Strengthening Social Integration within Cultural and Ethnic Diversity: Lesson from Indonesia

Syarif Muhidin Abdurahman, Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad


Cultural and ethnic diversity have been closely associated with the continuous conflict and antagonism in a pluralistic society. This phenomenon reflects very much the pluralistic society of Indonesia as a nation. Cultural and ethnic diversity are part and partial of the daily life of the Indonesian community. In the past, cultural and ethnic diversity have created some social conflicts and other symptoms of antagonism in Indonesia which have become national issues and problems that need to be resolved. Indonesia is a multi-ethnic country. Indonesia has four main ethnic groups, namely Melanesians, the Proto-Austronesians, the Polynesians and the Micronesians, which are divided again into 300 sub-ethnic groups with each group, has their own language, art, tradition and custom. 250 local dialects are spoken. The objective of this paper is to highlight some positive and negative aspects of these cultural and ethnic diversities, as well as to identify some important elements which formed social integration in Indonesia as a pluralistic society. To meet these objectives, the present paper uses a secondary analysis to review some of the documentary from relevant sources. Some of these documentaries are taken from the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Republic of Indonesia, and other related sources. Secondary analysis is a technique of data collection where the researcher collects information that was collected and analyzed by other researchers for their own purposes. From the various sources, the paper found that there are three main themes that have been considered to be important efforts in developing social integration in Indonesia, include implementing Bahasa Indonesia as the only national language, introducing one state motto that is Bhineka Tunggal Ika, and one State Philosophy that is Pancasila. Indonesia has a long history of cultural and ethnic diversity. The result of the present paper acknowledges that cultural and ethnic diversity can construct many positive results. Collaboration and disagreement are normal in a pluralistic society. Having differences and conflicts are healthy. They can create new ideas, supporting mutual understanding for all parties towards a very constructive social development of the nation. It can strengthening social relation and integration, and helps to find out solutions more effectively toward problem-solving. It is a real challenge to manage cultural and ethnic diversity. This paper discusses how cultural and ethnic diversity can be viewed as positive aspects in building a nation with a strong national cultural identity for Indonesia. However, managing cultural and ethnic diversity should be seen as an endless effort.


Keywords: cultural diversity, social integration, pluralistic society, ethnic diversity, national identity

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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