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Department of Social Anthropology


My research investigates emerging new forms of reflexivity about culture in the town of Waingapu, on Sumba island, eastern Indonesia. Among international tourists, Sumba in the 1980s and after gained a reputation as one of Indonesia’s proverbial ‘best-kept secrets’. While there has been some anthropological research on international tourism to Sumba, I am looking at the more recent rise of a vibrant scene of reflexive consumption and connoisseurship of local culture by Sumbanese people themselves, overlapping with and influenced by the tourism industry as it originally developed to cater to international visitors. 

My research examines this more contemporary process, including its connections to larger processes of intensification of market-mediated social activity on Sumba and the recent dramatic growth of domestic Indonesian culture industries and professional ‘creative’ classes. For this study, I have focused on two Waingapu-based youth groups, their members, and their interlocal counterparts, whose projects include Ikat-related creative economy and adat community-based tourism. Through the groups’ activities and those project themes, I research how reflexive sensitivity and connoisseurship are immanent in the creative economy and tourism patterns of practice. 


Sumba, East Indonesia, tourism, cosmopolitanism, post-structuralism

Research Title: Local Travel Clubs on Sumba, Indonesia: Rootedness and Cosmopolitan Encounters
Supervisor: Dr Rupert Stasch

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