Citizenship Diversified: Bali-Hindu Customary Institutions and Democratization

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Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

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Customary citizenship practices and their implications for contemporary citizenship and democratization remain under-recognized. Recent contributions to Citizenship Studies expand the study of citizenship to include everyday practices in Indonesia, yet they limit their focus to state-related practices or recognize customary practices as citizenship, only to conclude that they ended with colonization. To include customary institutions in our consideration of citizenship, this article draws on contemporary ethnographic fieldwork in a Balinese polity to discuss how villagers practice citizenship through customary institutions in the context of national democracy, in particular customary associations and social networks. In addition, I urge that we bring new perspective to these institutions by paying attention to the customary associations’ informal arenas where women’s roles become more visible, and that we avoid conflating customary networks with party-political networks. To understand citizenship and democratization in their diversity, it is important to tell the multiple stories of everyday practices.


This article was originally published in Citizenship Studies. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Citizenship Studies