Problematizing inequality and inclusiveness of the “Masyarakat Adat”: The power-knowledge nexus

In a highly critical speech on his first public appearance in 1999 after 27 years banned to enter Indonesia, Ben Anderson, among others, make the following statement: I mention this little episode simply because I see too many Indonesians still inclined to think of Indonesia as an “inheritance,” not as a challenge nor as a common project. Where one has inheritances, one has inheritors, and too often bitter quarrels among them as to who has “rights” to the inheritance: sometimes to the point of great violence. People who think that the “abstract” Indonesia is an “inheritance” to be preserved at all costs may end up doing terrible damage to the living citizens of that abstract geographical space. Basing on the argument that Indonesia should be seen as a common project, this panel is aimed to problematizing one of the outcomes of reformation that is the construction of “MasyarakatAdat” as an idea as well as an organizing principle to mobilize the so-called indigenous people in Indonesia. While the panel share the grievances and support the livelihood improvement of these marginal groups, would argue that the social and political construction of “Masyarakat Adat” posits several problematiques. The coin of the term, “Masyarakat Adat” deeply evolved the nexus of power and knowledge, transforming from the term “SukuTerasing”, introduced by anthropologist, Koentjaraningrat, in the heyday of Suharto’s New Order repressive regime, to tame and sedentarized these nomadic peoples, is the case in point. The marginalizing process, is therefore originating not only from the reckless state’s apparatus but also from the construction coined by social scientists. The idea of indigeneity and the right for inheritance embedded in the concept of “Masyarakat Adat” implied an exclusiveness that is in the contrary of inclusiveness of all the Indonesian citizens. The panel hopefully could provoke healthy discussions among everybody who concerns with the livelihood improvements of marginal groups in Indonesia. Replenishing the imagination of Indonesia as a challenge and a common project is ultimately the goal of this panel.

Panel Coordinator:

Herry Yogaswara (LIPI)
Riwanto Tirtosudarmo (LIPI)
Fadjar I. Thufail (LIPI)


  1. Bajau as Maritime Creoles : Dynamic of the Ethnogenesisin Southeast asian Maritime World [Nagatsu Kazufumi]
  2. How Indigenous Are The Tenganese [I Wayan Suyadnya]
  3. From “Suku Terasing” to “Masyarakat Adat” : An Evolution a mobile term [Riwanto Tirtosudarmo]
  4. Self Identification and State Recognition of Indigenous Peoples Rights in Indonesia [Nukila Evanty]
  5. Adat and the Dilemma of Creative Economy [Fajar I. Thufail]
  6. The Primitive Accumulation and the Accumulation by Disposesion : The Nickel Mining industry and the indigenous peoples in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia [Arianto Sangaji]
  7. Menghitung Resiko Revitalisasi Adat dalam Konteks Demokrasi : Pelajaran dari kepulauan Kei [Dedi Supriadi Adhuri]
  8. Persepsi Masyarakat Terhadap Pembangunan Desa Adat di Desa Waale-Ale, Kecamatan Tongkuno Selatan Kabupaten Muna [Nimas Tunas, Isra, Wa Ode Kolombia, Ady Setyawan, & Wa Ode Sifatu]
  9. The Exclusion of Nias Squatters in West Sumatera [Narihisa Nakashima]
  10. We Have (No) Perda: The Formation of District Regulation Regarding Masyarakat Adat Among Kasepuhan Peoples in Banten and West Java [Herry Yogaswara]
  11. Transcending minority status through music, performance and spectacle: representations of ethno-cultural indigeneity and plurality in Lampung’s 2015 Krakatau Festival [Aline Scott-Maxwell]