Indigenous Community Identity Within Muslim Societies

Zaenuddin Hudi Prasojo | CRCS

JayIn this paper I explore the effects of locality versus globalization in the process of ethno-religious identity construction of an indigenous community or ethnic subgroup known as the Katab Kebahan Dayak. That this community is located far in the interior of the large province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, does not preclude it from experiencing exogenous shocks and challenges to its way of life. In preparing this study I have followed the ethnographic and anthropological approaches that have been particularly influential on research in this region.2 Globalization has provoked the awakening of the silent voice of local traditions, especially those of indigenous communities. According to Irwan Abdullah and George Junus Aditjondro, the theme of locality has recently shifted from an out-of-the-way discussion to a mainstream scholarly concern under the rubric of ‘kebangkitan lokalitas dalam dunia global’ (the awakening of locality in the global era).3 There are several reasons why the phenomenon of Dayak Katab Kebahan into a global academic discussion. Recent ethnographic research has prompted closer attention to social and cultural phenomena associated with religion and religious practices, and made local traditions a more attractive, even ‘exciting’, topic across many disciplines. For many years before this, local cultures and traditions had been considered primitive and irrational, and classified as uncivilized to the degree of their remoteness from modernization. The self-proclaimed universality and rationality of modernity were once thought capable of (eventually) remedying the problems that have arisen in the wake of modernizing development. That is a view no longer held with much confidence. It has become increasingly obvious that development has brought some peoples to the very edge of destruction and led to imbalances in society and the natural world, and even to human rights violations. The environmental crisis emerging as a result of the illegal logging and gold mining integral to modern capitalist development in West Kalimantan is but one example.5


The author is CRCS student batch 2003 and his article can be found in Jurnal for Islamic Studies or

This post is also available in: Indonesian


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