A State of Fragmentation: Enacting Sovereignty and Citizenship at the Edge of the Indonesian State

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Abstract

The topic of sovereignty and citizenship helps us to understand post-authoritarian autonomy movements and resource struggle in Indonesia's borderlands. This article presents a case study of the border district of Kapuas Hulu, where increased regional autonomy gained in the decade that followed the collapse of the authoritarian regime of President Suharto in 1998 has encouraged a scramble for political influence and natural resources. As elsewhere in Indonesia, local engagement in the politics of decentralization presents marginal communities with a chance to assert publicly their role and rights as modern Indonesian citizens, and hence stake their claims to local natural resources and customary territory. Claims to citizenship and resource claims go hand in hand. Although lines of authority have been rearranged through political rupture, continuities with former alliance-building strategies continue to structure the post-authoritarian landscape of political representation and resource access. However, when long-standing informal networks are merged with new institutional arrangements, openings emerge for certain fragments of local society to gain access and control over land and resources. Ultimately, the rupture from authoritarian to post-authoritarian rule creates new possibilities for claiming citizenship at the edge of the Indonesian state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment and Change
Volume47
Issue6
Pages (from-to)1338-1360
Number of pages23
ISSN0012-155X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2016

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