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Processes of Agrarian Transformation: Renegotiating Land Use and Tenure in the Indonesian Uplands

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Li, Tania
Conference: Common Property Conference, the Second Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Conf. Date: September 26-30
Date: 1991
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8188
Sector: Agriculture
Land Tenure & Use
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): agriculture
land tenure and use
cash crops
Abstract: "Social organization of resource use and allocation is linked to a number of institutions ranging from family to state. Resource management regimes, as socially constructed practices, are founded upon cultural knowledge which is often contested and renegotiated in response to changing material conditions (bio-physical, legal, market, etc.) There is no pristine, unitary 'traditional' or 'indigenous' knowledge. These theoretical considerations are related to a study of agrarian transformation in an upland area of Sulawesi, Indonesia, where a population practising swidden cultivation of annual food and cash crops is experiencing a crisis of land degradation due to population pressure on steep and fragile slopes. In response to need for agricultural intensification and income generation, they are beginning to plant commercial trees, thus privatizing and enclosing land previously accessible to a wider group for food production. Locally recognized 'indigenous' rights to land are being reinterpreted in ways which diminish resource access of women, and encourage formation of social classes. The puzzle for local development agencies is to devise means to promote technically appropriate systems, such as agro-forestry, without encouraging exclusiveness, eventual displacement and landlessness that result from private property. Anthropological research on 'why and how' of social transformations in process can assist in the search for solutions."

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