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Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller

Unlike the Toba Batak, their more populous and powerful neighbours in northern Sumatra, the western Karo Batak today claim they have no creation myth. Yet certain clues point to shared cosmogony among several Batak groups, now reinforced by Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller’s discovery of a very old traditional house among the western Karo. The symbolic decoration of the house eliminates all doubt: the western Karo once viewed the cosmos as divided into three worlds – Upper, Middle and Lower. The giant dragon who lived in the Lower World carried the Middle World (where humans reside) on its back, while the Upper World was the abode of a supreme deity accompanied by his sons, spirits and the souls of human ancestors who had been rich and powerful.

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Edited by Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin and David D. Harnish

Between Harmony and Discrimination explores the varying expressions of religious practices and the intertwined, shifting interreligious relationships of the peoples of Bali and Lombok. As religion has become a progressively more important identity marker in the 21st century, the shared histories and practices of peoples of both similar and differing faiths are renegotiated, reconfirmed or reconfigured. This renegotiation, inspired by Hindu or Islamic reform movements that encourage greater global identifications, has created situations that are perceived locally to oscillate between harmony and discrimination depending on the relationships and the contexts in which they are acting. Religious belonging is increasingly important among the Hindus and Muslims of Bali and Lombok; minorities (Christians, Chinese) on both islands have also sought global partners.
Contributors include Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, David D. Harnish,I Wayan Ardika, Ni Luh Sitjiati Beratha, Erni Budiwanti, I Nyoman Darma Putra, I Nyoman Dhana, Leo Howe, Mary Ida Bagus, Lene Pedersen, Martin Slama, Meike Rieger, Sophie Strauss, Kari Telle and Dustin Wiebe.

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Ni Luh Sutjiati Beratha and I Wayan Ardika

Abstract

As historical sources document, people of Chinese descent and followers of Konghucu (Confucianism), as well as Hindu Balinese, have been living together peacefully in the same villages, though there exists a division of labour between them. Intermarriage has been a common practice and enduring relations of the couple with both the wife’s and husband’s sides are fostered. The authors of this chapter investigated three different villages to determine the extent to which people of Chinese descent participate in and are integrated into the village organisation. They conclude that the status of the Chinese within each village depends on the particular historical circumstances of that village, especially the relationship their families formerly had with royal houses. Furthermore, both the Chinese Balinese and the Hindu Balinese seem to have emphasised increasingly multiple identities over the past 15 years, resulting in mechanisms of exclusion as practiced by the dominant majority.


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Sophie Strauss

Abstract

The dispute over “sustainable” tourism projects on the banks of the neighbouring Buyan and Tamblingan lakes in the mountains of Buleleng (Northern Bali) has disunited the inhabitants in the villages concerned. In the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ arguments, each party draws on a similar syncretistic mixture of local Balinese ideas about human-environment relations, Hindu scriptures and elements from modernist ecological science with global “green” jargon. However, the configuration of these elements and the interpretation of them serve, as this chapter shows, different goals for different parties. This chapter traces how the actors combine global ideas of sustainability and ecology with Hindu Balinese space concepts and concepts of agama and local adat for their own purposes. In doing so, they renegotiate the power relations of local levels with provincial, national and transnational levels and rearrange the various constellations of minority and majority relationships.