Is the Past Another Country? A Case Study of RuralUrban Affinity on Mudik Lebaran in Central Java

Vissia Ita Yulianto
| Abstract views: 435 | views: 637


This study is to explore the relations between the urban and rural in terms of their social as well as cultural significance. Referring to the idea of David Lowenthal (1985:39-52) who has pointed out that the connection between the past and present rests on the fact that the past has been the source of familiarity, guidance, identity, enrichment and escapethe central idea of the paper is to suggest that this notion of a familiar past is a fundamental aspect of the culture of contemporary urbanised Central Javanese, who, during the Lebaran holiday, revisit their ancestral roots to retain a degree of autonomy against modernity or to return to their disappearing past as tourists, so to speak. The cultural practice of mudik becomes the interaction zone (Leaf, 2008) that provides opportunities for city dwellers to keep ties with their village of origin. Finally, the paper suggests that the continuing intimate interplay between the village and town proves that neither pastpresent nor ruralurban dichotomies are in categorically opposed realms; metaphorically speaking, they are not in different countries.

Full Text:



Boulanger, Clare L. (2002). ‘Inventing Tradition, Inventing Modernity: Dayak Identity in Urban Sarawak’, Asian Ethnicity, 3:2, 221-231. Downloaded on October 11, 2010.Burghoorn

Lundstrom, Wil. (1981). ‘Minahasa Civilisation’ Gothenburg Studies in Social Anthropology, Goteberg: Acta Universitas Gothoburgensis.

Deden, Rukmana. (2007).

Dieleman, Marleen. (2011). New Town Development in Indonesia: Renegotiating, Shaping and Changing Institutions, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde, Vol.167, no.1 (2011). Pp 60-85. Accessed online, downloaded on March 2011.

Fauzi, Malik Ridwan. (2010). Fenomena Mudik Lebaran; Suatu Kajian Sosiologi Ekonomi in Celoteh Sosial Budaya;, downloaded on October 16, 2010.

Guiness, Patrick. (2009). ‘Kampung, Islam and the State in Urban Java’ Asian Association of Australia in association with NUS Press, Singapore.

Hanan, David. (2007). Changing Social Formations in Indonesian and Thai teen Movies in Heryanto, Ariel (ed) (2007), Popular Culture in Indonesia: Fluid Identity in Authoritarian Politics, Routledge, London and NewYork.

P. Jackson, Anthony Von. (1987). Anthropology at Home: ASA Monograph 25, Tavistock Publications in association with Methuen Inc, New York.

Hadiz, V. (1997). Workers and the State in New Order Indonesia, London, Routledge.

Lu Y. (2010). Rural-Urban Migration and Health: Evidence from Longitudinal data in Indonesia, Columbia University, New York. Accessed on line,, downloaded on November 12, 2010.

Lowenthal, David. (1985). ‘ The Past is a Foreign Country’, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Rukmana, Deden. (2007). Urbanization and Suburbanization in Jakarta, Indonesia’s Urban Studies, Accessed online:, downloaded on November 1, 2010.

Saswik, (2010). Thematic Articles: The Challenges of Migrant’s Social Integration; Identity over Commitment, Work Environment and Health Outcome among Immigrant workers, Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, Vol.4 No.2, 2010.

Schiller, Nina Glick. (2005). Lived Simultaneity and Discourses of Diasporic Difference in Anderson,W. Wanni and Robert G. Lee (eds)“Displacements and Diasporas: Asian in the Americans, New Jersey Rutgers University Press. P.159-169.Syahyuti, 2008 ( downloaded on Nov 2, 2010.

Shierly, Christie. (2010). High Rate of Youth Umemployment Presents Big Challenge; World Bank, The Jakarta Globe. Accesses Online:, downloaded on December 2010.

Sairin, Sjafri. (2010). Riak-Riak Pembangunan; Perspektif Antropology, Yogyakarta, Media Wacana. p.191-203.

Swazey, Kelly. (2008). Carrying Culture and re(creating) Nation Through Christianity: Minahasan Culture and Identity in Transnational Indonesia Churches in New England. (Master Thesis, University of Hawai’i, Manoa.)

Tirtosudarmo, Riwanto. (2010). Social Transformation in the Northen Coastal Cities of Java: A Comparative Study in Cirebon and Gresik. Journal of Indonesian Sciences and Humanities, Vol. 3, 2010, pp. 161–170, downloaded on January 17, 2010.

Wallace, Clare and Stola, Dariusz (eds). (2001). Patterns of Migration in Central Europa, Basingstoke &New York, Palgrave.

Warouw, Nicolas. (2008). Industrial Workers in Transition; Women’s Experiences of Factory Work in Tangerang in Ford, Michele and Parker, Lyn (2010) Women and Work in Indonesia, USA and Canada, Routledge, pp.104-119.

Copyright (c) 2011 Journal of Indonesian Social Sciences and Humanities
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • There are currently no refbacks.