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By : Muhammad Faqih

By the beginning of the third millennium, Euro-American culture, which is usually labelled as global culture, can be encountered in almost every corner of the world, even in remote areas. Not only physical structures but also social structures tend to be affected by the new culture. These phenomena evoke questions about the life and continuity of local traditions in the face of development or globalisation. The dominant perspective argued that a global culture was being merged through the economic and political domination of the USA, which forced its hegemonic power into local cultures. This expansive cultural wave was regarded as a ‘corrosive homogenizing force’ against cultural diversity. The local culture would eventually give way under the relentless modernizing force of American cultural imperialism. With reference to the rise of Japanese economic domination, however, some scholars indicated that there is a new phenomenon of survival of the local culture. The Japanese adopted a global outlook and adapted to local conditions. This phenomenon however, should not be overly romanticized, due to the fact that global relations between the West and the East, or the North and the South are actually uneven, asymmetrical and unequal. Let alone the majority of developing countries are implementing development programmes that barely copy the capitalist development of Euro-American countries. Aspects of the Japanese experience however, still have influence on developing countries seeking revitalisation. In developing countries, where development and globalization are taking place, ordinary people and their ordinary settlements are the crucial point of cultural interaction, which has not been well understood in terms of the process itself or the outcomes. It raises fundamental questions about the relationship between broad socio-economic and cultural change, under the general heading of ‘development’, to housing environments, as well as the more intimate relationship at the micro level between dwellers and their dwellings in situation where transformation is carried out by the people themselves. The use of domestic space as a part of culture is certainly influenced by the process of development and eventually results in new environmental outcomes in domestic architecture. This phenomenon could be spotlighted from Kent’s segmentation theory that concerns the relation of culture segmentation to architecture segmentation. It is of interest to investigate the process of architecture segmentation within the development process on the same level of culture segmentation that is still questioned by Kent’s proposition. This paper investigates this within the context of Indonesia’s development programme. It consists of a detailed empirical study of three Madurese housing environments, which represent a continuum of settlements from the inner city of Surabaya to the inner remote area of Madura Island. Participant observation by living with households, in-depth interviews, measured drawings and photographs were the main methods of data collection complemented by a statistical survey. A projective test using models and in-depth interviews were used to explore peoples’ preferences as a tool to forecast future actions. The central conclusion to be drawn from this research is that domestic architecture in Madura has undergone a fundamental transformation, mainly since Independence. This transformation is manifested in domestic space organisation and housing style. Although Kent’s theory appears to explain the match between culture segmentation and architecture segmentation, that proposition alone was found inadequate in explaining the differences within the highest levels of culture segmentation. This research found that within the same level of segmentation, the most segmented culture, persist the different architecture segmentation. Other factors, such as changes in the economic system, social structure and social relations, interplay within the development process affecting the different types of domestic space segmentation within the most segmented culture. Furthermore, within the transformation process, where the old and new forms meet, the nuance of hybridisation is always present. People adopted new forms that separated from existing practices and recombined with new forms in new practices. It is a part of people’s adaptation to smooth the transformation process of culture change.
Keywords: Segmentation theory, culture change, traditional housing, Indonesia

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