The 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia panel’s are:
[click the title to open/close the panel abstract]
Chair: Martin Slama (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Nowhere else in Indonesia is diversity so discernable as in its metropolitan centers. There, diversity is manifested in socio-economic, educational, political, ethnic, gender, and religious difference. Diversity, in the urban context, poses a challenge not least since the rise of digital technologies and freedom of expression facilitated the permeation of divergence into the everyday life of ordinary urbanites. It is not without a reason that some of the most elaborated argumentations for tolerance (toleransi) and peace (perdamaian) have emerged from the educated circles of urban centers, like Yogyakarta or the capital city of Jakarta. Yet, encompassing concepts, like the national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, do not offer practical, enduring solutions to the oftentimes practical challenges of diversity. The panel invites papers that discuss diversity from the perspective of creative and sustainable practices in urban centers. They shall be able to portray how different agents in the city positions themselves with regard to diversity, starting from individuals, to activist groups, including private and government institutions. Papers submitted to this panel shall discuss not only emerging awareness of frictions related to difference but also the historical conditions that shaped urban realities that are both cosmopolitan and entrenched in local ethnic structures. Papers are welcome to discuss the presence or absence of practical solutions that deal with diversity as well as the challenges related to them, such as community contestation on horizontal as well as vertical levels; multiple, overlapping networks of collaboration; uneven distribution and occupation of public space; inconsistent mediation of difference online and offline; lacking representation of divergent/minority groups; etc. Papers are encouraged to present ethnographic case studies as well as results of on-going research projects.
The panel is concerned with the role of the Hadhrami community in mediating Islam in contemporary Indonesia. For centuries, scholars and preachers of Hadhrami descent have been influential figures in the religious life of Indonesian Muslims. In the late colonial and post-colonial periods, internal divisions as well as external contestations from other Muslim actors and communities have led to an unprecedented fragmentation of Hadhrami religious authority and their Islamic institutions. Against this historical backdrop, the panel investigates more recent developments of Hadhrami religiosity in its relation to Indonesia’s transforming Islamic field. In particular, it considers expressions of Islamic piety embedded in everyday practices, as well as the use of social media and new communication technologies. It asks how Islamic authority is mediated today by Indonesian Hadhramis within their community and in Indonesia’s wider public. How do Hadhrami Islamic figures reposition themselves in relation to Indonesia’s dynamic mediascape? To which new forms of Islamic sociality do they (have to) adapt, to become or remain influential among Indonesia’s younger generations of Muslims? How do they balance offline and online presence? How do they deal with the transformations of scholar/preacher-follower relationships that one can observe in Indonesia today? What role do they play in the changing fields of Islamic finance and charity work? The panel welcomes contributions that can relate to these or to similar questions concerned with Islamic authority and religiosity among Hadhramis in contemporary Indonesia.
In a public lecture given after 27 years of being banned from entering Indonesia, Ben Anderson in 1999 argued strongly that Indonesia should be seen as a common project. From the perspective of current developments, Indonesia seems to be moving away from the idea of Indonesia as a common project in which inclusiveness should be the norm underpinning healthy social relationships and wellbeing among all citizens. Various groups in society have been subjected to increasing marginalization that reflects a process of disintegration from within and the sign of failure in upholding Indonesia as a common project. Inspired by Anderson’s idea of Indonesia as a common project, this panel is an attempt to gather studies and research findings as well as reflections concerning the predicaments of marginal groups in Indonesia, such as women, labourers, LGBT, ethnic and religious minorities, and others. It is expected that the panel could not only contribute to vigorous academic debate and a deeper understanding of social, economic, historical and political processes, such as the various forms of populism that have characterised different eras of Indonesia’s history, but also provide recommendations for policy and wider social impact that could help to mitigate the threat of disintegration from within and the failure of Indonesia as a common project.
Recently, there has been debate on fake news (or it is known as ‘hoax’) and how it causes horizontal conflicts in society. To encounter, special task forces are established either by government or civil society. In short, hoax is one of serious issues today. This may become more serious when 2019 election comes. In parallel with technical solution to block hoax, I urge to seriously thinking about how people easily believe on it without careful attention. It is known in academic that such information should be traced and verified prior to use it as reference. However, ordinary people may not do this. It does not say that they have to learn thoroughly about specific methodologies in scientific manner but at least there are alternatives to educate people on how to accept and to use information wisely. Given the present-day of Indonesian online society context, information spreads freely along with increased use of Internet as one of information resources. In this context, some people may use Internet for disseminating hated and provocations. At the same time, Internet users consume this without verification. To prevent misunderstanding and conflicts, anthropologists may purpose digital ethnography approach (DE). As an approach, DE enables people to triangulate such information in order to verify whether the information is valid or not. The panel of DE will consist of researches, practices and innovations under DE rubrics in attempts to encounter hoax. Furthermore, this panel welcomes people with various backgrounds such as from information technology (IT), social researchers, policy makers and academia. The overall objective of this panel is to disseminate DE as alternative solution encountering hoax.
In this panel, we take up the concept of dependence to explore new or unexpected relationships that emerge through forms of displacement. We take displacement not just as the process of supplanting physically but consider the kinds of cultural, economic, environmental and political displacements that often, but not always, accompany the displacement of individuals, families, or peoples. In linking dependency to displacement, we highlight the social asymmetries frequently associated with these modes of displacement, leaving open the possibility for mutable arrangements of these asymmetries. In this panel, we are particularly interested in the causes and consequences of international Indonesian migration, as well as immigration to and emigration from Indonesia. The panel understands these different mobilities as related and articulating phenomena, contributing to cascades of displacement that, ultimately, exceed the boundaries of nation and state. However, we also consider the relationship between dependencies and displacements occurring ‘in place,’ including those related to addiction or cybermedia. Papers in this panel might, for example, explore such questions as: How does this moment of widespread access to technologies of communicability and real-time interconnectedness shade a contemporary analysis of displacement and what it means to be displaced? Drawing on Maussian concepts of reciprocity and indebtedness, what theoretical possibilities might dependency – and the temporality of dependence – open in rethinking marginality or precarity? And, if an attention to displacements typically focuses ethnographic attention on movement or change, how, instead, might the lens of displacement be useful in bringing concurrent stasis or continuity into greater relief?
Various ethnic groups in Indonesia-ranging from Aceh to Papua- has a drinking culture. Drinking culture present as adaptation mechanism to the cold and windy weathers, social function (togetherness), or as part of religious rituals. Nowadays, the drinking culture get some negative stigma in society and the government. Even today, the Indonesian government is preparing a regulation draft for banning alcoholic beverages. This policy can cause serious socio-cultural problems in the society, conflicts, or even disintegration discourse. This panel will discuss about the existence and function of traditional alcoholic beverages as well as shifting value of it. Keywords: drinking culture, traditional alcoholic beverages, shifting values
The democratic reforms that followed the stepping down of the authoritarian New Order regime, faces a rapidly shrinking space for religious diversity, sexual difference, and critical social movements. The morality of nationhood, epitomized by Indonesia’s national slogan of ‘unity in diversity’, historically refers to a respect for difference within the principle of inclusion. At the moment, however, diversity is increasingly becoming a scapegoat for political and social evils. the anti-LGBT movement, the criminalization of social movements and the religious fatwa against liberalism, secularism and religious minority groups are recent examples of social and political exclusion for the sake of ‘saving the nation’ or for ‘purifying religion’. In order to understand these dynamics, in this panel we will examine the issue of moral politics and the process of exclusion in Indonesia. “Unity” and “diversity” are both concepts that need to be examined critically since within diverse power structures these terms may be used for different purposes. Unity is an overarching rhetoric for solidarity and togetherness, but it may also involve the disregard of different claims and rights to justice. Diversity, on the other hand symbolizes the culture of difference, variations in values, but at the same time involves processes of boundary making and placing individuals or groups in particular boxes. The purpose of this panel is not to look at which term best suits our perception regarding cultural and societal ideals but more to examine the dynamics behind the cultural politics of unity or diversity and the consequences these have on different groups in society
The rich traditional medical system of the Indonesian multicultural societies has been known for long since the ancient cultures. Meanwhile, the modern medical system was mostly introduced to Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period. The interaction of traditional and modern medical system in Indonesia is shown through the hierarchy of resorts in choosing curative practices based on people’s cultural consideration in their living environments. Contemporarily, however, evidence of problems in achieving harmonious collaboration programs between the two medical system still occurs, such as false definition on medical concepts which previously non-existent, causing obstacles in implementing some essential health programs like vaccination. Some caused unsuccessful results in collaborating health care programs between both systems, in prevention, cure or rehabilitation aspects. What efforts have been made to eliminate false conception and practices derived from the misinterpretation on new ideas of outside cultural influences, due to the improper acceptance of rapid development of science, technology and digital communication.Equal information on new development approaches and methods of prevention, curing and rehabilitation between physical and mental health problems is also urgently needed, in response to the contemporary socio-cultural, political, economic activities and changes which increase situations full of violence, conflicts, injustice, and suppression towards the poor and powerless societies. There are also questions on whether the new health policies and regulations prove to cause more dissatisfaction for some people, rather than giving peaceful life, assurance and justice? We hope to have papers from scholars of different disciplines: anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, experts in social welfare and public administration, to provide their theories and opinions, for the improvement of the national health policies and implementation programs.
Indonesian citizen has a great opportunity to play roles in the policy-making process and the possibility to organize the government at the local level as a result of the democratization brought about by the Regional Government Law No. 22 of 1999. Followed by Law No. 4 of 2009, the regional government at the district level received a large portion of policy making for natural resource management. District level is the level of government closest to citizens in various regions that have abundant natural resources. With decentralized system, they get opportunities for vertical political mobilization. Head of the districts and their officials as well as and the members of the district parliaments were almost all of them local. Unfortunately, corruption and environmental damage due to bad management changes the good picture. Decentralization at the district level has in many cases resulted in a small portion of the local elite being upheld. The severity of their behavior is corrupt and enriching themselves becomes a common trend. It is often reported in the news that some district leaders and local parliaments members must end their careers in prison. On the other hand, the damage of the natural environment is uncontrolled. Wild encroachment is increasing in higher number. Departing from this concern, the state revised the Regional Government Law. This new law, which is the Regional Government Law No. 23 of 2014, particularly in the article 14-15, has a recentralization idea of power delegation in natural resource management. The newer law issued as the Regional Government Law No. 2 of 2015 has reinforce the idea. They attracted delegates to district authority in several natural resource extractions to the provincial level; some of them are directly handled by the central government. This panel will exercise the processes that occur at the bureaucracy and community levels after the enactment of the Regional Government Law which has recentralized the authority of natural resource management. In particular, papers on bureaucratic adjustments due to changes to the Law; dynamics between actors at the regional level; the impact on the management of natural resources at the community level; and various other possibilities related to the recentralization will be presented. Ethnographic findings and anthropological analysis will be directed at efforts to answer what is the best explanation for this phenomenon and how we can provide solutions to this arised problems.
This panel aims to engage with recent discourse in the anthropological theory of values to understand how people in Indonesian archipelago organize their lives and manage inter-group interactions within a diverse cultural landscape and in relation to the transformation of broader political-economic arrangement. Inter-societies order and conflict, we believe, are profoundly influenced by valuation practices. Insights provided by anthropologists had established that value, as a category, is pivotal in social life as it prompts people to rank and structure their experience. Cultural differences are not simply marked by variations of the categories people use to organise their lived experiences but also the diverging ways they consider the importance of certain actions. Comparisons and competitions of the people’s own values with “the Other,” furthermore, constantly accompany cultural differences. Across different time and places, then, it is only natural that social dynamics between different groups revolve around realisation, contradiction, adjustment, and accommodation of their values. The dynamics become even more complicated as capitalism order of values influences inter-society relations across the archipelago and perpetuated through intertwinement with decades of states’ socio-economic interventions to Indonesian societies. By addressing the role values plays within various Indonesian locales, we expect to produce a more compelling explanation of social dynamics stemmed from a diverse and changing cultural landscape, which had been perpetually addressed by the country’s prominent social scientists, as well as contributing to the anthropological theory of value, which, arguably, still lacking the insight from inquiries on inter-societies relationship. The topics, or cases, explored by this panel include but not limited to religious polarisation and conflict, inter-ethnic relation, myth, ritual and changing socio-economic order, the role of intermediaries ethnic groups migration (Hoakian, Fuchow, Javanese, Banjar, Bugis, Buton, Bajau, etc.), upland-lowland socio-political relationship, and the perpetual conflict between state, capitalism and indigenous minority.
This panel seeks to reflect on the state of educational anthropology in Indonesia and offer new theoretical and methodological approaches through the discussion of four projects focused on different facets of contemporary educational issues. Upon a brief discussion of the state of the field, Jenny Zhang (University of California-Berkeley) will first discuss her comparative study on the practices, developmental processes, and outcomes of an influential childhood literacy campaign, Literacy Boost, in Kabupaten Belu, NTT, and in Jakarta Utara, DKI Jakarta. Drawing on ethnographic research, discourse analysis, and language socialization frameworks, Zhang will share her findings on the intended and unintended outcomes of the literacy intervention, which include how literacy was framed and assessed in classroom practice; the power dynamics and democratic practices at participating schools; and discipline and constructions of authority, both in classrooms and among adult stakeholders of the program. Second, Askuri Ibn Chamim (Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies) and Joel Kuipers (George Washington University) will discuss their ongoing study on science education in Islamic schools at the junior high school level. Askuri and Kuipers will describe the unique ethnographic approaches they take to understand processes of student learning, and more specifically how religious motivation links to motivation in learning science. Third, Jessica Peng (University of Pennsylvania) will discuss her research on the “pedagogical labor” that goes into developing an outer island youth labor force under the current administration’s goal of “developing Indonesia from the margins” [membangun Indonesia dari pinggiran]. Through this presentation, Peng will offer ideas about how to approach a study on education outside of schools, drawing on theories of semiotics and social learning. Finally, Valentina Utari (SMERU Research Institute) will present on the RISE Indonesia’s ongoing study on pre-service teacher education program. Through engaging with teacher journaling, this team seeks to follow student teachers over the course of two years to understand what shapes teacher identities.
In Indonesia, like elsewhere, ethnography works have increasingly been inseparable from global connectedness which influences people’s way of thinking regarding their relationships with their surroundings (Appadurai 1996, Tsing 2004). At the same time, the so-called reflexive turn in anthropology (Clifford and Marcus, 1986) has called into question the often taken-for-granted positionality among the anthropologist. More than four decades have passed since legal anthropologist Laura Nader (1972) first called for anthropologists to ‘study up’, which calls into question the often taken-for-granted power relation between anthropologists and the people they research about (or rather, the people they do research with). Since then, Nader’s question has been taken up, and even challenged by anthropologists working with those who hold ‘more power’. Nader, herself, has further clarified her position that her call to ‘study up’ did not mean for the anthropologist to stop ‘study down’, but to study ‘up, down, and sideways simultaneously’ (2008). Anthropologists have discussed the challenges of doing ‘anthropology at home’/’native anthropology’, ‘reverse anthropology’, and other ethical dilemmas of doing ethnographic research. This panel invites abstracts that address the methodological dilemma anthropologists face in their search for ‘anthropological knowledge’, whether based on research in Indonesia and outside. The panel’s learning objectives are as followed: – to share the methodological reflection in anthropological research in responding to increasing threat to diversity; – to learn about the methodological innovation in anthropology to document diversity; – to understand how anthropologists, negotiate consent in research; – to discuss the ways, one’s positionality as a researcher define or limit our choice of methodology; and finally – to discuss the ways anthropologists (re)define research methodology in the era of ‘dis’-integration.
The collective violence has become the reccurance phenomenon in the post colonial history of Indonesia. A different pattern of collective violence took place in different regime of government. Unlike Soekarno era that deployed military to fight against pogroms and rebellions, the regime of New Order under Soeharto used state apparatuses to perpetrate violence toward civil societies for creating stability. After the extermination of communist party sympathisers in 1965-1966, Soeharto oppressed people or groups that challenged his power such as Islam fundamentalism. People who opposed to the government plan were also forced to agree unless they were intimidated or executed. Moreover, the regime also put the deliberation of issues on ethnicity, race and religion under their control to prevent the intergroup conflicts. However, when the authoritarian regime of New Order begin to weak followed by the resignation of from his presidency in 1998, the ethno-religious violence erupted in several areas. Starting the riot in Situbondo which attacked the religious buildings, the violence wide spread in other cities such as Banyuwangi, Kebumen, Tasikmalaya, Lampung, Surakarta, Jakarta and Medan. Not only Chinese descent who were attacked or harassed, other ethno-religious groups and minorities drag and became victim of the violent conflicts. Some conflicts were resolved by the chase fire or peace accord with the intervention of the central government, some others were left ended without reconciliation. This panel is going to discuss the contribution of anthropological studies in the discourse of violent conflict and peace building approaches. We hope that we can learn and update new research and theoretical framework as well as methodological aspects in the study of violent conflict and peace.
Whilst Indonesia was founded on the principle of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, the politics of difference has not prevailed as the governing principle in law, society and polity. Instead domination of the powerful has claimed of assuming the right to govern. During the Suharto’s New Order, the military dictatorship dominated Indonesia for more than three decades with complete impunity whereas in the post-reformasi era, majority-minority paradigm seems to rule the country. In both contexts, the rule of law has never been the top priority. Rather, the state of exception, as Carl Schmitt coins, governs and even condones the majority-minority paradigm. As result the Indonesia’s diversity in ethnicity, religion and class has been subjected to the domination of the majority and its narrative. The element of class and its vested interests, however, has been overlooked in the discussion of politics of difference in Indonesia. Inspired by Christian Fuchs who delves into the nexus between class and social movement, this panel will rethink the power struggle between ethnicity, religion and class that underpins the politics of difference. The panel is interested in addressing the following questions: • To what extent the class background of power players play a key role in the political contests that have used ethnicity and religions to support their claim for domination? • How does the power struggle between ethnicity, religion and class shape and re-shape the politics of difference in Indonesia’s future? • Does economic deprivation remain the main source of public protests and social mobilization? To what extent does it pose threats to the politics of difference? • To what extent is the relevance of Fuchs’ assumption about “the emergence of ‘postmaterial’ values [such as peace, gender inequality, ecological sustainability, sexuality, race and right-wing extremism, etc.] as well as the emergence of an ‘immaterial labour class’ in relation to the changing patterns of protest?
As a subject of anthropology, tourism had its dynamic perspective, from interest in culture contact (Smith, 1989), form of imperialism (Nash, 1989), into representation problem (Urry, 2002). Through its dynamic, the host-tourist relation seems could not escape from its dilemma, which the two groups are likely to encounter and the less natural they are likely to act. As Theodossopoulos (in Salazar, 2014) described, the situation led to exoticization, “limiting vision of indigenous host as passive recipient of tourism imagination; appreciate the agency of host in renegotiating their self-identity during tourism encounter”. Exoticization often co-exist in parallel in the tourist imagination, producing contradictions that set in motion the imagination of local host. The local is constructed in contradictory ways and has always been, at least in part, the product of outside influences (Appadurai, 1996:178–199), yet the exchange of values happens in this relations. In contemporary Indonesia, the tourism is imaged as instrument of beneficiary. Since Jokowi’s era, Indonesia’s tourism boom considered positive for the economy as can be seen in the flood of overseas visitor, massive investment, and acceleration of tourism infrastructures. In that situation, this panel wants to elaborate and present cases on the Indonesia’s tourism acceleration and its impact. This panel want to discuss how the host and guest relations in tourism at the time of Indonesia’s booming tourism? How and what kind of values exchange that happened in contemporary Indonesia, present and future? And also, how we reflecting the stranger at the tourism, in which we could not simply as socio-economy scape, but also correspondence on the nature and things that ironically a source for tourism industry itself.
In the midst of the abusive use of the media to promote stingy self-images, the indulgence of Indonesian diversity is on the edge. As a discipline that is quite uncomfortable to respond issues in an instant manner, how can Anthropology contribute to these high-speed digital disputes? What challenges and contents should we encourage the cyber squad to carry out, in order to install the peace of the diversity back at its proper space?
Moreover, with regards to a better put and say in the online world, we project a requirement to focus on how people navigate themselves to maintain the positive spirit of diversity. Yet, observing different actors with different needs in the complexity of digital structure and platforms on the net, should our research cover only social media? What if we consider other platforms to depict the diversity? And contemplating the method and methodology, how high we value results of the holistic online approach that researchers do among the avatars? Do we need to cover an offline approach as well, just as other fields of ethnography do?
This panel will wander around the process of context comprehension, by searching for a perfect approach and method to create a digital ethnography that can accountably describe the positive use of diversity of Indonesia today.
Digital, online, ethnography, methodology, media, mediatization.
This panel is questioning the positions, roles, and contributions of oral traditions in dealing with and responding to the development of ethnic, religious and class diversity in Indonesia. Empirical data on oral tradition shows that many traditions that are originally considered as local have disappeared or transformed due to various causes and purposes.
Some oral traditions, were used to support practical political interests. For example, in Flores, the wuat wai tradition were utilized to support candidate running for the head of regency during regional election’s campaign. On the other hand, oral traditions such as the Tabuik ceremony in Pariaman are used by the government as tourism objects to support tourism industries in the region. In another cases, many form and function of oral traditions have been disappeared or changed example as a result of cross-cultural encounters/collision between local culture with outside cultures or divine religions such as the Saba ritual of Badui in Banten and Rambu Solo in Toraja.
There are also expressions of rejections to the existence of oral traditions in which can develop into conflict or at least have potential to be latent conflicts. The burial ceremony in Bantul, Palu namoni in Donggala Sulawesi and gawai Dayak in Kalimantan are among the example. Thus, oral tradition can be appropriate for different purposes; as tools to develop regional potential, but it can also be a source of conflict due to the different interpretations of various groups that exist in this country. In other words, oral traditions can lead to the integration or disintegration of the nation.
After reformation era, which shape democracy in this country, have its own impact related to diversity and oral tradition. Almost every groups are struggling to maintain their existence, especially those whose existences are threatened by the rejection from the outsiders, which can lead to extinction. After reformation era, movements like that are increasingly widespread throughout the country. Those movements could become a capital or on the contrary it can be a source of conflict if there are collisions. The argument of equality as a label of democracy causes the problem solving become complex.
Questions that can be asked about this situation include: How is the position of the tradition from the local tradition? What is the contribution to this country? Does the oral tradition have to be maintained as a cultural capital of this country? Should oral traditions be maintained on the basis of equality? Should the oral tradition be developed? How did this tradition survive or be maintained or developed without inviting conflict? How to overcome threats related to maintaining and developing oral traditions that clash with outside/foreign culture? What policies should the government take as an effort to maintain oral traditions in the context of encounters and developments with the outside world? Studies related to the questions above are expected to maintain the cultural assets of this country as well as the issue of equality in the diversity of groups in this country without inviting conflicts or creating latent conflicts.
After the fall of Soeharto and followed by decentralization, Indonesia still faces a serious challenge from natural resources conflicts that are still on the rise. Indonesia indeed has potentials to develop policies for the advancement of the situation. The question remains why after the democratization, natural resources continues to be a prominent issue in Indonesia’s governance. While the natural resource is an umbrella concept, it is important to trace back the idea of commodities. Commodities can refer to both material and immaterial objects in our everyday life, but in this context, the focus is emphasized on staple and vital commodities that epitomize “natural” resources such as timber, land, rubber, and rice. Recent studies about commodity centers on the social life of thing approach that emphasizes how commodity has its own social life and equally interacts with the humane society to affect social changes. For instance, vast arrays of studies on how the flow of commodity reconfigures the landscape and social reality of people who involved in producing, distributing and consuming the commodity from the cradle to the grave. While tracing the social life of commodity and its consequences in social relations is crucial, the vice versa quest to investigating how the social relations mold certain things as commodities is also puzzling. This panel aims to explore the latter puzzle by examining the many ways the social relation comprises of manifold actors as well its multidimensional contexts of economics, politics and culture affects the evolution or transformation of things to become commodities; and how these commodities prevails. Empirical questions to be addressed in this panel are:
An enduring critique of the phenomenon of disciplinary diversity, nay fragmentation, in social sciences and humanities is one regarding the lack of conversation across the boards. Disciplinary boundaries render disciplines at times impervious to interdisciplinary borrowings and innovations. This situation severely hampers accumulation of knowledge and often led scholars into “debates in parallel universes” (Robison 2016). Anthropology and Political Science are no exception: tension exists between these disciplines resulting in, for instances, marginalization of ethnographic method within political scientists’ methodological toolkit (Bayard de Volo & Schatz 2004, but see Laitin 1998) as well as uneasiness on the part of anthropologists regarding social science’s claim on causal inference and its generalizability. And yet there always seem to be leading maverick scholars in Anthropology and Political Science successfully breaking disciplinary straitjacket to produce exemplary works cherished in both disciplines. To mention a few, some leading anthropologists have interrogated the state (Gupta 2012), explored the practice of governmentality (Li 2007), traced democratic transition (Hefner 2000), or charted the topography of globalization (Appadurai 1996, Tsing 2005).
Similarly, there are also political scientists utilizing ethnographic method to study peasant resistance (Scott 1979, 1985, 1990), understand the poetics of power (Weeden 1999), or claim meaning embedded in commodities as a causal factor driving mobilization (Simmons 2016; Wood 2003), all the while generally claiming how meaning-making can be a powerful independent variable. In addition, a methodological literature on how to wed Anthropology and Political Science as disciplinary practices or how to craft causal inference using ethnography begin to emerge (Aronoff & Kubik 2013, Aronoff 2006, Katz 2001, 2002, Schatz 2009). Thus, this panel aims at starting a conversation between political scientists and anthropologists working on Indonesia taking stock of issues pertaining to possible interdisciplinary engagements. The set of questions to be explored includes but is not exclusively limited to the following: (i) What are the objections regarding disciplinary practices from both disciplines that could possibly hamper mutual interdisciplinary engagements? (ii) What are the most fruitful areas of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological intersections between the two disciplines that inform practitioners and benefit their research? (iii) Are there examples of current works from actual practitioners—political ethnographers or political scientists drawing from ethnographic methodological toolkit—conducting research from which we can draw lessons regarding challenges and possibilities?
Our panel invites papers that explore questions and concerns above. We also welcome papers presenting results of studies utilizing conceptual, theoretical, and/or methodological innovations borrowed from both Political Science and Anthropology.
Discussant: Jesse H. Grayman (University of Auckland)
Political anthropologists’ attention to the state has been informed by the ideas that impersonal, calculative, and rational techniques are the primary way for the state in ruling its subjects (Foucault 2004, Scott 1998). Recent literatures on the state’s technologies of rule, however, have disrupted this understanding by decentering calculative practices (i.e., surveillance and statistics) in their ethnographic investigations to the state’s ruling practices. This disruption takes form in various analytical vocabularies–among others are morality (Fassin 2015), aesthetics (Ghertner 2015), affect (Jakimow 2018, Shoshan 2016, Masco 2014), and materiality (Fehérváry 2013, Hull 2012). Nevertheless, little of these contributions have been borne out of Indonesian-based ethnographic works. This panel is an attempt to use contemporary theoretical development on variations of ruling techniques to comprehend governmental practices in Indonesia. Thus, our first question is, how does the Indonesian government(s) rule? What are the spectrums of governmental practices that we can unearth from ethnographic cases in Indonesia? The answers to this question shall not be unitary as we define the state as a multi-spatial, multi-scalar, and disaggregated entity (Gupta 2012, Ferguson & Gupta 2002).
Furthermore, over the last decade, the question of (im)possibility of politics (e.g. practices that challenge or furthering state power) has always been a specter for scholars dealing with the modalities of rule. This specter has been addressed in two ways. First, deriving from Foucauldian conception of power, the state appears as a ubiquitous entity leaving no room for individuals to exercise their politics (i.e., governmentality; see Rose 2006; Foucault 2004). Second, deriving from a less invasive conceptualization of power, the possibility of subversive politics can be found in diminutive practices that challenge the state power (Scott 2009, Li 2007, Scott 1987). While both frameworks are fruitful in thinking about the implication of state power to the practice of politics, we wish to transcend this binary of domination and resistance. Given the dearth of sustained conversation of the implication of introducing new analytical vocabularies to the question of the modality of rules to the practice of politics, we arrive at our second question: how can investigating non-calculative modality of rule contributes to our anthropological understanding of the (im)possibility of politics? Can we possibly transcend the binary?
Our panel invites papers that concern non-calculative modality of rule (i.e., forms of governing technique not anchored in scientific, mechanical, and rational practices), politics beyond domination/resistance, or both. We welcome papers from various topics of ethnographic research including health, politics, economy, education, infrastructure, development, non-governmental organizations, and gender and sexuality across times.
This medical anthropological study consists of comparative ethnographies of how youth use chemical and pharmaceutical compounds in everyday life to manage not only pleasure, but also sex, moods, vitality, energy, work, appearance, and health. Contemporary anthropological theory tends to focus on the body as text, in the process diminishing its material significance. With the focus on what bodies culturally represent and their symbolic meanings, representation has been privileged over materiality and embodied experience, with little consideration for how bodies are lived, both socially and biologically.
A handful of sociological and anthropological studies have given us insight into what chemicals do for youths in their everyday lives. They help generate desired gendered subjectivities (such as being a beautiful and sexy woman or a brave and strong man), increase concentration and stamina, ease social interaction, create desirable moods, relieve aches and pains, and regulate fertility. The current inquiry will place both chemical materiality and sociality centre stage. Why do youths use chemicals in their everyday lives? What effects are they seeking? What role do chemicals play in calming their fears, in achieving their dreams and aspirations? There is a grave scarcity of ethnographic experience-near studies of youths’ use of chemicals in their daily lives.
The 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia