The past four decades have seen enormous social change in Indonesia as the nation continues to experience rapid urbanization and social pressures in the globalized economy that have led to tensions between traditional cultures and the modern mainstream around the nation. This cultural shift has been felt strongly in West Sumatra, a region of Indonesia inhabited almost entirely by members of the matrilineal Minangkabau ethnic group. While the traditional social values of the area remain strong, they are eroding, and the Minang are becoming more like other Indonesians in terms of their family structure, occupations, and lifestyle. This has had a significant impact on the experience of old age as social and culture change has affected the traditional matrilineal structures that supported and ensured care for the elderly in past generations. This paper will describe the ways in which traditional institutions accommodated older individuals and describe how these systems have changed in the present day. Case studies across generations will be presented to illustrate the ways in which traditional matrilineal social structures are, and have been, perceived in the context of aging. Further, the paper will describe what this means for the elderly and their families in terms of cultural consonance in today’s society, and discussion will focus on the changing experience of old age in a society in transition against a backdrop of rapid urbanization and modernization.
|Keywords:||Culture, West Sumatra, Social Change, Cultural Consonance|
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Lecturer, Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri, Batusangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia