Socio-cultural Base, Challenges, and Development Potential in Papua

Discussions on the development of Papua or its problems haven ever diminished in the academic or political discourse. Reviews from various points of view to come across the most appropriate solution in Papua’s development are also being done.

Papua has a variety of cultures that include ethnic groups with territories,customs, beliefs, values, and languages. However, a longstanding ethical view looks at the Papuan people from an outsider’s point of view. Thus, the visible representation of Papua is homogeneity.

Quoting, in addition to homogenization, the labeling of socio-cultural movements has be-come local movements in published literatures. Terms such as Navistic Movement, Revitalization Movement,Messianic Movement, or Cargo Cult are used to label community movement sin Papua. Similar framing also occurs from the point of view of the authority or government. These movements are seen as separatist movements, resistance movements with a tendency to separate themselves.

Socio cultural Base Challenges and Development Potential in Papua

Still in the past, the external view point also considered the problems in Papua only as a domestic problem for Indonesia. The tendency of other countries is to observe from afar without any involvement. However,massive changes in the context of information and technology occurring in the world have made socio-cultural aspects less bounded and cross-bordered. As a result, Papua’s problems are no longer merely Indonesian domestic affairs. Many countries feel that the Papuan problem is part of an international and global problem. This prompted many countries to feel the need to engage with certain interests.

Quoting Anthony Giddens (Runaway World, 1996), democracy, human rights and global justice are on the rise in the early 21st century, making Papua an open landscape. What is happening in Papua can be known directly by the world. Massive changes have also changed ethical views into emic views, which are looking at Papua from the point of view of the Papuans themselves. Papua’s previous representation of homogeneity has shifted to heterogeneity.

The view of positivism that was born along with the changes that occurred also shifted the human position from object to subject (subjectification).This encourages increased individual freedom, individual atomization, formation of new elites, increased cultural politics, and actors (government,political parties, universities, nongovernmental organizations, foreign donor agencies, foreign governments,and local community institutions) to become central.

As for the things that must be improved from the question of Papua’s  development through the socio cultural perspective that transpired,among others are; cultural pluralism which is seen as a gift as well as a vulnerability, cultural relativism in the name of democracy and human rights which actually sharpens socio cultural boundaries, excessive interpretation of freedom, and weak control over individual and group freedom.

Papua’s Development Challenges and Potentials

As quoted from, the main challenge for Papua’s development so far is that the area is vast and the population is limited but lives dispersedly. Dwellings that are very far apart with minimal transportation connectivity make service and accessibility difficult. There are still many areas that have not been reached by adequate access.

Papua has significant potential for development, one of which is the assertion of superior agricultural commodities in the region. For instance,Merauke with its rice commodity is prepared to become a national rice barn, then in the Seireri area such as Biak and its surroundings, which are rich with extraordinary marine and fishery potentials.

The mountainous region produces high quality coffee beans and red fruit for the medicinal and cosmetic industries. Not to mention the very diverse tourism potential in Papua, both marine tourism and natural tourism rich in flora and fauna. Therefore, there is still a lot of potential that can be explored in Papua that can contribute to the national income, apart from mining which is based in Freeport.