Yudi Bachrioktora is a PhD Student at Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He is also lecturer at History Department University of Indonesia and researcher at Agrarian Resources Center in Bandung, Indonesia. His research mainly focuses on agrarian and environmental issues in Indonesia. He is also interested in other field of studies, such as youth and cultural studies.
Exploring the cultural commons as a political agenda for rural-urban movement in Indonesia
At this time, it is no longer possible to differentiate problems between rural and urban. Various complex problems, such as environmental, social and economy actually show the interrelation between urban and rural. The question about the strategy used by the people, both in urban and rural areas, to navigate the flow of complex local-global pressure becomes more important recently. Two case studies discussed in this paper show how the local communities – representing urban and rural areas – negotiate with this situation. An Indonesian scholar, Melani Budianta and her network called the Kampung Nusantara Network (Jaringan Kampung Nusantara) navigate the communities in this situation by promoting the importance of cultural aspects to empower the community. By continuously working on an agenda, namely Lumbung Budaya (cultural commons), as a concept for organizing or reorganizing the people in rural and urban areas. Lumbung is often interpreted as a ‘symbol’ of the accumulation and management of local resource of wealth. The resources are not only agricultural and livestock products, or from natural resources, but also include both material and intangible “wealth”. In other words, it comprises all knowledge about the life of the community including their cultural identity. Through this agenda, Budianta and Kampung Nusantara Network engage to build cultural identity and mutual cooperation that can continuously support rural-urban communities without forgetting their identities. This identity needs to have cultural roots, which are not only inherited from the past but are also future oriented. This means that the village’s or urban’s identity must be reproducible and sustainable. The aim of this paper is to elaborate the concept of cultural commons and its possibility as a political agenda of rural-urban movement.
Affiliation: University of Bern/Universitas Indonesia