The Notion of Collective Dignity among Hubula in Palim Valley, Papua

Funded by Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD).


The central focus of this dissertation is the conceptual construction and valorization of the collective social identity of the Hubula, the indigenous people living in the Palim valley of Papua (also known as the Dani). It explores how this identity is expressed in ritual actions, and in the production and exchange of cultural artifacts, and looks at the way in which the Indonesian State and the Roman Catholic Church have impacted upon and transformed it. The ethnographic data presented documents the resilience of the Hubula in their encounter with modern institutions, including the impact of an encroaching market economy on the local forms of livelihood and resources, and pressure to more fully integrate into the Indonesian state which involves the subordination of the Hubula’s own forms authority and leadership to the political institutions of the Indonesian State. The dissertation points out the importance of including the ontological basis of Hubula social structure in the cultures of intervention and cultural policies in order to come to a dignified social change. 


Yulia Sugandi received her academic training in Sociology and Intercultural Counselling Programme at Gadjah Mada University,Indonesia and the University of Eastern Finland. She has been working with various organizations including the Asia Europe Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Peace Brigades International and the UNDP Papua on the discourses on positive peace and distributive justice. She has presented her insights in publications, seminar presentations, academic lectures, workshops and consultations to groups from the grass roots to international levels. Her analysis of social change processes in rural Papua has been laid down in a PhD dissertation defended in 2013 at the Institute of Ethnology, University of Muenster, Germany. Upon her graduation, she has delivered lectures and seminars based on her dissertation in various universities and research institutes including Faculty of Human Ecology- Bogor Agricultural Institute, University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University and Padjadjaran University, KITLV- the Netherlands (May 2014) and Institute of Political Science-University of Muenster (June 2014).