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“Kidnapping the Bride”—A Traditional Sasak Wedding Seen in Sesak Cinta Di Tanah Sasak Novel: A Model in Contemporary Indonesian Literature Studies

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H.D. Dharma Satrya, Faruk Faruk and Pujiharto Pujiharto

Submitted: 18 June 2020 Reviewed: 24 August 2020 Published: 25 December 2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.93697

From the Edited Volume

Psycho-Social Aspects of Human Sexuality and Ethics

Edited by Dhastagir Sultan Sheriff

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This article aims to create dialog of “kidnapping the bride” reality in several studies and to construct the practice in reality. Discussion of “kidnapping the bride” practices in literature and cultural studies of Lombok intends to find contemporary Indonesian literary models of ethnic Lombok. To achieve this goal, this article applies Stuart Hall’s representation theory. In literary studies, “kidnapping the bride” is constructed as a critique of nobility. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak novel construct “kidnapping the bride” as a criminal act. The meaning is constructed by Islamic discourse and tradition (nobility). Resistance to the discourse is what presents a romantic discourse. Romantic discourse, in the novel When Love Takes to Go, is constructed to fight against feudalism and capitalism. Romantic discourse in Opto Ergo Sum is a tradition discourse. The discourse is gathered from different voices, men’s and women’s voices. Women’s voice tends to be strong to the lid of the real world (in Ketika Cinta Tak Mau Pergi). Man’s voice rejects integration (in Opto Ergo Sum). Finally, the study of Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak and two other novels signifies a model for contemporary Indonesian literary studies. The model can be found by blurring the boundaries between Lombok cultural study and Indonesian literature.


  • practice of “kidnapping the bride”
  • Indonesian novel Contemporer
  • discourse
  • Lombok (cultural studies)

1. Introduction

“Kidnapping the bride” of Sasak wedding practices puts as a record by the Ministry of Education and Culture as Lombok West Nusa Tenggara customs [1]. This practice is also supported by the government as a code of conduct of Sasak people [2]. Lukman [3] strengthens the position of “kidnapping the bride” in Sasak traditional culture. The practice of “kidnapping the bride,” from the independence era until Order Baru era, is discussed as a traditional Sasak wedding. The practice of “kidnapping the bride” as a Sasak cultural identity is voiced by the noble group, a heterodox Islamic group. After Order Baru period, “kidnapping the bride” discourse got its match from orthodox Islamic groups. This shows that there is a change in representation in constructing the practice of “kidnapping the bride.” The change in representation of the practice of “kidnapping the bride” of Sasak was caused by the election of the master teacher to the West Nusa Tenggara region. The previous regional head, in the 2003–2008 period, came from a noble group, Lalu Serinata. “Kidnapping the bride” in the master master’s regime is adjusted to Islamic law and state law [4]. In this context of change, the practice of “kidnapping the bride” is important to be thorough.

The practice of “kidnapping the bride” serves an important theme of the Indonesian novel Lombok. The theme is firstly portrayed by Nadira Khalid in the novel Ketika Cinta Tak Mau Pergi. The novel delineates romance to counter feudalism and capitalism [5]. This practice in the Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is constructed as a criminal act by aristocrats and police officers. Romance is the only way. Romantic discourse wins the fight. Ketika Cinta Tak Mau Pergi positions stronger to the poles of the real world, even if it does not experience unification. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak maintains stronger to the ideal world, because Baiq Raihan dies. Ketika Cinta Tak Mau Pergi, position the nobility as the poor people and the ranks of corals as the people are rich. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak perfoms the nobility as rich people and the ranks of coral remained as poor people.

Both novels represent the practice of “kidnapping the bride” differently. Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi novel does not involve the police to resolve Sahnim’s parents’ disapproval of “kidnapping the bride” by Lalu Kertiaji. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak novel involves the police as judges for “kidnapping the bride” considered as a criminal act. Nagara cooperates with the oppressing nobility of the people, the ranks of coral. The difference in “kidnapping the bride” representation in the two novels is caused by the socio-political context that lies behind it. Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi was published in the socio-political situation of the aristocratic regime (2003–2008), while Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak presents in the socio-political context of “tuan guru” regime, 2008–2018.

Some studies [6, 7, 8, 9, 10] reveals that ethnic representation in contemporary Indonesian literary studies is assumed to be a local wisdom. These studies ignore the political movements of local people who at some stage are no longer local. Ethnic writers in the United States carry out social and political movements so that ethnic groups have important positions, both in literature and politics [11]. Lombok experiences this situation. From independence until the early reformation era, Lombok is led by a governor from Java. It is only in 2003 that the native son is elected as governor. Sasak ethnic identity has begun to emerge in the 2000s. The Indonesian literary production of Lombok is part of an ethnic revival to sound Sasak cultural identity.

Indonesian Literature of Lombok emerges as a meeting point of two studies, namely Lombok studies and contemporary Indonesian literary studies. Novel Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is in these two studies. The Lombok study sees “kidnapping the bride” as a reality that continues to be constructed in various perspectives, for example Islamic studies, legal studies, and cultural studies. The reality of “kidnapping the bride” is constructed according to the perspective used to see it. Contemporary Indonesian literature studies see “kidnapping the bride” as part of romantic discourse [5]. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak reinforces the position of “kidnapping the bride” as a romantic discourse. This practice keeps him trapped in law and prison. All that is left is the ideal world. The tendency to achieve unification is weak. Romantic discourse in the novel Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi and Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak does not differ from romantic discourse in modern Indonesian literature in case of Balai Pustaka. Romantic discourse in Balai Pustaka tradition creates unification, but it does not reach unification, while romantic discourse in the Opto Ergo Sum novel consciously rejected unification [12]. Ethnic representation in contemporary Indonesian literature with the Lombok case can be used as a model in contemporary Indonesian literature and a model for Lombok (cultural) studies. In this context, the boundary between the contemporary Indonesian and Lombok literature is blurred.


2. Methodology

This article applies Stuart Hall’s representation theory. Hall’s representation theory serves to theorize the practice of Lombok Sasak “kidnapping the bride.” It accommodates the context of contemporary Indonesian literature with Lombok as its ethnic issue. This practice also delivers a sign and a discourse. As a sign, “kidnapping the bride” is constructed as semiotic analysis in the novel. As a discourse, “kidnapping the bride” is constructed academically by several studies. The novel serves as primary data source while some studies of “kidnapping the bride” and discourse about Lombok supplies secondary data sources. The first data source is in the form of lingual units in the form of sentences or paragraphs that provide information about the practice of “kidnapping the bride.” The second data source is in the form of discursive statements from several studies of “kidnapping the bride” and Lombok. The data source delivers the perspective of Sasak people living in the Sasak culture of Lombok. The first and second analysis applies semiotic analysis and discourse. The analysis conveys the experience of researchers as Sasak people taken from the researcher’s experience. The meaning of “kidnapping the bride” in a novel is as a dialog in academic discourse.


3. Discussion

3.1 Running away in literary studies, cultural studies, and Islamic (law) studies

The “kidnapping the bride” study conducted by Wijaya [13] and Zuhairini [14] positions “kidnapping the bride” as a culture that needs to be criticized. Both interpret Merpati Kembar di Lombok novel as criticism to the nobles. Wijaya sees “kidnapping the bride” as a critic of the class, while Zuhairini sees it in the context of women. Wijaya interpretes the novel as based on Islamic teachings, while Zuhairini was based on a modern way of thinking with the theme of women’s freedom to behave. Wijaya uses a religious perspective, while Zuhairini uses a feminist perspective.

In cultural studies, the practice of “kidnapping the bride” was conceptualized as a result of acculturation of Sasak and Bali [15]. “Kidnapping the bride” is not a native Sasak culture, but acculturation with Balinese culture [4]. Therefore, the development of sees “kidnapping the bride” experiences codification with Islamic and state law. Lukman [16] sees “kidnapping the bride” from a legal perspective. According to him, there are three laws in the “kidnapping the bride” tradition, namely religious, customary and state law ([16], 427). In the perspective of Islamic law, Basriadi [17] reviews marital law of different classes, aristocratic women with non-aristocratic men, not contrary to customary law. If in practice, there are parents who do not want to marry off their children to men of different classes, then the bride and groom are married by the guardian of the judge. Aminullah [18] explaines that the practice of “kidnapping the bride” has been modified, for example in the tradition of drinking alcohol in the process of collusion. Mahayanti [19] sees the tension of Islamic law and customary law in terms of giving pisuke (money). In customary law, pisuke must be given, whereas in Islamic law is not touched other than dowry. The reality of eloping practices varies according to the perspective of the study.

3.2 “Kidnapping the Bride” Discourse

Krulfeld [20] distinguishes Sasak society based on the type of religiosity. First, the Sasak Wetu Telu type community, orthodox Islam. Second, the Sasak people of type five, orthodox Islam. The first acts based on adat, while the second acts based on the commandments of God as stated in the book. The Sasak people experience a change from traditional religious types, adat, to orthodox Islamic religious types [20, 21]. Budiwanti [21] shows how traditional Islam, wetu telu, is displaced into a marginalized group. Orthodox Islamic groups work together with the government to purify Islamic teachings [21, 22]. The battle between the two discourses was ongoing. Lukman [3] strengthens the Sasak tradition by emphasizing the village krame and Sorong Serah Aji Krama marriage customs. Suhardi [23] added Sasak custom by including ceremonies related to birth and death. Hadi [24] photographs the lives of Sasak people. In the portrait, Hadi [24] traces the distance of Lombok customs to the calculation of the lunar calendar in Sasak’s mind. Custom or tradition as a discourse about Lombok is still being reproduced. This is the case with Islamic discourse. Islam provides a new color in Lombok culture. Islam and tradition or tradition are seen as dialectical [25]. Dialog with Islam constructs a modern Sasak identity [26].

Asnawi [27] emphasizes the position of the teacher as a refinement of Islamic teachings. Tuan Guru becomes the main agent of the acculturation of Islamic values in the Sasak culture [28]. The important position of tuan guru (master teacher) in Lombok culture and especially in Islamization determines how custom is contextualized with Islamic law. The important position of the teacher in politics in West Nusa Tenggara determines how custom is contextualized with state law. Macdougall [29], Kristiansen [30] and Kingsley [31] highlight the rise of religious groups in maintaining the security of the people in Lombok. Islamic discourse is not only constructed by Western scholars, but also by the West Nusa Tenggara region [32]. In the book NTB Bersaing, the local government discusses the Islamic Center as an icon of West Nusa Tenggara, as a center for Islamic activities [32]. In a historical dissertation written by Fajdri [33], Lombok as an Islamic society from the very beginning of its existence. Islamic discourse shifts the position of tradition in the production of scientific knowledge about Lombok and especially the practice of “kidnapping the bride.” In the 2000s–2010s, Lombok was constructed as Islam. Thus, the practice of “kidnapping the bride” is adjusted to Islamic law [4]. The current construction of Lombok is dominated by Islamic discourse.

3.3 The Noble “Tuan Guru” in Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak Novel

This novel presents a noble man and tuan-guru in one character, Lalu Said. Baiq Raihan is betrothed with a nobleman and tuan guru.

As time passes from so many choices of Mamiqnya, Raihan is proposed by young nobles from the village of Gede. Handsome, handsome, smart young man. It is reported that the son of a Tuan Guru is certainly respected for having his recitatory congregants. The young man reportedly has completed his education in Arab and is expected to be able to return to his Islamic group representing the people and eventually control the people ([34], p. 14–15).

In Lombok culture, tuan guru (master teacher) as social status tend to be inherited [35]. Alaini [36] mentions that status is achieved which is open, while nobility is inherited status. Tuan guru’s son is definitely tuan guru. The teacher prepares his child to be his successor. One way the child is prepared is to send them to Arabic. Returning from Arab, the child will be introduced to the congregation of his parents as well as being introduced as his successor. Tuan guru has the same position as the noble man, that is, the figure who is equally respected by the community. However, Lalu Said and his parents have a double honor as tuan guru and nobleman. Tuan guru has a high social status in Sasak community structure to match the high position of the aristocracy. Such conditions make Raihan’s father insist on pairing his child with Lalu Said, because of the aristocracy and tuan guru.

3.4 Betrayed love

Raihan is forced to choose and accept an arranged marriage with Lalu Said. The choice is taken in order to maintain the honor of his family. That choice is a manifestation of Raihan’s disdain for her love for Habib. In order to maintain that honor, Raihan choses to betray Habib’s love, an ordinary man, jajarkarang.

“Look, sir, if we want to make peace with our family, this father as Habib’s parents, must take responsibility for several legal agreements, and sanctions if they are violated. Then, Raihan is asked to tell about her journey, but it is strange to Habib that what is told. It cannot help him to get out from the legal problem, because Raihan’s testimony is not in favor of him, in the love they were fighting for. Shed tears of sadness. How have our fathers heard the confession of this girl, then is there anyone capable of defending Habib? “That’s not right sir, that’s wrong, everything she says is her parents’ orders. “.

“Calm down!” The policeman snapped.

“Sir! How about the word peace we have discussed earlier, “asked his father. “Hearing all the stories and confessions of our girls is enough to get here and we don’t need peace money from you guys!”

“Alright sir, whatever the responsibility I am ready, even though I have to be in jail. Allah is all-knowing with all this and you calm down, all of this I will pass with sincerity and patience and you forgive me please take care of his health, again sorry, sir, I have not been able to be a filial son. Then Habib kisses the soles of her father’s feet. The wall clock at the police station tinkles as Habib stepps into a detention car for safekeeping to the police station, going through his days until the sentence is completed ([34], p. 47–48).

Raihan gives false testimony, so the act of carrying Raihan serves as a criminal act. Though both of them agree to elope to avoid arranged marriages Raihan with Lalu Said, the son of the noble tuan guru. Raihan’s father reports to the police about the kidnapping of Raihan. Police gives a hand to search for Raihan. Raihan dan Habib are found and then taken to the police station. Raihan is forced to give false testimony in order to maintain the honor of her family. In that case the police only accepts Raihan’s decision and testimony as a victim who is kidnapped. Raihan’s attitude who chooses to give false testimony feels suffering to the man she loves, because Habib is imprisoned.

Raihan’s love for Habib is now a mere lie that he must throw away in his mind. However, all that is useless, it’s so hard for him to just forget it all. The betrayal of love and disappointment he gave is the most beautiful gift that is sweet at first, then bitter at the end. His best friend Nasir visits him that afternoon after a few days ago came to him. This time Nasir arrives early. From the jail, Habib comes out in a white prisoned costume bearing number 07. The iron door is opened by officers then Habib comes out with a listless face ([34], p. 49).

The quote shows that Habib finally becomes a prisoner. His love has taken him to prison. The love he believes has become a lie. Betrayal love is the most beautiful gift, because that’s all that’s left. After the disappointment there is no chance to change the betrayal. What remains is memories. Betrayal is not without consequences for Raihan himself. Both are imprisoned. Habib is imprisoned in the jail and Raihan is imprisoned by tradition. Both prisons are equally limiting their actions. But the prison occupied by Raihan is a prison of eternal tradition in his life. The prison that is occupied by Habib is a prison that has physical strength, while Raihan is a prison that has power that is not only physical. Faruk [37] called it a prison because of formal normative or ethical legal issues, while the prison occupied by Raihan is cultural and philosophical because it involves the suppression of freedom of choice. Habib can only come out after he has lived according to established rules, while Raihan can only get out of traditional prison after his family dies and his marriage ends in divorce.

Her face is covered with sorrow, her thin body told a bitter truth. She sits not in her husband’s bed, she does not live in her in-laws’ house but she is in her house. Raihan is now veiled in gloom, she returns to her umma while her mother has passed away for a year. She returned home with full of regret and accepted his new status as a widow, lying. Guilt and betrayal of love still make an impression in her heart. Her beauty is faded even though there are still beautiful lines on her face. The blue eyes look sad, while his heart continues to whimper with prolonged injury ([34], 66).

Raihan divorces her husband because she is unable to give her husband offspring. Raihan is widowed. Her widowed status is unable to get her out of suffering. She still feels hurt, sorry, and guilty. Her disdain for Habib still leaves an imprint on her heart and hurt him all his life before he received an apology from Habib. Her injured heart is followed by shortness of breath and lung cancer. She dies after meeting with Habib.

Shortness of breath and cancer undermines her lungs, Raihan is only able to lie on the bed, breathing hard. Ummi in surrender faithfully goes side by her side. While being close to her death, the verses of the Koran from the Surah Yasin continue to be recited by her family and close relatives. Her curling eyelashes look wet as she endures pain, the patient and faithful rays of her face radiate happily in the arms of her beloved Habib. The howling sound of dogs gripped together with a smile that finally silenced then the tired body stiffened. Her mom cries helplessly staring at her only daughter silently without a sound. Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiu. The fragrant breath has now stopped. News of the death of Baiq Raihan along with fragrance and joy was always implied on his face. And for those who know her feel great loss and sadness. While Habib, a desperate lover, cannot hold back tears of pain, his heart seems to be cut into thorns, it hurt and hurt when he compares the time in the jail. After seven years of separation and seven months he feels the meeting without any restrictions. Now it turns out she has gone to face the divine ([34], p. 72).

Raihan visits to the divine in accordance with her promise. She passes away after meeting with Habib. The meeting is at once a farewell for both.

3.5 “Kidnapping the bride” discourse in Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak Novel

“Kidnapping the bride” done by Habib and Baiq Raihan is not a custom event, but an abduction event. Therefore, “kidnapping the bride” is a criminal case. The novel positions this practice as a criminal act. Raihan is a victim and a witness who confirms that Habib kidnappes her. Though they love each other and they make the decision to do this practice together. If the novel positions Raihan in favor of Habib, then “kidnapping the bride” is a process of the Sasak wedding tradition. Habib is put in jail for kidnapping. Raihan testifies that she is kidnapped. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak sided with the aristocrats and masters of the teacher as well. His side is not about placing “kidnapping the bride” as a custom that must be maintained, but customs that have the potential to become criminal acts. The custom considered as high esteem assigns the matchmaking custom in the Islamic tradition. Kyai (and) tuan guru work together to position “kidnapping the bride” as a tradition that no longer contains goodness. The practice of “kidnapping the bride” is seen as a practice that needs to be avoided. Thus, the practice of “kidnapping the bride” is a threat to the group of nobles and tuan guru (master teacher). It assumes that the practice of “kidnapping the bride” is in two traditions, namely the aristocracy and the folk traditions.

Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is constructed by tradition discourse (nobility) and Islamic discourse. The two discourses worked together to form Sasak identity. Sasak traditions (aristocrats) are represented by groups of aristocrats and Sasak Muslims who are represented by Sasak masters of the teacher. The construction determines who can take eloping and who may not. The practice of “kidnapping the bride” can only occur with a pair of lovers who have the same status, for example both aristocrats and or aristocratic men with non-aristocratic women. Often the practice of “kidnapping the bride” does not end with marriage if it is related to marriages of different social status, for example in the case of Habib and Baiq Raihan. The “kidnapping the bride” tradition can only be done by those who are of the same social status. Tradition in that sense is tradition in the perspective of nobility.

3.6 Lombok Indonesian literature: A study in Indonesian literature

Indonesian literature as a scientific discipline develops several paradigms in its studies of Indonesian literary works. The study of Indonesian literature in the 1990s to 2000s was dominated by structuralism [38]. Supriyadi saw the tendency of Indonesian literary studies at two universities, namely Gadjah Mada University and the University of Indonesia. Both universities represent the paradigm of Indonesian literary studies. Faruk [39] offers several paradigms in the study of Indonesian literature, for example humanist literary criticism, structuralist literary criticism, post-structural literary criticism, post -amarxist literary criticism, cultural studies and critical approaches. Faruk offers these paradigms in the context of providing various possible paradigms in Indonesian literature. The paradigm is born from literary studies which at a certain level becomes a paradigm.

The paradigm in Kuhn is a model [40]. Ahimsa-Putra distinguishes paradigms and models. For Ahimsa-Putra [41], the model is part of the paradigm. The model is defined as a parable of the object [41]. Both can be used to formulate contemporary Indonesian literary study models. In the context of combining the concepts of Kuhn and Ahimsa-Putra, Saukko’s concept provides an alternative. Saukko [42] offers four paradigms in cultural studies, namely triangulation, prisms, semiotic material, and dialog. All four applies different metaphors to describe reality. Saukko’s concept can be used to see models in contemporary Indonesian literature.

Romantic discourse in the novel Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is confronted with Islamic discourse and tradition (nobility). Islamic discourse and tradition of constructing “kidnapping the bride” as a criminal act, thus involving the police to resolve the case of eloping Baiq Raihan with Habib. Romantic discourse in the novel Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi, Opto Ergo Sum, and Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak voiced different interests. Romantic discourse in Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi is a criticism of feudalism and capitalism, while in Opto Ergo Sum is a critique of modernity. Meanwhile, the romantic discourse in Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is a criticism of feudalism and Islam (orthodox).

Romantic discourse comes from a different sound. The first is a female voice and the second and third is a male voice. Women’s romantic discourse tends to unite, while men’s romantic discourse tends towards separation and unification. The study of the Indonesian novel Lombok in the third case of the Lombok novel is a model of contemporary Indonesian literary studies. The model can be used to see how ethnic representations in contemporary Indonesian literature with different ethnic cases.

Studies in Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi, Opto Ergo Sum, and Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak perform models or paradigms of contemporary Indonesian literary studies. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak constructs the reality of “kidnapping the bride” which differs from Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi novel. Opto Ergo Sum novel constructs a love that refuses unification. The three of them voice love together. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak and Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi try to unite. Love in Opto Ergo Sum delineates traditional discourse, just as Princess Madalika rejects the propositions of kings for the peace of her people [12]. It is done by Rahmat in Opto Ergo Sum.


4. Conclusion

The meaning of “kidnapping the bride” as dominant discourse of Lombok represents Islamic context. “Kidnapping the bride” practice in Islamic and State perspective positions as a tradition which needs to adapt with Islamic and state law. The meaning of “kidnapping the bride” in Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak is part of the discursive formation that Lombok is Islam and a tradition (nobility). In the text, the social position of the noble man makes Baiq Raihan betray Habib. Therefore, discourse of tradition and Islam creates its opponents. In that context, romantic discourse applies as resistance to Islamic discourse and tradition (nobility).

The practice of “kidnapping the bride” is commonly discussed in contemporary Indonesian literature. Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak and Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi novel are constructed as a romantic discourse in two perspectives, namely male and female perspectives. In the male perspective, romantic discourse tends to be stronger to the poles of the ideal world, while in the perspective of women, tend to be stronger to the poles of the real world. In the third perspective on the Opto Ergo Sum novel case, the perspective of a male jajar Karang (ordinary person), refuses to unite. In the third perspective, romantic discourse delivers the mindset of the Sasak tradition which prioritizes peace. In the myth of Madalika Princess for the sake of peace she did not choose one of the princes who proposed. The study of the Sesak Cinta di Tanah Sasak and two other Sasak novels (Ketika Cinta Tidak Mau Pergi and Opto Ergo Sum) are treated as models for contemporary Indonesian literary studies. This study seeks the dialog to the reality of “kidnapping the bride” and construct a non-singular reality of the practice. This study unifies and obscures the boundary between the study of Lombok culture and Indonesian literature.



This article is part of my dissertation; therefore, I would like to express my great gratitude to the Directorate of Research and Community Service, Directorate General of Strengthening for Research and Development, the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education who has funded this dissertation research.


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Written By

H.D. Dharma Satrya, Faruk Faruk and Pujiharto Pujiharto

Submitted: 18 June 2020 Reviewed: 24 August 2020 Published: 25 December 2020