Origin and Ideology of Precedence after Christianity: Religious Change, Landscape, and Discontinuity among Kayan-Keyah in Central Borneo

Imam Ardhianto (Freiburg University)


This paper, following the emerging studies of Anthropology of Christianity try to assess the roles of Christian mission in the cultural discontinuity and radical rupture experienced by several ethnic groups in Central Borneo to understand origin and precedence. On the contrary with majority of studies that elaborates conversion and religious changes as a form of continuity represented by only symbolic assimilation and the incorporation of modern religion under existing cultural values, my paper will explore the discontinuity brought by the conversion to Christianity in Central Borneo and take Christianity as a new culture
with their own conception of history and agency able to vanishing former agency/spirits/ancestors. The massive burning of old religion cultural memorabilia in Central Borneo, changing settlement pattern as the consequence of logging expansion and the development of Mega Dam, and the change of livelihood practices from collective based swidden farming into household basis farming were happens as the consequences of the introduction of Christianity. These three factors enabled the disappearance of spaces, places, and materials important to present the importance of origin and precedence. Following James Fox ambitious projects to compare the ideology of precedence and the importance of origins in Austronesian societies, this paper will offer the context of Christianity and changing social formation as important factor to elaborate the vanishing ideology of precedence and origins in Central Borneo and it’s role in the new landscape of religion of Central Borneo. As a region marked with a diverse ethnic group and linguistic variability, the changing socioeconomic landscape and the arrival of world religion turn inside out the social basis and ideological articulation of precedence. What are the implications of changing
landscape, capitalist expansion, and Christianity to the ideology of precedence and the importance of origin among Kayan-Kenyah in Central Borneo? How they experience contemporary life and their history after Christianity?

Keywords: Ideology of Precedence, Origins, Discontinuity, Christianity, Religious Change