Antropologi Indonesia


sense of rejection toward other groups, whether based on ethnicity, religion, or any other identity markers, has always been a delicate matter for an anthropologist. Departing from the premise of cultural relativism, anthropologists are trained to empathize with their research subjects. However, similar empathy could not easily be exercised to research subjects whose conservative views contradict cultural relativism. The dilemma might explain why research on hate, racist groups, is relatively rare in anthropology or social sciences in general. Even if anthropologists are able to sympathize with the point of view of such groups, the research presentation poses another problem: how should their present their point of view without justifying their subjects’ actions? Moreover, since conservative groups are often stigmatized socially or politically, how should anthropologists position themselves and their research when discussing the issue particularly to non-academic public? Despite the conundrums, some scholars dare to take the risk of studying the ‘uncomfortable subjects.’ Drawing from several studies and my own research on FPI in South Sulawesi, this article examines the limitations and the contributions of anthropological framework in studying conservative movements.


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