This article explores the symbolic violence experienced by children in their everyday lives as represented in an Indonesian contemporary children novel, Mata di
Wikan Satriati, Dhita Hapsarani
Tanah Melus (2018) by Okky Madasari. Unlike physical violence where its effect can be clearly recognized, the nature of symbolic violence—though equally harmful—is very subtle, so the victims may not recognize the violence. The research aims to identify how symbolic violence from adult to children is represented—especially in daily life—and how a protagonist deals and then negotiates with it. This article applies Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence and Maria Nikolajeva’s theory of adult’s aetonormativity. Several studies on adults’ symbolic violence against children in Indonesia have been carried out in folklores and dystopian novels. This article examines a contemporary children’s novel written by Okky Madasari. The novel is one of few Indonesian children’s novel that contains the issue of symbolic violence against children within modern and traditional worlds. The result of this research indicates that there are many forms of symbolic violence from adult to children, one of which is the domination of adults who are not aware that children also have their own opinions and needs. Such domination silences children and makes them lose their voices. Nevertheless, the research revealed that despite adult’s domination, the children characters in the novel found their agency and empowerment to negotiate the situation after encountering an otherworldly realm and going on their own adventures without the presence of their parents.
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