Becoming and Being a Young Father in the Context of Poverty and Disaster: An Ethnographic Study of Early Fatherhood in a North Lombok Village

Mrs Lisa Colquhoun1

1University Of Newcastle, , Australia

During August 2018, the small island of Lombok in eastern Indonesia was jolted by a series of destructive and shallow earthquakes, killing 563 people and displacing more than 417,000 others, including over 2,800 Sasak Muslim families in the impoverished, rural village of Malaka. Malaka and surrounding villages record some of the lowest levels of development in Lombok and Indonesia more widely, with young people here continuing to enter parenthood much earlier than is the case in neighbouring islands. Drawing on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted in Malaka prior to and following the earthquakes, and underpinned by a critical men’s studies perspective, this paper examines young Sasak men’s transitions to and experiences of early fatherhood and considers the impact of poverty and disaster – and subsequent displacement and unemployment – on their parenting experiences and masculine identities. It focuses in particular on the ways young Sasak men, as gendered beings, negotiate fatherhood and local hegemonic masculinity when suddenly and unexpectedly stripped of their capacity to fulfil their culturally-prescribed role as protectors and providers for their families.


Lisa is a charity fundraiser and PhD candidate in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, where she has also worked as a casual lecturer in the university’s English Language and Foundation Studies Centre. She lives on the beautiful NSW Central Coast with her husband, two children and rescue dog.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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