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Jeremy J. Kingsley

This article demonstrates how an integral element of the fabric of governance on the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok, and many other parts of the Indonesian archipelago, are non-state local security arrangements, such as night watches and militias. These groups play a significant role in the local infrastructure of security and law enforcement. Consequently, this article challenges a common assumption by legal scholars, and many other observers of Indonesia, that state-based institutions such as the police are the exclusive, and only legitimate, mode of law enforcement in Indonesia. Through an ethnographic engagement with the idea of law enforcement on Lombok, I seek to broaden these assumptions about legitimate modes of statecraft. These non-state entities fill a void in the Indonesian law enforcement architecture that the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil (or potentially finds it more practical to delegate to local non-state institutions).

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Demotion as Value

Rank Infraction among the Ngadha in Flores, Indonesia

Olaf H. Smedal

A plausible reading by Joel Robbins of Louis Dumont as a value pluralist serves as the point of departure for this article. The value discrepancies in focus here are two fundamentally different ideological constructs. One manifests as a social organization characterized by hereditary rank based on notions of purity. The other echoes notions of a more egalitarian social order. The first is rooted in the cosmo-mythical past, the second in a much more recent discourse. The social organization premised on rank and purity is rapidly losing ground—in part due to the influence of ‘the modern’, but even more so because its internal logic works against it. Empirically, the article centers on a complex ritual in which the opposing values are triggered, producing profound emotional turmoil.

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'New Barbarism' or Old Agency among the Dayak?

Reflections on Post-Suharto Ethnic Violence in Kalimantan

Michael R. Dove

The collapse of the 33-year-long military dictatorship of President Suharto in 1998 was closely preceded and followed by outbreaks of ethnic conflict and violence across the country. This violence quickly attracted the attention of scholars, far more so, ironically, than did the mostly ‘quiet’ but equally destructive violence of Suharto’s long and oppressive rule. Anthropologists and other social scientists have since produced an extensive literature on the outbreaks of ethnic violence in Indonesia (Anderson 2001; Hüsken and de Jonge 2002; Wessel and Wimhöfer 2001), especially Sulawesi and eastern Indonesia (Acciaioli 2001; Aragon 2001; Klinken 2001; Spyer 2002; Vel 2001), and its historic antecedents (Colombijn and Lindblad 2002; Nordholt 2002; Wadley 2004). The following analysis will focus on the violent conflict between Dayak and Madurese that broke out in Kalimantan in 1997 and flared up sporadically during the years that followed. Whereas outside observers, including this writer, reacting against ‘new barbarism’ media accounts, tended to attribute this conflict to the political-economic legacy of Suharto’s New Order regime, the Dayak themselves attributed it to cultural differences with and offenses by the Madurese. This indigenous explanation, claiming ‘agency’ at the expense of political inexpediency, poses a challenge to scholarly conventions of representation.