THE ULAMA IN INDONESIA: Between Religious Authority and Symbolic Power

Zulkifli Zulkifli

Abstract


Abstrak: Ulama di Indonesia: Antara Otoritas Keagamaan dan Kekuatan Simbolik. Artikel ini berupaya menguji hubungan antara peranan ulama, otoritas keagamaan, dan kekuatan simbolik dalam masyarakat Muslim Indonesia dengan meneliti sejumlah literatur penting. Dalam studi ini penulis menggunakan kerangka teoretis ahli sosiologi Prancis Pierre Bourdieu, yakni teori praksis yang hampir tidak pernah digunakan dalam kajian agama di Indonesia. Studi ini mengungkapkan bahwa ulama memegang peranan yang strategis dalam masyarakat Indonesia dan peranannya tetap penting dalam konteks perubahan sosial, politik, dan ekonomi yang cepat. Tetapi otoritas keagamaan ulama telah terfragmentasi sejak lama dan media global dan teknologi informasi telah membuat otoritas tersebut semakin plural. Dalam konteks ini otoritas keagamaan merupakan arena yang kompetitif di mana kelompok tradisionalis, reformis, radikalis, dan pendatang baru berkompetisi untuk mencapai pengakuan. Studi ini juga menegaskan bahwa otoritas keagamaan dan pengakuan berjalan hanya dengan adanya kekuatan simbolik.


Abstract: This article attempts to examine the relationship between the role of ulama, religious authority, and symbolic power in Indonesian Muslim society by scrutinizing famous literature of ulama in Indonesia. In the study I utilize French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical framework known as theory of practice, hardly ever used in the study of religion (Islam) in Indonesia. The study reveals that the ulama have played a strategic role in the Indonesian society and their role continues to be important in the context of rapid social, political, and economic changes. However, the religious authority of ulama has been fragmented and the global media and information technologies have made the authority more pluralized. The religious authority is a competitive field in which traditionalist, reformist, radicalist, and new entrants compete for gaining recognition. The study also affirms that the religious authority and recognition are exercised only by the symbolic power.


Keywords: religious authority, ulama, symbolic power, Indonesia


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