This paper examines the power dynamics between central and regional institutions since the Reform was introduced and the era of regional extension began. Specifically, it analyzes the so- called ethnic contestation in Pringsewu Regency located within the province of Lampung, Indonesia. It is found that since Reform, the efforts to build regional autonomy have spread significantly. However, this phenomenon of regional extension1 has witnessed the interplay of the interests of political elites and the exploitation of ethnic issues, which in some cases has resulted in inter-group conflicts. This paper traces the ways in which ethnically-linked issues are being constructed, manipulated and spread within this game of power. It also examines issues of ethnic identity and boundaries. Connecting to the larger conceptual underpinnings of theory of resistance from Scott (1985), Tsing (1998) and Abu-lughod (1990), this contestation is also arguably a manifestation of social resistance. Using the qualitative approach, the data is obtained through in- depth interviews and participant observation; hence, insights and inner meanings can be used to explicate events within this phenomenon.
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Author Name: Irsan Idris Yusuf, Bartoven Vivit, Reevany Bustami, Ricky Ricardo
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Keywords: Ethnic Contestation; Resistance; Regional Extension; Ethnicity; Local Elites