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Resource Struggles and the Politics of Place in North Lampung, Indonesia

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This paper considers the difficulties inherent in countering the negative effects of globalisation in Indonesia through an enhanced recognition of place-based cultural communities, which are seen to offer an alternative and more progressive path towards development. Focusing on the local history of resource struggles involving Javanese migrants and local people in North Lampung, the paper examines the ways that different groups of migrants and local Lampung people have dealt with changing resource control mechanisms in the context of the local transmigration (Translok) programme and large-scale agro-industrial development in the region. Whilst elites have been able to develop their personal wealth by capitalising on political and economic uncertainty, poor people from both groups have had to contend with conflict and increasing livelihood vulnerability that, if anything, has been intensified through the reassertion of place-based cultures of resource control. In challenging populist narratives of resistance to transmigration that pit migrants against “indigenous” local people, the paper identifies the class-related ambivalences towards development and structures of authority that cut across community and locality in the Translok zone
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Keywords: Indonesia; Masyarakat Adat; North Lampung; class; land tenure; local transmigration; place; resource struggles

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: School of the Environment, University of Brighton, UK

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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