Looking at its history, dangdut began to emerge and was starting to get known by the people of Indonesia during the era of the New Order government. At that time, the target of development and modernization was always associated with foreign investment – everything from the West (Britain and the United States), and also the practices of Western-style consumerism. The development and modernization target gave rise to the assumption that the working class in Indonesia was underdeveloped simply because of their limited access to Western cultural products. The same thing happened in the pattern of production and consumption of popular music in Indonesia. Unlike pop and rock in Indonesia, most of which are influenced by popular Western music, which is considered as a reflection of modernity, dangdut, which is strongly influenced by Indian, Arabic and Malay music is considered as backward music.
Up until this day the origin of the term ‘dangdut’ was still unclear, but according to Remy Sylado (in Pioquinto, 1998) the term was first coined by musicians in Bandung in the 1970s. A condescending term, dandgut is an onomatopoeia of the drum rhythm, which produced the sound ‘dang’ and ‘dut’, when played. But it wasn’t until 1972, also according to Sylado, that the term dangdut was introduced to the general public when a magazine called Aktuil used the word ‘dangdut’ in their articles as a term with derogatory implications.
Adding to Pioquinto's search, Andrew Weintraub (2006) suggested that dangdut does not belong to a particular social class nor it is a category or attribute that refers to a particular social class. Furthermore, Weintraub said dangdut is one of the cultural practices that actively play a role in shaping the structure and meaning of "the people" in the context of Indonesian society, which is why dangdut oftenly referred to as music of the masses. As such, the process of forming the meaning and structure associated with dangdut as a form and style of music is inseparable from the circulation of ideology and representation carried out by media (television, radio, and print media) and governmental institutions. This can be seen as the community’s perception of dangdut shifted when the attitude of Indonesian media and government towards dangdut changed.