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

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Beyond Authority, Love, and Piety: The Visual Politics of Habaib Images in Contemporary Indonesian Spaces
Ary Budiyanto

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 126
Date: 2019-07-24 01:00 PM – 02:30 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


Along with the growing popularity of religious performances that feature the Habaib figures along with local kyai after Reformation, Habib's posters and photos are increasingly comoditized and consumed mostly by the NU community. Research of Evirantyas (2016) in some of this NU laymen community at Dusun Krajan, Kalipare Village, Malang Regency apparently shows that there was a striking change on the feelings of love and reverence to the figures of Walisanga and NU local Ulama as they shifted their practice of love and piety to the Habib. This is evident from the local practice of lay NU people, who now prefer to display photos and pictures of prominent and living habaib rather than displaying local walisanga or ulama images. There is the impression that the authority and charisma of local ulama become (slightly) neglected. Using visual semiotic this article would like to see what is the political phenomenon of this changes and describe how the concept of 'karomah authority' (charisma) of images and photographs displayed in the public spaces and at homes. This advanced visual-ethnographic study found that by accumulating these habib images and photos, local ulama were not only passive tawadhlu and taklim (not to say co-opted or subordinated) with these habaib but also engaged in identity politics to reinforce their authority and charisma in society. While for the NU people visual blessing of photos and pictures of the habib is believed to be able to increase the tranquility and firmness of their faith and Islam.