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Predatory peace. Dispossession at Aceh’s oil palm frontier

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The end of the civil war in Aceh brought peace, but it has been of a predatory nature. As a moment of rupture, the peace revealed interests, powers and dynamics, and it offered an opportunity for their reconfiguration. When unrest ceased, old agrarian conflicts between smallholders and planters resumed. Peace held promise of land reform. Yet old patterns of smallholder dispossession were entrenched as the former insurgency leadership aligned with the old elite of plantation companies. Oil palm contract-farming schemes effectively alienated smallholders from their land, and violence precluded their organization. As a result, large-scale plantation production expanded. Through the creation of a violent frontier, smallholders were denied recognition of independent rights and property. In essence, smallholders were dispossessed by a combination of violence, political power and duplicitous paperwork. The study is based on fieldwork in areas where current land conflicts are played out, as well as on secondary sources.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)431-452
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Aceh, frontier, Indonesia, oil palm plantations, property, smallholders, social contract, violence

ID: 184065965