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

The writer’s hypothesis is social capital; an important factor in the growth of civil society in Pesantren’s community. The first reason is the “values” from religious and local traditions. Both can unite a perception of the society and pesantren’s community. Therefore, every action in all areas of life raises profits for both parties.

The second is the chain of events or networks built by pesantren’s community. The strength of pesantren in this context is not limited to ownership of a wide network. The community also performs the network utilization and continues to expand its reach.  There will be expansion of activities range and at the same time preserving symbolic and empirical interaction.

The third, the mediation power of Pesantren bridges both the society and policymakers, symbolically in government or others. In this context, Pondok Pesantren is the unberaucratical power in the village. The mediation is providing more value to other institutions. The media power cannot be separated from the recognition from the villagers who sees pesantren’s community as a group of religious elite in the village.

Fourth, the Institutions in the community that gives birth to social, economy and culture institutions in the society. The community is quite productive in establishing institutions. The interest requires strategies to make it happen. The community believes the institutions are things simplify the process of positive interests’ transformation and distribution of both parties. It is easy to establish institutions as a mean to participate in the decision-making process at the village level and even nationally. These institutions are also effective to increase the strength of civil society in the bureaucracy then take control and ask for accountability from the government. 

Fifth, relationships built by pesantren’s community give people the chance to enjoy and take advantage of certain privileges. Basically, Pesantren is a form of people in the village. The privileges also apply to the villagers. It is at least a proof that the relationship they built is also for village community’s activities then the villagers have the right to get the outcome. Moreover, the sixth is the level of trust between Pondok pesantren’s community with society and its influence on the level of institutional trust above them. From here, the effectiveness and productivity of Pondok pesantren’s community and society can be seen.

The six reasons above are the pondok pesantren’s concentration for hundreds of years. The author assumes that social capital is a significant contribution to strengthening civil society in pondok pesantren’s surrounding. Even in societies that have internal linkages with pondok pesantren’s community.  The social capital owned is as a major factor in building and realizing civil society. The phenomenon that is contradictive with the findings of Putnam in the United States where its progress was followed by a decline attention in religiosity from its generation (less Observant religious). The decline is particularly true in the generation of post-World War II in 60s.8 while the writer’s hypothesis to be concluded by using analysis of Putnam as described in the conceptual framework.

The conceptual linkages among Pondok Pesantren, social capital and civil society can be described as follows: The pondok pesantren (Sidogiri) has a social capital (values, norms, trust, networks, organizations) and some other capitals, such as economic and symbolic capital.

At the horizontal level, it strengthens the internal bonding (bonding) and the ties with other groups (bridging) outside Pondok Pesantren (Pondok pesantren’s surroundings). At the vertical level, it also strengthens the bond with surrounding with policy makers (state), especially at the local level.

Those capitals, mainly the social capital, play a role in growing civil society, both within the Pondok pesantren and the communities around. That way, the Pondok pesantren has a good and synergic relationship with its surrounding and the state. At this point, it becomes a bridge for the community, the state and market. So, the society, state and market, through pesantren Sidogiri, have a channel to articulate variety of mutual, negotiate, and compromise interests. The ends are society’s involvement in the process formulating policy and market decision; and the policy of the state and the market that accommodates interests of the society.