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12 Ethnicity, Religion and the Economic Imperative

Some Case Studies from the Fringes of West Bali

Series:

Mary Ida Bagus

Abstract

Ethno-religious competition has always featured in the social landscape of Jembrana, the western region of Bali. Cooperation and conflict, integration and separatism are common themes in Jembrana histories. This chapter will discuss Bali-Hinduism and Islam as the two dominant and often competing ethno-religious identity systems in Jembrana.


Examples from the fish processing and timber industry as well as kafe (prostitution) illustrate how economic factors influence local opinion around ethnic and religious differences. Jembrana hosts a diverse range of primary and secondary industries that are dominated by particular ethno-religious groups. The notorious kafe scene illustrates specific roles played by discrete ethno-religious groups, an ambiguous arena of social relations in the evolving moral order that generally pervades discourse on Indonesian citizenship and particularly Bali Hindu identity.


This chapter highlights the implications of economic necessity that contribute to ethnic and religious stereotypes in West Bali and how these characterizations inform local social systems.


Series:

I Nyoman Darma Putra

Abstract

Near the tourist resort of Nusa Dua in Bali sits a cluster of houses of worship representing five out of the six religions (agama) officially recognised by the Indonesian state. The site, called Puja Mandala, The Domain of Worship, is home to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, Catholic Church, Protestant Church, and Islamic mosque. The plan to build this complex was initiated by the national government in the early 1990s, following the construction of international chain hotels in Nusa Dua. Puja Mandala was intended to provide visitors with worship facilities, acknowledge the equality of these official religions, and symbolically express tolerance and harmony between the members of different agama embodied in the national slogan, “unity in diversity.” This chapter investigates the mixed responses to Puja Mandala from the different religious communities in the 15 years of its existence and interprets its significance as an invented icon of religious tolerance.


Series:

Leo Howe

Abstract

This chapter examines aspects of nationalism, citizenship, migration and belonging in relation to an informal chess club in Denpasar, Bali. The members include Hindu Balinese, but the majority are labour migrants from other islands who are both Muslims and Christians. The group, highly heterogeneous religiously, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically, is thus a microcosm of national Indonesian society.


Howe uses the game to explore how players employ chess to think imaginatively about Indonesian society as it currently exists and how they would like it to be. The meritocratic and egalitarian nature of chess allows players to criticise inequality, corruption and ethnic and religious conflict. The chapter concludes by introducing a distinction between “Balinese society” and the “society of Balinese,” and discusses the closed nature of the latter and its virtual impenetrability by migrants, however long they have lived on the island.


9 United in Culture – Separate Ways in Religion?

The Relationship between Hindu and Christian Balinese

Series:

I Nyoman Dhana

Abstract

The topic of the harmony and peacefulness among Balinese people has become an integral aspect of the discourses about Bali which has been adapted by the Hindu Balinese as well. Such a discourse leaves out the Hindu Balinese’ relationships to various minorities, such as the Christian communities. The relationship between Hindu and Christian Balinese has never been “harmonious,” though recently the tensions between them have decreased. In contrast to other religious minorities, the Christian Balinese are predominantly people who converted fairly recently from Hinduism to Christianity. Thus, they share the same genealogical and cultural roots as their Hindu neighbours, but different religious affiliations have divided communities and even families. Christian Balinese are excluded from the rights and benefits their Hindu neighbours enjoy as full members of the desa pakraman (village). Nevertheless, the Christian minority has now apparently decided to live in “harmony” with their dominant counterparts – by complying with their rules.


Series:

Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin and David D. Harnish