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Caged in on the OutsideMoral Subjectivity, Selfhood, and Islam in Minangkabau, Indonesia$
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Gregory M. Simon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838300

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838300.001.0001

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(p.x) (p.1) Introduction
Caged in on the Outside

Gregory M. Simon

University of Hawai'i Press

This book is an ethnographic study of moral subjectivity among Minangkabau people, who form an Islamic society in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. It argues that subjectivity must reflect the multidimensional nature of human selfhood, including its relational and reflective dimensions. It makes the case that the cultural forms through which these dimensions are elaborated and valued need to be understood less as self-contained and coherent moral visions that erase alternatives and more as ways of articulating and managing the inevitable tensions between them. Such tensions emerge in Minangkabau cultural forms that celebrate both social integration and individual autonomy, and also in individual experiences of Minangkabau people attempting to fashion themselves as moral. The book is based on approximately two years of fieldwork in the small city of Bukittinggi, and draws from person-centered ethnographic methods designed specifically to explore subjectivity.

Keywords:   morality, subjectivity, self, Islam, Minangkabau, autonomy, social integration, person-centered methods, ethnography, Bukittinggi

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