The Main Role of Youth in Preserving the

The Main Role of Youth in Preserving the Traditional
Indonesian Culture to Face the Threat of Diffusion from Globalization in the
Digital Era


Muhammad Iriandru
Pradipta Putra, Industrial Engineering

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Faculty of

Sebelas Maret Surakarta

Email: [email protected]



Indonesia has been known as a nation
with remarkable artistic works and traditional cultures. Traditional culture
expressions in Indonesia have been so vary because many ethnics are living in
Indonesia with higher level of artistic creativities and traditional culture
expressions. But in current condition, traditional culture just start losing
their existancy in society. There is no successor for the next generation that
care about the existancy of the traditional culture, making itworse. The reason
why the youth is the main pioneer because they have big spirit and have
creativity without limits. In the traditional culture life, it is necessary for
the youth to have a positive perception and need to participate in an effort to
preserve the traditional culture. Cultures are potential element which is able
to support national strength in a nation. Thus, they have to be managed so that
they will give maximal benefits for both the people and the state.  But nowadays, they are more proud to follow
the foreign culture that enters into their lives and they are reluctant to
preserve our own culture. Imagine the our children in the future do not
recognize the culture that we have, they only know the foreign culture that
growing rapidly. In this essay also discusses the influence of globalization in
the digital era on traditional culture that will make the diffusion process
will occur quickly. The globalization is getting bigger and getting faster
every year. The positive advantages from globalization is the technology
advances. Because of that we live in era that usually known as digital era. There
is many advantages that we can get from the technology advances, internet for
the example. We acknowledge that internet is the mos greatest invention. But,
internet is one of science and technology product which is its usage can badly
affect the youth. It is because they are still hunger of information, trying to
search their lives meaning and identities. Lack of awareness of the
preservation of our culture leads to an indifferent attitude toward the
development of our culture and effect to our culture that obscured by incoming
foreign culture. Surely, we also do not want the traditional culture that still
exist also dissapear.

Key word: Culture, Difussion, Digital,
Globalization, Traditional culture, Youth



with the rapid development of the times there have been many changes on lifestyle
in society. Behavior in cultures is one that changes. Nowadays, society prefer
to use incoming foreign cultures rather than using our own culture which has
existed for a long time. It makes our culture difficult to grow and even
disappear. Majority of society now assume that foreign culture is much better
and freely from the rules of our own culture. This is also possible because of
our lack of filtering out the culture that goes into our environment, so that
foreign culture freely circulated among us without through the screening
process first. Coupled with globalization that makes foreign culture easier
into Indonesia.

bring many positive and negative influence. The positive impact of
globalization, technology and transportation are more advanced, science is also
evolving. But, because of the influence of globalization, there are many
foreign cultures also come to our country. Because of that, many youth prefer
foreign culture rather than traditional culture. It is because of their mindset
that if foreign culture is more modern and more popular, so their awareness in
preserving traditional culture is vanished.

Because of that, we as
society should be worrying about the existancy of traditional culture. In the
past, the traditional culture in our country was uncountable because of its
wide variety. Traditional dance, traditional language, traditional musical
instruments, and many more. But nowadays, there is just a few traditional culture
in our country. It is rare now to see youth willing to concern the traditional
culture of our country. Because their beliefs about traditional culture are
wrong. They are ashamed to admit if traditional culture is their culture.

If we are filtering out
the incoming foreign culture wisely, then traditional culture has the greater
opportunity to grow. We can not imagine if the foreign culture entered without
any limitations. Our existing culture will be lost and abandoned. It will be
different if we can restrict the incoming foreign culture then our existing
culture will still be used because there is still space to grow among the
community itself.


Literature Review


is the social behavior and norms in human societies. Culture is considered a
central concept in anthropologhy, encompassing the range of phenomena that are
transmitted through social learning in human societies. Some aspects of human
behavior, social practices such as culture, sxpenssive forms such as art,
music, dance, ritual, and religion, and technologies such as tool usage,
cooking, shelter and clothing are said to be cultural universals, found in all
human societies. The concept of material culture covers
the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art,
whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social
organization (including practices of political organization and social
institution), mythology, philosopy, literature (both written and oral), and
science comprise the intangible heritage of a society.

in English is similarly as “budaya” in Indonesian. The word “budaya” itself
roots from Sanskrit “budhayah” meaning as thought or intellectuality. In
general, culture may be defined as a something produced by the thought and
intellectuality of humans when they develop and maintain their life within their


In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural
diffusion, as conceptualized by Leo Frobenius in his 1897/98 publication Der westafrikanische Kulturkreis, is the spread of cultural items
such as ideas, styles, religions, technologies, languages, and etc. Between
individuals, wther within a single culture from one culture to another. It is
disticnt from the diffusion of innovations within a specific culture. Through
cultural diffusion, horizons are broadened and people become more culturally
rich. The mixing of world cultures through
different ethnicities, religions, and nationalities has only increased with
advanced communication, transportation, and technology.


Globalization is the increasing interaction of people, states, or
countries through the growth of the international flow of money, ideas, and
culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of integration that has
social and cultural aspects. It involves goods and services, and the economic
resources of capital, technology, and data. The steam locomotive, steamship, jet engine, and container ships are some
of the advances in the means of transport while the rise
of the telegraph and
its modern offspring, the Internet and mobile phones show
development in telecommunications infrastructure.
All of these improvements we enjoy in the modern era have been major factors in
globalization and have generated further interdependence of economic and cultural


Society is
a group of people involved
in persistent social interaction, or a
large social group sharing
the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same
political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are
characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between
individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society
may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent
of members. In the social sciences, a larger
society often evinces stratificationor dominance patterns in subgroups.


            Youth is
the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as “the appearance, freshness,
vigor, spirit, and etc.”. Its definitions of a specific age
range varies, as youth is not defined chronologically as a stage
that can be tied to specific age ranges. Youth is an experience that may shape
an individual’s level of dependency, which can be marked in various ways
according to different cultural perspectives.


Indonesia is really a big
country. From Sabang to Merauke, Indonesia
has an estimated 17,508 islands, but only around 6.000 islands are
inhabited.  It comprises five main islands, which are Sumatra, Jawa,
Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua (the western half of Papua New Guinea). With a
population of 258.316.051 (CIA World Factbook, 2016) people, Indonesia is considered as the
fourth most populous nation, and 58% of its people live in Java Island. The
large population also brings about the diversity.

Indonesia has grown rapidly
since independence 72 years ago. Not only because of its vast area, Indonesia
is also known as a country that has magnificent nature. Lots of very beautiful
tourist destinations, even one of them have entered as the world seven wonder. Indonesia
also has various ethnic group that widespread everywhere throughout the region.
Each ethnic group has different languages, food, customs, traditions and etc.
The culture of each ethnic group in Indonesia is very diverse, from culture that
held annually, to culture that held daily. Ninety-five
percent of over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia are of native Indonesian
ancestry. The ethnic groups in Indonesia, in order of size, are as follows:
Javanese, which makes up nearly 42% of the total population; Sundanese, 31%;
Malay, 3.7%; Maduranese, 3.3%, and others, 26%.  The Javanese live mostly
in Java Island, but due to government transmigration programs, millions have
migrated to other islands throughout the archipelago. There are also ethnic
Chinese populations, which make up 1% of the total population. Indians and
Arabs live mostly in urban areas. However,
they can live together peacefully with spirit of “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”.

Indonesia is known
for its diverse cultures. There is no exact number that can be mention the
number of cultures in Indonesia. Around hundreds of cultures are widespread
throughout Indonesia. Traditional culture in Indonesia can form traditional houses,
dance, singing, clothing food, and etc. Only few people just know the widely
known culture such as Padang, Java, Kalimantan and others. In addition, there
are many areas that have cultural diversity. Lack of information of the others
cultures makes only few people know about that. Traditional culture has evolve
until now.

Indonesian culture and art reflects regional histories,
relegions and influences of the archipelago’s mind-boggling array of ethnic
groups. Indonesia arts can be classified in to the three main streams within
Indonesia. The first, is that of the outer Indonesia, the islands of Sumatra,
Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Papua and Maluku, which have
strong animist traditions. Carvings, weaving, pottery etc, have developed from
a tribal art in which art objects are part of worship. The second stream is
that inner Indonesia, the islands of Java and Bali that have come under the
greatest influence from Hindu-Budha tradition. The Technique and styles that
built Borobudur and the Indian Epics
such as The Mahabarata, that form the basis for wayang theatre are still a
major influence in arts. The third influences is that of Islam, which not so
much introduced its own art & crafts traditions, but modified existing

In history,
Indonesian culture has existed since the time of the empire. Beginning around
the 2nd century, there are many empires in our country. The Kutai Empire,
Tarumanegara, Singasari, Majapahit, Demak, Malaka and others are some large empires
that had grown in Indonesia, even the Majapahit Empires is the largest empire
in Indonesia. Stretching form Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, peninsula Malaya, until
east. Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is
considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history
of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The
Majapahit Empire influenced many Indonesian cultures from building to literary

The culture
continues to grow until now. However, the development of culture in Indonesia
has fluctuate in its journey. That cultures, should be preserved by us because
of that is a valuable treasure that will make our country keep beautiful at its
way. As youth, we also should be proud to the traditional culture.

But lately, the
culture has begun to be forgotten along with the emergence of a foreign culture,
also we can say a modern culture. Technological advancements coupled with the easier
of access that can allow the foreign culture into Indonesia. In the current era
of globalization, access to foreign cultures in Indonesia is getting easier. Many
foreign life and foreign culture which is for youth as modern culture, can
eliminate indigenous culture of Indonesia.

Fidget spinner,
slime, party, hip-hop music, and even Korean pop or Korean drama are some
examples of foreign cultures that enter Indonesia and spread to everywhere.
Many of youth even kids just enjoy the trend. They think it will be cool if
they follow the trend. Some of them, willing to spend a lot of money just to
follow the trend. Actually, if we act ordinary to this trend and not too
excessive then the bad consequences will not happen. The fact is quite
different, they follow this trend even they think this trend is everything.
Because youth  are more attracted to
these things, traditional cultures are threatened since youth prefer foreign
cultures beside of their own culture.

As mentioned
before, one of the key factors in the degradation of Indonesian culture is there
are no future generations who care about Indonesian culture. Many of youth
prefer foreign cultures that they think more cool, modern, and not ancient. Compared
to youth, adults are knowing more about traditional culture and actively
preserving them. Usually we see traditional dance or traditional music players that
are those who are no longer young. They always try to introduce traditional
culture to the public in the hope that there will be future generations who
spirit to participate in preserving traditional culture.

If we not doing
anything, then that conditions will make the traditional culture vanished from
the life of society. Even though, traditional culture is a very valuable asset
and needs to be preserved. Traditional culture will lose with technology
advances, that may be more interesting when compared to our culture. With technology
advances, people can easily get entertainment that makes them happy than just
preserving traditional culture.

Living in the
digital era is a good advantage but can become very dependent to it. Most of
the youth today can not be separated from that kind of technology in daily
life. Actually,the  technology advances
is good if used for activities that are beneficial and in reasonable portions.
The use of internet for lifestyle is one of them. Asosiasi Penyelenggara Jasa
Internet Indonesia (APJII) make a national survey of Indonesian internet users
in 2016. The results show that the number of Internet users in Indonesia in
2016 is 132.7 million users or about 51% of the total population of Indonesia.
Mostly, Internet users are on Java Island with a total of 86.339.350 users or
about 65% of the total use of the Internet. Compared to the users of Internet
Indonesia in 2014 there are 88.1 million users. There is an increase of 44.6
million within 2 years (2014 – 2016) and this number will continue to grow
every year.

The advancement of
information technology or communications technology has been trigger the
cultural diffusion, while also becoming an alternative to get entertainment for
the society especially youth. As a result, there is no interest to enjoy the
traditional performing arts. For the example is the traditional art of wayang
orang on Balekambang Park Surakarta. Wayang orang is one of the traditional
culture which is usually played with two until ten people, the show should be
very interesting. But in Balekambang, there is just a few people that enjoy the
show and there is no youth in there. This is unfortunate since the wayang orang
is one of traditional Indonesian art that we can get the moral messages from
the story.

Indonesian traditional artists expressed the belief that
three components were essential to the continued vitality of traditional arts
in a community. First, they are actively concerned about documenting tradition,
not as an end in itself, but so that knowledge of the old ways is not lost to
the community. Such documentation can take a multitude of different forms, but
it is critical. Second, they understand that contemporary youth represent a
problematic link in the chain along which such knowledge can be transmitted.
Because today’s young women and men are distracted by a multitude of cultural
signals (from popular entertainment to the content of formal education), there
is a risk that they will disengage from the traditional arts. Third, on a
closely related point, artists and their communities recognize that the
continued health of their practices will depend, to a significant extent, on
their ability to satisfy audiences who live in new social circumstances.

Wayang orang is a
small example of the traditional arts that began to be forgotten due to the
incessant foreign culture entering Indonesia. It could be that this phenomenon
is not only experienced by traditional Javanese arts, but also in various
expressions of traditional art in various places in Indonesia. Globalization
seems to be a boomerang in the cultural aspect for our country.

Slowly but sure,
globalization has caused the traditional culture vanished. Youth choose spend
their time accessing the internet than the learn of traditional dance from
their own culture. They will feel proud can imitate the foreign style and
consider the traditional culture are not cool and very ancient.

If we reviewed
through a global aspect, globalization coupled with the rapid advancement of
technology becomes a challenge for all aspects of life as well as those
associated with culture. This era, demands our readiness to adjust the future
and be able to take every opportunity. Traditional culture in Indonesia is
actually more creative and not imitative, which becomes a problem is to
maintain the identity of our nation. As a simple example, the culture in
Indonesia is now almost eroded, people live individually and do not want to
know with others is a reflection that seems today.

Culture should be
priceless, but now it becomes not valuable in the society. This disrespectful
attitude has a bad effect on the development of traditional culture in our
country. One of the way to preserve traditional culture is the attitudes and
behavior of their own people, especially youth as the next generation. If in
every person there is a strong nationalism spirit, preserving the traditional
culture is a pride, but the youth generation today assume the opposite. They
believe that strive to preserve the culture its a compulsion. So the sustainability
of the traditional culture also depends heavily on the youth who have
nasionalism spirit.

But, society also
do not necessarily close themselves from the world. We must keep our mind open
and always be prepared if there is a greater wave of globalization. Always
follow the positive trend and technology advances is also needed so that
Indonesia is not getting worse. Globalization will always provide change, we
must choose wisely whether these cultures are positive or negative. That way we
can accept foreign cultures smartly by emphasizing nationalism

As youth, we must be
smart in exploiting the technology advances. Actually technology advances can
be used for preserving traditional culture. Such as creating an application that
contains about the culture of Indonesia and packaged with attractive content.
So, the children who since they born are in the digital era can participate in
preserving traditional culture at least introduced them to traditional
cultures. If youth are not wise in using technology advances, of course it will
make the culture of Indonesia will gradually dissapear because the next
generation is prefer digital entertainment and choose to imitate the foreign
life which is they see in their social media. If that is allowed, not only the traditional
culture that will disappear but also make the pride of the country is reduced.
They became a person who forgot his identity as a society who live in Indonesia.

For the younger
generation, who will be successors of Indonesia, have big spirit of nationalism
are needed evenits a must. Not only for the sake of politics that we are
required to have nationalist spirit, but in maintaining and preserving the
culture is also needed. We need to be aware to maintain the historical heritage
that is not easy, it takes a great sacrifice too. A few of youth is not enough,
need all of youth in Indonesia to move together to save traditional culture, togetherness
to support each other and fill each other is needed too. In other words,
preserving the traditional culture is also required compactness and support
each other to block the negative impacts from globalization in digital era.



Indonesia is a
large country with all its uniqueness and cultural diversity that is widespread
from Sabang to Merauke. Traditional Indonesian culture is an ancestral heritage
that has existed since long time ago. However, the existence of traditional
culture began to erode because most youth who are the next generation of the
nation prefer foreign culture than its own culture. This is exacerbated by the
big wave of globalization and rapid technological advances so that youth prefer
digital entertainment beside of traditional culture.

Living in the digital era is challenging. Society,
especially youth, must be smart in respond the wave of globalization. All of
youth should be smart in choosing which foreign culture are positive and which
are negative. By filtering it first, then the traditional culture will still
alive but also remain aware the trend. Youth must be creative in exploiting
technological advancesin order to preserve the traditional culture. Coupled
with the spirit of nationalism, youth must grow up with a pride being the next
generation of Indonesia