17.9. Picture of the Rural Lifestyle: A Middle Way of Combating Social inequalities among Villagers

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Nursyirwan Effendi (Universitas Andalas)


After political reformation in line with globalization process, tremendous socio economic and communication changes have been obviously occurring in all over Indonesia including urban as well as rural areas. These changes opened mind community for enhancing making life better than before. Government committed to putting the last first in development policy for decreasing inequalities in many ways between urban and rural conditions. Rural areas were targeted and became a top priority through accelerating in living standard. It is the fact that rural conditions could not significantly move on to the best expectation due to the poverty is not easy to be eradicated, however, the emergence of better-off in the village was inevitable. One of evidences in rural changes is phenomena of life style. Studies on life style in the line of globalization have been much conducted in the urban Asian contexts by many scholars (Evers, 1995, 1997; Hefner 1998; Szanton, 1998, Abdullah, 2005). Most studies are focused on the urban lifestyle and the cause of globalizing market that produced the mass consumption. It is, however, less studied that the globalization has inevitably also penetrated rural areas and brought about the new lifestyle among villagers. Villagers who are culturally a traditional ethnic community are also experiencing global lifestyle by adopting mass consumption and communication means. This paper tries to bring an issue of life style that plays to some extent an important role as a kind of social negotiable ways among villagers dealing with social and economic inequalities. It may give an alternative understanding of inequalities can be overcome by acknowledging a particular lifestyle as a middle way of avoiding status discrepancies among villagers in the midst of ongoing changes. The paper content is based on the economic anthropological study on market culture and changing rural lifestyle.