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Ethnicized Violence in Indonesia: The Betawi Brotherhood Forum in Jakarta. Working paper No. 145 July 2007

Brown, D. and Wilson, I. (2007) Ethnicized Violence in Indonesia: The Betawi Brotherhood Forum in Jakarta. Working paper No. 145 July 2007. Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Ethnic gang violence is often depicted as a clash between criminals pursuing instrumental advantage, and also as a clash of ideological fanatics pursuing collective nationalist, ethnolinguistic or ethnoreligious rights. However, there is an apparent tension between the conceptualization of such violence as the rational self-interest of deprived individuals, and as the irrational fanaticism of anomic communities. The examination of one particular ethnic gang, the Betawi Brotherhood Forum which operates in Jakarta, Indonesia, indicates how both dimensions of violence coexist and interweave. The apparent analytical tension between individualistic pragmatism and collectivist moral absolutism is resolved by showing how the gang responds to their disillusionment with the state by constructing for themselves a ‘state proxy’ role. This response is portrayed as based upon ‘ressentiment’ – the ‘faulty rationality’ which marginalized individuals adopt so as to translate their clashes of material self interests into the moral conflict between stereotyped communities- the virtuous ethnic Us against the demonized ethnic Other.

Publication Type: Working Paper
Publisher: Murdoch University
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/39740
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