Reconsidering the Stigma of Political Opportunism Among the Kiai: A Critique of the Modernist Perspective

https://doi.org/10.22146/pcd.36149

Suswanta Suswanta(1*)

(1) Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta
(*) Corresponding Author

Abstract


This study is rooted in a deep dissatisfaction with research that stigmatises the political activities of kiai as opportunist. Using an empirical basis, this article examines the political activities of the kiai during the internal conflicts of the Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB, National Awakening Party), hoping to show that the political activities of kiai are not opportunistic. Bourdieu's theory of social practice, with its conceptual framework (i.e. habitus, field, and capital) is borrowed to examine the political activities of kiai. This article presents qualitative research using an emic approach. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, observations, and document studies. This study finds that the political activities of the kiai during the PKB's internal conflicts were not opportunistic but rather a social praxis, unique in its representation of dialectic between the kiai's symbolic capital within the PKB and their application of their pesantren habitus and the Islamic value of Ahlusunnah wal jamaah (Aswaja). Politics, as viewed by the kiai, is a tool for realising truth and justice (Iqomatul Haq wal 'adl). They attempted to create balance by applying their pesantren habitus in political life to ensure that the PKB continued to follow the values of Aswaja Islam. The kiai, who had previously supported Gus Dur in the PKB's first internal conflict, became critical and shifted their support to Alwi Shihab during the PKB's first internal conflict, advising Gus Dur to control his ego, position himself correctly, and be consistent in his speech and actions while leading and administering the PKB. 


Keywords


Politics; Kiai; Pesantren; Habitus; Conflict

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/pcd.36149

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