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About us Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society Organization Staff PhD Research Comparative Study of Religion

Intan Permata Sari

Between Cultural and Political Identities: State and Society in the Making Enggano, an Outer Island in Indonesia

Enggano's identity has been constructed by various factors, such as past experiences, collective memories, pressure from government policies, and the influx of new people and values. On the one hand, the people of Enggano maintain local wisdom, traditions, and customs derived from the experiences of their ancestors; on the other hand, these values must be adjusted to various state interests. Government regulations and policies have increasingly threatened the existence and identity of tribal communities. As such, Enggano is a site of contestation, with the people of Enggano asserting their cultural identity while the state promotes its brand of nationalism. Being isolated does not mean being outside the reach of state regulations and interests (which tend to ignore local interests).

The Enggano community is built on its response to socio-cultural and economic changes that have occurred over a long period of time. Facing outside pressure and being forced to accept new 'modern' values in the fields of religion, culture, economics, and social organization, Enggano has been integrated into the national socio-political system as new laws have allowed the state to enter and interfere in the formation of its identity. This study not only investigates the rejection and acceptance of change, but questions how these significant changes have been addressed by the Enggano people and how they have utilized these changes for their own betterment. In other words, this study looks at how contestation between local cultural authority and national political authority takes place in Enggano.

Last modified:25 July 2023 12.06 p.m.