Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Border Policies and the Sangir's Translocality
Amorisa Wiratri

Last modified: 2022-05-09


Cross-border journeys have become a common phenomenon for many Sangir people in the south of the Philippines for decades. Most of them have family members on the Indonesian side, including Sangihe and surrounding islands, Maluku, and some areas in mainland Sulawesi. The Sangir visit each other and maintain family connections through regular presence. The border management from both states, Indonesia and the Philippines, has disrupted and ignored their mobile tradition, creating negative sentiments about Sangir's everyday practices. This study offers the analysis of cross-border activities from the actor's point of view, particularly related to their sense of belonging and ethnic-based networking.

This paper employs the idea of translocality to understand such mobility among these Sangir. This concept was introduced by Appadurai (1996) to demonstrate the global circulation of people beyond the nation-state boundaries without omitting personal ties, including family relationships. Moreover, this study is motivated by Greiner and Sakdapolrak (2013), who addressed the notion of translocality as a process and practice in producing local-to-local relations, enunciating the simultaneity of mobility, and situatedness in the specific places of habitation.

This research employs qualitative methodology using the inductive analysis of grounded theory. The analysis in this study is based on the community level in the southern Philippines, including the communities in Davao City, General Santos City, Sarangani Province and Balut Island. This study argues that cross-border movement among Sangir is not simply a form of resistance to state laws. Rather, it is one of their ways to create and recreate their sense of locality.


Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Greiner, C., and Sakdapolrak, P. (2013). Translocality: Concepts, Applications and Emerging Research Perspectives. Geography compass, 7: 373-384. doi:10.1111/gec3.12048

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