Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Self of Sundanese Ethnic: Interdependent Construal and Religious Self

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Self of Sundanese Ethnic: Interdependent Construal and Religious Self

Article excerpt


This paper aims to introduce the religious self-viewed from the Indonesian context. Indonesia is a large country with diverse ethnic groups and the study seeks to investigate the self in relation to ethnicity. Specifically, the study examines the Sundanese ethnic group that has relatively few sub-groups compared with others found on the archipelago. The study undertakes a conceptual analysis to illustrate the religious self. In this regard, the social and cultural factors are examined to enable a proper account of the religious self, particularly in Indonesia. Relevant empirical evidence is presented to support and explain the religious self-concept. The study further presents a comparative analysis with previous self-concept studies. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion on the direction of future research on the religious self.

Keywords: interdependent, religious, self, Sundanese ethnic

1. Introduction

The last decade has seen a rapid change in the social psychology theories of the self that are influenced by the desire to understand and to explain social behavior. The different studies on the self-have given rise to variations in the concept of the self. There is ongoing research in traditional areas which inlcude the personal self (Bennett, 2011), the social self (Forgas & Williams, 2003; Mead, 1913), the true self (Miller, 1991) and self-concept (Kim, Chiu, Cho, Au, & Kwak, 2014; Gaertner, Sedikides, & O'Mara, 2008). The most interesting developments in relation to the self are in the neuroscience area (Ng, Ha, & Lai, 2010; Schmeichel, Vohs, & Baumeister, 2003) and in its implementation relative to physical health (Hardie, Critchley, & Morris, 2006; Logel & Cohen, 2011). Numerous self-related studies connect self-concept with culture (Fang, 2010; Hepper, Sedikides, & Cai, 2013; Kim, 2011; Lu & Yang, 2006; Markus & Kitayama, 2003; Mookherjee, 2013).

There is a significant increase in the number of studies concerning cultures-particularly from the Eastern cultures- specifically studies about the self, after the various cross-cultural studies which have continued to confirm that there are some differences between the Western self and the self of individuals from the Eastern cultures. The first culture-studies focused on the differences between individualistic (Western) and collectivist (Eastern) cultures, with a particular emphasis on the feature-rich and complex Eastern cultures. The scope of such studies have since expanded to investigate the self-features of people from the Eastern societies. These Eastern self-feature studies have shown that individuals from certain cultural backgrounds have unique self-features. For instance, the Confucian self or the Confucian social self which are identical of the Chinese ethnic or people (Fang, 2010; Kim, 2011). Other studies showed specific Korean self-feature (Kim, Kim, Kam, & Shin, 2003) and South Asian (particularly Indian) self-features (Mookherjee, 2013).

The Eastern cultures are inseparable from their religions. Religion is one factor that shapes culture; for example Taoism or Buddhism in China; Shintoism in Japan; Hinduism in India; and Islam in Turkey, the Middle East and several Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia. This has encouraged the emergence of studies on the religious self, in the context of religion as a culture (Perreira, 2010).

In contrast with the relatively mono-ethnic countries such as China and Taiwan-with a majority of ethnic Chinese-or Korea, Japan and India, Indonesia is unique in its multi-ethnicity. Its major ethnic groups include Javanese, Malay, Batak, Dayak, Bugis, Minang, Sunda and Betawi. Each of these ethnic groups have various sub-groups. For example, the Dayak people have 40 ethnic subgroups including Dayak Agabag, Tidung, Tegalan, Akolod, Taghol, Murut, Kenyah, Lepo'Ke, Merap, Punan, Bidayuh, Iban, Embaloh and Siang (Kopassus, 2012). …

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