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The Violence of Inflated Possibilities: Education, Transformation, and Diminishment in Wamena, Papua

From: Indonesia
Number 95, April 2013
pp. 25-46 | 10.1353/ind.2013.0008



Indonesian authorities in Papua emphasize that indigenous inhabitants who participate in formal education are likely to benefit from a personal, social, and political transformation. This article examines this claim based on the experiences of indigenous Dani residents in the central highlands. Statistical data, interview results, and ethnographic case studies of Dani-Indonesian encounters illustrate that educated Dani do not typically acquire increased status, authority, or employment. Contrary to what Indonesian authorities assert, inmigration, stigmas of "primitiveness," poor-quality schooling, prejudicial hiring practices, and security-sector violence limit what indigenous people may achieve through education in highlands Papua.

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