From Economic Actor to Moral Agent: Knowledge, Fate and Hierarchy among the Bugis of Sulawesi
Analysts of the Bugis, from Alfred Russel Wallace to Andrew Vayda, especially when concentrating on those Bugis living in the periphery outside their homeland of South Sulawesi, have often invoked predominantly economic motivations in explaining their migration decisions, livelihood choices, and other aspects of their interaction with the environment. This paper emphasizes instead the importance of their beliefs and values related to mobility, foregrounding the quest for various types of knowledge, often esoteric, that underlies various behavioral patterns. This quest is contextualized in terms of basic tenets of cosmology and aspects of ethnopersonality that contribute to Bugis evaluations of ways of acting, including a commoner ideology that contrasts with noble notions of hierarchy that are often presented (e.g. by Shelly Errington) as the basis of Bugis sociocultural structure.
Volume & Issue:
Page range: 147-180
Cornell University Southeast Asia Program