Twikromo, Y. Argo (2008) THE LOCAL ELITE AND THE APPROPRIATION OF MODERNITY A Case in East Sumba, Indonesia. Phd thesis, UAJY.

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As a student from Java, I wanted to conduct research outside Java, specifically eastern Indonesia, and to focus my study on local elite strategies in the links between the local community and government policy. Upon reviewing the existing studies in the field, I decided to base my research on a village community located in the central subdistrict in East Sumba. When I first visited Kamutuk (pseudonym) in January 2002 to conduct preliminary fieldwork, government officials and adat leaders asked me, ”Why did you choose Kamutuk for your study? Why did you not choose Prailiu, Umalulu, Rindi, Nggongi, Paraingu1 Kareha, or Kapundu ? If you want to study Sumbanese adat then you should choose one of these regions for your study. Kamutuk is not a representative area for studying Sumbanese adat.” My study, however, did not focus on Sumbanese adat. It required a region that was relatively removed from centres of both ”traditional” and ”modern” power. Kamutuk is not located in the regions considered to be the centres of ”traditional” power in Sumba, and it is about 106 km east of Waingapu, or far from the centre of ”modern” government. During my first visit to the easternmost tip of Sumba, I was surprised to see the presence of sophisticated technology, including satellite dish es to receive television broadcasts from Jakarta. I had imagined that this modern technology was present only in the district 1 Paraingu capital, Waingapu, and did not reach Kamutuk, my research area. It is, perhaps, common for those residing close to the central government on Java to construct an image of distant regions that have never been touched by sophisticated technology and to frame their ”stories of traditional life on distant islands”. I stayed in the house of the former village head of kamutuk, who still played an influential role in the community. I was invited to live in his house during my in itial visit to the village. A sub-district level government official supported this invitation, as did several neighbours, because he was considered the ”proper patron” for my fieldwork. I did not have any other choice at that time except to accept his invitation. I clearly benefited from living in the house of an influential local leader in a region I had never previously visited. I was received as a ”guest” and, later, accepted as a classificatory ”son.” This position facilitated my approach to other local leaders and opened opportunities for observation in my early fieldwork. However, it also represented a constraint on my activities as a researcher. For approximately two months, I was constantly accompanied by a grandchild or one of the ata (”slaves”) of m y host. My position as a classificatory ”son” not only identified me as a member of the noble class, but also a member of the clan of my host. In my early fieldwork, this position created a barrier for building relationships with other social groups. This was ju st one of the problems I encountered during my research. This story from my early fieldwork touches on only a brief portion of the long journey of my research. Step-by-step, each layer of the process unfolded, revealed itself, was addressed, and followed by another layer. I was entirely consumed with my research in Kamutuk over the period of one year. During this time, I met with the villagers, participated in their lives, and learned many new things. At times I was became discouraged and at times, exhausted, but I was committed to complete th is challenging intellectual, physical, and emotional journey. Many people have supported me in this process. My deepest honor, respect and gratitude are for Frans Hüsken, PM Laksono, and Jacqueline Vel. You h ave patien tly coach ed me, examin ed my drafts carefully, helped to formulate questions and focus on ideas. You motivated me when I was discouraged and encouraged me to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Your surprise messages always succeeded in inspiring me to finish this dissertation. Thank you for everything. To the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (NWO-WOTRO), th an k you for fun din g th is project with a scholarsh ip. I am also grateful to Atma Jaya University, Yogyakarta, for granting a leave of absence and allowing me to study in Nijmegen. I will never forget the kindness and generosity of my friends in Nijmegen and Amsterdam – Pujo Semedi, Made Kutanegara and Erwan. Their friendship and support sustained me during the time away from home and family. My heartfelt thanks to you. My friends and colleagues in the charming city of Nijmegen generously gave of their time to contribute critical comments on earlier drafts this paper. For their friendship and insightful comments, I thank Sukamdi, Iqbal Djajadi, Agus In diyan to, Gerben , an d Edwin . Th an k you, also, to Mevrouw Ricky Breedveld for administrative support during my stay in Nijmegen, and to Mas Dion and his family, Gus, Dick, Sonya, Betty, Rein allda, Mon ica an d h er family for th eir camaraderie. Mas Landung, Aloy, Basuki and all of my friends that I cannot mention individually encouraged me to continue writing in Yogyakarta. Thank you, and God bless you all for your kindness and support. Special thanks go also to Joan Suyenaga for her patience. Bapak Obed Rin a an d family, Umbu Man gu Abi (wh o passed away on 2 September 2007) and family, Wilyanto Umbu Tay, Stephanus, Dhani, Ruben R. Pulung Tana, John Takanjanji, Sem, Jerry, John, Marten and Umbu Borang – thank you for guiding and guarding me throughout my fieldwork. You all accepted me not only as your guest and as a researcher, but more than that, you accepted me as a member of your family. This is an immense honour and one that I will never forget. Finally, my family. To Christina Sri Wardani, my lovely wife and my ‘hero’: Life with you and our four children, in sad times and happy moments, is perfection. To my beloved children – Daniel Lintang Adhi Argoputra, Christopher Wintang Aji Argoputra, Hugo Candraditya Adrindratanaya and Gisela Malya Asoka Anindita – words cannot describe the depth of my love for each of you. To my father, A. Pandoyo, and the Suhardi family, thank you for understanding me and praying for me. I also dedicate this work to my beloved brother, Lambang Babar Purnomo (12 August 1951 - 9 February 2008), an archaeologist-cumcivil servant. His official duty of re-inventorying archaeological objects in connection with a case of stealing and forgery of some items of the collection of Radya Pustaka Museum in Solo (Indonesia) broughthim to the position of an expert witness and has, tragically, led to a death remaining mysterious till now. I mourned his death but am also respectfully proud of his dedication, bravery and sacrifice that will stay in spirational to me throughout my life. I present this dissertation to the field of anthropological studies. I hope this puzzle I have presented can be accepted as a small contribution to the broader field of knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (Phd)
Subjects: Komunikasi > Kajian Media
Divisions: Fakultas ISIP > Ilmu komunikasi
Depositing User: Admin Perpustakaan UAJY
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 14:05

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