Deconstruction and Local History in Indonesia

The concept of local history was first officially introduced in the First Seminar of Local History held in  1982. At the congress, the direction of local history more focused discussion on topics and issues that are based on the problem oriented with the spatial limits of cities and villages. However, the direction is slightly changed in the Second Local History Congress held in 1984. At this second congress, the main issues were discussed  about the historical relevance for national development. That was, there were efforts to sacrifice the unique local sides for support  the goal-relevance state establishment.

Local History for the National History

In some cases, many errors that occur is to put  the local history writing on the national historical context. It means, the local history works only to strengthen the purpose of national history that stems from the concept of Indonesiasentris, ultra-national  and ideological point of view, which is designed to strengthen national unity. So, many works of local history not only loss the unique elements, but also failed to provide a comprehensive historical explanation, particularly to writing history from below and  to shows the humanity aspects

The generalization of local history frame to the national history context results many anachronism in the  writing of  local history. The most visible is clearly related to the time of period  in local history. Many works of local history are duplicating the time period of national history. However, with all of its uniqueness, local history can  create its own time period withdrawn in order to provide the historical realities that occur in a particular aspect. In addition, other serious problems associated with the writing of local history is resulted with the misplacing  place context. Writing local history just narrated events in national history in the local version. In fact the situation and conditions of a locality, especially the culture, society, nature and circumstances are able to bring a different reality from the narration of  national history.

Deconstruction and Collective Memory

In Indonesian Historiography, the idea  of deconstruction seemed more  used to provide new understanding of the various events and issues in the controversial national history. In fact, refers to the tendency of local history for national history, this idea of deconstruction should be applied  also rank in the local history. It means that local history should not only liberate from the generalization of the national history, but also must provide a new understanding of the autonomous reality of the past that related with locality issues. The main problems of deconstruction in local history  are able to raise the unique aspects of all local reality, so that it can produce a comprehensive historical understanding.

Collective memory  of community play an important role in effort to deconstruction the local history writing. This is of course related with the formation of the new realities of the past. The understanding, actually , will not form when a historian is not able to excavate various alternative sources, in addition to conventional sources. Collective memory, in this case, can be an alternative source of local history writing. It is often a debate whether the truth is this collective memory can be trusted , considering the facts and opinions mixed in it. However, practically,  it is the task of the historians, in the use of each source, to separate the elements of real and illusion. Apart from that, if the collective memory can be used as an alternative local source, it can ensure that local history can show the various uniqueness, such as people, culture, social relationship, local politic, etc.

In addition, using the collective memory of the community in a particular locality can display local history with a closer and more humanity aspects of  society. Furthermore, the understanding of local history such as this, can show the relevance of history in the local community itself. Thus, at least, local history can be a reflector in the goal to improve the standard of living to a better direction.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s