Social Anthropology lecturer from Universitas Khairun in Ternate, Safrudin Amin, M.A., defended his dissertation titled “Landadi Manusia/Dadi Manca”: Structure and Agency in Vertical Social Mobility of Makeang People in North Maluku, accompanied by promoter, Prof. Dr. Heddy Shri Ahimsa-Putra, M.A., M.Phil, and co-promoter, Dr. G.R. Lono Lastoro Simatupang, M.A. at Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM on Tuesday (9/8). He said the Makeang people are seen as dominating education and local politics of North Maluku although they are neither the majority nor the minority group.
Between 17th and mid-20th centuries, the Makeang people were subordinated under the Ternate Sultanate in terms of politics, culture and economy. They were seen as underdeveloped. This followed on until the 1980’s. But since the 90’s, Makeang people had turned into superior community in many aspects.
According to Safrudin, the vertical social mobility that is very rapid was due to the interaction between agency adequate capacities of Makeang people and the structure that enables mobility. So, interaction between agents and structure is a cultural process involving social construction that engages agentive behaviour in social players.
Safrudin said structure transformation from traditional state of Ternate Sultanate to colonial state, then Indonesia, not only offers new social mobility space but also vertical mobility space for all communities in North Maluku, but only some (Makeang, Tidore, Sanana) make use of it optimally. This indicates the role of agency in Makeang people’s vertical mobility.
“Agentive steps to use this vertical mobility space is observable in the people of Makeang,” he said.
It resulted in significant vertical mobility in terms of education and politics. Only in two decades since the introductrion to formal education in the 1940’s, Makeang people started to play a stronger role from time to time.
“Since 1960, the role of the Makeang people in education as teachers and lecturers has been outstanding, and the number of teachers and lecturers becoming the largest,” he said.
In politics, they became “those in power” due to their education and hard work, they came to the space of mobility in the bureaucracy and legislative body.
Safrudin concluded the goodness from a subordinated class turning into a strong class was due to the good command of education and politics as well as behaviour policy in the multiethnic groups in North Maluku.