Volcanic eruption as metaphor of social integration: a political ecological study of Mount Merapi, Central Java
While carrying out a study of the human ecology of Merapi volcano in Central Java in the 1980s, it became apparent that villagers represented the imminent threat of volcanic hazard as a feeling of being confused (bingung) or lost (kesasar), and of being lured away from their homes and into the crater by spirits masquerading as friends. The villagers thus saw this hazard as a loss of home and identity. Subsequently, in the wake of a deadly eruption in 1994, this was interpreted by wider Javanese society as presaging a millenarian loss of identity and transformation of society. A central feature of this volcanic landscape was thus a threat to identity not just on the part of the local community but of the entire society.