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Decentralization and the Emergence of Volatile Socio-legal Configuations in Central Kalimantan

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: McCarthy, John
Conference: Politics of the Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Practices
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Conf. Date: July 11-14
Date: 2003
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8205
Sector: Social Organization
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
governance and politics
customary law
property rights
Abstract: "International discourses on good governance articulated by multi-lateral donor agencies advocate decentralization to promote democratization, and to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of government. Indonesia passed a new decentralization law in 1999, but it remains uncertain to what extent decentralization will further these objectives. During the 1998-9 period, political actors in the center took up the decentralization concepts and, to suit specific political agendas, crafted umbrella laws that adjusted key governance concepts to Indonesian circumstances. Subsequently, actors at different levels have engaged in a struggle to shape the outcomes. Contrary to the stated objectives of governance and decentralization, institutional arrangements both within and outside the state have become increasingly fragmented and contested. As described here, this process has helped generate emergent socio-legal configurations governing access to resources at the village and district level in Central Kalimantan that are shifting and volatile. At the same time these transformations also provide some limited space for re-assertive villagers to re-assert their own customary (adat) orders."

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