Spaces of exclusion, walls of intimacy: Rethinking “Chinese exclusivity” in Indonesia

Yen-ling Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article explores the entangled and intimate relationship between Indonesian citizens of Chinese descent and their non-Chinese counterparts through the symbolism and materiality of walls. Rather than seeing walls as merely tools and symbols of disconnect, the essay shows walls as sites both of exclusion and encounter. Through ethnographic accounts, it demonstrates that walls generate interracial socialities as much as they block them. Studying such socialities enables us to better understand the spatial dynamic of race- and class-making in urban Indonesia, where “Chinese exclusivity” is produced through cross-racial encounters infused with asymmetrical intimacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-155
Number of pages31
Issue number92
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2011


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