Diversity in the use of three Legal Systems in Conflict Resolution among the Muslim Betawi of Srengseng Sawah Indonesia
This study presents on how has the dynamics of the Betawi culture shaped the people’s concept of law, given the pluralistic normative systems imposed by government (Indonesian legal system which is a composite of customary law, Islamic law, and state law), especially when settling interpersonal conflict. When in a conflict, ideally, the Betawi custom encourages the people to arrive at a settlement without confronting the other party. Emphasis is placed on the communal interest, which is to maintain social harmony. To uphold the communal interest, the individual is subordinated to the community. One consequence is the Betawi’s infrequent use of civil litigation to settle conflict. Culture has a strong influence on the people’s tendency to avoid confrontation. Although the customs encourage the immediate resolution of the conflict, it demands, at the same time, people’s adherence to maintaining communal harmony. The people validate their behavior toward the justified norms by using a combination of customary law and Sharia. State law is avoided, since it involves litigation procedures in a court. Looking at their manner of conflict resolution, it can be said that the people’s observance of the law is influenced by four major factors: their condition as Muslims; the value of maintaining communal harmony, which is manifested in one’s expected behavior during conflict and its resolution; the value of reciprocity and consensus; and personal reasons conditioned by the first three factors. These are important elements that configure the community legal discourse in the absence of a substantive agreement among the people. This implies a dynamic understanding of law and the fluidity of legal concepts at the local level. Presumably the lifeworld has a significant influence on the way people apply the Indonesian legal system in conflict resolution.
Keywords: Legal Anthropology, Legal Pluralism, Conflict/Dispute Resolution, Muslims Community, Customary Law, Islamic Law
Junior Researcher, Research Center for Society and Culture (Pusat Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Kebudayaan), The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia)