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Environmentality Reconsidered: Indigenous to Lindu Conservation Strategies and the Reclaiming of the Commons in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Acciaioli, Greg
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1407
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
resource management
Abstract: "In his exploration of the imposition of a conservationist subjectivity by the Indian government on some of its citizenry, a process that, following Foucault, he labels 'environmentality,' Arun Agrawal (2005) emphasizes the role of government regulations in fostering a modern subjectivity of care for the environment through the medium of participatory mechanisms such as forest councils. Others (e.g. Severin 1997) have disputed the efficacy of governmental regulations in effecting such a transformation of sensibility, arguing that traditional orientations to the environment enshrined in custom or the exercise of volunteer participation in NGO projects of conservation result in more profound inculcation of custodial attitudes or conservationist sensibility. What this essay seeks to explore is the formation of other sorts of cooperation around a protected area of Sulawesi, the Lore Lindu National Park (Taman Nasional Lore Lindu or TNLL), specifically the politics surrounding the formation of conservation agreements and village-level conservation organisations in the region. Through examining how elements of traditional customary (adat) management, modern NGO intervention, and the framework of governmentally mandated reserves and parks combine in realizations of park management, it also seeks in its conclusion to interrogate the theoretical nexus of Agrawal's model of the fostering of environmentality. Instead, it argues that overt 'care for the environment' may be but a rationalization for the assertion of the prerogatives of categorical indigeneity, seeking dominance for one specific party within the continuing operation of conflicting agendas among the parties involved. Specifically, in the case of the Lore Lindu National Park, the idiom of conservation in the context of national park monitoring is used by the elders of the indigenous To Lindu to assert their jurisdiction over the land of the Lindu plain, which they are attempting to re-appropriate as inalienable village land that can be allocated for use to other inhabitants of the plain only by the local customary council, whose membership is exclusively To Lindu."

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