Ardhianto, “Politics of Conversion”

Ardhianto, Imam. 2017. The Politics of Conversion: Religious Change, Materiality, and Social Hierarchy in Central Upland Borneo. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 18(2): 119-134.

Abstract: Contrary to the assumption that religious conversion is strongly influenced by the hegemony of global forces (colonialism and modern state formation) over local communities, this paper argues that internal class antagonisms and material conditions also play an important role in the dynamics of adoption of or resistance to Christianity. By taking narratives of inter-class contestation between aristocrats (paren) and commoners (panyin) and ritual changes among the Kayan-Kenyah in upland Central Borneo during periods of religious conversion, this paper shows the significance of social hierarchy on people’s decisions to change or retain their religious practices.

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