by Muhammad Sulton Fatoni (lecturer Sociology at unusia.ac.id)

The society in Indonesia is familiar with the two words of “Pondok Pesantren” Agus Sunyoto (2012) classifies the words as one of the results of the assimilation of Hindu-Buddhist education that lasted until the 21st century. The takeover of the local education system characterized by the Hindu-Buddhist and Kapitayan like hamlets, dormitories, and a hermitage became Islamic institutions called Pondok pesantren was recorded as the result of a stunning propaganda.

‘Pondok Pesantren’ is where the Santris learn. The word ‘Santri’ adapted from the term ‘sashtri’ means students who study the scriptures (sashtra) as expressed by CC Berg (in Gibb, 1932).  The focus of education in Pondok pesantren is forming characters and manners of the students who the graduates are characterized by noble characters, smart, honest, not hate, helpful, run Shari’a well, always grateful and try to be closer to God (Agus Sunyoto, 2012).  The Orientation of education has been well welcomed by society. The proof is almost every pondok pesantren has lots of students. However, the welcome from society has  not been appreciated as national education is still based on the formality not a society-based yet (Abdurrahman Wahid, 2014).

The word ‘Sidogiri’ is often associated as kampung, a village, or the name of Pondok pesantren. The word ‘Kampung” or hometown means something related to ‘the village’ and communities. However, it cannot be defined as ‘the business community’ (corporate community) because existing social ties are generally among the neighborhoods. ‘Kampung’ relates to ‘kebertetanggaan’ (neighbourship) and strong pressures on the villagers are there in order to be good neighbors. Good neighbors (neighbourliness) are exactly specified in the village, as well as severe sanctions that serve to make the people behave in line with the prevailing conventions.

‘Kampung’ appreciates their main purposes that are harmony, togetherness, a situation in which people live in peace and united, are usually described with the word ‘Rukun’. However, the ‘Kampung’ is not an entity that is able to plan a strategy. It is  only a community from individuals who adapt themselves to the situation of urban and more people are coming to work and compete there (Sullivan and Murray in Hans-Dieter Evers, 2002). Paying attention to the concept of ‘kampung’ as it is said by Hans-Dieter Evers above, the author concludes that the word indicates a commonality that can be in the villages or in the cities.

The term of ‘Sidogiri’ is the study refers to the name of a village and Pondok pesantren Sidogiri’s community. The author chose Sidogiri located in Pasuruan, East Java, with consideration of its consistency that since its establishment in 1745, no shift of Islamic studies and social culture happened. The strength of religious, social and culture held later gave birth to the movement of local economy that was growing year by year continuing to expand, both in terms of financial and coverage area.

Sidogiri is an example of a community that has a strong norm. The credit point is the actual outcome of mutual exchanges in education and socio-cultural processes. The relationship in the exchange between the villagers and Sidogiri is reciprocal, Example: norms concerning the rights and obligations of both parties to guarantee the benefits of a particular activity, for example, teaching and learning at schools, preservation of traditions, and so forth.  Therefore, the firmness of community’s norms in the form of social obligation is a result of the principle exchanging of mutual benefit.

The synergies between pesantren with rural communities also occurred in economy. Villagers who are related to pesantren hope to have benefit. In addition, it also established ties (person or association) which the social relations are tied with trust, either in the form of synergistic and moralistic. The trust arisen is maintained by the norm that binds both parties. The pesantren community makes contact with people or other associations enabling the alleviation of the problem run efficiently and effectively. The pesantren network core refers to the social principles: Working in groups is more easily in problem solving rather than working individually (Robert Lawang, 2004).

Most of the discussions about civil society, not only in Indonesia, focused on the characters and functions. After explaining the characters of civil society, the analysis is likely to put civil society as if just living in the modern era, in other words, as an arena of individualistic and rational governance. As a cultural project, it is a western concept; but as a political project, a developing country is a fertile land that should be considered more in the discussion.

Therefore, at the practical level, civil society is often manifesting issues of democratization and the tug of war between state and society in the socio-political arena. The book offers the idea that civil society is not always shaped by a clash with “state power” Vis a Vis “sovereignty of the people”. Even, the civil society can arise well in a society that has a solid religious base, independent in economic, and the strength of local tradition, so that the balance between state power and sovereignty of the people can be emerged naturally.

In a sociological perspective, the reality above is an empirical data that social capital can serve as an opening space that has been dominated by the dynamics of politics and democracy. Social capital approach can be an alternative analysis that civil society can be built without following the dynamics of practical politics necessarily. Then, there is a relationship between social capitals with civil society. The social capital is the crystallization of society in the move. Values, networks, and trust owned by the villagers are the potencies for strengthening the civil society.  Social capital sheds light on the meaning of trust, solidarity, tolerance and participation as an important pillar of society’s development. This is because the society around Sidogiri is able to prevent the emergence of an authoritarian state and its hegemonies.