International Conference ‘How Indonesia works: Governance, Democracy and Citizenship’
12 & 13 December 2016 | Universitas Gadjah Mada | Yogyakarta | Indonesia
Final conference of the Indonesia- Netherlands collaborative research program on ‘Governance, Markets, and Citizens’.
Hosts are the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and the Caribbean Studies in Leiden and the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Yogyakarta.
Sponsors are the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Directorate-General for Higher Education of the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (MinRISTEK/DIKTI).
How does Indonesia work? How are the most important decisions made and implemented that affect its 256 million citizens? The answer is far more complex than simply ‘by the government.’ ‘Governance’ concerns the negotiated process of making decisions in which many collective actors participate. National and international government agencies, non-government organizations, informal social movements, business lobbies, and many others all try to influence outcomes. There is no ultimate referee (Steurer 2013, Leach et al. 2007, Swyngedouw 2005).
Indonesian governance processes have been transformed in recent years. The authoritarian New Order collapsed. Decentralization and democratization have brought new players into the field. Globalization and neo-liberal economic reforms have strengthened international market actors. Our knowledge about these processes is partial and fragmented. The conference brings a combined, interdisciplinary and comparative approach to this broad yet urgent subject (Chhotray and Stoker 2009).
In the Open Seminar on 12 December 2016 international key note speakers will address four major governance challenges that Indonesia faces currently: climate change, inequality, food security and rural development policy. The three research projects in this collaborative program (see below) will contribute to the discussion about these challenges by presenting a selection of their latest results concerning the nexus governance – democracy – citizenship. We invite students and others who would like to attend this international academic seminar to respond to our call for participants.
On the second day of this conference, 13 December 2016, regional economists, political anthropologists and environmental sociologists of the joint SPIN program will present research results and discuss their collaborative papers. The challenge in this collaboration is to find constructive combinations of qualitative and quantitative methods for explaining the link between governance-democracy-citizenship related to a specific field. The papers will address the regional variation in clientalism, access to health services related to health politics, and whether administrative fragmentation can be seen as means for addressing inequality.
The overarching program ‘Governance, Markets and Citizens’ (GMC) aims to identify and analyse key aspects of socio-economic and political developments in contemporary Indonesia. The participants of this program are the researchers and supervisors of three joint research projects (JRP): (1) Social and economic effects of partnering for sustainable change in agricultural commodity chains (University of Lampung/ICIS, Maastricht University), (2) Local and regional dimensions in Indonesia’s social and economic development (University of Indonesia in Jakarta/ VU University Amsterdam ) and (3) From clients to citizens? Emerging citizenship in democratizing Indonesia (Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta/ Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden). In the collaborative workshops organized so far the three projects centered discussions on the shared theme of governance in Indonesia.
Open Seminar 12 December: Governance, democracy and citizenship
We have invited key note speakers to address four major governance challenges in Indonesia. They will present different – but not necessarily contrasting – perspectives: macro versus micro policies, inherited versus general citizens’ rights, national versus local interests, and normative versus empirical approach to governance for development. Discussants from the three SPIN projects will reflect on how the key note’s conclusions correspond with their own program’s findings.
I. Governance, democracy and citizenship: politics for development or project hunting?
Tania Murray Li (University of Toronto): “Governing rural Indonesia: convergence on the project system”
In contemporary Indonesia as in many other parts of the global south, policy plays a limited role in guiding the practice of rural development. What proliferates, instead, is the project: a time bound intervention with a fixed goal and budget, framed within a technical matrix which renders some problems amenable to intervention, while leaving others out of account. Thinking about rural development in terms of projects has become so routine that alternative ways of thinking and acting are scarcely considered. Yet, it was not always so. This paper compares the present conjuncture, in which the project system dominates, with historical conjunctures at which projects did not take the center stage. Two empirical studies serve to illustrate how a disparate set of actors –Indonesian government officials and politicians, social development experts at the World Bank, transnational conservation agencies and rural villagers – converged on the project system, with refractory results.
Second speaker: to be announced.
II. Governance, democracy and citizenship for climate change adaptation
Gerry van Klinken (KITLV, Leiden): “Researching the citizenship of weather-related disasters in SEA: between resilience and transformation”
Weather-related disasters (storms, floods, droughts, fires) are becoming more frequent, more damaging, and they mainly affect poorer countries, especially in Asia. Catastrophic scenarios of 4 degree warming kicking in by the 2060s are now a serious object of study. Climate change magnifies the uneven distribution of risk, further amplifying poverty. Massive weather-related disasters often open up space for intense, even if temporary, political negotiation by citizens. Some of this tends towards resilience – i.e., towards providing practical solutions without disturbing the functional status quo. Some towards transformation – i.e., towards replacing the dominant regime because it has failed to fulfill the social contract with its citizens. We illustrate with some real cases.
Yunita T. Winarto (Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta): “Agrometeorological learning as policy learning in a changing climate: Would the state change its policies if farmers change their strategies?”
Climate change has produced unusual risks on agriculture and uncertainties in rainfall pattern. Farmers can no longer rely on their traditional knowledge to survive, nor on their recent empirical knowledge. Prof. Winarto and the late prof Kees Stigter have been developing a new inter- and transdisciplinary extension approach: “Science Field Shops” (Warung Ilmiah Lapangan) to improve farmers’ agrometeorological knowledge and practices. In a dialogical knowledge exchange. The scientists provide climate services to the farmers, including information about seasonal rainfall scenario’s. The farmers engage as researchers in measuring rainfall, showing its implications on the local ecosystem and evaluating yields in a standardized way. Farmers’ capability to modify their strategies is a significant component in their “policy learning”. How can the results of these Science Field Shops affect the state’s policies and governance at the national, regional and local levels for assisting farmers to cope with climate change?
III. Governance, democracy and citizenship for food security or higher incomes in rural areas
John F. McCarthy (Crawford School ANU): “Vulnerability and the Governance of Food Poverty: the Case of Rural Aceh”
While some analysts argue that the pathways out of poverty have shifted as livelihoods have increasingly delinked from land and agriculture across the global South, others contend that, large numbers of rural people remain stranded between inadequate rural livelihoods and limited prospects outside agriculture. Meanwhile, utilizing studies that rely on proxy or statistical indicators to understand this pressing issue, program interventions have been developed to address ‘food security’. This paper uses experimental, field based approaches to explore the complex drivers of vulnerability and food security in Aceh. Contrasting different views of causality, it considers how food poverty emerges as a complex problem both due to the multiple pathways leading to it as well as the varied ways of understanding it. By exploring the impliciations of experiential and relational approaches to understanding food poverty, it considers current governance initiatives to address this issue.
Pujo Semedi (Department of Anthropology, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta): “Oil Palm Versus Rubber: Land Grabbing and Farmers’ Cost-Benefit Calculation in West Kalimantan”
Land grabbing has become one of the important issues in agrarian studies. Without neglecting the gravity of land grabbing as “a regressive land reform where governments take land from the poor and give (or sell or lease) it to the rich” (White, et al., 2011: 620) and its consequences to small farmers’ life, it must be put into consideration that every attempt to take away lands always meets resistance from farmers. This paper examines how farmers’ calculation of cost and benefit of two market crops, palm oil and rubber, related to their effort to deal with plantation companies’ moves to land grab and convert a vast area into palm oil fields. This paper includes ethnographic data from Meliau sub-district in West Kalimantan, and satellite images of the area obtained from Google Earth.
IV. Governance, democracy and citizenship for addressing socio-economic inequality
Riwanto Tirtosudarmo (LIPI): “Problematizing inequality and inclusiveness of the “Masyarakat Adat”: The power-knowledge nexus”
In a highly critical speech on his first public appearance in 1999 after 27 years banned to enter Indonesia, Ben Anderson, among others, make the following statement: I mention this little episode simply because I see too many Indonesians still inclined to think of Indonesia as an “inheritance,” not as a challenge nor as a common project. Where one has inheritances, one has inheritors, and too often bitter quarrels among them as to who has “rights” to the inheritance: sometimes to the point of great violence. People who think that the “abstract” Indonesia is an “inheritance” to be preserved at all costs may end up doing terrible damage to the living citizens of that abstract geographical space. Basing on the argument that Indonesia should be seen as a common project, this paper questions the construction of “Masyarakat Adat” as an idea as well as an organizing principle to mobilize the so-called indigenous people in Indonesia. The idea of indigeneity and the right for inheritance embedded in the concept of “Masyarakat Adat” implies exclusion. That contrasts the national goal of inclusive development for all the Indonesian citizens.
Jacqueline Vel (KITLV): New law, new villages? Addressing inequality in rural areas
The village (desa) is the basis for an alternative imagination of the Indonesian nation. The slogan “desa membangun Indonesia” (building Indonesia from its villages) has recently been used in campaigns for further decentralization to the level of the more than 74,000 desa. The village has always been critical in Indonesian governance discourse. The village had a core role in the colonial governance system in the Dutch East Indies, it was at the center of New Order coercion mechanisms and subsequently the epi-center of democratic reform. The new 2014 Village Law marks a considerable retreat for the Indonesian (national) state that, not too long ago, imposed its developmental policies on villages from above. This massive increase of responsibilities and budgets is likely to change the way in which most Indonesians perceive and interact with the state. What are the assumptions in this new law regarding socio-economic differentiation? How do the democratic ideals of this law relate to practices of clientalism? Will the Village law be an effective tool for reducing inequality in the rural areas?
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