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Occupied! Property, citizenship and peasant movements in rural Java

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Christian Lund, Noer Fauzi Rachman

Recent land occupations by peasant movements in Indonesia have done more than challenge the existing ownership of plantations and forests. They have restructured local property and authority relations by stimulating a strategic critique of public authority and governance practice within the peasant movement. ‘Plantation’ and ‘forest’ are structured under different legal regimes and institutional arrangements, which offer varied opportunities for occupation and subsequent legalization of smallholder land control. Different strategies of occupation and interaction with plantation and forest companies have therefore been pursued. However, legalization of land occupations has remained rudimentary, and possession has not been recognized as property by government institutions. Two cases of occupation history demonstrate in detail how claims to citizenship and property have been opposed, ignored and denied by statutory institutions. Furthermore, they demonstrate how land-occupying farmers have attempted to become ‘visible’ to and recognized by government institutions, and how — while waiting for this to happen — the peasant movement experiences a sovereign moment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1316–1337
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Rule and Rupture: State Formation through the Production of Property and Citizenship

ID: 169159129