Chapter

Citizens as Spectators: Citizenship as a Communicative Practice on the Eastern Indonesian Island of Sumba

Joel C. Kuipers

in Cultural Citizenship in Island Southeast Asia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520227477
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935693 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520227477.003.0006
Citizens as Spectators: Citizenship as a Communicative Practice on the Eastern Indonesian Island of Sumba

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This chapter argues that Weyewa people understand their own cultural citizenship as a social activity called the practice of audiencing; they do not regard it, in the manner of official national citizenship, as a set of rights and duties or as the consciousness of membership in the national community. The study presents a historical view of the changing Weyewa verbal performances from the late nineteenth century to the present. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the paradigmatic Weyewa citizen was the “angry man,” whose verbal performance in poetic couplet form was reinforced by his standing as a protector of local politics and as a recruiter of labor. The “angry men” based their claims to loyalty on kinship obligations, charismatic verbal performances, and the coercive manipulation of debts. Dutch colonial officials found their performances a threat to their rule.

Keywords: Weyewa people; audiencing; cultural citizenship; verbal performances; Dutch colonialism; angry men

Chapter.  10334 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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