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Each study investigates an area that has experienced escalating conflict with violent, or potentially violent outcomes, but goes beyond attention to the dynamics of escalation to also address the ways in which communities sought to avoid violence or maintain peaceful relations. Taken together, these studies yield a complex picture of the local dynamics underpinning the plurality of contemporary Indonesia.

Figure 1. The question, then, becomes not so much about social organisation, but about the social construction of cultural difference. Viewed in this theoretical context, the authors reveal common themes in regard to inter-religious group dynamics. Throughout the archipelago we see lingering impacts of colonial histories and post-colonial nation building on inter-religious relationships.

We see the force of the ideology of nationalism.

Again, the Indonesian government as part of its nation-building program circumscribed pluralism by prescribing that its citizens adhere to one of six world religions agama. State policies that redefine group identities and territories also change the balance of local relationships in ways that may get expressed in terms of religion, with sometimes devastating outcomes.


Struggles over power and resources, too, get mobilised in ethnic and religious terms, and, ultimately, if we want peaceful societies, we must tend to the injustice of economic and social inequalities. The impact of a growing trend toward judicialisation also becomes very clear—that critical moment of entering inter-religious dynamics into a judicial system, to bring them under the purview of law Crouch Crouch, Melissa. Contemporary Southeast Asia Series. New York : Routledge. In particular, national regulation pertaining to the construction of places of worship plays a role in most of the cases presented here.

This derives from a Joint Ministerial Decree originally , stipulating conditions for building and renovating places of worship, and requiring permission from other community members. Purportedly this is done in the interest of facilitating inter-religious harmony, but in practice reflects an assumption that minority groups must bow to majority sentiments about their presence.

We need only recall the aftermath of the ban against proselytising by the minority Muslim group, Ahmadiyah, for violence against Ahmadiyah by other Muslims only worsened after the ban, and it may continue to inspire hostility against other minority groups Crouch Crouch, Melissa. All areas experience tensions resulting from the above factors; yet only in some do tensions escalate into inter-religious violence.

Under what circumstances do communities manage to maintain peace?

The contributors to this issue draw our attention to a spectrum of mechanisms for mediating tension. Sometimes people simply avoid the situation by removing themselves, but in many cases peace is facilitated by a variety of exchanges and transactions. These involve different degrees of accommodation to majority practices, but also economic relationships, kinship bonds, including fictive ones, and sharing in celebrations see also Pedersen Pedersen, Lene.

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Harnish — Every case demonstrates the importance of places of worship. As spaces that reflect the social group and as spaces of potentiality, places of worship are contested, attacked, protested and protected. Where majorities directly have supported minorities in their worship, this takes on a significance that gets mobilised toward peaceful solutions in times of conflict.

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Conversely, when majorities restrict minorities in their worship, this has detrimental consequences. We see further the importance of a narrative framework, which characterises connections between the communities in question as peaceful. The stories people tell themselves and each other about their relationships critically play into the nature of those relationships. This resonates with perspectives from conflict studies. Ithaca : Cornell University Press. As Duncan points out, even the most meticulous accounting of chronologies and causalities, focusing on elite machinations and political fault lines, is not necessarily even relevant to why people actually kill each other ibid; Spyer Spyer, Patricia.

The workings of the imagination emerge as a pervasive finding for our authors, for each of them points to the significant role of rumour in creating disruptions, mobilising fear and escalating conflict see also Bubandt Bubandt.

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One might wonder why people continue to pay attention to even preposterous-sounding rumours when they know they are often fabricated. Duncan Duncan, Christopher. We are dealing here with what Good Good, Byron. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

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Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Cambridge : Harvard University Press. Rumours of course also may reveal something about underlying community tensions White White, Luise. Berkeley : University of California Press. Princeton : Princeton University Press. Intense emotions of fear, meanwhile, may be transformed into anger Pedersen Pedersen, Lene. Significantly, this issue shows that addressing rumours directly can be instrumental in preventing escalation and stimulating peace.

Local mechanisms of conflict resolution and a process of negotiation with leaders invested in peace remain important, even when inter-religious relations are judicialised by the state Crouch Crouch, Melissa. Siberut inhabitants navigated the newly defined inter-religious terrain by deploying various strategies whereby they did not openly resist, but also did not wholly comply. Some, especially coastal villagers who were most targeted, followed protocol and, at least on the face of it, converted to one of the permitted religions mainly Protestantism, but also Islam , while still continuing existing practices.

The social and ethnic impact of tourism on Siberut. The post-independence process in Siberut placed Protestantism, Islam and indigenous religion in relationships of tension that have little to do with religious ideologies per se, and everything to do with modernity and economic policy enforced with a religiosity of its own.

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With the difference construed as Muslim versus Hindu, tensions often play out at rituals and religious sites. In a case that also reveals the impact of the Ministerial Decree requiring community approval for the construction of places of worship, 4 [4] Elsewhere in Indonesia, the decree has been used to shut down thirty Ahmadiyah mosques, more than Christian churches, and several Buddhist temples Pearson Pearson, Elaine.

She documents the conspicuous hand of different government levels in negotiating the Hindu—Muslim conflict, and also the role of Muslim religious leaders and militia, variously contesting and supplementing state authority. As Telle also shows, Hindu-Balinese mobilisation for ritual can generate a strong message of burgeoning power. Nurturing expectations that masses of people will come streaming in is a typical mechanism for large Balinese rituals Pedersen Pedersen, Lene.

Ritual and World Change in a Balinese Princedom. Durham: Carolina Academic Press. The ability to mobilise natural and supernatural forces attests to the efficacy of ritual in ways that may make dominant groups fearful of the mystic powers of the subordinated. Americans at War: Society Culture and the Homefront. An Ideal Couple. Analysis of Appraisive Characterization 1st edition by Aschenbrenner L. Anderson T. Batchelor G. Being There. Bender Steven; Hammond Celeste M. Biografische Aspekte der Entwicklung eines professionalisierten Sexualverhaltens.

Pierre; Berg J. Van Den; Berg J. Bratcher Melanie E. Bulliet Richard W. Canoeing with the Cree. Cantini A. Cider Vinegar Olive Oil and Beans. Collected Papers by Gelfand Izrail M.

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