Irwan Abdullah, born in Aceh Utara, Indonesia, in 1963. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.
Fellow (1 September 2000 – 30 June 2001)
For a young social scientist from Indonesia, like myself, NIAS has served as a sort of initiation on the road towards academic maturity. I may safely say that experiences I gained during my fellowship period by interacting with colleagues from different academic backgrounds, traditions and orientations have contributed to reforming an academic tradition in which books and articles are written only in the interest of the state. In spite of the fact that I was forced to make adjustments in my original (and perhaps too ambitious) plan I feel that I have made significant progress in my work. First of all I studied a lot of literature not only related to my former and current interests but also covering a wider range of subjects, such as social security, poverty studies, economic crisis, economic survival strategy, conflict resolution, and local resource management. This forced me to take another look at my initial plan. Secondly, I wrote several articles, a few of which have been published as journal articles and as a chapter of a book. The articles dealt mainly with the impact of crisis on economic and social aspects of life in Indonesia. The articles have contributed to the discourse of local response to the economic crisis. Thirdly, I did some final corrections for a book on social construction of gender in Indonesia. The book was published in March 2001 and has received a lot of attention by readers in Indonesia, especially in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, and Semarang. Fourthly, I worked on the following books and a manuscript: “Works, lives and survival in Java”; “Business culture: the Muslim business community of Central Java”; and a manuscript on “Social security and social solidarity in Java”. I hope to finish two of these works at the end of this year. The books deal with the interrelation between the dynamics of state-level development policies and local responses in rural Java. I have made some changes in terms of sources of data. Initially I had intended to use my own data and now I am trying to make use of the various sources of data available. My aim is to produce an ethnographic report.