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The “ethnic” in Indonesia’s communal conflicts: violence in Ambon, Poso, and Sambas

Schulze, Kirsten E. (2017) The “ethnic” in Indonesia’s communal conflicts: violence in Ambon, Poso, and Sambas. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40 (12). 2096 - 2114. ISSN 0141-9870

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1277030


This article looks at the communal violence in Ambon, Poso and Sambas in post-Suharto Indonesia from a comparative perspective. It explores why Ambon and Poso were seen as religious while Sambas was seen as ethnic despite the fact that in all three conflicts different religions and ethnicities fought each other. Examining the ‘ethnic’ elements, this article advances three arguments: First, that the Poso and Ambon conflicts were no less ethnic than the Sambas conflict as they had similar ‘ethnic causes’. Second, that the religious narrative dominated in Ambon and Poso because it reflected the Islamic resurgence in Indonesia since the 1990s while the narrative in Sambas reflected that it was the latest round of a pre-existing anti-Madurese conflict which had already been ‘defined’ as ‘ethnic’. Third, that the narratives were framed strategically, thus influencing the trajectory of the conflict but also responding to it.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK
Divisions: International History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2016 10:24
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 05:42

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