Environmental Politics: Waste, Stool, and Disciplinary Effort of the Surabaya Society, 1920s-1940s

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The colonial government's hopes to create a rest and order in its colonies proved unsuccessful. The instruments used are not able to force the public to be disciplined. Surabaya, the locus of this article, is not only interesting in a geographical sense, because of its position as a colonial city, but also because colonial governance practices take place intensively in this city. This study aims to complete the aspects that still neglect the attention of scholars by examining the practice of colonial governance to discipline the people of Surabaya through waste and excrement management. In addition to mapping the government policies in waste and excrement management, this article also analyzes why the colonial government failed to discipline the community. This study relies on primary sources in the form of news-papers published during the colonial period. The collected data was analyzed by following three stages, namely reduction, display, and data verification. This article concludes that the community's violation of colonial government rules in waste and excrement management shows the failure of colonial governance practices in disciplining the community. This community disobedience also reflects the public's distrust of the apparatus that carries out the rules. This study also shows that the repressive attitude of the colonial government in imple-menting environmental hygiene rules reflects awareness among Europeans about the importance of environmental health which is in line with public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-243
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Environmental politics
  • Garbage management
  • People’s resistance
  • Popular resistance
  • Society
  • State policy


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