student profile: Mr Jazak Hidayat


Thesis work

Thesis title: Representation of the Meratus Peoples within the Discourse of Indigenous Movement in Indonesia: A Postcolonial Analysis

Supervisors: Susan GOODWIN , Ruth PHILLIPS

Thesis abstract:

This research presents an analysis of competing discourses of indigeneity in Indonesia. Although government have played a significant role, NGOs have played a more recent and profound role in constructing and shaping discourses that articulate an identity for indigenous Indonesians that seeks to compete the state’s policies on the so-called ‘adat communities’. The Indonesian government holds that there are no real issues related to indigeneity in Indonesia as it claims that all Indonesians are basically indigenous and prefers to apply the notion of isolation to describe communities that live in remote rural areas and strictly maintain their local tradition. However, many NGOs and activists insist that the government should recognize the existence of indigenous peoples in Indonesia and protect their rights.
Beyond its ongoing rebuttal and recognition, this issue has raised key questions about how are the Meratus peoples represented by NGOs within/through the discourse of indigenous movement in response to the state’s concept of non-indigeneity? How do adat (Meratus) communities represent themselves within the strengthening indigeneity discourse in Indonesia? How do NGOs construct the discursive representation of indigeneity among adat (Meratus) communities to compete the state’s construction of non-indigeneity? These issues need to be addressed in order to get a better understanding about indigenous peoples in Indonesia which, to a great extent, is hegemonized by the flourishing global notion of indigeneity.
Based on a postcolonial theoretical perspective, this study is aimed at exploring constructions of meaning about adat identity produced through the NGO's activisms discourses in Indonesia via a focused study in several adat communities in South Kalimantan province. Therefore, the research does not aim to make generalizations about indigenous experiences across all adat communities in Indonesia but rather to examine how national and local processes contribute to the construction of indigeneity in Indonesia.

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