A tsunami of anxiety: the 57-metre wave that shook Jakarta and Western Java

Rafliana, Irina / Ahmad Arif
Externe Publikationen (2023)

in: Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa / Kelvin E.Y. Low / Noorman Abdullah / Anna-Katharina Hornidge (eds.), Coastal urbanities: mobilities, meanings, manoeuvrings, Leiden: Brill, 109-131

ISBN: 978-90-04-51108-8
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004523340_007

Living with the threat of tsunamis barely features in the recent history of Jakarta and urban west Java. The depiction of Java as being subject to inundation by rapid and destructive water movements is hardly ever discussed, and not as often as, for example, its exposure to floods and sea level change. In April 2018, a closed-door scientific forum was held at the Indonesian Bureau for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) to discuss several scenarios for the tsunami-driven inundation expected to affect the coasts of Jakarta City and west Java. The modelling based-scenarios used suggested risks of inundated areas around the region based on the updated National Active Fault Map created by the Government of Indonesia. Shortly afterwards, the ‘scenario’ became the talk of a nation. In this chapter, we explore expressions of public anxiety as social phenomena alongside sociological observations of how narratives in media shaped the way we perceive risks, co-constructed and politicised through tsunami discourses. It is safe to say that tsunamis are not often foreseen as threats along the northern coast of Jakarta. We argue for plural approaches to the study of tsunami sciences, drawing inspiration from social constructivism in order to critically analyse media and public discourses in shaping public risk perceptions in urban Jakarta. We further question how far such anxiety, in a particular situatedness of urban Jakarta and western Java sustain their momentum, when mainstream media enterprises themselves invest little or nothing in ethical and quality information delivery. We end by further problematising the pervasive ‘clickbait’ economy, as both a facet of and a challenge to Indonesia’s aspirational knowledge society.

Über die Autorin

Rafliana, Irina



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