The social theme, the issue for may article today.

One of the themes that everyone can surely write, yeah.. a common theme for humanenees.

Thanks to Mauss that inspired me..

Gift, we all do the giving things.
Received, and we all receive the gift.
Reciprocity?tit for tat?
A hidden massage carried on  a gift?
Are there any differences between the term of giving in traditional era with today’s era?different or same?


Cultural diversity, is one of the most well known identity for our country, Indonesia. From the era of the kingdom until now, the diversity was still “strong” until the present. Indonesia is one of the tangent to a wide range of cultures and religions. The process of acculturation is often seen in the practices of life in Indonesia, especially in Java.

This is the condition of Java in 18th century, based on few reference. In Kingdom era a village chief, regional governor or king in traditional Java is required to provide for the community. The Javanese ‘king’ preserves his authority over his members and other potential contenders if he could  prove his good fortune by spending it and sharing it. Pakubuwana (1893-1938) was renowned for his regular jaunts through his kingdom where, from the centre of his entourage, he would literately throw gifts of money to his people, with that way the  the Javanese ‘king’ preserves his authority over his members and other potential contenders by proving that he is favoured both by the gods (the spirits) and by good fortune. The Javanese king shares his wealth with his subjects as a form of security for which in return he receives unconditional loyalty.

In Java it is the rukun principle — or the principle of conflict avoidance — particularly that reflects the ‘sharing’ of the gift function. This term of rukun is an act as a counterweight of harmony between humans. Co-operation, mutual acceptance, calm, patience and unity characterize the state of rukun. Another important social regulatory principle in Java is the concept of respect (hormat) which is based on the belief that all social relationships are ordered in a hierarchical structure that constitutes a good in itself. The respect principle is a social reality that maintains the feudalistic social order of Java.

The Javanese social order is represented clearly in the way the Javanese communicate, interact and exchange goods and services. The choice of gift objects, words, and the subtlety of language and body gestures are all expressions of this social status and order. These social strata refer to specific social behaviour: the ‘superior’ can demand loyalty, including the so-called ‘tax’ payments (upeti), and service from subordinates. In return, the subordinates could expect protection and moral guidance.

The traditional patrimonial and solidarity relationships started to decline by the end of the 19th century. After the collapse of the Dutch colonial cultuurstelselin the 1860s the government liberalized its economic policies and allowed European entrepreneurs to enter Java. [UU Agraria 1870 dan UU Gula 1870]. The traditional mechanisms of rukun and hormat have been replaced by economic values encouraging individualistic materialism, status craving, greed for money and power. The concept of harmony itself might have been nothing more than a name for.

Java has been going through a transition and shift from a culture of gift (exchange) to a culture of exchanging (disguised) gifts. The individuation of the social mores in Java and lack of efficient institutionshave allowed a gift to shift to an exchange. Mauss said : The gift is conceptually characterized by a three-fold structure of reciprocity. This structure acknowledges a triple social obligation: somebody has to give a gift, a recipient receives the gift, and eventually the recipient will reciprocate the gift in the future.


to be continued…..