Stealing Women, Stealing Men: Co-creating Cultures of Polygamy in a Pesantren Community in Eastern Indonesia

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Vol: 11, Issue: 1, Page: 189

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Smith, Bianca J.
Indonesia; polygamy; pesantren; Women's Studies
article description
The article examines how particular elements of Sasak society structurally facilitate a culture of polygamy in a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) which is managed by male Muslim teachers and preachers (Tuan Guru) who maintain a paradoxical position in society that implicates women in the co-creation of polygamy. By culturally situating Muslim women’s experiences in wider Indonesian and local Sasak discursive contexts, and based on anthropological field research techniques, the article elucidates how Muslim women draw on a range of magical forces and prayers that they learn from their Muslim teachers in the pesantren in response to customary marriage laws of ‘bride stealing’ and orthodox Islam that enable the reproduction of polygamy on the island of Lombok in Eastern Indonesia.