My ethnographic project centers on the popular local alcoholic drink, Cap Tikus, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It steps inside diverse configurations of youth drinking circles in and around the provincial capital of Manado, and aims to understand how these youths create, experience, and assess effects of the drink. Attuning to the sensorial, affective and sociomaterial dimensions of these drinking events, it further explores how drinking practices reveal situated hopes and desires, as well as some of the tensions, faced by young people in Manado today.
It highlights tensions between the widespread consumption of Cap Tikus in this particular locality and the wider problematization of alcohol in Indonesia—or more specifically, the growing systems of social control and modes of regulation around Cap Tikus. I look at how some youth contest these efforts to regulate the drink by re-appropriating it as a traditional cultural asset and by reinventing drinking traditions.
For CapTikus Squad, for example, it is a musical contestation. In my ethnography with this small local underground Punk band I look to their lyrics and their shared ideologies with their growing fan- and friend-base of Punks, to explore the intimate relations between Cap Tikus and its plurality of practices, and Manado Punk youth’s hopes and aspirations.
I turn to the use of audiovisual methods to help capture and portray these drinking events and the plurality and continuity of practices that surround Cap Tikus. Alongside interviews and participant observation, I enjoy a range of creative methods in this project. The study attunes to the importance of heat (“panas”) as both an object of study and analytic tool in order to draw together the richness of individual experiences and wider sociopolitical issues. By tracing the different gradients of heat, I hope to more playfully and fruitfully attend to the often under-explored sensorial and affective aspects of doing research on alcohol and youth.