Accepted paper:

Gaharu King - Family Queen? The eaglewood boom: material gendered political ecology in Kalimantan, Indonesia


Kristina Großmann (University Passau)

Paper short abstract:

Framed in the concept of material gendered political ecology I give empirical insights in maintained gender symmetries, new evolving indigenous masculinities and the material agency of eaglewood.

Paper long abstract:

In the last years, eaglewood (gaharu) - the resinous, fragrant heartwood produced by the tree Aquilaria malaccensis when its wood becomes infected with a type of mould - has become, caused by the rise of its value on the world market higher than gold, an important source of income and status for members of marginalized Dayak communities in forested regions of central Kalimantan. Regarding gaharu, gender relations are strictly separated and although maintained symmetrical they evolve to be less flexible. I point out in the framework of material gendered political ecology that gaharu is not only a blank silent natural resource but its material agency has social and economic impacts and serves as a marker for self-conception and identity. Whereas environmental transformations in the form of the exploitation of the natural resource gaharu entail not obligatorily a change in power relations within symmetric gender relations, eaglewood serves as a marker for young man deploying a masculine indigenous identity materialized in a specific body style and shape as a form of protest against exclusion.

panel P126
Gender and environmental change. Taking stock and looking into the future