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Meaning-Making Practices, Copyrights, and Architecture in the Indonesian Archipelago

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Openings toward a Planetary Ethic

image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

This article examines the connections between meaning-making practices and how those practices are codified into institutions and structures that shape individual identities. The theoretical and geographical locus of this article is Indonesia where one can be Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, or Confucian, but not outwardly an atheist. In practice, there are a lot of hybrid religious identities, and this is echoed in Indonesia’s economic and legal institutions, and even its architecture. In other words, what Tom Boellstorff identifies as an “archipelagic” understanding of the self in Indonesia is supported by multiple meaning-making practices and is reinforced through such technologies as copyright laws and architecture. Whereas the monotheistic traditions of the West, and even the Middle East, take place over large uninterrupted geographical spaces, the Muslim monotheism that spreads throughout the Indonesian archipelago takes on different forms depending on the context of the Island. With the rise of Indonesian nationalism, these various contexts are drawn together into a hybrid-monotheism. Such pastiche is reinforced in legal, economic, and architectural technologies. The pluralistic and hybrid beliefs and identities of the archipelago, can provide fertile grounds for articulating a planetary environmental ethic.

Affiliations: 1: Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA


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