Cultural heritage between sovereignty of indigenous groups, the state and international organizations in Indonesia

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin (Social and Cultural Anthropology)
Researcher: Dr. Fadjar Thufail, Serena Müller, Miriam Harjati Sanmukri (Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Project Abstract

The earlier research on the Toraja and their attempt to have their culture recognized under the World Heritage banner showed that the representation of local cultural property or heritage is primarily determined, designed and interpreted by state authorities and their experts. Local considerations are almost completely disregarded. However, apart from these state-dominated processes, there also exist today other discourses concerning the protection and revitalization of “culture” in Indonesia. Such discussions were encouraged by international conventions, mainly the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which led to the empowerment of “indigenous people”. 2240 adat communities of Indonesia are nowadays part of an NGO called Aliansi masyarakat adat Nusantara (AMAN, confederation of adat communities). This association works independently of state authorities. It raises funds from international sponsors and is interlinked with transnational indigeneity movements. To be recognized as an “indigenous community” implies a completely new agency. The research project planned aims to investigate this new agency of “indigenous peoples” and those communities which have conferred this status upon themselves and are united in AMAN, the relationships among these member groups, their contacts with international organizations, NGOs, and their relationship to the Indonesian state.

Project Presentations and Publications
  • Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, Adat and Indigeneity in Indonesia: Culture and Entitlements between Heteronomy and Self-Ascription, Göttingen Studies in Cultural Property – Volume 7. 2013.
  • Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin und Christoph Brumann, Halle/Saale: Panel zu “Die UNESCO und ihre Rolle in der globalen Kulturpolitik”, Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, Wien, 14.-17.09.-2011