Living with Conflict among Javanese and Tagalog Filipinos: An Anthropological Comparison

  • Niels Mulder (Autor/in)

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The ways Javanese and Tagalog Filipino middle class people live with conflict in the inner, moral circle of life, appear to be rather similar. The special position of the mother in both cultures is explored as the key to the nature of familial relationships. It appears that conscience is located in relationships that are felt to be obliging and that one normally depends on the acceptance by others for one’s self-assurance. In this construction the avoidance of confrontations has strategic importance; often conflict is side-stepped rather than faced, people withdrawing when it threatens, remaining passive, and complying with the demands of a hierarchical moral order. At the psychological level, conflict tends to be denied or repressed; in dealing with it, Javanese seem to activate their inner resources while Tagalogs tend to excessive gregariousness. Practically, Javanese are more resolute in cutting ties that have become intolerable; the Tagalog moral unvierse seems to be softer and more ’understanding'.