Contested Development in Indonesia: Rethinking Ethnicity and Gender in Mining


  • Kristina Großmann University of Passau
  • Martina Padmanabhan University of Passau
  • Katharina von Braun European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection



Ethnicity, Feminist Political Ecology, Indonesia, Institutions, Mining


This article reviews the literature on the relationship between gender and ethnicity in Indonesia’s mining sector and outlines shortcomings and prospects for further research. Recent studies on mining and gender focus predominantly on women and how they are negatively affected by mining. Ethnicity, although a growing asset in struggles on environmental transformations, is hardly included in research on mining. The intertwinement of ethnicity and gender in elaborations on mining is often depicted in literature of development programs and environmental organizations in which indigenous women are homogenized as marginalized victims. We argue, however, for a multidimensional approach on mining that takes into account the institutionalization of gender and ethnicity in mining governance as well as the role of gender and ethnic identities. Feminist political ecology and institutional analysis are pointing the way for such an approach. Furthermore, other relevant categories such as class, age, or status should be considered in the analysis of the complex and multidimensional environmental transformations of the mining sector in Indonesia.

Author Biographies

Kristina Großmann, University of Passau

Kristina Großmann is an assistant professor at the Chair of Comparative Development and
Cultural Studies with a focus on Southeast Asia at the University of Passau, Germany. Her
main research interests are environmental transformations, dimensions of differentiation in
ethnicity and gender, and civil society organizations in Southeast Asia.

Martina Padmanabhan, University of Passau

Martina Padmanabhan is professor and holds the chair in Comparative Development and Cultural Studies with a focus on Southeast Asia at University of Passau, Germany. She received
her PhD in rural sociology from the University of Göttingen, Germany. She focuses on socialecological research, organic farming, gender studies, institutional analysis, sustainable development, and the theory and practice of transdisciplinary research.

Katharina von Braun, European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection

Katharina von Braun holds a BA in anthropology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany,
a MA in International Development Studies from the University of Marburg, Germany, and
a postgraduate MA in Democratic Governance from the EIUC in Venice, Italy. Currently, she
is working at the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
Operations (ECHO) in Brussels, Belgium.