Event — Seminar

Umbu Bintang is a star: using tradition and religion to win democratic elections on Sumba (Indonesia)

Work in progress seminar
Presented by: Dr. Jacqueline Vel (Affiliated fellow at IIAS)

Wednesday 16 November 2005
Leiden University
Building 1103, Nonnensteeg 1-3, Room 329
15.30 – 17.00 hrs.

Discussant: Prof. Gregory Forth, senior fellow at IIAS

Studying the recent District Chief elections in June 2005 Jacqueline Vel focused her attention on the main opponent of the incumbent district Chief, both in East and West Sumba. How could the candidates convince the electorate of their superiority? What are the most appealing symbols of authority on Sumba at present? How could they construct a unifying political identity? The case contributes to the debate on the contemporary meaning and use of adat in Indonesia. A focal point of discussion is the matter of agency in the revival of traditions that has been reported in Indonesia since 1998, when president Suharto’s dictatorship was replaced by a democratic regime. The case also raises the question about the context in which religion is suitable to create political identity, and whether there is a difference between universalistic and communal religions in that respect.

International Institute for Asian Studies
Ms. Amis Boersma
071-527 4159