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This study aimed at analyzing the commodification of identity politics through customary title bestowal (Pulanga) in local politics in Gorontalo Province, Indonesia. This study referred to the critical approach with the critical ethnographic methodology. The data were obtained through in-depth interview with customary title recipients, customary stakeholders, and cultural observers, and gained from customary documents and news archives of the pros and cons of customary title bestowal from local mass media coverage in Gorontalo Province. Validity testing of the data was conducted through triangulation process. The politicization of customary title bestowal occurred because the process of customary title bestowal was not conducted transparently. This condition is exacerbated by the impression of commercialization of customary title by persons acting on behalf of customary institutions. Customary title was often used as a commodification of identity politics and modality in local political contestation. Custom must have authority in enforcing sanctions so that its role and function are not merely ceremonial in society.
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