Beyond Recognition: Indigenous Land Rights and Changing Landscapes in Indonesia
In the context of rapid land use change taking place in Indonesia, this research focuses on the increasing support for local community land rights as a way to protect forests and empower local livelihoods. A growing global movement advocating for indigenous and community land rights helped catalyze opportunities to challenge large areas of land in Indonesia that had long been enclosed as state forests. The main focus of this research took place among a small community – the Kajang of South Sulawesi – that were the first in Indonesia to obtain indigenous land rights to forest land administered by the state. Using multiple methods, I participated in every step of the process to gain formal indigenous recognition from the state, and further explored local governance and planning processes after rights were secured by placing myself within the various land use and livelihoods decisions shaping regional landscapes. The findings highlight the opportunities that emerge from formal land recognition processes but also its limits, in that recognition arrives amidst longstanding land use and livelihoods decisions that interact with broader notions about land, power, and identity.
PhD defended at
University of Hawaii
Urban / Rural