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How information sharing at information grounds helps reconnect a religiously divided society? Cafés, Christians and Muslims in Ambon, Indonesia

Abdul Rohman (School of Communication and Design, RMIT University, Hanoi, Vietnam)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 6 April 2020

Issue publication date: 11 February 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Different worldviews have been posed as constraining to information sharing. Religion is one element that constitutes the way people view the world. In many countries, religion has become a source for violent conflicts. This study investigates how Christians and Muslims in Ambon, Indonesia shared information at cafes situated at border areas and it helped the two religious communities reconcile their different worldviews after over a decade of living in conflicts.

Design/methodology/approach

Informed by information grounds theory, this study analyzes data collected through a series of observation at three cafes situated at border areas and in-depth interviews with 31 informants. The analysis illuminates the processes that enable Christians and Muslims to exchange their different worldviews.

Findings

This study found that, after the conflict, Christian and Muslim communities longed for the interaction they had with the other as it was before the conflict. However, these same communities tended to remain in there religiously homogenous environments as there was a conception that the others' area was unsafe. Cafés at the borders became platforms to fulfill the need to meet with the other, promoting inter-religious interactions. At the cafés, an array of information was shared to establish mutual interests, from which more meaningful interpersonal relationships such as friendship and collaboration arose. Such relationships allowed regular visitors to exchange worldviews, re-stitching the broken social fabric in post-conflict Ambon.

Originality/value

This study expands the applicability of information grounds theory to the context of a religious conflict in Southeast Asia. It demonstrates processes of how continuous interactions at information grounds can gradually facilitate communities with adversarial relationships to exchange their different worldviews.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Ed Wade at RMIT University Vietnam for his language assistance.

Citation

Rohman, A. (2020), "How information sharing at information grounds helps reconnect a religiously divided society? Cafés, Christians and Muslims in Ambon, Indonesia", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 76 No. 6, pp. 1155-1170. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-03-2019-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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