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

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Fostering Inter-Faith Engagement through Civic Crowdfunding in Contemporary Indonesia
Bhirawa Anoraga

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 126
Date: 2019-07-24 03:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-25


This study aims to investigate the recent scholarly discussion on whether Islamism is on the rise in contemporary Indonesia. Over the last two decades, scholars have observed that Islamic conservatism has been growing in the country. For instance, van Bruinessen (2013) argues that Indonesia is experiencing a ‘conservative turn’ which to some extent has been spurring exclusivism and inter-faith tension. In other words, there is a growing fear of the nation’s disintegration which involves the anxiety between the Muslim majority and religious minorities in Indonesia. In contrast to the existing studies that observe the rise of ‘conservative turn’ in Indonesia, this study will highlight the trend where inter-faith engagement is embraced by the youth through civic crowdfunding practices. This study draws from the cases of the largest crowdfunding platform in Indonesia, Kitabisa as part of my PhD project. My argument is that the young people involved in civic crowdfunding, have felt grievance towards the rising religious tension as reflected by the spread of hatred and hoaxes in social media. These youth are the active users of social media in Indonesia. Hence, they are the most directly impacted by this sectarian trend in social media. As a result, the tech-savvy youth see civic crowdfunding as the practice of gotong-royong in the more digitalised Indonesia. By this practice, they aim to unite Indonesians in social activities regardless of the religious affiliations. This development indicates the ‘post-Islamist’ trend in Indonesia as also observed by Bayat (2013) in other Muslim majority countries. This study will provide an insight that despite there is a pervasive Islamic conservatism in Indonesia, the opposite trend is growing in parallel, which is seeking the compatibility of Muslims living in a religiously plural society.