the transformation of an Indonesian property system: adat, Islam, and social change in the Gayo highlands



In Indonesia, the civil and Islamic judiciaries have sought to integrate local property systems into national and Islamic legal frameworks. The rise of cash-cropping and an Islamic reformist ideology have created local demands for new forms of property transmission. This essay examines the mediating role played by reinter-pretations of adat (tradition, custom, social system, propriety) in the transformation of property transmission in Gayo society of highland Sumatra. Gayo have contextualized the social messages of the courts in a way that has preserved central ideas of social continuity. Other Sumatran societies are contrasted with the Gayo and used to develop a broader comparison of Indonesian and African social change.