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Conviviality, Citizenship and Religion in Trinidad and Indonesia

Dr. Eric Anton Heuser

(Habilitation, Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Röttger-Rössler)

In this book empirical data from both Indonesia and Trinidad illustrate how affects are responsible for producing and maintaining culturally specific modes of citizenship. Both countries constitute vastly diverse archipelagic societies that are characterised by island cultures and shaped by centuries of culture contact and transfer. They are home to highly mobile peoples, many of which are part of global diasporic families, business circles, and friendships networks.

The empirical data presented in this book suggest that in such ‘superdiverse’ societies, affects help people to position themselves in and relate to their wider socio-cultural discourses. In other words, I argue that affects lay the grounds upon which people create conviviality. This skill is particularly important in complex postcolonial multi-ethnic, -religious, and –cultural societies like Indonesia and Trinidad. Inside these societies, affective skills and convivial atmospheres are the glue that facilitates interaction among diverse parts of the population. This micro-level interaction is framed by state narratives where citizenship rests on two main foundations: 1) the existence and active reproduction of multiple subjective belongings, and 2) the perception that national unity is best maintained when those differences are understood, practiced, and honoured. The chapters below discuss how relational-affective skills enable people to position themselves in superdivers social discourses and how citizens fashion and maintain different forms of social belongings, in which they experience difference more often than sameness.