16.2. How Indigenous Are The Tenganese

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I Wayan Suyadnya (Universitas Brawijaya)


Beside culture and tourism, adat (include desa adat) also have pivotal attention as dominant discourses of Bali by researchers, scholars, government (both province and national), tourists and even Balinese. In common Agama Hindu and Budaya (arts), Adat is recognized as a strong classification to describe the levels of kebalian – the term introduced into 1990 to define Balinese Identity by Michel Picard, the French anthropologist. However after decades in short, then, adat emerged as a control to manage social, religion and cultural problems in Balinese society. In practice, it also shows a strong dominance to discipline members of community adhere to the state regulations. In my case, I noted different and important things in the matter of adat discourse. It can be used commonly as a differentiation strategy while desa adat is practicing what they called as “adat” in everyday life (sima, karma, and dresta). The study is an ethnographic research and it is located in Tenganan Pegringsingan in Karangasem Bali – famous for colonial literature as “Bali Aga”. The study focuses on how local community (adat) negotiates their identities and cultural-social boundaries; and how the roles of desa adat in the use of symbolic capital to avoid as marginal group stereotypes. Therefore, the main question in this research, how indigenous are Tenganese, is to be answered by focusing the results of the dialogues among members of the desa adat Tenganan. I argue that the Tenganese of Bali, caught in a contemporary adat discourses and practices, make strategic use of such self-identification and distinction to affirm and advance their own ethnic positioning on Bali. In general, this article is expected to contribute to answering problematization concerning the rights of marginalized and indigenous peoples both in the periods of New Order or Post-Reformasi in Indonesia.

Keywords: adat, marginalization, indigenous, identity and social movement