IIAS_Newsletter#37 22-06-2005 14:17 Pagina 14 Technologies of feeling and being:
medicines in contemporary Indonesia
Transformations wrought by urbanization, industrialization and economic globalization are
embodied in diverse local social and cultural formations played out in the routines and
practices of everyday life. Changing forms of consumption, whether of clothing, material

items, food, or other substances including drugs and medicines, are an increasingly
working classes including office and fac- one’s physical and psychic resources.
important form of agency in our lives today, closely tied to issues of subjectivity, identity, and
negotiating relations of authority and power.
offer health, ready energy, and readiness for action, in the face of the daily grind M a r g o t L . Ly o n
Focusing on particular objects of
acid), inositol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, masks the effects of lack of sleep, inad- caffeine, ginseng, and royal jelly, and the equate caloric intake, poor nutrition, pol- artificial sweetener, aspartame, Extra Joss gives instant energy and aids in feel- ing refreshed (segar) or recharged. But a ditions and lived experience.1 Taking the major part of the success of Extra Joss - ic life result in the fragmentation of con- ple are affected by radically altered social term ‘jos’ evokes powerful connotations.
Jos is used as an exclamation in modern tion’, and thus objectification, of the tive means cool, groovy, awesome. Jos also literally means explosive, as in ‘kopi jos’, a term used to describe a kind of cof- being, of protecting the self, yet in fact contributes to alienation of the self.
ina, and the ability to perform in the face the coffee boils up. And, jos or joss con- effect tinkers with the relationship of the these changes being ‘interiorized’ and notes magic, such that the name Extra self to the world, and, through the enact- ‘exteriorized’ in new forms of embodied Joss carries the connotation of ‘extra magic’ or ‘super-efficacious’.
reaction are readily revealed is the explo- range of over-the-counter (OTCs, i.e.
stamina (pemulih stamina). Sold in the name of Irex3, it gained national promi- nence when, along with Extra Joss, it was a featured product in Bintang Toedjoe’s 1. See, for example, Marcus (1995) on multi- these fears were increasingly realized as tively rich tradition, particularly in Java, The ‘uses’ of medicines in
2. The study of the socio-cultural dimensions Indonesia
herbal concoctions (jamu). This is par- of medicine use is part of a growing sub- ticularly true of jamu for the enhance- of jamu kuat lelaki have also increased prowess and stamina (jamu kuat lelaki), dramatically in the past few years, main- rily in The Netherlands, e.g., Sjaak van der the jamu manufactured. Indeed, the body is a chief site of agency, and there- brands sold nationally (e.g. Kuku Bima, published a seminal collection in this area ic realities, that one sees the expansion StrongPas), many of those marketed as (1988). See also van der Geest, Whyte & and, at least initially, was almost entire- herbal equivalents of Viagra in fact con- tain anabolic steroids or synthetic testos- 3. Irex contains Yohimbe cortex extract, an medicines in this sense is not about the self, that is, actions performed on their An additional type of jamu is worth but about what else is sought through their use. After all, the notion of effica- References
these packaged jamu constitute some of - Appadurai, Arjun. 1986. The Social Life of with restoration of health, is also about ‘Treatments’ for
Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective.
contemporary life
With the failure of reform (reformasi) - Marcus, George. 1995. ‘Ethnography In/of to strengthen but also to treat or hold at the World System.’ Annual Review of one’s energy, often giving way to depres- - Van der Geest, Sjaak and Susan Reynolds street-side stalls, jamu kiosks, and in Whyte, eds. 1988. The Context of Medicines efficacious is thus about what we seek, as due to the corticosteroids or other phar- in Developing Countries: Studies in Pharma- ‘needs’ and new ways to ‘treat’ the expe- ceutical Anthropology. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
and - in sufficient dosage - assist people energy product in this period was Extra graphical Approach,’ Annual Review of ‘energy drinks’ (minuman penambah Joss, made by PT Bintang Toedjoe. Sold tenaga) or ‘health drinks’ (minuman kese- (jamu) preparations, thus constitute an hatan). Examples of energy drinks from sachet, Extra Joss was ready to mix with Margot L. Lyon is in the School of Archaeol-
water, soft drinks, or even beer. Its cost function and thus susceptibility to infec- ogy and Anthropology at the Australian Lipovitan (an older energy drink mar- National University, teaching in the areas of keted since 1985), M-150, Fit-up, critical medical anthropology and the Hemaviton, and Kratingdaeng. Contain- Technologies of self and being
anthropology of emotion. She was an IIAS Medicines of energy, power,
fellow in 2004 and is currently working on a and action in a time of crisis
one sense, to be selling a chemical sense book on the embodiment of change in royal jelly, caffeine, glucose, etc., these with an increase in energy and alertness, economic groups, Extra Joss made a I I A S N e w s l e t t e r | # 3 7 | J u n e 2 0 0 5

Source: http://www.iias.nl/nl/37/IIAS_NL37_14.pdf


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