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

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Revisiting Cikoang: Religious Authority among a Sayyid Community in South Sulawesi in the Age of Social Media
Muhammad Adlin Sila

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 126
Date: 2019-07-24 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-25


The millennials are presumably less likely to consider religion to be an important part of their everyday life. As opposed to the previous generation, the millennials often focus on individual needs and are critical towards traditional values and beliefs. They have been taught to question authority when ideals of morality are put at risk. As a result, they become more independent and consult diverse sources for religious guidance. By restudying the Sayyids of Cikoang, Indonesia, I suggest that the young generation of the Sayyids in the region are proud of their identity as people from Cikoang. They are active agents when showing their identity and unique rituals and festivals to the world through a range of social media. At the same time, the Sayyids, claiming descent from the family members (ahlul bait) of the Prophet Muhammad, are no longer the sole guardian of village rituals and the person-in-charge of the construction of meaning over rituals and festivals celebrated in today’s Cikoang. The religious authority of the people of Cikoang has diverse sources with different trajectories. The questions to be asked therefore are: Do the Sayyids remain authoritative among the people of Cikoang? In what ways do the millennials inculcate the embodied meanings of religious rituals in order to remain meaningful for them? Does the use of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram) give rise to new understandings of their religion? Who is benefitting most from the widespread usage of social media?