Aspects of Local Government in a Sumbawan Village

Aspects of Local Government in a Sumbawan Village

Aspects of Local Government in a Sumbawan Village

Aspects of Local Government in a Sumbawan Village

Excerpt

This account of local government is largely derived from an anthropological field study carried out in western Sumbawa, Indonesia between 1954 and 1956. As such it supplements more extensive research into the social organization of Rarak village, an agricultural community lying in western Sumbawa’s northernmost foothills.

In its approach to the topic of local government the present report is necessarily far less systematically analytic than descriptive and eclectic. There are several reasons for this. In the first place the role of kinship in shaping the villager’s patterns of social and economic participation has, insofar as possible, already been analyzed elsewhere in the writer’s doctoral dissertation. Although the salient features of local kinship structure are also mentioned here in their most apparent bearing upon village leadership, really systematic exploration of kinship effect in this sphere still awaits more adequate anthropological analysis of bilateral societies (of which Sumbawa is one) in general. Other considerations of opinion-group formation and leadership at the village level can only be described at present in general terms. This seems particularly true of the perhaps peculiarly Indonesian problem of mufakat type communication. Direct case data neither from Sumbawa nor any other Indonesian area yet allow a systematic account of its role either historically or at present in decision making at the village level. Closely related to this are the ancillary problems of collecting reliable direct data on village-wide administrative decisions in a community as socially homogeneous and bound by the pressures of local opinion as Rarak. As a result this report can, as its title indicates, merely present selected aspects of village level government which can perhaps be amplified in subsequent field analyses of local government and leadership in other Indonesian communities.

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