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The Art of Contestation and Legitimacy: Environment, Customary Communities, and Activism in Indonesia

Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements

ISBN: 978-1-78350-697-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-686-6

ISSN: 2051-5030

Publication date: 26 November 2014

Abstract

Indonesia is one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, providing ecosystem services that accrue at the global scale. However, control over access to and use of natural resources has historically been a source of tension between the central government and local communities, with the latter usually being marginalized by the former. Since the fall of the authoritarian Suharto regime in 1998, however, a grassroots movement supports the revitalization of customary communities and their traditional systems of social organization (adat). A major part of this quest for legitimacy is the portrayal of indigenous people as environmentally benign. This chapter describes how indigenous systems have been influenced by political processes over time. We then describe how the changing political–administrative landscape has given rise to a national indigenous rights movement. We also analyze international factors that have contributed to the emergence of the indigenous movement before discussing potential challenges facing the movement in the future. This chapter seeks to get beyond the simplistic conflation of indigenous peoples and environmentalism by understanding the strategic articulation of indigeneity and environmentalism.

Keywords

Citation

Bettinger, K., Fisher, M. and Miles, W. (2014), "The Art of Contestation and Legitimacy: Environment, Customary Communities, and Activism in Indonesia", Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements (Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 195-224. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2051-503020140000015008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited