The focus of the present article is marriage between local Balinese Hindus and non-Hindu Indonesians in Jembrana, West Bali. Since the 1950s, Balinese Hindus have fought for the right to claim Hinduism as their officially recognised religious practice (agama) within the parameters of Indonesian citizenship. Now, 50 years later, in the post-bomb(s) Bali world, ethnicity (suku) and Hinduism are increasingly conflated to ‘authenticate’ Balinese identity. This conflation has been aided by the popular ethnic Balinese discourse known as ‘Ajeg Bali’ (‘Bali standing strong’). The present paper discusses tensions between national citizenship and local identities, particularly as challenged by mixed marriages. Increasingly, throughout Indonesia religion has become a substitute for ethnicity that, in Hindu Bali, is also complicated by heredity caste. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Bali over the past 10 years, the present paper examines marriages that cross social boundaries and highlights responses to mixed marriages between Hindus and Muslims in the Jembrana regency. Jembrana is significant to the discussion of mixed marriages because of its proximity to East Java across the Bali Strait and the histories shared by these regions.
Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology Vol. 9, Issue 4, p. 346-362