Contesting State Forests in Post-Suharto Indonesia: Authority Formation, State Forest Land Dispute, and Power in Upland Central Java, Indonesia
This article explores the ongoing conflict over state forest land between the local population and the State Forestry Corporation (SFC) in a village in upland Central Java with regard to authority formation. It looks at how different agents draw on diff erent sources of authority in the course of the conflict and its negotiations. The principal questions are to what kind of sources of authority villagers refer to and how the formation of authority informs the relations between the state and society in the land dispute. The article is based on 11 months of ethnographic fieldwork and focuses on the central fi gure of Pak Wahid who took a leading position in the forest land dispute and in mobilising peasants in the village. The article argues that in post-Suharto Java, leadership in the struggle for state forest land at the village level is embedded in the interaction of Javanese ideas of power and authority as well as administrative authority. Due to political and institutional reforms, new sources of authority could be invoked while there are no real changes in the power relations within the village or between the SFC and the villagers.
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