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Does the sea divide or unite Indonesians? ethnicity and regionalism from a maritime perspective

CollectionsANU Resources, Environment & Development Group (RE&D)
Title: Does the sea divide or unite Indonesians? ethnicity and regionalism from a maritime perspective
Author(s): Adhuri, Dedi Supriadi
Keywords: Indonesian Seas
maritime resource management
marine fisheries
marine territory
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program (RMAP), Division of Pacific and Asian History, Research School for Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program (RMAP) Working Paper: No. 48
The Indonesian Government argues that the sea bridges the many islands and different peoples of Indonesia. Politically, this might be appropriate as a means of encouraging people to think that wherever and whoever there are, they are united as Indonesians. However, when this ideology is used for maritime resource management, it creates problems. One issue derives from the fact that people do not think that the Indonesian sea is ‘free for all’ Indonesians. I will argue that people, however vaguely, talk about ‘we’ and ‘they’ in defining who has the right to a particular fishing ground and who should be excluded. By analyzing conflicts that have taken part in different places in Indonesia, I will demonstrate that ethnicity and regionalism have been used as the defining factor of ‘We’ and ‘They.’ In particular contexts, ethnicity and regionalism define whether fishermen can access marine resources. Thus, at the practical level the sea does not unite Indonesians, and it is in fact, ethnicity and regionalism that divides the Indonesian seas.


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