Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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The Shifting Meaning of Stranger in the Balinese Politics of Migration
I Wayan Suyadnya

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 709
Date: 2019-07-23 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


Migration is often regarded as one of the causes of the fading of national culture or the local culture of the place that is settled. A particular understanding of immigrant and national culture underlies cultural politics, based upon concepts related to issues of ethnicity, symbols, and cultural attribution. The idea that migration will erode the national or local culture represents immigrants as a cultural threat to the national/local, a general assumption is prevalent in almost all countries that are the destination of migration. Many anti-immigrant arguments, under the pretext of protecting local people, are the basis of populist policymaking. In this paper a conceptualisation of complexity, seen as a part of the common project of Indonesia, is used as a theoretical framework to analyse majority-minority relationships. Focusing on case studies on changes in relations between local people and migrants in Bali, this article portrays changes in terms used to describe these migrants in their cultural life. The results of the study indicate that changing terms for migrants can be identified as the beginning of a process of disintegration occurring between migrants and local people. The local sentiments towards migrants were facilitated by regional rules under the pretext of protecting local communities. This article also shows that the policies of regional institutions (pemerintah daerah), the media and the daily perceptions of local people concerning migrants are stimulated by anxiety about losing cultural identity. At a critical point, the representations put forward by local political elites related to economic and cultural protection issues, as a form of populism, also contribute to creating the disintegration of relations between migrants and local people.

Keywords: complexity, policies, migration, majorities-minority, Bali