WCF 2016

World Culture Forum - Bali, 2016

Reconciling State, Community and Cultural Divides

Cultural dynamics include the participation of different factions within a society. Formal social organization include the state and its administrative subdivisions. In Indonesia we have the provinces and the regencies, and then the villages. Each teritorial unit might have its specific cultural traits, due to the specificities of its inhabitants in terms of ethnicity. These specificities have to be considered in any effort to understand the cultural dynamics in Indonesia.

Certain historical factors should also be considered in any effort to set a good understanding concerning cultural dynamics in Indonesia. There are instances in which certain historical periods have been marked by a series of political and cultural influences from other societies. Interactions between different ethnicity and nationality might bring specific cultural effects. Sometimes there are efforts to dominate from a specific element of social faction, so that certain cultural traits become more dominant than the other.

Cultural diversity should be understood in terms of the multi-factor elements related to them. The factors might be political, socio-cultural, or economic. Those factors have their specific functions in building up a cultural identity. Sometimes those factors can be a conflict in terms of objectivity. Therefore, continuous dialogue is indeed needed. There is also a need to safeguard the harmonious relation between conflicting cultural interests. An ongoing dialogue is often needed to manage conflicts of cultural interest in both the national and global level.

To enable fruitful cultural dialogue there is a need to acquire and categorize enough information materials about the many different cultural expressions. We need to build a comprehensive database that successfully captures the diversity of cultural expressions, especially in Indonesia. It is often felt that more audio-visual materials are needed to support dialogues on culture. For instance, if we are discussing about traditional music it is very important that we could listen together the piece of music that we are talking about. So much so about dance, theatre, and art performances. Such cultural database can aid us in our cultural dialogue.

In the end, the effort to reconcile state, communities and cultural divides presupposes a spirit of dialogue and openness. The state should be more sensitive to the growing concerns of local people, proactively facilitates them to take cultural initiatives toward harmonious life. The communities, for its part, should plays an active role in the creation of culture that positively directs the state’s development agendas. Only this that could remedy the cultural divides that torn our society apart.

By : Edi Sedyawati

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