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Chapter Summary

The association between cultural definition and the construction of personal and group identity through dress development is not a prerogative of one ethnic group over another but the result of a unifying, shared experience common to all people: that of embodied consciousness and the desire to develop and present a specific identity in relation to the self and society. The powerful voice of ethnic Ambonese and other women highlighted and exposed their shared ability to use that voice creatively and speak loudly about issues of the self, power, gender, religion, socioeconomics, politics and coloniality. Dress worn for Christian religious ritual adopted prescribed, socially agreed elements of dress that displayed interpersonal relationships with colonial society and one's ethnic cultural group as well as women's resolve to display ethnic measures of independence. Display of cultural identity, although fragmented, indicated recognition and partial claim of ethnicity.

Keywords: Ambonese womens identity; ethnic identity; identity construction; religious dress



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