches to trauma that combined their past experiences working with children with the context of a natural disaster, in “mobile work, from location to location.”

One organization put approximately 100 peer educators in the field for a month. According to one worker, “For our approach, it’s more toward artistic expression, yes? It’s through drawing, song and music, theater, composing, and such.” The emphasis on expressive work to deal with trauma was common. Another worker with experience with the Aceh tsunami described an approach adapted from Spanish volunteers. “Now, after that [on] rags, they painted what they saw at the time, trees falling, corpses dangling and other things. These rags were patched and sewn to form a picture, then we ordered them to tell the story [of it]; this is a picture of what? This was also for getting rid of trauma.” These workers noted the difficulty in identifying trauma, whether because the needs of children were minimized or because the trauma was serious and the manifestation of symptoms was delayed. As one staff member described it:

So usually we [jog] the child’s memory. Then we also sing some songs [and] we finish them. [Like] traditional songs, until the children yell “freedom” three times. From there, if a child hasn’t raised their hand, maybe there is a problem with that child. Then we repeat the song in a different way, for example, while drawing. There was an example in Karangrejek; there was a problem, there was a child who drew well, but later s/he removed it by coloring all of it dark.

This desire to have a child render their inner trauma transparent for healing is widely recognized in much of the developed world, but it was new here. The question of how to deliver this aid after a large earthquake had particular relevance in Indonesia after Suharto, as the following consideration of modes of governance and their relationship to child trauma in post-disaster Yogya illustrates.

The flattened earth after the earthquake posed significant difficulties in the delivery of aid. One response was the posko (pos komando) or emergency post for delivery of aid. These temporary posts were set up in earthquake-devastated areas, often in the front yard of a headman’s house. These sites were used for the coordination and dissemination of information, materials, and social and health services, and as temporary centers to offer art and play activities for children. In the early aftermath of the earthquake, I accompanied workers from a Yogya-based NGO subcontracted by Oxfam to track the distribution of their donated tents. In one small hamlet, we sat with the headwoman on her patio in the hot afternoon to talk about where the tents had gone. The rarity of a woman as head of a local administrative unit was as marked as her playful and challenging manner.

This woman not only goaded me about my presence, but she gave the young staffers quite a time as well. She didn’t know where the tents were. They hadn’t come through her hands. The workers should look to how they were distributed directly to localities without her oversight. In this remarkable discussion it wasn’t entirely clear whether we were seeing evidence of longstanding practices of local corruption or the effect of the decentralization of authority that had occurred. Under Suharto, local leaders had served key roles in funneling government aid to local people, and it was accepted that they skimmed a fair bit off the top. What became plain was that this local leader was as frustrated as the young workers. Old patterns had been changed. Here they were attempting to provide Oxfam with evidence of transparent accountability, and she could not provide it because she had been cut out as patterns of governance changed and activists and NGO workers were delivering aid directly to the people.

The rapid deployment of vans of young NGO workers to deliver mobile trauma healing contrasts with the fixed position of the posko in the front yards of local leaders, a remnant of older forms of governmentality. The mobile and flexible delivery of such aid in and around the remains of more stable structures captures a particular moment in the governance of Indonesia, which has undergone a fitful process of reform since the end of Suharto’s rule in 1998. Regional autonomy and decentralization were key aspects of this era of Reformasi (Schulte Nordholt and Van Klinken 2007). The mobility of social service delivery is an apt metaphor for changing forms of governance based on flexibility, even as it was the literal manifestation of new forms of governing that emphasized the nongovernmental organizations in democratizing Indonesia post-Suharto (Hikam 1999; Newberry 2010).

The term “nongovernmental state” is used here to suggest the paradoxical extension of the state through mechanisms described as non-governmental (Sharma 2006). The desire for flexible, entrepreneurial solutions to the problems of government is a marker of neoliberal governance and a significant element of good governance programs, the intergovernmental initiative for postcolonial states since the 1990s (Joseph 2001). Good governance is meant to encourage innovations in government and end corruption by rewarding transparency and accountability. In the years since Suharto was forced out of office, good governance initiatives dovetailed with decentralization. Local grassroots NGOs began training local leaders in transparent accounting and aspects of good governance as the central government was being reduced in scope. My work with a middle-sized NGO from 2004 to 2007 showed their programming shifting from poverty reduction programs to training in civil society, budgeting, and other aspects of leadership.

For the 2006 Yogya earthquake, the attention of nongovernmental organizations to the issues of children reflected the increase in global attention to the child. The year 1989 marked the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the fall of the Berlin Wall along with the intensification of neoliberal economic and governmental reform in the developed North. In Southeast Asia, the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s typically serves to mark this shift. At that time, global attention to the rights and wrongs of childhood, from child soldiers to child laborers to child sex workers, was heightened.

The desire to treat trauma in children in the Yogyakarta area sprang not just from a global surge in attention to issues of the child, but also to its ready reception among activists and NGO workers, many of whom had worked for years for recognition of the effects of poverty, homelessness, and abuse on children. The funds for delivery of “trauma healing” programs served as an immediate influence on the proliferation of programs by locals, as NGOs quickly adapted to the new realities of multinational funding for child-saving programs.

Indeed, trauma healing programs hastened the development of ECEC programs. Staffers at PLAN Yogya, the local branch of the international child-saving organization, described how they had used earthquake relief as a way to rapidly develop early childhood programming: “Of course we first prepared places for children to play as their parents were busy reconstructing their houses. But after that we also provided training for [local] cadre and recruited others. We also gave educational toys to various programs. Now we are carrying 50 [programs].” As one staff member noted, “[I]t’s a good result, but it came from an earthquake.” PLAN staff also reported cooperating with international donors and a local NGO to start a laboratory school and a child education center that was directly involved in the provincial government’s uptake of these programs. This work exemplified the energy around early childhood and the spaces where programming was developing both within and without the state.

The conditions for the delivery of trauma healing to children are powerfully illustrative of the seismic shifts in Indonesia due to both natural and social causes as nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and child-saving organizations mobilized to locate, identify, and treat traumatized children. And the child at the center of these efforts is also illustrative of a particular approach to trauma. Intervention took the form of art and play therapy in which young children were gathered in a central place to literally draw out their trauma, to make it transparent in a sense, as a form of healing. That is, the interior effects of trauma, hidden from adult view, were to be brought out for the sake of diagnosis and intervention (cf. Fassin and d’Halluin 2007; Malkki 2007).

The trauma of the inner child

The model of trauma as inner wounds has deep epistemological roots in the developed North Atlantic. In Freud’s foundational story (1962), the child’s hidden trauma was productive of mental illness, but also of the psyche, of society, of law. Indeed, psychoanalytic work is aimed at understanding these hidden traumas, but with the expectation that they are not easily identified and treated. Such wounds may not give direct evidence of their existence, and neither should therapeutic interventions be expected to directly access these traumas and treat them. Freud’s interpretation of dreams after all suggests that trauma’s effects may be paradoxical, concealed, and elusive. Repressed histories of trauma have posed significant questions about the nature of the mind, the self, and the development of the human, not to mention the malady and the colony (Fanon 1983). Yet, the treatment of child trauma in postdisaster Yogya reads as significantly different. Trauma should be rendered transparent and visible in order to be treated. Through art and play, children will be empowered to heal themselves. Trauma in this context represents a risk of harm that should be managed in ways that are accountable and transparent, just as governance should be.

To chart these connections, let me juxtapose the exposed trauma of the Indonesian child of the twenty-first century with a figure analyzed by Carolyn Steedman (1994): Mignon, the tiny acrobat figure from Goethe’s Wilhem Meister (1795–1796). Steedman argues that Mignon, a persistent, much elaborated figure in novels, art, and music, represents the emergence of the idea of the interior self. Using the sources of the literary critic and historian, Steedman suggests a relationship between this miniature figure, abused and distorted by adults, and Freud’s depiction of childhood trauma as a broken-off piece of our history, first projected and then subsequently introjected in the process of healing and maturing. It is not difficult to see Mignon’s more recent therapeutic incarnation as the child within, a symbol of our own traumatized, unhealed earlier self still residing inside us as adults (Ivy 1993).

Steedman suggests that this movement within, this idea of interiority, corresponds strongly with historicism as an analytic frame, specifically the emergence of history as a modern discipline in Europe but also history understood as a narrative of growth and development. She cites Christina Crosby, who describes Freud as “an historian of subjectivity … of an Oedipal past which makes its indelible, obscure, mark on the present” (Crosby 1991, quoted in Steedman 1994: 79). Steedman links the nineteenth-century European concern with historical thinking to Darwinian thought; indeed, she follows Hugh Cunningham’s (1991) identification of the complex analogies by which the children of the urban poor in Victorian Britain were connected with “the ‘savages’ of the anthropological imagination” (Steedman 1994: 83). The homology between the poor, the savage, and the child reminds us of the centrality of the education of the child as a metaphor for the needs and limits of government, from Rousseau’s 1762 Emile onward.

Freud also was deeply influenced by cell theory, Steedman argues, and this idea of the systematic interrelation of parts on the smallest scale was influenced by historical explanation in the life sciences, again aligned with nineteenth-century historicism. Freud made use of the topos of the cell to produce a theory of adult interiority based on past childhood experience. “The cell, the smallest place within, promoted another set of analogies, for what the cell carried was the child turned within, an individual’s childhood history laid down inside its body, a place inside that was indeed very small, but that carried with it the utter enormity of a history” (Steedman 1994: 92).

Two issues are significant here: the idea of a miniature child representative of our own history of trauma located within us, and the very idea of interiority. The inner life, the interior life, so beautifully captured in the evocative image of Mignon, finds clear resonance with the enclosure of bourgeois women in the Victorian domestic sphere. As the interior life of the self is richly imagined, so is the interior life of the home. The naturalization of women’s lives within the interior spaces of the developing North Atlantic proceeded hand in hand with liberal, contractarian theories of government and the production of the male public sphere (Harrison and Mort 1980).

The interiorization of domestic life and self was mirrored, or rather reverse engineered, through the demolition of intimate space in the colonies (Stoler 2002). That this was a project of history and historical thinking is made clear by Dipesh Chakrabarty:

Historicism enabled European domination of the world in the nineteenth century. Crudely, one might say that it was one important form that the ideology of progress or “development” took from the nineteenth century on. Historicism is what made modernity or capitalism look not simply global but rather as something that became global over time, by originating in one place (Europe) and then spreading outside it.

(2000: 7; emphasis added)
That is to say, the creation of the inside or interior that is Europe was tied up with notions of historical time and a narrative of development.

The interiorization of Europe itself as against others is deeply tied up with empire (Hardt and Negri 2000). Anthropology’s first questions were about rule, about the nature of government without the benefit of heads. And this concern with heads of state was no more divorced from the control of heads of households in the colonies than it was in the metropole. The emergence of anthropology was thoroughly imbricated with the consolidation and articulation of a liberal theory of the state and state rule—and its extension through imperialism (Pels 1997). This concern with rule appeared along with the interiorization of private life and a self as thoroughly theorized and organized as was liberal rule (Foucault 1991; Miller and Rose 2008). Indeed, Peter Miller and Nikolas Rose describe the rise of the nation-state as a process of exteriorization, as the “state limited itself by designating zones exterior to it—private life, the market, civil society, and so forth” (2008: 17). This definition of what belongs within and without the state proceeded through its reciprocal relationship to that which was interior. This logic is exemplified through the location of the bourgeois child and childhood within the interior, as Europe’s external others were cast as children in need of care (Chatterjee 1999).

In contrast, the traumatized child in the wake of the Yogya earthquake suggests that the character of governance has changed along with the conception of the child as risk and empowerment recalibrate their relationship. There has been a reversal of interiority to externalized risk accounted for and managed, a move simultaneous with the reform of state rule to emphasize nongovernmental governance.

From hidden trauma to transparent risk

Risk is the master trope of our times, it seems. The shift in focus to risk here is not meant to suggest its commensurability with trauma, but rather to contrast trauma as generative history with risk management as empty, future-oriented calculation. What bridges the two here is the notion of harm and its role in social life. As Caitlin Zaloom suggests, the metatheories of Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens on the psychology and economics of risk “leave the anthropological arena of risk untouched” (2004: 366). In the following, some aspects of risk from the scholarly literature are sketched briefly to trace the implications for interiority.

The management of risk and the appropriate hedging of risk are the subject of contemporary political and economic concerns. As Robert Skidelsky notes, classical economics in the 1920s abstracted from the problem of unemployment by assuming it did not exist. Subsequently, Keynesianism abstracted from the problem of official incompetence and corruption by assuming that governments were run by benevolent experts. The “new classical economics” of recent decades has instead “abstracted from the problem of uncertainty by assuming it could be reduced to measurable, hedgeable risk” (Skidelsky 2008).

The most obvious referent for theorizing risk here might be Ulrich Beck’s (1992) reflexive modernization, with its attention to risk in relation to science and industrial management, the reflexive calculation of incalculable risk, and the individualization of risk and its amelioration. Note here is not the historical gaze implicit in Steedman’s Mignon or Freud’s trauma as genesis, but instead a future orientation. That is to say, risk society is organized by the dangers that are to come rather than a history of trauma and damage. Manufactured risk “refers to new risk environments for which history provides us with very little previous experience. We often don’t really know what the risks are; let alone how to calculate them accurately in terms of probability tables” (Giddens 1999: 4).

Other sources of theorizing risk are worth mentioning here, such as that devoted specifically to children at risk deriving from the child-saving movements of nineteenth-century North America and Europe (Horn 1993). The restriction of bourgeois women’s political and career options to philanthropy occurred in tandem with the exposure of poor and immigrant women, suggesting the classed dimensions of interiority in the North Atlantic. The extension of childhood as a protected period, the emergence of schools and orphanages, and the advocacy for government interventions to save at-risk children signaled changes in the notion of childhood as protected and interiorized. In the early twentieth-century American child guidance movement, children were not only at risk, they posed a risk to society (Wollons 1993). Ultimately, the development of expertise on childhood from the mid-nineteenth century on in Europe and North America produced a carceral complex (Wacquant 2001), from juvenile courts to social service agencies, to enclose the young.

Two other sources of risk bear scrutiny here to suggest both continuity and disjuncture. The first comes from harm reduction literature (Wieloch 2002). This model of risk is generated from below in the reflexive and self-conscious appraisal of risk from the perspective of IV drug users, sex workers, and gay communities dealing with HIV/AIDS. In this model, risk is accepted as attendant on choices made, and despite its subaltern origins, it springs from an image of the entrepreneurial self. Then there is genetic risk, a social concern emergent with developing techniques of genetic and medical testing (e.g., Shaw 2009). Here we see a return to the level of the cell, but with genetic material and the embryo figured as future risk to be managed. Significantly, this is genetic risk made transparent through the new and improved imaging technologies such as gene sequencing and the changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other medical imaging tools (Dumit 2003). Now, hidden or interior risk can be exteriorized, made transparent through imaging techniques that allow us to see to the cellular level and beyond.

All of this risk talk resonates with the rise of audit culture and cultures of accountancy. At first blush, audit culture referred to new performance measures of accountability in university settings to produce transparency in public institutions (Strathern 2000). Just as the MRI seems to suggest the absolute transparency of the mind, governance is to be made open and transparent. But beyond mere legibility (Scott 1999), there is also the suggestion that what was once concealed and not fully understood is now revealed, fully, without elisions, absence, or contradiction. In the rhetoric of good governance, such transparency leads to empowerment.

The rise of audit society relates to the advent of the new public management and new performance measures as governing functions devolve to private agencies and nongovernmental forms of governance (Shore 2008). Audit cultures are meant to exteriorize risk to make it accountable and manageable, along the same lines as the hedging of financial risk that emerged in US financial markets. Here new public management meets the dictates of structural adjustment and the desire for the control of corruption through transparency and accountability on the part of governments of the global South. Indeed, these watchwords of democratization in the late twentieth century, transparency and accountability, were on everyone’s lips in Indonesia in the wake of the 2006 disaster.

And as it happens, the goals of transparency and accountability are deeply enmeshed with the growing role of nongovernmental governance in a world in which the functions of the state have been exteriorized, subcontracted out, off-loaded onto private agencies and nongovernmental agencies (Kamat 2004). It must be said these forms of organization are rarely accountable in the ways that liberal states were taken to be (Swyngedouw 2005). Just as accountability and audit culture do not produce trust, but rather introduce new forms of mistrust (Shore 2008), the shrinking of the state actually has meant new forms of state rule. Just as striking is the contrary effect of empowerment twinned with democratization in facilitating this. The development of early childhood programs in Indonesia makes this clear.

Early childhood care and development

The child in need of trauma healing seems to have hastened the appearance of the empowered child at the center of early childhood care and development programs in the Yogya region, suggesting both a change in how the child is understood and a change in modes of governance, despite some surprising continuity.

In 2007, I accompanied a young Indonesian theology student and activist to visit a PAUD program being run by members of the local branch of the national housewives association (PKK, Pembinaan Kesejahateraan Keluarga, often translated as the Family Welfare Movement). My original research considered this Suharto-era program and how it used the unpaid labor of poor women to deliver social welfare to their own communities. I expected that this program would disappear with the era of reform. And yet, here again were local women organized to provide programming with little or no money from the government. Whereas under the New Order these programs were aimed at the general health of the population and at birth control programs especially, the program I visited in 2007 was an early childhood program, reflecting the global attention to development of the very young child broadly construed (Evans et al. 2000).

As we toured the local facilities, one phrase that I heard repeatedly from my young host was sanget transparensi, or very transparent. She used this term as we visited the local community hall, where the visi dan misi, or vision and mission statements, were proudly displayed on brightly painted boards on the wall, along with the budget and expenditures. Visi dan misi, like transparensi, were terms whose use in common conversation reflected the spread of good governance discourse through these local programs. The drive to accountability and transparency evident in the work of these women resulted in part from NGO work, but also as a response to Suharto’s corruption and collusion. I was given to believe that these women were proudly organizing these programs because of a strong sense of swadaya or self-help, long a watchword of Suharto forms of governmentality. What was striking to me was not only the endurance of the Family Welfare Movement as a form of nongovernmental governance through the organization of women’s labor, but its renewal as a postdemocratization mode of governance for delivering programs now to young children.

Interviews with local activists and NGO workers repeatedly suggested that the rapid growth in PAUD programs was due in part at least to the flattened landscape postearthquake. That is to say, the era of reform was amplified through natural disasters, which paved the way for the ready influx of aid, new metrics, forms of accountability, and modes of transparency. New experiments in governing along with the reinvigoration of older, developmentalist forms of community management suggest the difficulty in untwining democratization and state retrenchment. These new early childhood programs, moreover, emerged alongside middle-class, corporate day care in Indonesia. The child, newly conceptualized as empowered and at the center of its own education, was a striking figure in the postdisaster landscape, and in some contrast to the distinction made between the external physical body (lahir) and inner spirit (batin) in descriptions of the self in Java (Ferzacca 2001) and island Southeast Asia generally (Errington 1990; Ong and Peletz 1995). Cultivating the distinction between the mundane, vulgar body and the potency of the inner spirit is taken to produce a strong and competent Javanese person and a phenomenal world that reflects a still center of interior strength that does not respond to the chaos of daily life (Ferzacca 2001).

To be clear, no argument is made here for the existential reality of the interior self. Work on the anthropology of personhood has long challenged the bounded character of the self. Sarah Lamb (1997) provides both a review and telling critique of the binaries in this work, as she adds the important dimension of generation and temporality to how the self is understood in relation to others in India. In Sonya Pritzker’s (2016) work on the inner child movement in contemporary China, she describes a boom in work on the self-driven by the introduction of this idea of interiority (Ivy 1993) and suggests a kind of “living translation” as classic Chinese conceptions of the self are hybridized through workshops aimed at healing this inner child. Although her description of the production of interiority might seem to contradict the argument made here, the point is rather that in both cases a relation is produced between inside and outside. Like Pritzker, I follow Sarah Ahmed in arguing that “emotions are not ‘in’ either the individual or the social, but produce the very surfaces and boundaries that allow the individual and the social to be delineated as if they are objects” (2014: 10). What I add here is that the conception of the self being introduced through early childhood programs in Indonesia aligns with new projects in governance as well. In other words, there is a relationship between the production of a boundary between inside and outside the self and that produced between inside and outside the state.

Transparent empowerment

Empowerment and its role in education for political change is a Freirian notion. Empowerment as a development goal emerged in the context of women in development initiatives beginning in the 1980s (Koggel 2007). Barbara Cruikshank sees empowerment as only one in a long line of technologies of citizenship. “Self-esteem means about as much as ‘positive thinking’ meant in the 1970s and ‘empowerment’ in the 1980s, and ‘enterprise’ will mean in the 1990s” (Cruikshank 1993: 341). Empowerment received crucial reinforcement through Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen’s (1993) capability approach to development. That is to say, a capabilities approach seems to require a self-conscious—that is to say, transparent—articulation of advantage, a public listing of capabilities, to produce empowerment.

The idea of individual empowerment as a development goal shares much with the rise of audit culture and the neoliberal rollback of the state (Peck and Tickell 2002). As Lauren Leve notes for programs in Nepal, women’s empowerment was “required to conform to predictable, measurable, and verifiable forms of subjectivity” (2001: 114). Here we see the interior self has been replaced by the exteriorized, accounted-for self. The empowered child, whose transparent subjectivity is accountable, is now at the center of development initiatives: self-actualized and self-directed, this enterprising learner is the quintessential flexible soul (Olds and Thrift 2005). This was the child whose trauma was to be healed through art therapy and other trauma healing measures in Yogya.

Good governance, with its embrace of transparency and accountability, along with empowerment approaches, has produced an exteriorization of the child and childhoods as: the center of our attention, the center of our ethnographies, the center of our knowledge practices, and our approach to government in the twenty-first century. For the case made here, exteriorization has been used to suggest that what was once acknowledged as hidden and interior must now be made transparent, accountable, and hedged. Even more, the drive for transparent accounting through this exteriorization makes clear again the parallels between government and the child. That is to say, democratization through good governance seems to parallel the transformation of the traumatized child through empowerment; and both of these processes seem to hinge on making risk transparent and manageable.

By noting the commonalities between the “inside outing” of the state and trauma healing of children, I do not mean to continue the colonial conflation of these categories (Viruru 2001). Rather, I note again their deep imbrication and continued reproduction to challenge the unquestioned good of transparency (Birchall 2011), especially in terms of the child. One of the effects of this approach to transparency is an acceptance that the child can be known, directly and without complication.

What if instead the child mind is beyond our reach? Would such a recognition mean freedom from the insistence on the transparency and legibility of trauma? What if we see the child mind, not as less, prior, or even the repository of historical traces of the memory of former traumas, but as fundamentally alien (Battaglia 2005)? What forms of respectful engagement would be required then?

Acknowledgments

My thanks to Nita Kariani Purwanti, who served as research colleague for much of this work, and to Steve Ferzacca, always my first and best reader. This work was supported by the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore and by KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies.

Note

1

Ethnographic research in Yogyakarta includes original fieldwork, 1992–1993, and subsequent periods between 1996 and 2008. From 2008 to 2010, further interviews were conducted by Nita Kariani Purwanti, who also provided translation help along with Ridzki Samsulhadi.

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nahm, Sheena. 2009. Between stigma and demand. Human Organization 68(4): 406414.

  • Nahm, Sheena. 2013. The work of play: Child psychotherapy in South Korea. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

  • Nandy, Ashis. 1993. The intimate enemy. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  • Newberry, Jan. 2010. The global child and non-governmental governance of the family in post-Suharto Indonesia. Economy and Society 39(3): 403426.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nussbaum, Martha, and Amartya Sen, eds. 1993. The quality of life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Olds, Kris, and Nigel Thrift. 2005. Cultures on the brink: Reengineering the soul of capitalism—on a global scale. In Aihwa Ong and Stephen Collier, eds., Global assemblages: Technology, politics and ethics as methodological problems, pp. 270290. London: Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ong, Aihwa, and Michael Peletz. 1995. Bewitching women, pious men: Gender and body politics in Southeast Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peck, Jamie, and Adam Tickell. 2002. Neoliberalizing space. Antipode 34: 380404.

  • Pels, Peter. 1997. The anthropology of colonialism: Culture, history, and the emergence of western governmentality. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 163183.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pritzker, Sonya E. 2016. New Age with Chinese characteristics? Translating inner child emotion pedagogies in contemporary China. Ethos 44(2): 150170.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rose, Nikolas. 1998. Inventing our selves: Psychology, power, and personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Rosen, Rachel, Suzanne Baustad, and Merryn Edwards. Forthcoming. The crisis of social reproduction under global capitalism: Working class women and children in the struggle for universal childcare. In Rachel Langford, Susan Prentice, and Patrizia Albanese, eds., Caring for Children: Social Movements and Public Policy in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

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    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schulte Nordholt, Henk, and Gerry van Klinken, eds. 2007. Renegotiating boundaries: Local politics in Post-Suharto Indonesia. Leiden: KITLV Press.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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  • Shore, Chris. 2008. Audit culture and illiberal governance: Universities and the politics of accountability. Anthropological Theory 8(3): 278298.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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  • Steedman, Carolyn. 1994. Strange dislocations: Childhood and the idea of human interiority 1780–1930. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stephens, Sharon, ed. 1995. Children and the politics of culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Stoler, Ann. 2002. A sentimental education: Native servants and the cultivation of European children in the Netherland Indies. In Laura Sears, ed., Fantasizing the feminine in Indonesia, pp. 7191. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 2000. Audit cultures: Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy. London: Routledge.

  • Swyngedouw, Eric. 2005. Governance innovation and the citizen: The Janus face of governance-beyond-the-state. Urban Studies 42(11): 19912006.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viruru, Radhika. 2001. Early childhood education: Postcolonial perspectives from India. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2001. Deadly symbiosis: When ghetto and prison meet and mesh. Punishment & Society 3(1): 95134.

  • Wieloch, Neil. 2002. Collective mobilization and identity from the underground: The deployment of “oppositional capital” in the harm reduction movement. The Sociological Quarterly 43(1): 4572.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wollons, Roberta Lyn, ed. 1993. Children at risk in America: History, concepts, and public policy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zaloom, Caitlin. 2004. The productive life of risk. Cultural Anthropology 19(3): 365391.

Contributor Notes

Jan Newberry is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. She has been a fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore and KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. She is the cofounder of the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Her current research is a collaborative, transmedia project on Blackfoot child-rearing values and the decolonization of ethnographic methods. E-mail: jan.newberry@uleth.ca

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2014. The cultural politics of emotion. London: Routledge.

  • Ailwood, Jo. 2008. Learning or earning in the “smart state”: Changing tactics for governing early childhood. Childhood 15: 535551.

  • Battaglia, Deborah. 2005. E.T. culture: Anthropology in outerspaces. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Beck, Ulrich. 1992. Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage Publications.

  • Birchall, Clare. 2011. Transparency, interrupted: Secrets of the left. Theory, Culture & Society 28(7–8): 6084.

  • Burman, Erica. 2008. Developments: Child, image, nation. New York: Routledge.

  • Cannella, Gaile Sloan. 1997. Deconstructing early education: Social justice and revolution. New York: Peter Lang.

  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2000. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chatterjee, Indrani. 1999. Colouring subalternity: Slaves, concubines and social orphans in early colonial India. Subaltern Studies 10: 4997.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crosby, Christina. 1991. The ends of history: Victorians and “the woman question.” New York: Routledge.

  • Cruikshank, Barbara. 1993. Revolutions within: Self-government and self-esteem. Economy and Society 22(3): 327334.

  • Cunningham, Hugh. 1991. The children of the poor: Representations of childhood since the seventeenth century. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Department of National Education. 2006. Pedoman penerapan pendekatan beyond centers and circle times (BCCT) dalam pendidikan anak usia dini. Jakarta: Departemen Pendidikan Nasional.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dewantara, Ki Hadjar. 2004. Karya Ki Hadjar Dewantara—Bagian pertama: Pendidikan. Yogyakarta: Majelis Luhur Persatuan Taman Siswa.

  • Dumit, Joseph. 2003. Picturing personhood: Brain scans and biometrical identity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Errington, Shelly. 1990. Recasting sex, gender, and power: A theoretical and regional overview. In Janet Monnig Atkinson and Shelly Errington, eds., Power and difference: Gender in island Southeast Asia, pp. 158. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Evans, Judith, with Robert Meyers and Ellen Ilfeld. 2000. Early childhood counts: A programming guide on early childhood care for development. Washington DC: World Bank.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fanon, Frantz. 1983. Black skin, white masks. London: Pluto Press.

  • Fassin, Didier, and Estelle d’Halluin. 2007. Critical evidence: The politics of trauma in French asylum policies. Ethos 35(3): 300329.

  • Ferzacca, Steve. 2001. Healing the modern in a central Javanese city. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

  • Foucault, Michel. 1991. Governmentality, ideology and consciousness. In Graham Burchell, Colin Gorrdon, and P. Miller, eds., The Foucault effect: Studies of governmentality, pp. 87104. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Freud, Sigmund. 1962. The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, volume III (1893–1899): Early psychoanalytic publications. London: The Hogarth Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Giddens, Anthony. 1999. Risk and responsibility. The Modern Law Review 62(1): 110.

  • Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Boston: Harvard University Press.

  • Harrison, Rachel, and Frank Mort. 1980. Patriarchal aspects of nineteenth-century state formation: Property relations, marriage and divorce, and sexuality. In Philip Corrigan, ed., Capitalism, state formation and Marxist theory, pp. 79109. London: Quartet Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hikam, Muhammad A.S. 1999. Non-governmental organizations and the empowerment of civil society. In Richard Baker, ed., Indonesia: The challenge of change, pp. 217232. Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Horn, Margo. 1993. Inventing the problem child: “At risk” children in the child guidance movement of the 1920s and 1930s. In Wollons 1993, pp. 141153.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ivy, Marilyn. 1993. Have you seen me? Recovering the inner child in late twentieth-century America. Social Text 37: 227252.

  • Joseph, Sarah. 2001. Democratic good governance: New agenda for change. Economic and Political Weekly 36(12): 10111014.

  • Kamat, Sangeeta. 2004. The privatization of public interest: Theorizing NGO discourse in a neoliberal era. Review of International Political Economy 11(1): 155176.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Katz, Cindi. 2004. Growing up global: Economic restructuring and children’s everyday lives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, Yoon-Kyung, and Sheena Nahm. 2008. Cultural considerations in adapting and implementing play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy 17(1): 6677.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kjørholt, Anne Trine, and Monica Seland. 2012. Kindergarten as a bazaar. In Anne Trine Kjørholt and Jens Qvortrup, eds., The modern child and the flexible labour market, pp. 168185. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koggel, Christine. 2007. Empowerment and the role of advocacy in a globalized world. Ethics and Social Welfare 1(1): 821.

  • Lamb, Sarah. 1997. The making and unmaking of persons: Notes on aging and gender in North India. Ethos 25(3): 279302.

  • Leve, Lauren. 2001. Between Jesse Helms and Ram Bahadur: Participation and empowerment in women’s literacy programming in Nepal. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 24(1): 108128.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LeVine, Robert A. 2007. Ethnographic studies of childhood: A historical overview. American Anthropologist 109(2): 247260.

  • Malkki, Liisa. 2007. Commentary: The politics of trauma and asylum; Universals and their effects. Ethos 35(3): 336342.

  • Miller, Peter, and Nikolas Rose. 2008. Governing the present: Administering economic, social and personal life. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nahm, Sheena. 2009. Between stigma and demand. Human Organization 68(4): 406414.

  • Nahm, Sheena. 2013. The work of play: Child psychotherapy in South Korea. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

  • Nandy, Ashis. 1993. The intimate enemy. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  • Newberry, Jan. 2010. The global child and non-governmental governance of the family in post-Suharto Indonesia. Economy and Society 39(3): 403426.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nussbaum, Martha, and Amartya Sen, eds. 1993. The quality of life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Olds, Kris, and Nigel Thrift. 2005. Cultures on the brink: Reengineering the soul of capitalism—on a global scale. In Aihwa Ong and Stephen Collier, eds., Global assemblages: Technology, politics and ethics as methodological problems, pp. 270290. London: Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ong, Aihwa, and Michael Peletz. 1995. Bewitching women, pious men: Gender and body politics in Southeast Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peck, Jamie, and Adam Tickell. 2002. Neoliberalizing space. Antipode 34: 380404.

  • Pels, Peter. 1997. The anthropology of colonialism: Culture, history, and the emergence of western governmentality. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 163183.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pritzker, Sonya E. 2016. New Age with Chinese characteristics? Translating inner child emotion pedagogies in contemporary China. Ethos 44(2): 150170.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rose, Nikolas. 1998. Inventing our selves: Psychology, power, and personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Rosen, Rachel, Suzanne Baustad, and Merryn Edwards. Forthcoming. The crisis of social reproduction under global capitalism: Working class women and children in the struggle for universal childcare. In Rachel Langford, Susan Prentice, and Patrizia Albanese, eds., Caring for Children: Social Movements and Public Policy in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. (1972) 1979. Emile, or on education, trans. Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books.

  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Carolyn Sargent, eds. 1998. Small wars: The cultural politics of childhood. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schulte Nordholt, Henk, and Gerry van Klinken, eds. 2007. Renegotiating boundaries: Local politics in Post-Suharto Indonesia. Leiden: KITLV Press.

  • Scott, James. 1999. Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharma, Aradhana. 2006. Crossbreeding institutions, breeding struggle: Women’s empowerment, neoliberal governmentality, and state (re)formation in India. Cultural Anthropology 21(1): 6095.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shaw, Alison. 2009. Negotiating risk: British Pakistani experiences of risk. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.

  • Shore, Chris. 2008. Audit culture and illiberal governance: Universities and the politics of accountability. Anthropological Theory 8(3): 278298.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skidelsky, Robert. 2008. Teetering between Keynes and Friedman. Globe and Mail, 16 September.

  • Steedman, Carolyn. 1994. Strange dislocations: Childhood and the idea of human interiority 1780–1930. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stephens, Sharon, ed. 1995. Children and the politics of culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Stoler, Ann. 2002. A sentimental education: Native servants and the cultivation of European children in the Netherland Indies. In Laura Sears, ed., Fantasizing the feminine in Indonesia, pp. 7191. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 2000. Audit cultures: Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy. London: Routledge.

  • Swyngedouw, Eric. 2005. Governance innovation and the citizen: The Janus face of governance-beyond-the-state. Urban Studies 42(11): 19912006.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viruru, Radhika. 2001. Early childhood education: Postcolonial perspectives from India. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2001. Deadly symbiosis: When ghetto and prison meet and mesh. Punishment & Society 3(1): 95134.

  • Wieloch, Neil. 2002. Collective mobilization and identity from the underground: The deployment of “oppositional capital” in the harm reduction movement. The Sociological Quarterly 43(1): 4572.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wollons, Roberta Lyn, ed. 1993. Children at risk in America: History, concepts, and public policy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zaloom, Caitlin. 2004. The productive life of risk. Cultural Anthropology 19(3): 365391.

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