Accepted paper:

Negotiating 'eco' for 'econ': contradictions between participatory development and resource management in implementing social capital initiatives in eastern Indonesia


Gregory Acciaioli (University of Western Australia)
Dirk Steenbergen (Murdoch University)
Vivianti Rambe

Paper short abstract:

Participatory development programs based on the model of the World Bank’s Social Capital Initiative often conflict with customary forms of resource management in eastern Indonesia, resulting in dilemmas posed for women’s participation, village leadership, and local environmental transformations.

Paper long abstract:

In 1996 the World Bank launched its Social Capital Initiative as a new global framework for participatory development. Its flagship program in Indonesia, the National Program for Community Empowerment (Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Masyarakat, PNPM-Mandiri), has spawned a paradigm that has been adopted by various ministries as the model for their own village development programs. Designed to enhance local economic empowerment and provide more relevant, equitable forms of development, the shared strategy is embedded in a modernist entrepreneurial model with a neoliberal emphasis on local rather than governmental responsibility for project formulation and implementation. However, in several eastern Indonesian villages contradictions have emerged between such development interventions and strategies of conservation relying on customary (adat) environmental governance. This is particularly evident in areas where local adat has been recast with NGO support as a community resource management structure responsible for environmental governance. This paper explores such contradictions in several sites within eastern Indonesia. It demonstrates how the local-level entrepreneurialism fostered by PNPM and other analogously structured programs has led to environmental degradation, on the one hand, and how the operation of adat has curbed the range of participation and possibility for successful outcomes in such programs, on the other. It emphasises such factors as the dilemmas posed for women's participation, village leadership reorganisation, and the instrumental transformation of local environments.

panel PE43
Averting a global environmental collapse: the role of anthropology and local knowledge (WCAA panel)