The role of kinship and gender in past and future land use in Jambi, Indonesia
(University of Goettingen)
Paper short abstract:
Kinship based access to land and political power in Sumatra is contested by market based mechanisms of access to land as a commodity. I highlight the role of gender and kinship for land use transformation and the impact of land commodification on gender and political power structures.
Paper long abstract:
Jambi province, Sumatra, Indonesia, is a multiethnic society where local concepts of kinship and gender are essential in the making of communities and the organization of rights over land and resources. kinship always entails categories of gender; and rules of descendent, marriage and residence patterns are organized around local notions of gender. Thus individual gendered identities are linked to access to land and relate to economic and political power. The boom crop economy transformed the countryside from remote hinterlands into bustling agro-industrial centers and local livelihoods shifted from extracting and extensive agricultural subsistence economies to intensive cash crop production. Agro-industrial business stimulate migration into rural areas by settlers who seek to become part of the boom crop economy and land has turned from an abundant living environment into a sought after factor of production. The interplay between migration flows, dynamics of smallholder plantation economy and increasing cash crop dependency heavily impacts local communities' socio-political organization and local structures of political authority. Kinship based access to land and political power is contested by market based mechanisms of access to land as a commodity. Along two case studies from Jambi I highlight the role of gender and kinship for land use transformation and vice versa the impact of land commodification on gender and political power structures. These examples show that local environmental processes are clearly connected to the political practices of kinship and gender as key to the (future) use of land and resources.
Gender and environmental change. Taking stock and looking into the future