Dharma Power

Searching for Security in Post–New Order Indonesia

in Social Analysis
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Security concerns are creeping into new aspects of everyday life in Indonesia, resulting in new organizational forms and ways of perceiving self and society. Stressing the cultural shaping of all security discourses, this article examines how members of the Balinese minority on the island Lombok have formed a Hindu-inspired civilian security force known as Dharma Wisesa. I argue that the appeal of this movement is located in its attempts to fuse domains of power that the modern state has prised apart. Having appropriated the magic of the state, the Dharma Wisesa movement also maintains relations with a 'spirit army' that provides supernatural support. Such practices draw into question the notion of secular modernity and suggest that authority is constituted by allying oneself with different forms of power, both visible and invisible.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology