Globalisation and Local Identities: The Rise of New Ethnic and Religious Movements in Post-Suharto Indonesia

in Asian Journal of Social Science
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Abstract

A worldwide resurgence of local ethnic or religious identities has led to numerous conflicts locally, and also globally, since the end of the Cold War. This trend is exemplified by Indonesia, where political liberalisation after 32 years of authoritarian rule have allowed local identities and political aspirations to be expressed more freely and in new ways. In this paper, I look at new social movements that are demanding regional autonomy, more local control of local resources and greater recognition for traditional institutions. Such movements shed light on the challenges faced by the multi-ethnic nation of Indonesia today and, more generally, on shifting local identities in developing nations in a globalising world. An example of regional cultural revival movements in Indonesia is the Ajeg Bali Movement. This movement stems from a growing sense of disenfranchisement and desire for self-empowerment among Hindu Balinese. Contributing factors are political liberalisation and decentralisation, the 'touristification' of local culture, increasing dependence on the global economy, the threat of terrorism after the Bali bomb, the influx of Muslim labour migrants and fears of an Islamisation of the Indonesian state.

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